With Mother’s Day round the corner, you will find various articles espousing the virtues of mothers, the sacrifices they make, and feel-good articles about all that they do for their child(ren).
Honestly, as a mother myself, all I would want on Mother’s Day is a lot of ‘me’ time, followed by some good food. But then that’s me.
I spoke to Pushplata, who got AIR 80 in UPSC 2017, who appeared for one of the toughest exams of this country, after getting married and having a child.
What’s the connection between Mother’s Day and Pushplata’s journey, you wonder. Read along and you will be inspired.
In this exclusive interview with The Better India, she speaks about her motivation, her challenges, her support system, and the determination that led her to success.
Born in Khusbura, a small village in Rewari district, Haryana, Pushplata went to school in a nearby village since the prospects in her own village were not great.
She tells me that she stayed at her uncle’s house to complete her education.
After a BSc in 2006, she pursued a Master’s degree and an MBA. She says, “I worked in the private sector for two years and subsequently, with the State Bank of Hyderabad as well. The work was limited and I felt that there was no way to go beyond that. But I wanted to do more.”
Marriage and the support it brought
She got married in 2011 and moved to Manesar. A few years later, she thought of appearing for the UPSC examination.
She recalls, “When I started preparing, I had no idea what an IAS officer could do, and what powers come with the position. It was just a desire to make a difference and contribute meaningfully.”
Pushplata’s husband, a practicing doctor, was one of the main motivations for her. She says, “He always supported me and encouraged me to take up the challenge. It was truly a challenge because I hadn’t touched a book for almost five years when I started preparing.”
Being a mother and handling preparation
When Pushplata started her journey, her son, Garvit, was all of two years. “I cannot say it wasn’t difficult. What helped was having my husband and in-laws around. They completely took over and ensured that I always had the time to study,” she says.
Speaking about what motivated her, she says, “My husband would always say that whatever you do, give it your all–do not leave any scope for regrets. Do not lose yourself in what others will think of you but just stay focused on the preparation.”
So, how would she manage her home and preparation? She answers that she would study for a couple of hours in the morning before it was time to get her son ready for school. Once he left, she would study for another few hours.
She would attend to Garvit when he returned from school and resume studying in the evening.
Son’s reaction to his studying mother
Pushplata says that even her son has been extremely patient and understanding. Narrating an incident, she says, “There were times when he would just come and sit on my lap while I studied. In fact, he would tell me to continue studying and not stop because he was there.”
Six-years-old now, Garvit is beginning to understand that Pushplata is away for training. She says, “Garvit often says that once I finish, we will all stay together. He has never troubled me. He’s been such a wonderfully accommodating child.”
Her journey is interesting and inspiring for so many women who feel that having a child hampers their own professional growth. But Pushplata negates all such thoughts, “Whatever I am doing, all the sacrifices that I may be making, are for the well-being of my child. He is beginning to understand and value it.”
With Pushplata being away at the institute in Mussorie for training, there are moments when she misses Garvit and her husband.
She says, “It is especially hard when other trainees are visited by their kids. I keep counting days before I can be with them again.”
Little Garvit is perhaps the wind beneath Pushplata’s wings. In his own way, he encourages her to achieve more. This Mother’s Day, let’s pledge to support our mothers and encourage them to realise their dreams. With a little nudge from us, they are sure to soar high!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)