OBC Creamy Layer Criteria

        It is observed in many cases that people are not aware of all the criteria related to the OBC Creamy layer categorization. Many times candidates apply to competitive examinations with the OBC non-Creamy layer category but at the time of document verification, they have to face problems and in some cases their candidature is at stake of cancellation. For clarity of OBC creamy layer, I am broadly discussing three cases below:

1) If your Father/Mother is working in Central Government Department:

S. No. Condition Category
1 If Father & Mother both are appointed as Group-A Officer OBC Creamy Layer
2 If Father & Mother both are appointed as Group-B Officer OBC Creamy Layer
3 If either Father or Mother is appointed as Group-A Officer OBC Creamy Layer
4 If Father & Mother both appointed as other than Group-A or B Officer and both Promoted as Group-A or Group-B officer before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer
5 If Father & Mother both appointed as other than Group-A or B Officer and both Promoted as Group-B officer or any one promoted to Group-A before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer
6 If either Father or Mother is appointed as other than Group-A and Promoted to Group-A officer before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer

2) If your Father/Mother is working in State Government Department:

S. No. Condition Category
1 If Father & Mother both are appointed as Group-B Officer OBC Creamy Layer
2 If Father & Mother both appointed as other than Group-B Officer and both Promoted as Group-A officer before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer
3 If Father & Mother both appointed as other than Group-B Officer and both Promoted as Group-B officer or any one promoted to Group-A before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer
4 If either Father or Mother is appointed as other than Group-B and Promoted to Group-A officer before age of 40 years OBC Creamy Layer

3) If your Father/Mother is working in other Semi-Government/Autonomous Departments (PSU, Banks, Insurance Organizations, Universities etc.)

The criteria prescribed for determining creamy layer status of sons and daughters of persons in Government service mutatis mutandis applies to the sons and daughters of persons holding equivalent or comparable posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance Organizations, Universities etc. and holding equivalent or comparable posts and positions under private employment. The creamy layer status of the sons and daughters of employees of organizations where evaluation of the posts on equivalent or comparable basis has not been made is determined on the basis of ‘Income/Wealth Test’ given in the Schedule. The Income/Wealth Test prescribes that the sons and daughters of persons having gross income of Rs. 6.0 lakh or above or possessing wealth above the exemption limit as prescribed in the Wealth Tax Act for a period of three consecutive years would be treated to fall in creamy layer.


Income of the parents from salaries and from the other sources [other than salaries and agricultural land] is determined separately. If either the income of the parents from the salaries or the income of the parents from other sources [other than salaries and agricultural land] exceeds the limit of Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum for a period of three consecutive years, the sons and daughters of such persons shall be treated to fall in creamy layer. But the sons and daughters of parents whose income from salaries is less than Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum and income from other sources is also less than Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum will not be treated as falling in creamy layer even if the sum of the income from salaries and the income from the other sources is more than Rs. 6.0 lakh per annum for a period of three consecutive years. It may be noted that income from agricultural land is not taken into account while applying the Test.

For detailed information and all the letters, circulars issued by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions regarding the OBC Creamy/Non-creamy layer, please visit the link given below:


Link for proforma to be filled & submitted by OBC candidates at the time of documents verification for exam conducted by UPSC:


Link for downloading the updated OBC Proforma:



Problems of Working in Railways

Hello Everyone,
I found a letter where an IRSE officer describes the deteriorating condition of working in railways. My intention has been to put everything available with me on the table.  This article is all about the problems faced by young officers of railways in the filed. This not the whole picture, it primarily represents one department working in open line. You shouldn’t make your judgement just on the basis of one or two articles. Every jobs has its pros and cons. Today it’s the turn of presenting cons before you, after all world is not the bed of roses.


Respected Sir,

This letter is an effort to save Indian Railways from the misdirected policies and practices that have crept into daily operations of Railways. This is not an effort to malign the much revered institution in any way, but to highlight the shortcomings and the plight of faceless field staff, who are putting their blood into the system. Nor is it an attempt to run away from responsibilities. We are a dedicated and concerned lot who takes pride in being part of the organisation and in what we do.

We will be focussing only on the spine of Indian Railways, i.e. Engineering Department, which is suffering the most amongst all the departments. That doesn’t mean other departments enjoy comfortable working as they too suffer different type of disabilities. But Engineering being one of the oldest departments and being the custodian of huge Indian Railways assets deserves to be heard first and foremost.

Mostly the problems concern with the field level because it is the level where most of the Engineering Department’s activities are performed. But first, we want you to please note a few details about three main actors involved at the field level, viz, the Track Maintainer, the PWI, and the ADEN.

Track Maintainer (Trackman)

He goes about performing his duty starting his day at around 06:00. At times he travels 10-15 Km. to get to his place of work, to and fro. He returns by 07:00 – 08:00 in the evening. Still he’s a proud worker and loves what he does.

At Group D level, a trackman does far more hard labour than any other employee among all departments. There have been many cases where a trackman has prevented some serious accidents because he is the one who is out there on track in extreme weather conditions to ensure safe running of trains but is not paid even a single extra penny for that. For him overtime allowance exists only on paper, if at all. In the current scenario when trains are running at over 120 Kmph, the job of trackmen has become more important as well as risky. Cases of trackmen being run over by train or getting severely injured are very common.

Senior Section Engineer – Pway (PWI)

He wakes up latest by 06:00 in the morning, prepare distribution of work for about 200 Trackmen under him by 07:30, goes on with his daily work by 08:00, work till 7, 8 sometimes 11:00 in the night. This, he has to do 7 days a week, 365 days of a year, 35 years of his service. He is directly responsible for safety of track as well any activity that happens in his section. In the age of mechanisation when workforce is getting reduced on one hand and not able to provide adequate machineries and equipment on the other, PWI is asked to increase efficiency of work with the same set of old-age and condemned equipment and scarce Pway material. His main strength is the trackman who is expected to do serious physical labour. Making his task difficult are the trackmen of today, with graduate and post graduate qualifications, having serious problem with physical labour.

He hardly gets (or takes) any leave. He has to work in night soil and muck dropped all over the places.  He’s the coordinator of all field activities concerning all the other departments. He also has to share his staff with other departments for their associated work; which he does without any qualms. A PWI represents all other field staff of railways. He has to work with multiple bosses, contractors, gang staff, other departments, state authorities, towards fulfilling his duty.


The post of ADEN is considered to be the most charismatic post in Indian railways. Once, with staff under him numbering over 1000, what cannot be achieved if he decides? He is the creator of huge infrastructure of railways which catches anybody’s imagination. Big vintage bungalow adds to his aura. He is the leader of his team, consisting PWI’s, IOW’s and trackmen, and the sole authority on field for what is to be and not to be. An ADEN is the flag bearer of his sub-division. Other departments and HQ’s expect a lot from him. He is the man to go in case of urgency/ emergency.

Today’s state is as follows. With over 30-40% vacancies, most of the specialised posts being surrendered, decaying works cadre and staff, office staff remaining a third of what it was, contractor agencies getting unduly favoured, with punitive powers gone, with the traffic and no. of activities multiplied manifolds, the ADEN has become a mere shadow of his prime. Combined with detached attitude from the HQ it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out duties. With increased expectations, same old methods and punishment oriented approach is expected to work, not realising times have changed since they were at the field and needing different strategies. It is not our intention to revive the institution of ADEN as it was but to highlight the poor conditions which will definitely lead to disaster if timely action is not taken.


With this background we would now like to raise issues being faced by railways needing urgent attention.

  1. Detached HQ

It is for your information Sir, being posted as an ADEN is the most challenging time an IRSE has to face. Unfortunately as officers go higher up they forget how work used to be carried out when they were ADEN. Please compare following facts with 15 years ago. The number of staff, the variety of staff, the number of office supervisors and draughtsman, the quantum of traffic, the frequency of trains, the number of activities one had to deal at a time, the nature of workforce, the demand from the system and the kind of discipline that existed. All of it has changed, and changed drastically. Earlier there was higher tolerance for accidents and reporting was very less. Now even a minor incident travels at lightning speed to every nook and corner of the country. Orders conveying strong message are issued in minutes. Today it is said that we have stronger track structure and you don’t need men as you now have machines. But it is a false assumption. Agreed that Track structure has improved, but so has the traffic which has become more than thrice. So has the speed. So has the number of trains. There is acute scarcity of material and machines, and blocks/ caution-orders for maintenance not available, compromising safety.

Please look into how many machines are there, zone wise. Are they sufficient to meet maintenance requirements of track as per schedule? Is sufficient/proper block time is given for their working? Are proper speed restrictions being imposed as per manual? Answers would be unsatisfactory, missing the theory by miles! Day by day the responsibility for owing up to failures is being shifted upwards. ‘Hang the ADEN, which will give a strong message’. Dear Sir, what kind of a system is this which is more interested in sending a message rather than solving the problem. The unfortunate ground reality is that it will not bring an iota of change to the field staff, as they are already overburdened to have time to fear. But yes it does send a message to that field staff, that one does not have any support from the HQ. You are on your own. It’s better to not do the work, or do it on paper and relax, because there’s an equal cost to doing or not doing the work.

As for the ADEN, he already has a written schedule of inspection of 45 days which he has to complete in 30 days. Add to it the multifarious activities, shrinking staff, unruly staff and supervisors, increasing interference from Unions in daily working, absence of works cadre, no authority to punish for wrongdoing, no authority to take important decisions which has been usurped by HQ’s, no assistance in office work, non-cooperative departments in a maddening race to prove their superiority over others, burden of reporting to anybody and everybody senior to you that too instantly, ever-increasing protocol duties towards seniors with whom he and his team has to accompany without a choice. In addition he has to liaison with state authorities, do variety of Surveys, prepare designs/drawings, and send reports/data in a variety of formats. In such a scenario how can one have a family life or a holiday or have time for himself?

ADEN has to do his night inspections either as part of schedule or as part of surprise inspection. Such inspections are done after working for a full day. After the night inspection if he sleeps at 05:00 in the morning there is no time for rest as the phone calls invariably start by 07:00 Hrs. and a full day starts again. Despite the poor state of affairs, focus is put more on how things look rather than how efficiently trains are run. A misplaced priority please.

  1. Scarcity of Funds

Railways need money. Money to build infrastructure, build capabilities, to provide quality services, to provide variety of services, to build up workforce, to maintain assets, etc. With great past record Railways is now focussing on quality. We are making our stations and coaches cleaner and services better. But we are forgetting the hands that are bringing these changes on field. They are still living in dilapidated houses and surroundings, with rudimentary water and electricity supplies. Spending on quarters and facilities is never justified. How are we supposed to bring change on ground without changing the mentality of staff and improving their living conditions?

Dr. Anil Kakodkar headed High Level Safety Review Committee noted in its report that the ‘present environment on Indian Railways reveals a grim picture of inadequate performance’ largely due to poor infrastructure and resources, and lack of empowerment at the functional level. It has given several recommendations having no financial implications to empower the functional levels and to simplify processes and procedures to deal with this negative feature. IR has to be energized with a new type of work culture, it further stated.


  1. Misdirected Policies

Through this letter we want to help explore where the bloodline of India is heading. What is the purpose of this service? Is it social service? Is it profit making? Is it capacity building? Be an efficient and punctual mode of transport? Or for building infrastructure? Surely it is all of the above. But what are our priorities? Do we want to earn more disregarding the safety of passengers? Priorities must be decided at your level sir. At ground level it is now understood that Punctuality is inviolable, even more than Safety. We are literally forced to beg in front of Operating staff and Controllers to let us do our job. We are forced to impose emergencies due to things not getting addressed by usual channels, and rectifying the same within shortest time and unusual hours.

Or is it to push ground staffs to the extent that they get all the poor lifestyle diseases or even die because of them? Sir, ask any railway doctor, he will tell you railway employees overburden. Every second person is having sugar or BP or both. This is the nature of job they have to perform, without questioning the authority. Many employees have actually died early of lifestyle diseases, especially those who have spent the bulk of their carrier on field.

Railways is a discipline oriented organisation. In practical terms abuses are hurled every minute on the field. It is impossible to do job without abuses and charge sheets, bringing us to point out misdirected policy in recruitment.

The workforce is overqualified for the job. With respect to the current working, a Trackman should have 10th pass as the maximum qualification. Today we have M.Com’s, MCA’s, MBA’s, etc. as the new generation of Trackman. Many of them are here only because they need a job, not because they like the nature of job. It is hard to expect them to work in muck, and do manual labour. And of what use is the education which is used for making excuses for not doing work or to reply back to the supervisors. We’re sorry to say this Sir, but this policy is burdening the system with useless hands.

