Civil Services: Meet the 7 Keralites in top 100 ranks

Clockwise from top left : K Meera, Dr Midhun Premraj, Karishma Nair, Dheena Dastageer, M B Aparna, Veena S Suthan and Aswathy Jiji

Seven Keralites figure in the first 100 ranks of the prestigious Civil Services. Years of hard work, perseverance, and utter determination to achieve their goal helped these youngsters to excel in the highly competitive exam. These seven have not only made Kerala proud but also inspired the future generations to aim high.

Rank 6 - K Meera, Thrissur
K Meera quit her job in Bengaluru to begin her preparations for the Civil Services. She wrote the exam four times, and appeared for the interview twice. Sociology was her optional subject. After completing mechanical engineering from the Thrissur Government Engineering College, she had secured a job with the L&T Services through campus recruitment. She set her own study plan based on the strategies and tips shared by mentors and her friends. She did not follow any proper time table. Still, she ensured that she studied for at least 5 hours daily. She had a different approach to prepare for each of the prelims, mains, and interview.
Goal: Kerala Cadre IAS

Rank 12 - Dr Midhun Premraj, Vadakara in Kozhikode
After completing MBBS from JIPMER in Puducherry and working at various hospitals, Dr Midhun decided to pursue the goal of Civil Services. He wrote the exam five times and appeared for the interview thrice. His optional subject was geography. He resigned from his job to prepare for the exam. He prepared meticulously for the exam and ensured that he covered the study materials scheduled for each day. During the Covid pandemic, he prepared for the exam from his home.
Goal: Kerala cadre IAS

Rank 14 - Karishma Nair, Mumbai (Palakkad native)
Diligence and hard work ensured that Karishma cracked the Civil Services in her second attempt. She had begun her preparations when she was studying for BA Forensic Science. She started proper training after graduation. She underwent coaching for one year in Delhi in 2019 and made it to the interview round. She continued her studies at home last year. Her optional subject was public administration. She also focused more on preparing for the interview this time. She spoke to the previous toppers via online to get her doubts cleared. She reads six newspapers in a day. "Prepare with a clear idea of the exam. Revision is of paramount importance," Karishma said.
Goal: Kerala cadre IAS

Rank 41 - Aswathy Jiji, Chennai (native of Murickassery in Idukki)
Aswathy worked relentlessly for four years. She drew up her own learning method. After securing BTech in electronics and communications from the Munnar Engineering College, she worked for three years at Infosys in Mangaluru. She then set Civil Services as her new goal. She wrote the prelims four times and mains thrice. And also reached the interview round thrice. Aswathy studied for 8-9 hours a day. She went for coaching only in the first year. She spoke to those who had secured IAS and got to know their learning methods. She solved 60-odd set question papers during preparations. She attended nine mock interviews via online this year.
Goal: Kerala cadre IPS

Rank 57 - Veena S Suthan (Kayamkulam, Alappuzha)
Veena began her preparations with her mind set on achieving the goal of IFS. This was her third attempt. Her rank was 299 in her first attempt. Though she got the Indian Railway Traffic Service, she did not join. Last year, she got the 124th rank. Though she got IPS and joined the Rajasthan cadre, she took leave and gave another shot at the exam. Her optional subject was geography. Her father Sreesuthan was a Lieutenant Colonel, and Veena studied at eight Army schools. She completed BTech in civil engineering from the TKM College in Kollam. Making preparations and appearing for the exams during the Covid pandemic had been arduous. She went to Thiruvananthapuram just for coaching in geography. She prepared for the rest from her home.
Goal: IFS

Rank 62 - M B Aparna, Kaniyapuram in Thiruvananthapuram
Hard work and diligent preparation ensured that M B Aparna secured her goal in her third attempt. Her optional subject was economics. She completed graduation in economics from the Hindu College of the Delhi University and post-graduation in economics from the Delhi School of Economics. She worked as a data scientist for three years in Bengaluru. Aparna studied for 7-8 hours daily. She attempted test series and attended mock interviews. She made use of Zoom classes during the Covid pandemic. She made her own notes.
Goal: IAS or IFS

Rank 63 - Dheena Dastageer
Her school days in the Gulf is what sets Dheena apart from the other toppers. She studied till plus-two at the Dammam International Indian School in Saudi. She completed her BTech in electronics and communication from the LBS Institute of Technology in Poojappura. Though she secured a job through campus placement, she let go off it to pursue her Civil Services’ dream. She cracked the Civil Services in her third attempt. Proper planning and meticulous revision are her success mantra. Instead of devoting long hours for studies, she had a proper strategy to prepare for the exam. She also utilised the online facilities during the pandemic.
Goal: IAS

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