Thursday, June 2, 2016

"One" of a Kind

He was one of the few guys who I took a liking to within a few instances of having come across, which were mostly TV interviews. But more importantly, this guy turned out to be all of it and more. He might be my batch mate but the awe remains. I’m still unsure if it’s his disarming and super-affable nature or the fact that he comes closest to me as far as backgrounds go, but there is this genuineness and sincerity about his persona that struck me that has stuck on. To me, he represents how a civil servant should be. Now I don’t know him personally and I sure as hell hope I’m not wrong in what I say of him, but based on what I’ve got to hear of him, both from his IAS batch-mates and elsewhere, turns out he’s every bit the gem I think of him to be.

His almost 35-minute speech in this video will attest to what I say here. And the deepest connect I share with him is the passion & emotion with which he spoke about impacting the lives of the poor and delivering justice to the common man, and I was moved to the point of tears – both by how sincerely he conveyed the point and the fact that that was what I set out for but will not be able to do.

Irrespective of all the practical/honest answers that people will give you these days (and you get them a lot once you’re inside the service), for the sincere guy, this impacting the life of the rural poor and causing positive societal change – irrespective of how clichéd it might sound, is among the primary things civil service is all about. Now being in the Revenue Services, I’ve seen enough to know there is much I can contribute and cause positive change, but this connect with the poorest of the poor, this delivery of justice to the Kamla Devis & Kishan Lals of India – far away from the humdrum of an airport or a Central Excise office – is something I will never get. And though I do have an attempt left, you know when you’ve moved on, leaving a tiny bit of you behind.

But to Gaurav Agarwal – that tiny bit of me that prompted me to leave the financial by-lanes of Chicago and return to India, not very unlike you, will remain with the likes you. The calm demeanour, the earnestness of approach and sincerity of purpose – I hope these remain with you all through your 30-year-career, Gaurav, as I hope they do with me, and hope the winds of destiny blow us onto the same path sometime in the future, as we build a better India.