Along with the overqualified staff the induction of female workers for trackman job is difficult to realise on the field as it requires hard manual labour. Most of the times they either can’t do such work or pressure is put on open line supervisors to give them office jobs. Holding nothing against female workforce, the induction of women as trackman needs to be reviewed.

Third is the issue of vacancies. We have to wait for vacancy to go up to 30-40%, which when filled up never reaches 100%. Dear Sir, we are performing a job of safety. We can’t afford to have any vacancy. Vacancy is infringing with safety, and the field staff had to bear the additional burden of work for years. This is valid especially after the downsizing of the organisation and unreasonable burden put by successive Pay Commissions and Finance. A good number of overqualified new recruitees leave the organisation, or go to other departments, or remain in place with distaste for the job.

Fourth, due to downsizing various specialised and critical posts vanished from the organisation. Ideally those functions should also be eliminated. Not surprisingly, it did not happen. Artisan staff is almost gone. Onus lies with the Supervisors to train available staff for the artisans job, arrange tools for them, and carry out all the functions as smoothly as it was ever used to be. Works cadre is almost destroyed, as with shortage of staff, poor recruitment of supervisors, apathy from HQ and a variety of poor contractors, contributing to its obsolescence. Finance wing being more interested in surrendering posts every year without logic, not realising the importance of a Valveman or Safaiwala in the system.

Fifth is the policy of easy promotions for Supervisors. Earlier it took decades for Supervisors to reach SSE level. By putting this fact we want to convey that SSE’s in Indian Railways are equipped with immense experience and act as the storehouse of institutional memory. The whole system is pretty much dependent on this level. But now anybody and everybody is getting promoted to the SSE level, without possessing requisite technical knowledge. The problem is going to become worse in the coming years when good quality supervisors will be hard to find. It is one thing to give financial upgradation, but totally different to expect to work like an experienced supervisor. The fact is usually overlooked in practise and the burden is borne by others.

Sixth, pampering Unions and not following up. Unions are becoming dominating at field level, especially on Personnel matters. It is not conducive for smooth running of administration as the impact is borne by field staff. You also loose the power to enforce discipline. They have done a good job in bringing a once a week assured rest order for supervisors. Such a rest should be there for In-charge and ADEN too. A pressure job like this needs timely rest.

Seventh, with time new lines are opened, new assets created, new activities started. As if there was surplus staff available at field, they are invariably diverted or assigned additional duties without diluting current responsibilities. Sir, please acknowledge that Railways is not just like any other Govt. establishment where field staff can be diverted or responsibilities can be diluted without much loss to administration’s working. Field staff here is associated with Safety, and these staffs work day and night, with concentration and hard labour. The cost of diluting current responsibilities is very high, which can prove to be disastrous. With Zero Accident Mission in place, patrolling is now usually done throughout the year as each season has a critical effect on track behaviour. Patrolling by current staff is having the most prominent effect on the maintenance of track as the staff is not available for the same during times of patrolling.

Eight, the categorisation of all Gang staff into Track Maintainer I, II, III, IV and lack of clarity on practical issues has led to disruption in the control over gang units. Due to Restructuring, TM automatically getting promoted to higher grade pay and hence refusing to take on the responsibility of Mate. Otherwise they give refusal to higher grade pay to take benefit of LARSGESS scheme. Either way proper Mate cannot be assigned to a unit and hence there is the problem of control. Also, employees coming via LARSGESS got the job without facing any competition; hence don’t know the value of their job or many times lack sincerity.

  1. Scarcity of Material

It flows directly from scarcity of funds. At times, conditions become so bad that we have to compromise safety. At many places you would find material have deteriorated to such an extent resulting in poor riding quality and requiring replacement soon. Yet HQ would frown upon as if it is asked for personal reasons. They mind it very much if you ask for it in writing, and further repercussions. It is hard to put speed restrictions or stop traffic. All this can be avoided if we have sufficient stock of materials. Timely replacement of assets is vital to ensure safety of trains. Most of the time replacement is sanctioned after the asset has crossed its life as per code, when a higher official notices it and ask for the replacement. In the meanwhile if something happens, the onus lies on field staff for not imposing speed restriction or stopping traffic.

  1. Scarcity of Labour

Shortage of departmental labour is dealt above. It is said that now there are numerous agencies available at field level. Practically, more often than not it is the same agency who has taken multiple contracts in a Division/Zone. And it is beyond their capacity to increase labour, being the costliest item in any work. Plus there are not many ways to force an agency to do exactly as it is required. High level of supervision is required to ensure quality. One can’t go on terminating private players as there are not many. It is a technical field and requires huge capital backing. Even if this point is disregarded, agencies don’t want to go beyond stations or work at odd hours. And thus we can’t rely on them in case of emergencies. For this reason we require a strong and dedicated departmental workforce, and hence is the demand.

  1. Scarcity of Machines

Point already elaborated earlier. It can only be addressed if problem of funding is dealt with. It is not possible to do what is required with current stock and condition. Requirement wise analysis needs to be done and procurement to be done at the earliest.

  1. Situation of Offices

The on-field offices of railway employees are in shambles. Money demanded for necessary spending is rejected-not-justified. Daily activities are asked to be carried out with meagre imprest. The number of Office Supervisors has reduced a lot. Experienced one’s are retiring, new one’s are either not interested or not able to do it all in the world of ever increasing reporting and compliances, and the quantum of work. Old ones are unable to cope with new information age of computers and smartphones. HQs don’t pay heed and the burden of reporting is borne by the field offices and officers like ADEN, ADSTE, ADEE, etc.

  1. Abusive Environment

Unfortunately Railways has become an organisation where if you don’t look strong you are labelled ineffective. Concepts like team building, synergy, counselling and appreciation just don’t exist. It might have been possible in the past when the Trackmen were not too much qualified and discipline was held sacrosanct, and line of command used to work perfectly. Not in today’s time, when everyone is well learned, and has options beyond a meagre paying job. They are more concerned about their rights rather than duties. It’s not bad to have learned people in your workforce, or to demand rights, but in this case it is to be analysed if it is okay to have it, and what needs to be done in the changed context. Otherwise it creates bad environment at the field level. The issue here is making policies according to the changed context.

  1. Problem of Blocks. Punctuality over Safety.

Sir, as stated earlier also we face a lot of problems in getting blocks for maintenance operations. Operating Department holds the key to giving blocks. Mostly Pway staff has to chase it as if it’s his personal work. Sometimes it becomes a matter of weeks till he get a block, ‘managing’ safety at his level. Also every time he would be there with his staff, waiting at the site till the time there is hope of getting the block. What a terrible waste of resources when you have so little! Sir, why haven’t we developed a transparent mechanism where a representative from Pway side can book a block and he will be told beforehand the day when the block is expected. And the block is given no matter how on the same day, as it is a matter of safety. Same should also happen when there is an emergency. It’s left to your good judgement sir, what is more important to us, Revenue/Punctuality or Safety. To maintain the assets in good condition timely blocks are very important, no matter what. Engineering staff is forced to compromise on safety on regular basis as blocks and caution orders are not been given easily. With ever increasing traffic, pressure on pway assets is on the rise which further accelerates the wear and tear, and requires frequent attention. If existing assets are not given timely attention they have to be replaced at a much faster pace, again putting a burden on railways financial resources.  Operating department gives the block and caution orders whenever it is convenient. Safety has to be given precedence otherwise results may be catastrophic.

  1. Workload

An ADEN is overall in charge of the subdivision. He has to take care of Pway as well as Works. He has huge workload. He has to conduct daily inspection of track, inspection of bridges and yards, monthly day and night footplates, other night inspections, filling inspections in TMS, test check of various contractual work under his jurisdiction, ensuring quality of the work being done, check every bill, manage blocks, attend blocks, ensure compliances, attend HQ meetings, chase material procurement, manage contracts and labour, liaison with state authorities, accompany higher officials on their inspection, looking after the passenger amenities, dealing with complaints of unions and staff, looking after the welfare of the staff, their allowances, their medical etc. Apart from all these he has to prepare reports, proposals, sign hundreds of papers etc. It is becoming increasingly difficult to cope up with such work pressure. Leaves are denied for some reason or the other. Continuously working under such pressure takes a toll on mind as well as body. Familial and other responsibilities becomes secondary resulting in tensions across all dimensions of life.

  1. Multifarious Activities

Sir, activities like tree plantation, skill upgradation, holding seminars/camps, cleanliness drives, etc, are noble and essential activities. We want to be a part of all such initiatives, but despite having best of intentions we don’t get extra funds, staff, time and resources to carry out the same. Our core duty is to run trains safely, which requires immense concentration and inputs from staff and officers. Such activities asking for involvement from higher officials actually puts burden on field level only. We are unable to handle so many protocol movements, compliances, and do our job effectively. Again we want to reiterate that Railways, especially at field level, is unlike any other Govt. organisation.




Although we spoke only about the engineering department, but problems of various kinds also exists in other departments as well. For example, Mechanical/Electrical department might use old/dysfunctional parts in locos and coaches or Operating department do not always lock hand operated points due to shortage of staff or send shunting master without proper authority, etc. Some problems are common while others unique. But engineering being the biggest and the most critical department can lead the way towards the desired change.

We hope that the points highlighted above are constructive in nature, and would lead to a change for a better future. Otherwise the environment at field level is becoming demotivating. We are forced to question why we chose this service after getting the best ranks. We were warned that it will be very demanding still we took the job. But with increasing expectations and quantum of work it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil the duties effectively.

By addressing the letter to you Sir, we don’t imply that the Railway Board is failing in its duty. There are some issues which may have been overlooked or needs attention as per field requirement. It is a technical organisation and technical persons are the best judge to decide the future course. And a railway man is always an able administrator for the job.

We feel we should have to focus on our core responsibilities, not be swayed by populist demands or cosmetic changes and work more transparently so as to develop faith.



भारत दर्शन : मनाली यात्रा


29 अप्रैल, 2016 दिन शुक्रवार

 सुबह 05:30, टिक-टिक, टिक-टिक

अचानक आँख खुली और इतनी तेज गति से अलार्म को बंद करने के लिए उठा जैसे अगले ही पल में ज्वालामुखी फट जायेगा। अचानक याद आया कि आज तो रोज की भाँति शारीरिक प्रशिक्षण (पीटी) के लिए नहीं जाना है, अनायास ही मन इतना प्रसन्न हुआ जैसे आज तो महानिदेशक पदक ही प्राप्त कर लिया हो । इस शारीरिक प्रशिक्षण (पीटी) के रद्द होने का भी एक कारण था, पूर्व रात्रि में सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम का आयोजन हुआ था एवं तत्पश्चात उत्साह से आप्लावित परिवीक्षार्थिओं का DJ कार्यक्रम भी था । मैंने पुनः अपनी शायिका की ओर देखा और ऐसा लगा जैसे वो वर्षों से मेरा इंतज़ार कर रही थी, मैंने भी बिना विलंब किए उसका आमंत्रण स्वीकार किया और हम दोनों कुछ ही क्षणों में एक दूसरे के इतने समीप हो गए, जैसे वियोग में बैठे प्रेमी को अचानक से उसकी प्रेयसी मिल गई हो ।

29 अप्रैल, 2016 दिन शुक्रवार

 सुबह 07:55

कुछ कंपन सा महसूस हुया, आँख खुली तो देखा मेरा कक्ष साथी (ROOM-MATE) मुझे जगा रहा था, मैं HIGH SPEED TRAIN (द्रुत गति रेलगाड़ी) की गति से उठा और ऐसा लगा मानो आज मेरे उदर को भारतीय रेल राष्ट्रीय अकादमी का पौष्टिक एवं स्वस्थ नाश्ता नसीब नहीं होगा । मैंने जल्दी-जल्दी में सम्पूर्ण दैनिक क्रियाएँ सम्पन्न करने की कोशिश की किन्तु प्रतिदिन की भाँति पूर्ण सफलता नहीं मिली और मैं आंशिक सफलता के साथ तुरंत मेस की तरफ इस उम्मीद से भागा कि थोड़े से भोज्य पदार्थ से अपनी क्षुधा को शांत करूंगा लेकिन प्रतिदिन की तरह आज भी पंक्ति इतनी लंबी थी कि मैंने आँखों से ही वहाँ बैठे व्यक्तिओं की थाली का दर्शन कर अपनी क्षुधा को शांत करने का निष्फल प्रयास किया, लेकिन शायद मेरे उदर को यह तरीका स्वीकार न था । अत: मैंने भी पंक्ति में खड़े होकर अपनी बारी की प्रतीक्षा की और उपलब्ध संसाधनों को कम से कम समय में ग्रहण करने का प्रयास किया ।

