I admire people who are good at sports. I was never very good at it. After some volleyball in the village and cricket while at Allahabad University, I could never do more. My physical activities are limited to walking, stretching and yoga, which I learnt from a good trainer. Life, however, has had many ways of imparting sportsmanship.
I used to write and compose poetry and ghazals and directed and acted in dramas, skits and plays. But could not continue after joining service in IAS.
I have been envious of officers who use “Dr.” before their names. After MA, I did enroll as a research scholar of D. Phil under UGC fellowship. I did some work; got some UGC money also. Post selection in the IAS, except public service, there was no time for any other pursuit. That was perhaps a mistake.
In 32 years of service in the IAS, I have barely travelled anywhere with my family. This is despite the Leave Travel Concession (LTC). I could not avail this benefit even marginally. I was fortunate to travel far and wide on official purposes, but I wonder how I will ever make it up to my family.
Working late hours and on weekends is routine for many. My daughter, who is a lawyer, once argued: “Papa, I will file a Human Right Case against the Government. How can they keep you working on holidays like Holi, Dussehra and Diwali?”
Lack of work life balance is an issue for everyone today. In my case, it was little more. My wife complains sometimes saying I am incapable of refusing work. This, I take as a compliment, not a complaint. In this regard, I can only make apologies. No compensation is possible.
I will, however, provide grounds for this. The truth is that, I enjoy and receive the most contentment while working for people and society. Working for others makes me feel like I am working for my own family.
I have served in each of my roles with the same passion and sincerity.
Jigar Muradabadi said it better:
इक लफ़्ज़-ए-मोहब्बत का अदना ये फ़साना है,
सिमटे तो दिल-ए-आशिक़ फैले तो ज़माना है II