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Somil Gautam : A Story of Struggle, Failure and Success

Somil Gautam : A Story of Struggle, Failure and Success

An Interaction:


It is said that a road to success is dotted with the marks of Failures.

Somil Gautam HAS Exam 2017 Topper

Somil Gautam Topper of HPAS ( Himachal pradesh Administartive Services) Exam -2017

It consists of twists and turns, stress and frustration, doubts and confusion. But if the will to succeed is stronger than the fear of failure, one reaches the destination ultimately. Similar is the story of Somil Gautam who brought laurels to his Hometown, his parents and yes his academy by achieving Rank 3 in recently concluded HPAS exam. He not only brought happiness but also an inspiration for many who are preparing for Civil services examination. This excerpt has been taken from the Interaction he had with the students of the academy as well as the personal interaction with us. The Format is in the form of Questions and Answers and we hope it will answer many of your questions and inspire you to achieve the greatness and also realize how difficult the path towards success is.


Que: Hello Somil, Could you please introduce yourself?
Answer: Hello Sir, I am Somil Gautam, I belong to the State of Himachal Pradesh. I have recently secured 3rd rank in HPAS exam. Before this, I have been appearing for UPSC exams and even Cracked UPSC CAPF exam with 35 ranks.


Que: Somil, how long have you been preparing for Civil services and can you briefly explain how was the journey?
Answer: I have been preparing for the Civil services from past 5 years. I have given 3 UPSC mains and appeared in HPAS twice. My preparation started soon after Graduation after I realized that I want to be a civil servant. My journey like any other aspirant has been a roller coaster ride. I have seen many ups and downs. I couldn’t go through my first attempt for which I prepared earnestly. It caused a lot of disappointment. I was a bright student and not clearing through came as a shock to me. But then it is said that civil service exam humbles you and my ego had to take a lot of shocks in my journey. My second attempt didn’t go well too. I couldn’t clear my Mains exam. I also faced rejection in my HPAS attempt. At this point, my confidence was at the nadir and my stress levels at the highest.

I got selected as Assistant Commandant (BSF) in 2014 but did not join the job as I wasn’t interested in BSF, Moreover, I knew if I would join the job I would never be able to prepare for HPAS and UPSC again. So I took a big decision of not joining the training. This came as a shock to my parents and those around me, many of my friends thought I was taking the Civil service dream to an extreme level. But I had faith in me, I came over that phase and kept preparing for Civil services. After another failed attempt at UPSC next year, there were times I thought if I had done a mistake of not joining BSF.

For next year I made changes in my strategy and only focused upon the HPAS exam. The dream to serve my own state has always been inside me. So I gathered myself and started dedicated preparation for HPAS. That year HPAS seated were lower than usual and many of my Aspirant friends advised me to not put all the eggs in one basket. But I still listened to my heart and appeared the exam with full preparation. It is that very decision that helped me make the cut. Sometimes you need to close your eyes and take the leap of faith. I did just that and I excelled.

My journey in Civil services is very similar to the story of the spider that tries to make a web in the ceiling and fails again and again, but this story is no different from all the success stories we hear. It is after repeated failures that we succeed. It is the heart and perseverance that matters, how you take defeat and what you learn from it. In my journey I learned to be humble, I learned to be grateful, I learned how valuable friends and family cause without them I would not have been standing here with my achievements.


Que: Can you tell me how important is the role of friends, family, and Mentor in the Preparation?
Answer: I feel that without the support of these pillars, no one can achieve success. I was comforted with a constant support of my family and my friends. My family stood by my decision of not joining BSF. They were there when I was depressed and low on confidence. My friends helped me in every way possible. I remember a few lines of the poem, a very close friend, recited to me after I failed in my 3rd attempt. He said
“ Do Not go gentle into this good night, old age should burn and rave, rage against dying of the light”…
I still don’t know the meaning of that, but It is still very close to my heart. It shows how important friends are in life.
Finally, a teacher, a guiding light, a motivator, a mentor, is as essential in the preparation as a pen to write on a paper. Sandhu sir helped me in my preparation, the journey would not have had a fruitful end, had it not be the constant and untiring effort of him and his team.
I am indebted to all of them and I feel that it is their victory and not mine.


Que: What was your strategy to crack the HPAS exam?
Answer: my strategy was based on a 4 fold pattern. Firstly I made sure that I go through Himachal affairs very thoroughly as they have become more and more important with a change of syllabus from last year. Secondly, I made sure my sociology optional was strong as I knew from the past results that optional is the game changer. If you score well on it, there is a high chance that interview call will come. Thirdly I prepared for the essay portion very thoroughly. Again it is one area most of the aspirants ignore and thereby lose a chance to score well. Finally, I made sure that I’m well versed with HP gk before appearing for the Interview board. From my past experience I have witnessed that the panel focuses a lot on Himachal, so I made sure that I leave no stone upturned in this aspect.


Que: Any final advice that you would like to give to the aspirants who are aspiring for HPAS?
Answer: I have four things to say to Aspirants. I know these will help them as I have been there where they are standing today.
First, failures are part of your journey, embrace them, accept them and learn from them
Secondly, don’t go into isolation, you will be requiring friends and family for solace and comfort.
Third, find a good mentor to guide you. Even Arjuna required a sarathi like Krishna to guide him. They will help you to maneuver through the pitfalls and find the best possible way to reach your destination.
Fourth, hang in there, perseverance is the key, success will come. It might not come early, but it will come. Hang in there. I know you have it in you.

I hope these words from Somil were helpful to you in deciding your path, in giving you inspiration and also making you understand that we don’t get things easy in life. I am very happy he could share his thoughts with us and be the part of our academy. I hope we could work diligently to produce wonderful administrators like him in the future. With this, I leave you with the poem Somil was uttering about.


“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


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Santokh Brar
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