अब मैं कक्षा के अंदर प्रवेश कर चुका था और मैंने अपने बैठने की जगह भी सुनिश्चित कर ली थी, क्योंकि रोज की भाँति मैं अपने निर्धारित स्थान पर ही बैठना पसंद करता था ।

आज सुबह से ही मन बहुत रोमांचित हो रहा था क्योंकि आज शाम से हमारा बहुप्रतीछित भारत दर्शन का शिक्षा दौरा प्रारम्भ होना था और हमें मनाली जाने का अवसर प्राप्त हुआ था । अत: आज के व्याख्यानों में मन न लगना स्वाभाविक था, किन्तु मन को दिलासा देकर किसी तरह प्रथम व्याख्यान (राजभाषा) निंद्रा के आगोष में आये बिना सफलतापूर्वक पूर्ण किया एवं चाय और बिस्कुट का अल्पाहार लेकर दूसरे व्याख्यान के लिए बैठ गए। इस समय तक लोगों में आलस्य का स्थायित्व  आ चुका था, लेकिन इस व्याख्यान में सोना, शेर के मुख से निवाला निकालने जैसा था क्योंकि इस विषय के प्राध्यापक ने आरंभ में ही यह सांकेतिक चेतावनी दे दी थी कि उनके विषय में सफल होने की प्रायिकता लगभग शून्य है एवं उनके विषय में कोई लिखित परीक्षा भी नहीं होगी, केवल मौखिक परीक्षा के आधार पर अंक दिये जाएँगे। लोगों ने अपनी इंद्रियों पर काबू करने का निष्फल प्रयास किया, किन्तु आज का मानव अपने आप को व्हाट्सअप्प (WHATSAPP) जैसे सामाजिक एवं आवश्यक बुराई से कैसे दूर रख सकता है, अत: कुछ दोषियों को चेतावनी देकर छोड दिया गया । किसी तरह यह व्याख्यान समाप्त हुआ और लोगों ने बिना किसी चेतावनी संकेत की परवाह किए मेस में पंक्ति बना ली और दोपहर का भोजन ग्रहण करने के बाद सरदार पटेल सभागृह में एकत्रित होने लगे क्योंकि आज सबको यात्रा भत्ता की अग्रिम राशि मिलनी थी एवं भारत दर्शन के कार्यक्रम की सम्पूर्ण एवं अंतिम जानकारी भी मिलनी थी ।

Sorry, the coach cannot be attached in any train. We have to manage ourselves.” इन शब्दों के साथ वरिष्ठ प्राध्यापक (संघटनात्मक व्यवहार) ने अपना उद्बोधन प्रारम्भ किया । सभी परिवीक्षार्थी इस समाचार से सहम से गए थे क्योंकि सभी को वो दिन याद आने लगे थे, जब बिना कन्फ़र्म टिकट के यात्रा करने पर टीटी द्वारा अनादरित होते थे । किन्तु कुछ समय पश्चात हमें यह बताया गया की सभी के लिए कन्फ़र्म टिकट की व्यवस्था कर दी गयी है, लेकिन समस्या यह है की समूह के 98 सदस्यों को तीन रेलगाड़ियों  से पृथक-पृथक करके भेजा जाएगा । कुछ परिवीक्षार्थी इस समाधान से अत्यंत प्रसन्न हुये किन्तु कुछ के हृदय में ऐसा पहाड़ टूटा जैसे उनके मित्र की किसी अन्य ट्रेन में एक रात्रि की यात्रा से उनके व्यक्तिगत जीवन में कलह पैदा कर देगी । किसी तरह अन्य लोगों ने ऐसे चोली–दामन के साथ वाले मित्रों को ढाढ़स बधाया । हमे ट्रेक्किंग से संबन्धित सभी आवश्यक सामग्री की जानकारी पुनः करायी गयी एवं कम से कम सामान ले जाने की सलाह भी दी गयी । सभी परिवीक्षार्थिओं ने अपना थैला तैयार कर लिया और बचा-कुचा सामान जुटाने में लग गए ।

रात्रि में भोजन के उपरांत हम लोग स्टेशन की ओर रवाना होने के लिए छात्रावास के द्वार पर पँहुचे, बस में आरूढ़ होने का कोई रास्ता नज़र नहीं आ रहा था और हमेशा की तरह बस परिवीक्षार्थिओं से ऐसे आच्छादित थी मानो यह बस किसी सिनेमा हाल की ओर जा रही हो । मेरी बस छूट चुकी थी और मेरे साथ दो अन्य परिवीक्षार्थी भी इस घटना के साक्षी थे । ऐसी अवस्था में हमने बिना समय बर्बाद किए तुरंत “JUGNOO AUTO” को बुलाया और शान से स्टेशन पहुंचे । हम लोग ट्रेन में आरूढ़ हुये और अपनी सीट पर पहुँच कर सामान को व्यवस्थित करके तुरंत ट्रेन में उपस्थित अपने साथियों से मिलने निकल पड़े जैसे हम सुबह की सैर पर निकले हों और पूरी ट्रेन हमारा मोहल्ला हो एवं हम उस मोहल्ले के नेता ।

30 अप्रैल , 2016 दिन शनिवार  

अगले दिन सुबह सभी की रेलगाडियाँ देश की राजधानी दिल्ली पहुँच चुकी थी और हमारी मनाली के लिए बस शाम को 4 बजे यमुना रेस्ट हाउस के सामने से मिलनी थी, अत: लोगों ने अपनी दैनिक क्रियाएँ सम्पन्न करने के पश्चात CONNAUGHT प्लेस का भ्रमण करने में समय का सदुपयोग किया और शाम को 4 बजे यमुना रेस्ट हाउस में उपस्थित हो गए, लेकिन बस का कोई अता-पता नहीं था । हमें आज पुनः आभास हुआ की हमारे यहाँ मानक समय मात्र एक परिकल्पना है जिसका वास्तविक जीवन से कोई संबंध नहीं है और हमारे यहाँ समयानुसार कोई भी घटना होना असंभव है, चाहे वह राजधानी एवं शताब्दी जैसी ट्रेनों का गन्तव्य पर पहुँचना ही क्यूँ न हो । कुछ ही समय में वहाँ NRTMA (Northern Railway Trekking and Mountaineering Association) के प्रतिनिधि आ गए और इस समय का उपयोग हमें NRTMA की टोपी एवं एक छोटा थैला देने में किया गया । अंततोगत्वा दो बसें 17:30 पर निर्धारित स्थान पर आई। समूह के पुनः दो भागों में पृथक होने का समय आ गया था, जहाँ एक ओर चोली – दामन के साथ वाले परिवीक्षार्थिओं को एक रात्रि का बिछड़ना भी स्वीकार्य नहीं था वहीं दूसरी ओर ऐसे व्यक्ति भी थे जो अपनी बस में किसी नारी को नहीं बैठाना चाहते थे । अन्ततः सारे संभव क्रमचय एवं संचय के बाद लोगों ने अपनी अपनी जगह सुनिश्चित की और दोनों बसों ने 6:00 बजे शाम को मनाली के लिए प्रस्थान किया । चलने से पहले ही यह निर्धारित किया गया था कि रात्रि के भोजन के लिए बस को कहाँ रुकवाना है, रात्रि में लगभग 10:20 के आस-पास हम सुंदरनगर में किसी ढ़ाबे पर रुके और शालीनता का परिचय देते हुये 98 लोग कतार लगा चुके थे। स्थान सीमित था, व्यक्ति अधिक थे और कुछ तो सुबह से इस उम्मीद में भूखे थे कि रात्रि में असीमित भोजन से अपनी क्षुधा को शांत करेंगे । खैर किसी तरह सभी ने कुछ न कुछ खा के आगे कि यात्रा की शुरुआत की। रात्रि में दीप विषर्जन का समय भी हो गया था, अत: लोगों ने अपनी-अपनी अर्ध शायिका को आवश्यकतानुसार तिरछा किया और अपने अपने इष्ट देवता को याद करके सो गये ।

01 मई, 2016 दिन रविवार

अचानक से मुझे कुछ कंपन सा महसूस हुया, आँख खुली तो पता चला की मैं जिस बस में यात्रा कर रहा था उसमे कुछ तकनीकी खराबी आ गयी थी, अभी सुबह के 5:00 बजे थे । मुझे बी टेक प्रथम वर्ष में अध्ययन किए गये यांत्रिक अभियांत्रिकी के कुछ सिद्धान्त याद थे और शायद आज उपयुक्त समय भी था, लेकिन मेरे साथ इस देश के यांत्रिक अभियांत्रिकी में स्नातक व्यक्तियों की अग्रिम पंक्ति भी सफर कर रही थी, अत: मैंने किसी भी प्रकार का तकनीकी सुझाव देने से अपने आप को रोक लिया और यात्रा प्रतिनिधि के अग्रिम आदेश की प्रतीक्षा में बैठ गया । हमें आदेश प्राप्त हुआ की हम समाने के एक ढ़ाबे में बैठ जाएँ और दूसरी बस की प्रतीक्षा करें । कुछ ही समय उपरांत हमें दूसरी बस में बैठाया गया और हम पुनः अपने अधूरे स्वप्न को पूर्ण करने की कोशिश में सो गये ।  अभी सुबह के 8:00 बजे थे कि फिर से किसी ने जगा दिया, आँख खुली तो पता चला की हमारी बस मण्डी के किसी होटल के बाहर खड़ी है । अब लोगों की सुबह की दैनिक क्रियाओं का भी समय हो चुका था । कुछ लोगों को शायिका चाय उपलब्ध नहीं हुयी थी तो ऐसे लोगों को दैनिक क्रियाओं में अपेछित  सफलता नहीं मिली किन्तु कुछ लोगों ने जल की उचित मात्रा का सेवन करके दैनिक क्रियाओं में पूर्ण सफलता प्राप्त की। हम लोग जल्दी से आगे के सफर के लिए इस उम्मीद के साथ रवाना हुये की सुबह का नास्ता मनाली के होटल में करेंगे, किन्तु क्या पता था की नास्ते का सारा पैसा सिर्फ आधे लोग ही वसूल कर पाएंगे जो पहले ही मनाली पहुँच चुके  थे और अपने दिन के कार्यक्रम की रूपरेखा को अंतिम रूप दे रहे थे । अब दोपहर के लगभग 12:30 बजे थे और हमारी बस मनाली के प्राइवेट बस स्टैंड पहुँच चुकी थी ।  बस से उतरते ही वहाँ के अल्प तापमान का अनुभव हुआ, कुछ लोगों को सीघ्र भूख लगी थी तो कुछ पवित्र लोग बिना स्नान भोज्य पदार्थ को हाथ भी नहीं लगाना चाहते थे , वहीं कुछ के आभा– मण्डल से प्रतीत हो रहा था की इन्हें सुबह की दैनिक क्रिया में पूर्ण सफलता नहीं मिली है। हम पूर्व निर्धारित होटल में आए और हमें बताया गया की दोपहर का भोजन 01:30 पर मिलेगा । मुझे होटल का ROOM दो IRSEE परिवीक्षार्थिओं के साथ साझा करना था, हम लोग कक्ष में पहुंचे और अपने अपने सामान को यथा स्थान रख दिया । शायद दोनों IRSEE परिवीक्षार्थिओं ने मनाली घूमने की रूपरेखा पहले से ही बना रखी थी, इसलिए दोनों तुरंत COOL DUDE बन गये और अविलंब बाहर चले गये । अब मैं कक्ष में अकेला था , मैं स्नान करके भोजन के लिए निर्धारित स्थान पहुँच गया जहाँ गरमागरम भोजन हमारी राह देख रहा था, मैंने बिना देर किए अपनी थाली में आवश्यकतानुसार भोज्य पदार्थ रखा और जल्दी से अपने उदर की क्षुधा को शांत किया । हम सभी 14:30 पर पूर्व नियोजित स्थान पर एकत्रित हुये जहाँ NRTMA वालों ने हमें पुनः पर्वतारोहण से संबन्धित अतिआवश्यक वस्तुयों के बारे में बताया, जैसे – हाथ में पहनने के दस्ताने, अच्छे जूते, पराबैंगनी किरणों को परावर्तित करने वाला चश्मा , जुराबों के 2-3 सेट , ठंडक से बचने के लिए आवश्यक वस्त्र । हमें इन सभी आवश्यक वस्तुयों को एकत्रित करने के लिए अगले दिन के सुबह 08:00 बजे तक का समय दिया गया । जहाँ कुछ लोग सामान खरीदने के लिए मनाली की माल रोड़ स्थित बाज़ार की तरफ निकल गये वहीं कुछ लोग मनाली के आस –पास की जगह को देखने निकल पड़े । मैं भी बाज़ार से कुछ सामग्री क्रय करके 6:00 बजे तक वापस आ गया  और सो गया । रात्रि का भोजन 8:30 पर मिलना था इसलिए समय से 5 मिनट पहले हम भोजन लेने की पंक्ति में खड़े हो गए । जहाँ एक ओर दोपहर की भाँति स्वादिष्ट एवं लज़ीज़ शाकाहारी भोजन था वहीं दूसरी ओर शाम के भोजन में मांसाहार की भी व्यवस्था थी, कुछ लोग इस मौके और मौसम दोनों का फ़ायदा उठाते हुये अपनी चिर स्थायी भूख को शांत करने में लग गए । भोजन के पश्चात हम लोग अपने अपने कक्ष में आ गए , लेकिन मेरे कक्ष में आवंटित दो लोग अभी भी शायद मनाली की गलियों में कहीं घूम रहे थे और मुझे पता भी नहीं था कि उनके दैनिक कार्यक्रम की क्या रूपरेखा थी ? मैं कपाट की कुंडी लगा ही रहा था कि तभी किसी ने दरवाजा खटखटाया, मैंने कपाट खोले तो सामने वो दोनों खड़े थे और उनके आभा मण्डल को देखकर ऐसा प्रतीत हो रहा था जैसे स्वर्ग का सफ़र पूर्ण करके आए हों । मैंने उनका स्वागत किया और उन्हे अगले दिन के कार्यक्रम की जानकारी दी, कुछ ही देर में उन्होने अपने थैले से नशीला द्रव (वियर)  निकाला और बालकनी में बैठ गए , मैं उनके जवानी के जोश के उफान को शांत नहीं करना चाहता था इसलिए मैंने शायिका पर समय बिताना उचित समझा ।

