A decade ago, if you’d asked Taruni Pandey about her aspirations, she would have confidently said, “Doctor.” Growing up in Chittaranjan, West Bengal, and later in Jamtara, Jharkhand, Taruni’s dreams were firmly rooted in medicine. She even began her medical studies in Sikkim. However, a series of health setbacks, including dengue, typhoid, and malaria, forced her to reconsider her path.
What to Know? Returning home, Taruni faced the daunting task of starting from scratch. She pursued degrees in English Literature from IGNOU. But it was a personal tragedy, the death of her brother-in-law in 2016, a CRPF commander, that had a role to play in setting her on a new path.
The death of her brother-in-law required her to accompany her sister to various bureaucrats and politicians’ offices to discuss her job. Witnessing the positive impact of a single bureaucrat, Taruni found her new calling.
Despite contracting COVID-19 just days before her 2020 UPSC exam, Taruni’s determination remained unshaken. She took the exam in 2021, with only six months of preparation, relying solely on self-study and online resources. Her strategy? Focusing on eliminating wrong answers and consistent revision. Her diverse educational background, from science to literature, became her strength.
Taruni’s success story isn’t just about clearing an exam. It’s a testament to her resilience, adaptability, and determination. She emphasises the importance of genuine intent in joining civil services, perseverance, and utilising digital resources over traditional coaching. For Taruni, language isn’t a barrier; it’s the will to serve that counts.
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As she looks forward to a career in the Indian Foreign Service, Taruni’s journey serves as an inspiration for many, proving that with determination and the right intent, one can overcome any obstacle.
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