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Next stop: IAS Madhu NC, a bus conductor with BMTC, studied five hours daily to clear the UPSC Civil Services exam

January 28, 2020 06:41 AM

COURTESY MIRROR JAN 28

Next stop: IAS
Madhu NC, a bus conductor with BMTC, studied five hours daily to clear the UPSC Civil Services exam. He’s just cleared the Mains and is looking forward to the interview on March 25
| Reya Mehrotra
mybangaloremirror@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @BangaloreMIRROR

When Madhu NC saw his roll number in the results of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) mains which were declared recently in January, his joy knew no bounds. This was not just a big moment that every IAS aspirant looks forward to. Madhu is a bus conductor with the BMTC and the first in his family of elder brother, sister-in-law and parents, to go to school. Understandably, his mother is over the moon too, sharing the joy that her son feels, despite not understanding the import of the results.

The now 29-year-old cleared the prelims in June last year and the results were declared in October after which he started preparing for the Mains. Madhu had to study Political Science & International Relations, Ethics, Language, General Studies (divided into three parts), Maths and Essay Writing. He chose Political Science and International Relations as his optional subjects. Interestingly, Madhu gave his preliminary exams in Kannada but his mains in English.


Madhu who hails from the small town of Malavalli in Mandya, started working at the age of 19 as a conductor, after completing his school. He then completed his graduation and post-graduation through distance learning and now holds a Masters degree in Political Science.

“My parents don’t know what exams I have cleared but are very happy for me. I am the first one to be educated in my family,” beams Madhu NC as he shows his roll number in the list proudly.

For eight hours a day, Madhu dons his khaki uniform and works as a conductor. It’s a taxing job, he says, being on his feet in a moving bus, jostling with crowds, handing out tickets, making sure there are no ticketless travellers… Once he clears the interview, he plans to give up his job as a conductor and become an IAS officer like his present boss, C Shikha, the managing director of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

For two hours every week, Shikha has been guiding him to prepare for the interview. “She has always been very supportive and has guided me on how to write the exam. Now she is preparing me for the interview,” says Madhu.

After having failed in the Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS) exams in 2014, Madhu says he was not demotivated. In fact, it inspired him to prepare for the better. In 2018, he gave the UPSC exam but did not clear it. However that did not stop him from reappearing for the exam again and he finally cleared it this time. He says, “I always wanted to achieve something big in life. I started working early to support my family but that did not stop me from studying further. I used to study for 5 hours a day. My subjects were Ethics, Political Science, Maths and Science. I would study every day, before and after work. I would also wake up at 4 am and finish my studies before proceeding to work.”

Madhu didn’t sign up for coaching classes to prepare for the exam but preferred to study on his own with some guidance from his seniors at the BMTC head office. “ I watch a lot of YouTube videos to learn how to prepare for the interview. I am learning the art of answering questions with confidence. I am very positive and confident that I will clear the interview too,” he says.

The 29-year-old conductor is now preparing for his interview which is slated for March 25th

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