02  मई, 2016 दिन सोमवार

अभी सुबह के 6:00 बजे थे और शायिका से उठने का मन नहीं कर रहा था, किन्तु किसी तरह अपने अधूरे रात्रि स्वप्न का परित्याग करके उठना पड़ा और सुबह की शायिका-चाय 6:30 पर ग्रहण करने के पश्चात 8 बजे अल्पाहार के लिए निर्धारित स्थान पर पहुँच गये । अल्पाहार के बाद हमें 8:45 पर DHUNDI कैंप के लिए प्रस्थान करना था, अत: सभी अपना-अपना  सामान बाँध कर आगे की यात्रा के लिए कमर कस कर  वाहन का इंतज़ार कर रहे थे इस दौरान कुछ लोगों ने समय का पूर्ण उपयोग करते हुये अपनी अपनी SELFIE को मोबाइल में कैद कर लिया। कुछ समय पश्चात 4 छोटी बसें आयीं और सभी लोगों ने अपना अपना स्थान सुनिश्चित किया और हम आगे की यात्रा जोकि की लगभग 20  किमी के आस-पास थी, के लिए निकल पडे । कुछ ही पलों में हमारे कुछ साथियों ने बस के ध्वनि प्रणाली पर अपना कब्जा करके, मन चाहे नग्मों का सिलसिला शुरू कर दिया और हम मनाली की वादियों में खो से गये । शायद अभी 11:00 बजे थे और हमारी बस DHUNDI कैंप स्थल के समीप पहुँच चुकी थी, और लगभग 1 किमी का पैदल सफर तय करने के बाद हमें DHUNDI कैंप पहुँचना था । यहाँ पर हमें अनावश्यक सामान को यहीं पर रखने की सलाह दी गयी, सभी ने अपने-अपने सामान का कुछ अंश वहीं रख दिया और कुछ समय पश्चात हम आगे की ओर रवाना हुये । करीब 1 घंटे में हम “बकरथच” कैंप पहुँच गए जिसकी समुद्र तल ऊँचाई लगभग 11500 फीट थी, आज के दिन हमें यहीं रुकना था और अगले दिन प्रात:काल व्यास कुंड के लिए प्रस्थान करना था ।  “बकरथच” कैंप पहुँच कर सभी को टेंट एवं स्लीपिंग बैग आवंटित कर दिये गए, किसी टेंट में 3 लोग तो किसी में 6 लोगों ने अपना सामान रखा । कुछ समय पश्चात दोपहर के भोजन का समय हो गया था, इसलिए खाने के लिए पंक्ति का लगना स्वाभाविक था । खाने में सब्जी, दाल, चावल, रोटी सभी कुछ था एवं इस ऊँचाई पर इतने अच्छे और स्वादिष्ट भोजन को ग्रहण करने के बाद लोगों ने सोना पसंद किया, लेकिन कुछ लोग अभी प्रकृति की गोद में बैठकर पल-पल बदलते मौसम का आनंद लेने लगे । अभी दोपहर के करीब 3:30 बजे थे कि एक सीटी की आवाज़ सुनाई दी जो की इशारा कर रही थी कि शाम की चाय मिलने का समय हो गया है । सभी ने पंक्तिबद्ध होकर चाय एवं बिस्कुट ग्रहण किया और तत्पश्चात सभी एक स्थान पर एकत्रित हुये जहाँ सभी को पर्वतारोहण से संबन्धित मूलभूत बातों से अवगत कराया गया एवं कुछ समय बाद ACCLIMATIZATION WALK पर जाने का आदेश दिया गया । इस ACCLIMATISATION WALK का उद्देश्य हमें अगले दिन होने वाली यात्रा के प्रति अनुकूलित करना था । जहाँ बहुत से लोगों ने बड़े ही उत्साह के साथ इस WALK का मज़ा लिया, वहीं कुछ लोगों ने अपने यहाँ आने के निर्णय पर खेद भी व्यक्त किया। इस  ACCLIMATISATION WALK के दौरान हमने लगभग 2.5 किमी की पैदल यात्रा की और शाम को 6:30 बजे तक अपने कैंप स्थल पर आ पहुँचे । कुछ समय पश्चात पुनः सीटी की आवाज़ के साथ लोग सूप लेने के लिए पंक्ति में लग गए । इसी क्रम में रात्रि भोजन का भी कार्यक्रम था, इतनी  ऊँचाई पर विद्युत का कोई साधन नहीं था, अत: जल्दी भोजन ग्रहण करने के पश्चात दीप विसर्जन करना था । सभी ने भोजन ग्रहण किया, लेकिन अब सबसे बड़ी चुनौती थी कि बिना हाथ में जल का स्पर्श किए थाली कैसे धुली जाये ? किसी तरह लोगों ने हिम्मत करके उस ठंडे-ठंडे जल से थाली धुली और अपने अपने टेंट में चले गये । कुछ रात्रिचर साथियों ने ताश के पत्ते खेलकर समय का सदुपयोग भी किया । अब समय था अपने आप को स्लीपिंग बैग के अंदर स्थापित करने का, जो कि अत्यंत कठिन सा प्रतीत हो रहा था लेकिन स्लीपिंग बैग ने मेरे अकेलेपन को सहारा दिया और मैं कुछ ही समय में उससे लिपटकर ऐसे सो गया जैसे बरसों से विछड़े नायक नायिका का मिलन हो गया हो ।

03  मई, 2016 दिन मंगलवार

आज एक अविस्मरणीय ऐतिहासिक पर्वतारोहण यात्रा की शुरूआत होनी थी । जहाँ कुछ लोग सुबह 4:00 बजे से अपनी दैनिक क्रियाओं को सम्पन्न करने के सपने लेकर कैंप से निकल चुके थे वहीं कुछ लोग अभी अपने स्वप्न में ही खोये हुये थे। आखिर 6:30 तक सभी लोग चाय लेने के लिए पंक्ति में लग चुके थे । कुछ लोगों ने अपनी दैनिक क्रियायों को चाय गृहण करने के बाद पूर्ण करने में सफलता पायी, तो कुछ लोगों के उदर में कई अवांछनीय उपापचय क्रियायों ने जन्म ले लिया था जिनसे छुटकारा पाना बहुत कठिन सा प्रतीत हो रहा था । 7:30 पर अल्पाहार ग्रहण करने के पश्चात हम 8:15 पर पर्वतारोहण के लिए निकले, निकलते समय हमें मार्ग के लिए बिस्कुट, चॉकलेट, MANGO FROOTI जैसे खाद्य पदार्थ भी दे दिये गए । सभी लोग ऊर्जा से आप्लावित थे और एक दूसरे का हौसला बढ़ाते हुये एक कतार में लक्ष्य की तरफ बढ़ रहे थे ।  कुछ लोग एक समान गति से चल रहे थे तो किसी की चाल समय के साथ मंद हो रही थी । कुछ लोग मार्ग में मिल रही बर्फ से खेल रहे थे तो कुछ लोग अधिक से अधिक चित्र की चाह में बार बार नयी भाव भंगिमा में नज़र आ रहे थे । आज हमें लगभग 2000 फीट की ऊंचाई तक पहुँचना था जहाँ से व्यास नदी का उद्गम हो रहा था । आज की यात्रा कठिन थी क्योंकि आज हमें अधिकतम पैदल यात्रा बर्फ के ऊपर चलकर पूरी करनी थी । लोगों में उत्साह की कमी नहीं थी, सभी एक पंक्ति में आगे बढ़ रहे थे एवं SELFIE का भूत अभी भी कई लोगों के सर चढ़ के बोल रहा था । लगभग 3 किमी की यात्रा के पश्चात अब हमें एक ऊँचे पर्वत की चोटी पर चढ़ना था, यह अत्यंत कठिन सा प्रतीत हो रहा था किन्तु आत्मविश्वास से परिपूर्ण साथियों के साथ मैं 3-4 अल्पविराम में इस पहाड़ के शीर्ष पर पहुँच गया । अभी भी हमारी मंज़िल लगभग 0.5 किमी दूर थी लेकिन इसके आगे का सफ़र कुछ ज्यादा ही कठिन था क्योंकि अब हिम से पूरी तरह आच्छादित ग्लेशियर हमारे कदमों के नीचे था और 96 व्यक्तियों का समूह धीरे-धीरे आगे बढ़ रहा था । कुछ ही देर में हम अपनी मंज़िल पर पहुँच चुके थे और लोगों ने जल्दी-जल्दी इस पल को अपने कैमरे में कैद किया और इतनी ऊँचाई पर बैठकर मौसम का आनंद लेने लगे । इस समय तक मौसम बहुत खराब हो चुका था और बारिश किसी भी समय हो सकती थी, इसलिए हमें जल्दी से प्रस्थान करने का आदेश प्राप्त हुआ । पहले बने पद चिन्ह अब तक बहुत फिसलन भरे हो चुके थे, उनका अनुशरण करना हानिकारक हो सकता था इसलिए उसके आसपास के क्षेत्र से होते हुये सभी लोग वापस लौटने लगे । कुछ लोग इस समय तक बहुत थक चुके थे और पीड़ा से कराह रहे थे लेकिन उनके पास चलने के अलावा कोई अन्य विकल्प नहीं था । कई लोगों ने पैदल चलने की बजाय बर्फ पर फिसलकर कुछ मार्ग पूरा किया, हालांकि यह सही विकल्प नहीं था क्योंकि पश्च भाग से ऊष्मा का स्थानांतरण उनके स्वास्थ्य के लिए हितकर नहीं था ।  जैसे–जैसे लोग तम्बू के करीब पहुँच रहे थे, मन में आत्म विश्वास बढ़ रहा था और मुख मंडल पर खुशी के भाव भी । पता नहीं किस जगह पर मेरा एक पग गलत तरीके से पड़ा और मेरे एक पैर में कुछ तकनीकी खराबी आ गयी और मैं दर्द से कराह रहा था, मैं अपनी पीड़ा लिए अपने तम्बू की तरफ बढ़ रहा था और 3-4 विराम के पश्चात अपने कैंप में पहुँच गया जहाँ दोपहर का भोजन सभी का इंतज़ार कर रहा था । सभी ने जल्दी-जल्दी भोजन ग्रहण किया और अपने–अपने तम्बुओं में जाके आराम करने लगे । कुछ समय पश्चात बारिश भी प्रारम्भ हो गयी और मेरी आँख कब लग लगी, शायद मैं बहुत थक गया था इसलिए पता भी नहीं चला । टेंट के बाहर सीटी की आवाज सुनायी दी, बाहर निकल कर देखा तो सूर्य देव पहाड़ों के पीछे से उस दिन के अंतिम दर्शन दे रहे थे । हमने SOUP लेने की पंक्ति में अपना स्थान बनाया और हम सूप का आनंद ले ही रहे थे की बारिश भी प्रारम्भ हो गयी । किसी तरह बारिश की ठंडी-ठंडी बूंदों से बचते बचाते हमने रात्रि भोज को अपने उदर में स्थापित किया और तेजी से अपने तंबू में आ गए । अभी शाम के 7:30 बजे थे और नींद न आना स्वाभाविक था, अत: मेरे साथियों ने ताश के पत्ते खेलने का आग्रह किया । मुझे ताश की ABCD ही आती थी, लेकिन आज अपने ज्ञान को बढ़ाने का मौका भी था और समय भी । करीब 2-3 घंटे ताश खेलने के बाद हमने अपने अपने स्लीपिंग बैग में अपने आप को यथासंभव स्थापित किया और पर्वतारोहण की अपनी यात्रा के पलों को याद करते करते कब आँख लग गयी, पता भी नहीं चला ।

