Nalini was busy analyzing her schedule and making a mental note of the important meetings and appointments for the day .The feisty civil servant has had a “zero- tolerance “ attitude towards lawlessness and corruption, resulting in two transfers in three years of her service, thanks to unhappy higher officials and political bosses. Her spirit of sincere service towards alleviation of poverty and illiteracy and provision of better healthcare facilities in the remote villages of her district was, however, never diluted by the troublesome transfers. She was to address the government girl’s high school, on the eve of Independence day. The address speech takes her many years back to her own school days.
She was a misfit , a silent rebel with a penchant for reading , and an aversion for playing the apprentice in the kitchen or at the sewing machine. “I want to make a differemce, I want to serve my country “ could only be expected of delirious women, for , the roles were clearly and rigidly defined and demarcated . She should have conformed and have been another “ideal” in-the-making but her heart pronounced otherwise ,every single time. To make matters more complicated, she knew she had it in her , metamorphosing her inclination to obduracy .
The abject poverty, grim illiteracy and rampant corruption , made Nalini more resolute in her decision. She was determined to set out for a profession that would vest her with the power to serve her countrymen . Despite the cacophony of hostile mockery ,she forged ahead , supported by her parents, encouraged by her vision . She was the first woman in the village to register with a renowned institute in the capital city for civil services aspirants, breaking all stereotypes.
Four years down the line, despite two failed attempts at the Civil Services examination, she remained committed to the vision of serving the nation. She was a pioneer, as articulating and prioritising HER dreams and aspirations over marriage, especially at the mature age of 25 was unseen and unheard of in her tiny village.
On a seemingly uneventful August 16th, her parents read the magical heading in their regional newspaper “ Nalini Singh becomes the first woman in the district to make it to the Indian Administartive services . “ There was an excerpt from the interview with the young civil servant whose dream was to serve the most backward regions of her country , with honesty, integrity and dedication .
Nalini finishes her address speech at the government girl’s high school with Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words ” you must be the change , you wish to see in the world. “. After presenting the rare collection of books that she had personally ordered for the school library, Nalini chalks out the agendas to be discussed in the meeting on safe drinking water with the medical officers and Block development officers. “One committed step at a time ” Nalini ruminates , as her vehicle heads towards the intended destination.