04  मई, 2016 दिन बुधवार

आज सूरज कुछ ज्यादा ही चमकीला प्रतीत हो रहा था, हाँ पर उन कुछ लोगों के लिए जो कल व्यास कुंड पर किसी तरह पहुँच कर अपने आप को भाग्यशाली समझ रहे थे, वहीं दूसरी ओर अधिकतर लोगों के लिए यात्रा का यह अंतिम पड़ाव मिला जुला था । आज सुबह उठने की जल्दी नहीं थी क्योंकि DHUNDI कैंप तक का सफर बहुत छोटा था । सब ने सुबह उठकर सारी शंकाओं के निराकरण के पश्चात जलपान किया और यह जानते हुये भी कि अब वापसी का सफर बिना खतरे, बिना हिम और बिना सूरज की पराबैंगनी किरणों वाला है, लोगों ने विभिन्न प्रकार की महंगी क्रीम का लेप करके और आँखों पर काला चश्मा चढ़ा के आगे चलना शुरू किया । कुछ एक स्वाभाविक रूप से कमजोर दिखने या दिखाने वालों के लिए ये पहाड़ों की उतरन भी जटिल प्रतीत हो रही थी । जैसे तैसे सभी लोग नीचे स्थित DHUNDI कैंप पर पहुँच गए । पहुँचते ही वर्षा का आरंभ होना और अगली पारी के मित्रों का मिलना जैसा 1942 के “रिमझिम रिमझिम रुमझुम रुमझुम” का अहसास करा गया और अगली पारी के सदस्यों को यात्रा से जुड़ी बातों का बोध कराया गया  । आगे कैंप पर दिये गए तंबुओ का स्व-आवंटन प्रारंभ हुआ और सबने इसमें तत्परता दिखाते हुये अपनी सुविधानुसार अधिक ऑक्सीजन वाले तम्बू हथियाए । DHUNDI कैंप, समस्त नहीं तो बहुतायत सुविधायों से युक्त एक आधुनिक कैंप था जिसको देखते ही बकरथच कैंप की सारी चुनौतियाँ याद आ जाती थीं । पर अभी जनसमूह का हर्षोल्लास देखने लायक था जिसमें दोपहर के भोजन ने चार चाँद लगा दिये । चार दिनों बाद पर्वत पर ऐसा भोजन जिसमें  अचार एवं सलाद भी हो तो खुशी के आँसू स्वाभाविक थे । भोजन  समाप्त करने के बाद सबने मोबाइल (दूरध्वनी यंत्र) टटोले और सिग्नल की एक खूँटी दिखते ही खुद को 25-26 मित्रों के साथ फीलिंग एक्साइटेड की ख़बर FACEBOOK पर प्रसारित कर दी और अवांछनीय LIKES की राह में बैठ गए । दिन की आखिरी चुनौती नदी पार करने की थी जिसको सुरक्षा उपकरणों के साथ पार करना था । खैर 13000 फीट ऊँचाई चढ़ चुके लोगों के लिए यह मात्र एक खेल था जिसे सबने हँसते हँसते पूर्ण किया । शाम होते ही समूह के कुछ चंचल साथियों ने, जो भली भाँति यह जानते थे कि आज कैंप की अंतिम रात्रि होगी, कुछ अनूठे माध्यम से ऐसी अंताछरी खेली जिसमें एक ही गाने को तोड़ मरोड़ के विविध रूपों में प्रस्तुत किया । आज अगर आर डी बर्मन होते तो शायद अपनी आत्महत्या कर लेते । जैसे-तैसे उत्तेजित साथियों पर शीतल जल ड़ालकर उनके अंदर की अग्नि को प्रज्वलित होने से रोका गया । रात में वर्षा के कारण ठंड बढ़ चुकी थी पर बकरथच जैसी भी नहीं थी जिसने WATERPROOF स्लीपिंग बैग की अवधारणा को भी गलत सिद्ध कर दिया था । इस प्रकार एक और दिन कुशलता पूर्वक व्यतीत हो गया ।

05  मई, 2016 दिन गुरुवार


सुबह 4 बजे ही आँख खुल गयी और मैं अनायास ही अपने स्लीपिंग बैग में पड़ा पड़ा इंतज़ार करने लगा की कब थोड़ा सा प्रकाश हो और मैं अपनी दैनिक क्रियाओं को सम्पन्न करूँ क्यूंकी आज हम 95 लोगों के पास केवल दो अस्थाई टॉयलेट थे और समय के साथ टॉयलेट में पहले जाने की प्रतिस्पर्धा बढ़ना भी स्वाभाविक था । किसी तरह सुबह के 4:30 बजे और मैं अपने टेंट से बाहर निकला, चारो ओर अंधेरा देख कर मन भयभीत हो गया जैसे बचपन में पढ़ी एवं सुनी गयी कहानियों के सच होने का समय आ गया था । कुछ समय पश्चात मानव जाति के दर्शन हुये और मेरा आत्मविश्वास बढ़ा और इस आत्मविश्वास का फायदा उठाते हुये मैंने अपनी दैनिक क्रियाएँ 5:15 तक सम्पन्न कर ली और टेंट के बाहर ही बैठ कर ठंडी ठंडी पवन का आनंद लेने लगा ।

सुबह 6:30 पर चाय मिली और 8:30 पर अल्पाहार ग्रहण करके हम लोगों ने अपना बैग बांधा और आगे की पैदल यात्रा के लिए तैयार हो गए। हम करीब 09:00 बजे उन वादियों को अलविदा कह कर वहाँ से सोलांग वैली के लिए निकले । अब हमें लगभग 6.5 किमी का सफर पैदल तय करना था ।  सभी लोग उत्साह के साथ एक पंक्ति में आगे बढ़ रहे थे, जहाँ मार्ग में कुछ लोग समय निकाल कर प्रकृति की गोद में SELFIE का आनंद भी ले रहे थे वहीं कुछ लोग अपनी यात्रा के अनुभव अपने सफर के साथियों के साथ बाँट रहे थे। क़रीब 11:00 बजे तक हम सभी सोलांग वैली पहुँच चुके थे और दिन के प्रधान भोजन का इंतज़ार करने लगे । कुछ ही समय में भोजन तैयार हो गया और सभी भोजन ग्रहण करने के पश्चात वापस लौटने के लिए बस की राह देखने लगे ।  कुछ ही समय के उपरांत सभी ने ट्रेवेलर में अपनी अपनी जगह सुनिश्चित की और मनाली के लिए प्रस्थान किया । मनाली से दिल्ली के लिए हमारी बस शाम को 4:00 बजे थी, इसलिए लगभग 3:30 घंटे का बहुमूल्य समय हमें मनाली की माल रोड़ में सैर करने के लिए दिया गया । हालाँकि दोपहर का समय था, लेकिन मनाली का मौसम बहुत सुहावना हो रहा था, पूरी माल रोड़ सैलानियों से भरी पड़ी थी, नव विवाहित दम्पतियों का भी हुजूम चरम पर था । जहाँ एक ओर कुछ साथी कपड़े खरीद रहे थे वहीं कुछ अपने विवाह के उपरांत मनाली आने की योजना पर काम कर रहे थे । हमने भी लोकल फूड का आनंद लिया और पास ही स्थित बौद्ध MONASTERY में कुछ समय बिताया । चार बजे तक सभी लोग प्राइवेट बस स्टैंड पहुँच चुके थे जहाँ से सभी को दिल्ली की बस में आरूढ़ होना था  । अब प्रश्न यह था की कौन किस बस का चयन करेगा और किस बस में फ़ैकल्टी एवं नारियाँ जाएँगी ? एक ओर कुछ साथियों में परस्पर दोस्ती अत्यंत प्रगाढ़ हो चुकी थी, वहीं कुछ लोगों में परस्पर रोष भी व्याप्त था। अन्ततः सारे संभव क्रमचय एवं संचय के बाद लोगों ने अपनी अपनी जगह सुनिश्चित की और दोनों बसों ने 4:30 बजे शाम को दिल्ली के लिए प्रस्थान किया । अभी हमने लगभग 1 घण्टे का सफर ही तय किया था कि दूसरे बस के मार्ग में खराब होने की सूचना हमारे यात्रा प्रतिनिधि के पास आयी, अब मैं मन ही मन ईश्वर को इस बात का धन्यवाद दे रहा था कि उसने मुझे समय पर सद्बुद्धि दी और मैंने इस बस में आरूढ़ होने का निर्णय लिया । जहाँ एक ओर बस बहुत तीव्र गति से अपना मार्ग तय कर रही थी वहीं दूसरी ओर कुछ लोग निंद्रा के आगोष में आ चुके थे और कुछ लोग बस में लगे ELECTRONIC यन्त्र में चलचित्र का आनंद ले रहे थे । मैंने भी अपने नयनों को कुछ आराम प्रदान करने की कोशिश की लेकिन अग्रिम सीट पर स्थापित होने के कारण, सोने में सफलता नहीं मिली । अभी रात्रि के लगभग 9:00 बजे थे, बाहर बारिश भी हो रही थी, अचानक बस एक ढाबे पर रुकी । बाहर देखा तो पता चला कि यह वही सुनियोजित स्थान था जहाँ हमें रात्रि का भोजन ग्रहण करना था ।  हमारी दूसरी बस को आने में समय था, अत: सभी दूसरी बस का इंतज़ार किए बिना भोजन लेने की पंक्ति में लग गए । हालाँकि भोजन पर्याप्त मात्रा में उपलब्ध था लेकिन शायद मौसम ने उसे बेस्वाद कर दिया था, किसी तरह लोगों ने अल्पतम एवं आवश्यक मात्रा में भोज्य पदार्थ ग्रहण किया और हमारे यात्रा प्रतिनिधि को भोजन से संबन्धित शिकायतें  देने लगे, हमारा यात्रा प्रतिनिधि बहुत ही सज्जन प्रकृति का था इसलिए उसने बड़े ही सहज भाव से मामले को संभाला और हम आगे की यात्रा के लिए बस में बैठ गए । भोजन ग्रहण करने के बाद जहाँ एक ओर बस की रफ्तार और भी तेज़ हो गयी थी वहीं लोग धीरे-धीरे निंद्रा के आगोष में जाते दिखाई दे रहे थे । मेरी भी कब आँख लग गयी, पता नहीं चला ।

06  मई, 2016 दिन शुक्रवार

सुबह 6:00 बजे अचानक से आँख खुली तो देखा बस एक मेट्रो स्टेशन के बाहर खड़ी थी और सभी लोग जल्दी-जल्दी नीचे उतर रहे थे । मैंने भी अपने स्वप्न को बीच में ही त्याग दिया और सारे सामान को एकत्रित करते हुये बस को अलविदा कह दिया । यहाँ से लोगों ने अपने-अपने गंतव्य के अनुसार दिल्ली मेट्रो की सेवाओं का उपयोग किया और निर्धारित स्थान पर पहुँच गए । कुछ लोगों को दिल्ली में रुकना था तो कुछ अपने घर जाना चाहते थे, कुछ दिल्ली घूमना चाहते थे तो कुछ को अगली ट्रेन से वडोदरा के लिए रवाना होना था । अत : लोगों ने अपने अपने विकल्प चुन लिए और इस प्रकार हमारी इस यात्रा का अन्त हुआ ।



( सौरभ सिंह, भारतीय रेल इंजीनियरिंग  सेवा – 2013 परिवीक्षार्थी )

Saurabh Singh

Calling on The President of India

One of the exciting things which take place at the end of probation is ‘Visit to the President of India’. It is officially called as ‘Calling on the President of India”. All the Group A services officers are appointed by the President and work under his pleasure. Although , President has delegated this responsibilities to various ministries but ceremonially he is our appointing authority. So, almost all the ministries let their probationers call on the President of India before they actually start their working. No doubt, we all wait for this moment, for the photographs and for the ‘likes’.

Visit to Rashtrapati Bhawan is conducted very formally. All the probationers are taken at once, you can’t enter there own your own. Moreover , the security is so high that you will not be allowed individual entry. Timings are specified and everything proceeds as per the plan. If you miss your group , you may have very hard time reaching there.

Darbar Hall is  place where The President meets the probationers. In-fact, all major ceremonies are done here. We reach half-hour before the arrival of president in Darbar Hall. There , we go through mock exercises for group photograph. The security officers of Rashtrapati Bhawan brief us about protocols for various activities.

Who will speak what is already decided and those who have to speak practice a lot to make it flawless. Generally, One probationer from every service gives 2 minute speech about the training which has been imparted in the service, on behalf of his batch.

The sequence of activities after the arrival of President is as follows:

  • Opening speech by Member of Railway Board/Head of Ministry.
  • Probationers share their experience of training.
  • Address by the President of India.
  • Closure speech by Member of Railway Board/Head of Ministry.
  • Then we go for group Photograph.


After photo session ,we proceed towards Banquet Hall for refreshments. Even the samosa of Rashtrapati Bhawan tastes good. We exit the Durbar Hall and take lots of photograph for Facebook.

The profile pics may change later but memories will remain forever.

The President said that the Engineering Service would provide the officers an opportunity to serve the society and they would be entrusted with tremendous opportunities at a young age. They should give back to society as the society had invested in them. Besides, they should remember Mahatma Gandhi’s talisman of thinking of the welfare of the poorest of the poor in order to arrive at correct decisions. If they consider their job as a mission, they would be able to have maximum job satisfaction.



View of Darbar Hall


A group of probationers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers and Railway Protection Force called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (May 17, 2016) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the Indian Railways is not only one of the largest rail networks in the world but one of those which are well managed. With 66,000 Km of route length, the track network of the Indian railways stretches to almost every nook and corner of the country. It carries 23 million passengers daily. He stated that Indian Railways has a deeper meaning than being a mere transportation system. It integrates far-flung areas of the country. Like the Indian Post Office, it is one of the few organizations in the country which have a truly national character having influence over the whole country. In undertaking journeys the individual identities of the people who are travelling are replaced by the fact that they all are passengers.
The President said that the Indian Railways is not just a commercial organization. It has also extended help and support to the needy when required. It has carried on the tremendous responsibility of economic development of the country. However, Indian Railways is also faced with manifold challenges which include ensuring safety, security and the punctual running of trains.
The President urged the probationers to always remember that through the services they were not merely earning their livelihood but were making a meaningful contribution to this great nation to which they belong. He said that they were getting a tremendous opportunity of serving the country. They must always show ingenuity, innovation and initiative while discharging their duties.



Comparison of GATE and ESE syllabus for Civil Engineering

SUBJECT                                    GATE UPSC ESE

Engineering Mathematics

Linear Algebra: Matrix algebra; Systems of linear equations; Eigen values and Eigen vectors.

Calculus: Functions of single variable; Limit, continuity and differentiability; Mean value theorems, local maxima and minima, Taylor and Maclaurin series; Evaluation of definite and indefinite integrals, application of definite integral to obtain area and volume; Partial derivatives; Total derivative; Gradient, Divergence and Curl, Vector identities, Directional derivatives, Line, Surface and Volume integrals, Stokes, Gauss and Green’s theorems.

Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE): First order (linear and non-linear) equations; higher order linear equations with constant coefficients; Euler-Cauchy equations; Laplace transform and its application in solving linear ODEs; initial and boundary value problems.

Partial Differential Equation (PDE): Fourier series; separation of variables; solutions of one-dimensional diffusion equation; first and second order one-dimensional wave equation and two-dimensional Laplace equation.

Probability and Statistics: Definitions of probability and sampling theorems; Conditional probability; Discrete Random variables: Poisson and Binomial distributions; Continuous random variables: normal and exponential distributions; Descriptive statistics – Mean, median, mode and standard deviation; Hypothesis testing.

Numerical Methods: Accuracy and precision; error analysis. Numerical solutions of linear and non-linear algebraic equations; Least square approximation, Newton’s and Lagrange polynomials, numerical differentiation, Integration by trapezoidal and Simpson’s rule, single and multi-step methods for first order differential equations.



Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis


Structural Engineering

Engineering Mechanics: System of forces, free-body diagrams, equilibrium equations; Internal forces in structures; Friction and its applications; Kinematics of point mass and rigid body; Centre of mass; Euler’s equations of motion; Impulse-momentum; Energy methods; Principles of virtual work.








Solid Mechanics

Bending moment and shear force in statically determinate beams; Simple stress and strain relationships; Theories of failures; Simple bending theory, flexural and shear stresses, shear centre; Uniform torsion, buckling of column, combined and direct bending stresses.


Solid Mechanics

Elastic constants, Stress, plane stress, Strains, plane strain, Mohr’s circle of stress and strain, Elastic theories of failure, Principal Stresses, Bending, Shear and Torsion.




 Structural Analysis

Statically determinate and indeterminate structures by force/ energy methods; Method of superposition; Analysis of trusses, arches, beams, cables and frames; Displacement methods: Slope deflection and moment distribution methods; Influence lines; Stiffness and flexibility methods of structural analysis.





Structural Analysis

Basics of strength of materials, Types of stresses and strains, Bending moments and shear force, concept of bending and shear stresses; Analysis of determinate and indeterminate structures; Trusses, beams, plane frames; Rolling loads, Influence Lines, Unit load method & other methods; Free and Forced vibrations of single degree and multi degree freedom system; Suspended Cables; Concepts and use of Computer Aided Design.


Construction Materials

Construction Materials: Structural steel – composition, material properties and behaviour; Concrete – constituents, mix design, short-term and long-term properties; Bricks and mortar; Timber; Bitumen.




Building Materials

Stone, Lime, Glass, Plastics, Steel, FRP, Ceramics, Aluminum, Fly Ash, Basic Admixtures, Timber, Bricks and Aggregates: Classification, properties and selection criteria; Cement: Types, Composition, Properties, Uses, Specifications and various Tests; Lime & Cement Mortars and Concrete: Properties and various Tests; Design of Concrete Mixes: Proportioning of aggregates and methods of mix design.

Construction Management

Types of construction projects; Tendering and construction contracts; Rate analysis and standard specifications; Cost estimation; Project planning and network analysis – PERT and CPM.

Construction Practice, Planning and Management:

Construction – Planning, Equipment, Site investigation and Management including Estimation with latest project management tools and network analysis for different Types of works; Analysis of Rates of various types of works; Tendering Process and Contract Management, Quality Control, Productivity, Operation Cost; Land acquisition; Labour safety and welfare.

Concrete Structures

Working stress, Limit state and Ultimate load design concepts; Design of beams, slabs, columns; Bond and development length;

Prestressed concrete; Analysis of beam sections at transfer and service loads.

Design of Concrete and Masonry structures:
Limit state design for bending, shear, axial compression and combined forces; Design of beams, Slabs, Lintels, Foundations, Retaining walls, Tanks, Staircases; Principles of pre-stressed concrete design including materials and methods; Earthquake resistant design of structures; Design of Masonry Structure. 
Steel Structures

Working stress and Limit state design concepts; Design of tension and compression members, beams and beam- columns, column bases; Connections – simple and eccentric, beam-column connections, plate girders and trusses; Plastic analysis of beams and frames.

Design of Steel Structures:

Principles of Working Stress methods, Design of tension and compression members, Design of beams and beam column connections, built-up sections, Girders, Industrial roofs, Principles of Ultimate load design.

Geotechnical Engineering Soil Mechanics

Origin of soils, soil structure and fabric; Three-phase system and phase relationships, index properties; Unified and Indian standard soil classification system; Permeability – one dimensional flow, Darcy’s law; Seepage through soils – two-dimensional flow, flow nets, uplift pressure, piping; Principle of effective stress, capillarity, seepage force and quicksand condition; Compaction in laboratory and field conditions; One-dimensional consolidation, time rate of consolidation; Mohr’s circle, stress paths, effective and total shear strength parameters, characteristics of clays and sand.

Geo-technical Engineering

Soil exploration – planning & methods, Properties of soil, classification, various tests and inter-relationships; Permeability & Seepage, Compressibility, consolidation and Shearing resistance, Earth pressure theories and stress distribution in soil; Properties and uses of geo-synthetics.






Foundation Engineering

Sub-surface investigations – scope, drilling bore holes, sampling, plate load test, standard penetration and cone penetration tests; Earth pressure theories – Rankine and Coulomb; Stability of slopes – finite and infinite slopes, method of slices and Bishop’s method; Stress distribution in soils – Boussinesq’s and Westergaard’s theories, pressure bulbs; Shallow foundations – Terzaghi’s and Meyerhoff’s bearing capacity theories, effect of water table; Combined footing and raft foundation; Contact pressure; Settlement analysis in sands and clays; Deep foundations – types of piles, dynamic and static formulae, load capacity of piles in sands and clays, pile load test, negative skin friction.

Foundation Engineering

Types of foundations & selection criteria, bearing capacity, settlement analysis, design and testing of shallow & deep foundations; Slope stability analysis, Earthen embankments, Dams and Earth retaining structures: types, analysis and design, Principles of ground modifications.

Water Resources Engineering Fluid Mechanics

Properties of fluids, fluid statics; Continuity, momentum, energy and corresponding equations; Potential flow, applications of momentum and energy equations; Laminar and turbulent flow; Flow in pipes, pipe networks; Concept of boundary layer and its growth.


Forces on immersed bodies; Flow measurement in channels and pipes; Dimensional analysis and hydraulic similitude; Kinematics of flow, velocity triangles; Basics of hydraulic machines, specific speed of pumps and turbines; Channel Hydraulics – Energy-depth relationships, specific energy, critical flow, slope profile, hydraulic jump, uniform flow and gradually varied flow.

Fluid Mechanics, Open Channel Flow, Pipe Flow

Fluid properties; Dimensional Analysis and Modeling; Fluid dynamics including flow kinematics and measurements; Flow net; Viscosity, Boundary layer and control, Drag, Lift, Principles in open channel flow, Flow controls. Hydraulic jump; Surges; Pipe networks.

Hydraulic Machines and Hydro power

Various pumps, Air vessels, Hydraulic turbines – types, classifications & performance parameters; Power house – classification and layout, storage, pondage, control of supply.




Hydrologic cycle, precipitation, evaporation, evapo-transpiration, watershed, infiltration, unit hydrographs, hydrograph analysis, flood estimation and routing, reservoir capacity, reservoir and channel routing, surface run-off models, ground water hydrology – steady state well hydraulics and aquifers; Application of Darcy’s law.


Hydrological cycle, Ground water hydrology, Well hydrology and related data analysis; Streams and their gauging; River morphology; Flood, drought and their management; Capacity of Reservoirs.






Duty, delta, estimation of evapo-transpiration; Crop water requirements; Design of lined and unlined canals, head works, gravity dams and spillways; Design of weirs on permeable foundation; Types of irrigation systems, irrigation methods; Water logging and drainage; Canal regulatory works, cross-drainage structures, outlets and escapes.

Water Resources Engineering

Multipurpose uses of Water, River basins and their potential; Irrigation systems, water demand assessment; Resources – storages and their yields; Water logging, canal and drainage design, Gravity dams, falls, weirs, Energy dissipaters, barrage Distribution works, Cross drainage works and head-works and their design; Concepts in canal design, construction & maintenance; River training, measurement and analysis of rainfall.

Environmental Engineering Water and Waste Water

Quality standards, basic unit processes and operations for water treatment. Drinking water standards, water requirements, basic unit operations and unit processes for surface water treatment, distribution of water. Sewage and sewerage treatment, quantity and characteristics of wastewater. Primary, secondary and tertiary treatment of wastewater, effluent discharge standards. Domestic wastewater treatment, quantity of characteristics of domestic wastewater, primary and secondary treatment. Unit operations and unit processes of domestic wastewater, sludge disposal.

Water Supply Engineering

Sources, Estimation, quality standards and testing of water and their treatment; Rural, Institutional and industrial water supply; Physical, chemical and biological characteristics and sources of water, Pollutants in water and its effects, Estimation of water demand; Drinking water Standards, Water Treatment Plants, Water distribution networks.

Waste Water Engineering

Planning & design of domestic waste water, sewage collection and disposal; Plumbing Systems. Components and layout of

sewerage system; Planning & design of Domestic Waste-water disposal system; Sludge management including treatment, disposal and re-use of treated effluents; Industrial waste waters and Effluent Treatment Plants including institutional and industrial sewage management.


Municipal Solid Wastes

Characteristics, generation, collection and transportation of solid wastes, engineered systems for solid waste management (reuse/ recycle, energy recovery, treatment and disposal).


Solid Waste Management

Sources & classification of solid wastes along with planning & design of its management system; Disposal system, Beneficial aspects of wastes and Utilization by Civil Engineers.

Air Pollution

Types of pollutants, their sources and impacts, air pollution meteorology, air pollution control, air quality standards and limits.

Noise Pollution: Impacts of noise, permissible limits of noise pollution, measurement of noise and control of noise pollution.

Air, Noise pollution and Ecology

Concepts & general methodology.



Transportation Engineering Transportation Infrastructure

Highway alignment and engineering surveys; Geometric design of highways – cross-sectional elements, sight distances, horizontal and vertical alignments


Geometric design of railway track


Airport runway length, taxiway and exit taxiway design.

Highway Pavements

Highway materials – desirable properties and quality control tests; Design of bituminous paving mixes; Design factors for flexible and rigid pavements; Design of flexible pavement using IRC: 37-2012; Design of rigid pavements using IRC: 58-2011; Distresses in concrete pavements.

Traffic Engineering

Traffic studies on flow, speed, travel time – delay and O-D study, PCU, peak hour factor, parking study, accident study and analysis, statistical analysis of traffic data; Microscopic and macroscopic parameters of traffic flow, fundamental relationships; Control devices, signal design by Webster’s method; Types of intersections and channelization; Highway capacity and level of service of rural highways and urban roads.


Planning & construction methodology, Alignment and geometric design; Traffic Surveys and Controls; Principles of Flexible and Rigid pavements design.



Alignment, methods of construction, disposal of muck, drainage, lighting and ventilation.



Railways Systems

Terminology, Planning, designs and maintenance practices; track modernization.




Terminology, layouts and planning.



Layout, planning & design.

Geomatics Engineering Principles of surveying; Errors and their adjustment; Maps – scale, coordinate system; Distance and angle measurement – Levelling and trigonometric levelling; Traversing and triangulation survey; Total station; Horizontal and vertical curves.

Photogrammetry – scale, flying height; Remote sensing – basics, platform and sensors, visual image interpretation; Basics of Geographical information system (GIS) and Geographical Positioning system (GPS).


Classification of surveys, various methodologies, instruments & analysis of measurement of distances, elevation and directions; Field astronomy, Global Positioning System; Map preparation; Photogrammetry; Remote sensing concepts; Survey Layout for culverts, canals, bridges, road/railway alignment and buildings, Setting out of Curves.



Basic knowledge of Engineering geology & its application in projects.

Change in pattern and syllabus of ESE 2017

UPSC has announced the new pattern of Engineering Services Examination which is to be effective from 2017 ownwards. Those appearing for 2016 need not worry, their syllabus and pattern remains the same. This change was  expected quite for some time as there were unofficial rumors in the market of coaching. Now that new format is out in public domain, it is necessary to have some discussions about it.

The changed format of IES is here ESE Reforms publicity


ies pattern

There has been radical change in the format of ESE. At this point , it is very difficult to predict nature of questions and difficulty level for 2017 aspirants. They will be appearing for the exams without having the backup of ‘previous year papers’. Till now we were almost sure of nature and pattern of questions which were being asked in ESE but this luxury will not be available for next few years. Aspirants have to be ready for surprises till UPSC exhausts its question bank.

Biggest change has been the introduction of stage-1  a.k.a ‘prelims’ . However i don’t think that this stage-1 is equivalent to prelims because the prelims should be just a qualifying stage but in this case that marks of stage-1 will be considered for final selection. In a way, not only you have to perform good to be eligible for stage-2 but also you have to score good for clearing next stages. In civil services, prelims is just a qualifying paper but in ESE it is part of overall process.


Paper -1:- This paper is common for all the candidates. The questions asked will be from general studies and engineering aptitude, thus setting the stage for further competition.Although the general studies still remains the part of paper-1 , its scope has been severely curtailed. There is no separate syllabus for general studies and engineering aptitude. In all, there is combined syllabus given for paper-1. For GS portion , the syllabus given is “Current issues of national and international importance relating to social, economic and industrial development”, this almost negates the necessity of old pattern of  static GS portion from NCERT. But the problem is that we can’t make this presumption about UPSC that everything will be from what it has given as syllabus. So , over the course of one year , at-least one reading can be given to NCERT books for basic understanding. This new pattern has heavily increased the importance of newspaper reading. Even you will be required to make notes from newspaper on a daily basis so that you understand the issues at hand. How to make notes from newspaper is a tricky affair. It will take some time to understand the relevance of news from examination point of view.  This article will help you to grasp the techniques of note making from newspaper.

Engineering Aptitude covering Logical reasoning and Analytical ability: This should be manageable at the level of aspirants himself. You can also follow mrunal.org because he has lot of resources on this topic which he gives for other exam but it may be relevant here too. Logical reasoning and analytical ability should not be a big issue for any average engineer. You can by any decent book from market , or wait for coaching institutes to release their material

Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis : We all study this subject in first year of our colleges. Also , this topic is included in GATE examination for every branch. Pick up your first year books and start preparation now. Those who are in their first year of college should take this subject seriously.

General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety:  Civil and mechanical engineers study design and drawing in second year of their  course so your friends in this department will helping you to get through this subject. I think coaching institutes will bring out study material as soon as possible

Standards and Quality practices in production, construction, maintenance and services: This belongs to the domain of Production and Civil engineers. Those who are still in graduation should really look into others branches as well.

Basics of Energy and Environment: This is the primary domain of Civil and Environmental engineers. In fact, environmental engineering takes the lead here.

Basics of Project Management: Again this is topic straight from civil engineering like CPM and PERT.

Basics of Material Science and Engineering: Every branch has this subjects , so each aspirants should study books of other department

Information and Communication Technologies: This is the domain of Computer Science and IT department. Apart from just using Facebook and WhatsApp try to learn the IT structure of these applications, atleast of those which you use regularly.

Ethics and values in Engineering profession: Here this most important question “Why did you become an engineer”. What are the  core values of an ‘engineer’? How will you serve the society in this profession.?

Right now there is no study material which comprehensively covers all the topics of Paper-1. We will have to wait few months before the materials are out in the market. I will also try to update this article with the relevant links from other websites. At present, you will have to manage yourself till coaching institutes do their job. NPTEL  is a good website to start learning basics of core engineering. UPSC wants you to study basics of almost every core branch and acquire interdisciplinary skills so that in future you will be better able to communicate with officers from other department.

You should be able to appreciate the technicalities of other branches of engineering. You should not shouldn’t study in isolation. Take interest in basics of other department. Make friends from diverse background of specialization. After few months, coaching institutes will flood the market with study material for above topics. At this juncture, you will have to arrange such material which seems beneficial from point of view of Stage-1 examination.


This is an objective paper which will be discipline specific. Earlier the pattern was of  2 papers with 200 marks each. The syllabus was also divided accordingly. Now, there is a single paper of 300 marks which means that whole syllabus will be covered in a single paper which makes it quite tough. The best way to prepare is to go for objective papers of previous years. Both Paper-1 and Paper-2 should be covered as there is a single objective paper this time.


The word ‘mains’ has traditionally  been associated with civil services. From 2017 onward, the vocabulary of ESE aspirants will also change. After you qualify stage-1 , there will be a subjective examination of 600 marks. UPSC will announce results of stage-1 atleast after 1 months but it can easily go to two months. Those selected in stage-1 will write two conventional paper of 300 marks each. Compared to previous format, the number of question will increase for subjective papers. However,I don’t think that the strategy for preparing subjective exam will undergo significant change.  After two months of prelims , you will give one single day exam thereby concluding your  written part of the process.  By this time ,you would have been judged for 1100 marks in total.

Introduction of mains in ESE is debatable. On one hand ,it increases the overall duration of examination process, while on other it gives you enough time to prepare for subjective examination.
We don’t know the examination cycle of new format. It would be difficult to guess so as to which other exams would be affected because of ‘ESE’.  Suppose the cycle of exams start in January, so you will be preparing of GATE as well as Prelims simultaneously. If the prelims are held in May , then some of you who are civil services aspirants will not be able to go for prelims of civil services.  At present ,there is no option before you except to prepare in uncertainty. Whatever comes , you should be ready to make full use of the opportunity at hand. Whenever an examination format changes, it is either an opportunity or catastrophe for aspirants.

Due to mains, the strategy changes from now. Earlier you prepared to be ready for objective and subjective exams at the same time. Now you can prepare one thing at a time. Objective before prelims and subjective before mains. 1-2 months’ time would be sufficient for revision of subjective questions. I think the test series would also get modified to suit the needs of changed examination format.

 Personality Test

Interview weight-age has been left untouched, I think it is a good decision. After clearing two stages, no one would want to fail in third stage due to high variation of marks in interview. The preparation and mock for interview would the remain same. .


Apart from structural changes in format, the content has been changed only for paper-1 of stage -1. This exam will bring out knowledge required for an engineer and patience required for a manager. All the stages are filled with traps and the one who knows the maze or the pit-falls of the game is going to win it. Now you can say that  format has been changed from one day cricket to a test match. As Always , GATE remains T20 sizzler. You have to be all-rounder for surviving in the game. I would suggest you not to play IPL, only the genuine player will win here. Don’t run after quick results, remember that in the end you have to be a man of match. Remember, Interview will like a journalist asking for your opinion before the game is over and the result will be like a captain who is holding the trophy.

Thank You
All the best for the ‘Games of Dholpur House’










How to get AIR 2 without coaching

Hello ,

This is Ashish Verma working in Indian Railway Service of Engineers selected through  Engineering Services Examination  conducted by UPSC in 2013.Change in pattern of GATE , IES this year  has forced me to share my views on this blog.

I feel proud that I got selected in several competitive exams without taking any coaching throughout my studies. I would like to give you brief introduction about myself.

When I was in 12th standard I was not knowing about even IIT’s , NIT’s. My aim was to become a engineer. One of my friend asked me to fill the form of UPTU, so I did and I got selected .Then I Graduated from Kamla Nehru institute of technology, a UP state government college in 2012. I feel happy to tell u that I was GOLD MEDALLIST of UPTU University in Civil Engineering.Sometimes I was thinking whether I will be getting any job after graduating from such college. But I didn’t loose any hope. I continued my studies and started my preparation in sixth semester for IES .Then I appeared for GATE  and secured AIR-41. I couldn’t appear for the IES exam as minimum age requirement was changed during the same year.

Through that I was called for NTPC and IOCL interview and was selected in both the Maharatna PSU’S . During preparation my interest inculcated in Structural engineering. So I applied in Council Of Scientific Research (CSIR) and  got selected as Scientist in Structural Engineering Research Centre( SERC), Chennai. But due to some family constraints I couldn’t join it and finally joined NTPC in August 2012. But I never lost my confidence and will. I continued  my preparation but there was lack of time then time management played significant role in my preparation .

My classroom training in NTPC was undergoing in Power Management Institute,Noida from August 2012 to March 2013 where schedule of classes were fixed. So I planned accordingly.I identified my weak subjects, areas and made study plan accordingly to cover as much as possible. During my preparation I found that there is problem of forgetting the formulas etc which is generally with everyone but you can find the solution for that .If I have to study a subject for  1 hour, then I used to divide it into three parts ; first part 25 minutes theory of new topic ;20 minutes numerical of previous topic covered which helped me to memorize the concepts; remaining 15 minutes for objective questions of new/previous topic. Every hour or half an hour I used to change the subjects and generally used to study 7-8 subjects everyday.At initial stage you will feel that you are studying very little but time and pace your summation of study will be more effective and productive and  you will not feel boredom at any time.If anytime you feel bored with any subject you change the subject and study your liking subject which you want when you feel sleepy start doing numerical part of subject which you studied earlier.

During holidays my study plan was to cover atleast all the subjects because latest exam pattern of IES is more subjective focused and covers all the subject,so if  you miss any subject you may not able to attempt all the questions of the section you select.

The Selection of Standard books plays the most significant role for preparation and use your books as your reference notes and mark with different color  depending on importance of topic you think is important and would help you in revision further

In March 2013 I was posted as Assitant Manager  in Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Project ,Chamoli Uttrakhand .I continued my study plan and used to change the duration of each subject as per weightage of each subject and time availability ,but due to workload I couldn’t cover all the subjects. Therefore ,I took one month leave before the exam and covered all the subjects. I used to cover all fourteen -fifteen subjects everday and also General studies and English vocabulary daily as it is one of the most important part for scoring good rank.I memorized all GRE English vocabulary which helped me a lot in English section.I managed to correct all English meanings and synomyns.


For any exam it is necessary to understand what that exam demands from the candidate.IES present pattern demands theoretical as well as numerical approach of the subject .In objective it needs time management and lot of practice of objective questions from several standard books.

I have seen that UPSC is directly picking concepts and questions from standard books which aspirants are generally not aware and blindly follow the study material and notes of coaching available in the market  which generally contains repeated concept questions asked earlier . The candidates are not able to attempt the new questions and waste there time during examination  hours and thus not getting the expected results. Present situation is such that it would make a lot of difference and you will be lagging behind. Likewise in conventional paper selection of questions is very important. UPSC is mixing questions of 3-4 subjects in single section and if candidate has not covered all the subjects, it would limit the attempt generally upto 110-120 marks which in my opinion is not sufficient in present situation. Therefore ,prepare all subjects and follow standard books of every subject and not wholly rely on coaching and their material and it is my firm belief that this exam can be cleared with good rank with self study, practice  and dedication .Continuity of study  is mandatory for this exam.

I appeared for IES -2013 and I was so confident even after my written examination that I will be able to secure under top 20 and secured AIR-2. IES 2013 exam was the most analytical and conceptual paper since 15years  in which UPSC attempted to find out  the self  study of standard books  and practice from the aspirants rather than asking questions directly from coaching material available  in the market.

The main aim of  giving my brief introduction was to motivate each and every aspirant who are preparing for any engineering competitive exam  . I have found that everyone is running for coaching and they are more inclined towards coaching rather than self study.The changing trend of IES,GATE is more focused on analytical approach , concepts ,self-study. Every exam needs different focused approach. I would like to suggest to follow standard books of each subject and practice as much as possible. I will be further sharing my ideas on this blog.

For any questions, please comment below.

It would be pleasure to answer your queries.

All the best for future aspirants!!!

Ashish Verma

AIR-2 (IES-2013)



Proper Channel for PSU to UPSC

About Author 


Author has worked with NHPC Ltd.(Central PSU) for more than 3 years and while working cleared UPSC ESE three times consecutively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Author has received awards from the Chief Minister of UP twice for securing Merit Positions in High-School and Intermediate Examinations of UP Board and also honored by Department of Science/ UP for securing highest marks in Science in High-School Examination. Author also bagged the Silver Medal of the University in B. Tech. Author has a deep interest in Hindi Literature and also received the title of “Manas Mandal Sudharak” from Manas Samiti Kanpur.


I have found many candidates preparing for exams conducted by UPSC while working with PSU or Some other government organization. Some of the candidates are always concerned for the transfer of service agreement bond, technical resignation, proper channel and resignation procedure etc.

I have appeared in UPSC ESE consecutively three times starting from 2011 to 2014 along with working in NHPC Ltd. (Miniratna Company). I got selected with AIR-144, 073, 157 in ESE-2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since I was working with a PSU, I always applied for the exam duly intimating my parent organization at each stage of the selection procedure. I have also found that many candidates do not intimate to their parent department while applying for any Competitive exams due to many reasons.

Let us understand the consequences if you will not intimate your parent organization:

  • Since UPSC does not ask for any experience certificate and No Objection Certificate for appearing in ESE, you can hide the fact without indicating in DAF (Detailed Application Form) and without intimating your current department, but it may cause trouble in future because these details will always be in record. Suppose you want to apply for any other post through Deputation, you cannot show your experience of previous job because you have not mentioned it in DAF while applying.
  • If while applying for UPSC ESE, you have not intimated to your current organization. You cannot give resignation indicating that you are going to join Some Central Govt. department allocated through UPSC ESE, but you have to give resignation on personal ground.
  • If you are under any Service Bond Obligation and your bond period is not completed in the current organization, you have to pay the currency of the bond and resignation must be on personal ground.
  • If your current organization is PSU, it must be having EPF (Employee Provident Fund) Scheme, and for State Government/Central Government the Scheme is NPS (New Pension Scheme). If you are coming from PSU, you have to withdraw the amount and If you are coming from State Government/Central Government department you can transfer your NPS account, without withdrawing your money, But for the transfer of account your resignation must be through proper channel.
  • If you are appointed through the ESE, you will get pay-protection and balance leave transferred, only if your earlier employer was a State Government/Central Government organization and resignation is through proper channel. In case of PSU, no provision of pay-protection is there.
  • In the rarest of the rare case, you may be in trouble if your current organization informs to UPSC that you have not applied through proper channel without intimating them. It may result into cancellation of candidature and a case may also be registered under Section-420 of IPC.

Proper Channel

Many candidates are not aware of the facts that every communication to the Human Resource division of the organization should be through proper channel. Proper Channel simply means that you have intimated through your controlling/reporting officer to the head of the division to the HR section of the organization, indicating “through proper channel” at the top of the letter. (E.g.- Chief Engineer ⇒Divisional GM ⇒ Divisional ED ⇒ GM (HR))

Technical Resignation

Technical Resignation simply means that you have applied through proper channel intimating at all the phases of the selection procedure.

Service Agreement Bond Transfer

Now-a-days, every organization like PSUs, BARC, DRDO etc., is following a trend of Service Agreement Bond. The bond mentions that you have to serve under that organization or Defence Services or Government of India for a particular period of time. If you have applied through proper channel, your bond gets transferred to the new organization clearly indication that you must complete the remaining period of the bond with the new organization. If you have applied through proper channel, it is the responsibility of your previous organization to communicate with the Concerned Ministry about your bond obligations and you need to sign the new bond with the new Organization for the remaining period of bond and it will be sent back to your earlier employer.

Intimation Stages

Many times it happens that candidates intimate only at the time of application only, but you must intimate the present employer at each phase like while application, while filling DAF and Interview and Finally resignation. While taking leave for appearing in exam, you should clearly mention that you are talking leave for appearing in Examination.

The aim of this article is to familiarize the peoples about the common mistakes that may create problem in your bright future and also aware the candidates about the procedure to be followed while applying for UPSC ESE or any other Examination.

For any query, please comment.



Hello Everyone

It is my constant endeavor to develop this blog as platform for all IES aspirants. I want to include as many diverse experiences of people as i can. In this article Nishek Jain shares his journey if becoming IES through mechanical engineering. I hope this article helps you in your preparation and overall guidance. He can be reached at nishek24@gmail.com



My Choice:

In Engineering we do a lot of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and answers to many of them are found by eliminating the not so suitable options. It was a similar situation. I graduated in 2011 and got opportunity to work in core mechanical engineering company for 3 years. The job was ok but after almost 2 years the work started becoming redundant and I was not happy. So I started looking for other options. I could think of 4 options:

  1. Job Change
  2. MBA
  3. Civil Services
  4. Engineering Services

Job Change was eliminated because I did not really know how to do it. I applied at few job portals and at websites of some good companies but did not get any good interview calls. Also I could not find many good companies where my specific experience of 3 years could be used and I might not be treated as a fresher.

MBA was again eliminated because I gave CAT two times with my job but could not get 99+ percentile because of less preparation and somehow I did not want to spend more time for CAT preparation.

Civil Services, though seemed very lucrative career choice, was again eliminated because I knew that I was not at all good at writing big essays and theoretical questions.

Finally Engineering Services, 1st question was: “Can I clear this exam?” I did a lot of research. Found some friends who have already cleared this exam, discussed with them. Had a look at the previous year papers and was finally confident that if I prepare well I can clear this exam.

2nd question was: “Will it really provide a good career and a solution to my present problem?” Again after a lot of research, the answer was yes. Engineering Services (especially Railways) provides a very dynamic and challenging career. There is a huge impact of your work on society and nation building and it is one of the most coveted and respectable job for engineering graduates. So, Engineering Services it was.


My Preparation:

I left my job and took coaching at Made Easy. I wanted to give just one best try so I thought of not leaving any help or support which I could get and so I thought of taking coaching and it was very helpful.

As it had been a long time since college, so coaching helped in recalling all the concepts in a faster way. Also, periodic tests were helpful in judging the present level of preparation. Good competition in the coaching centre motivated me to study harder. So, coaching was very helpful in my case, but I would not say that it is essential.

If one is a final year student or a recent pass out (or anybody) who remembers the basic concepts and can revise them on his own, then self study can be sufficient.


Strategy for anybody:

For Technical Part:-

  1. Revise all the technical subjects studied in college (if you did) or join a coaching centre to help you do that.
  2. If you are joining a coaching centre then revise your Class Notes on the same day. Practice the questions suggested by teacher and make short notes.
  3. No need to purchase books if you don’t have any. You don’t have that much time to go through all the books. Notes of good coaching centers are sufficient which are available at photocopy shops outside coaching centers.
  4. Practice previous 10-15 years IES questions both objective and subjective yourself. Many questions get repeated exactly or at least the type of questions remains more or less same.
  5. Join a good All India Test Series and give all the tests seriously.


For English and General Studies (GS):-

English and GS are going to play very important role (atleast till ESE 2016), so this area needs special attention and this is the section which helped me a lot. I got 140 in this paper.. 🙂

For English:-


  1. “VoLT Vocabulary” App: It is a recently launched android app which is very good for fast and fun vocabulary learning. It is based on the book “VoLT- Vocabulary Learning Techniques” by Abhishek Jain which I used for Vocab preparation. But now there is app and it is free so you can go for that.
  2. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis: Very good book for vocabulary improvement but a bit lengthy and time taking.

Grammar, Sentence Correction etc:

English Theory Book of Made Easy and Previous year questions of this section really help. Same mistakes are repeated many times.

For General Studies (GS):

GS section consists of 2 parts: Static and Dynamic. Static one i.e. Geography, Polity, Biology & History and Dynamic one i.e. Current Affairs. For the Static part notes of any good coaching institute may help but for Dynamic part I recommend notes of A.P. Singh Sir from Made Easy.

In short:

 Focus on technical concepts and practice more and more questions. Revise the class notes (or short notes) again and again. Previous 10-15 years questions and a good Test Series is must. For ESE-2016, General Studies and English are also equally important, so do focus on them if you are a serious aspirant and want to clear ESE 2016. From 2017 onwards, what happens to this part of the exam is yet to be seen.


My Interview:

My UPSC Interview went well (according to me) but my marks were not that good. I got 120 out of 200. I practiced for the interview with 3-4 mock interviews but the feel of the real UPSC interview was totally different from any of the mock interview. ESE interview this time was mostly technical, no current affairs etc. Technical questions included many questions related to job experience, some basic concept based questions and few advanced application based questions. I could answer almost 50-60% of the total technical questions but my confidence level was good.


Tips for Interview:

As mentioned above, ESE 2015 interview was mostly technical. Also, as per at the new pattern of ESE which is to be implemented from 2017, major portion of the General Studies like History, Geography, Polity etc. is removed from syllabus. So it is my prediction that ESE interviews in future are going to be more and more technical. So I would like to share following tips:

  • Revise all the technical concepts thoroughly before the interview.
  • If you have worked for a significant amount of time, prepare about your job profile, your significant contribution, recent developments in your area of work etc.

Note: Your English speaking skills play very less role in ESE interview. You just need to know the right answer and should be able to convey it to them.


General (But very helpful) Tips:

In such long preparation duration, feeling low sometimes is a part of the game and it happens with everybody. So whenever such phase comes, you should not get too much tensed or depressed, you should just take some time off the studies and try to do something to cheer yourself up. Watching a movie, hanging out with friends for some time, eating some good food outside may help.

For achieving a big target, a dose of motivation is also very much required time to time. Motivational posters, videos, computer wallpapers etc. are really helpful. My favorite motivational quote is this one by Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached”.