Accompanying yourself through ups and downs of life!

From being a Mediocre to Aquiring an AIR 20 | A True Story

Pradeep Pandey

I am Pradeep Pandey. Indore is my birthplace. My schooling is done completely in Indore. My graduation is in Computer Science Engineering from SVITS, Indore. I have finished my Masters in Computer Science from IISc Bangalore. Right now I am working as Software Engineer in Cisco Systems. My life is really not so fascinating or full of achievements but it may guide anyone to live a better life with less resources.  It goes on like this:

            I am talking of those days when economically my family used to belong to the lower middle class. But morally my parents were always like owners of some treasure. They always motivated me to learn and move on. I was not good in my earlier schooling. But somehow I survived and gradually I built up my interest in studies. In second standard, I got first rank in class. I was feeling proud of myself for the first time. Then till my twelfth standard I always secured first rank in class. During my 8th standard, I noticed that life is not easy without learning English language. So I took a step forward myself and started learning the language with a book which claimed to teach you English in 7 days, wow. But I still took almost a year to understand the basics of Grammar and to get the basic fluency in the spoken language.

            Okay, coming to my pre-college life. After 12th it was like, Now What? That time was really not so interesting. I tried to crack IIT-JEE, which I couldn’t, tried to crack AIEEE, but no good colleges were there for a General class boy. <Well let’s not go into it, it’s a topic not to be touched.>

Finally, I cracked state level engineering entrance test, got rank in top 500 and took admission into an average college. I was not sure what was good for me. What to choose, whether Electronics or Computer Science. Since based on my rank I got Computer Science, so I continued with it only and became a CS guy. Life was never easy for me. I had no interest in Computer Science and I was not even a regular student in class. Attendance was always an issue for me. Having all these self-made crises in my pocket, miraculously I spent my all 4 years and even got placed into TCS. But as usual life was never easy there too. I found that I am not made for this job, so left it. I came to know about an exam during my job, GATE.

            This was something which again filled me with excitement. There was a challenge and I had accepted it with my heart and soul. I started preparing for it. But my college life was a complete dump. I needed to start everything from scratch. And I did it too. But it was always hard to wake up motivated and move on positively. Family responsibilities, my future, their future, their expectations, and their worries for me many such things always accompanied me.

            I wrote GATE in 2013 first time and got an AIR 780. I was broken as I was far beyond the range of IITs. Everyone was looking at me and my next step. I was blank. Life tricked me again. I thought that it’s over and paid the fee in NIT Allahabad. An inner voice was always told me that it’s not destined to end this way. I don’t know how I gathered that confidence again. I stood up and decided to take another attempt in GATE 2014. I noticed all reasons of my failures and the most dominating reason was my fear.

I was always afraid of failing. I trained myself well enough with my entire arsenal but this was the biggest enemy. I had to fight back. I started again with a neutral mind. The decision was taken and now this was the time to make it right. Daily 6 -7 hours of study, finishing a subject within 10 days with solving problems and dedicated 2-3 hours of Roadrash along with my favorite playlist. This was my life for next 4 months. In between there were times when I slept for only 2-3 hours daily on average.

            Though this was unnecessary to take such a tight routine but this is how I got myself motivated in those days of great depression. Anyways I was again full of spirit and more focused and this time I was not afraid of anything as I had nothing to lose this time.

            At the final day of exam, I was little nervous but was still focused. I did my best. Exam was over. Now it was time to wait for the results. The one-month wait was like living a life in hell.

I remember very precisely, I never dropped a single tear in whole time span of preparation for GATE regardless what time it was. But when the night of result came, after watching my All India Rank, AIR 20, I could not stop the oceans of my eyes from coming out. Life changed. The decision taken was right.

            The guy who was wishing to get some IIT anyhow was now in the position to make choices: Whether IISC Bangalore or IIT Bombay?  Well I chose IISC obviously (the best decision of my life). IISC is a must to visit place in life. I spent my golden 2 years there with awesome friends. I lived a dream there. I still visit IISC on weekends to revive those moments.

Yes, just to mention, I also got job offer from IOCL, but I continued my Masters at IISC. It’s always a worth to choose IISC over anything. Academics of IISC were like nightmare many times but now when I look back in the corridors of my memories I love the place more and more.

I also followed some GATE-groups on Facebook which I am still following. They are worth to follow. One can get almost all one’s problems solved.

Not to forget, I am always ready to help people preparing for GATE. Actually I love to help people. I want to help all deprived ones as much as I can. It’s like my untold mission. This is actually what I learned myself while preparing for GATE, “HELP ALL”.  The basic idea is:

There may be many ups and downs in my life, but I will never leave myself alone.

Pradeep Pandey

AIR 20, GATE 2014

Software Engineer in Cisco Systems


5 thoughts on “Accompanying yourself through ups and downs of life!

  1. Wow 🙂 It is truly story and motivational speaks. I myself really like these statements. Pradeep, you are doing great job by helping other candidates. And best wishes for your future from my side 🙂


  2. I am inspired by the story you tell here and it was serendipity for me to met you in your last days in iisc. I have learn one thing from you that is smile at every moment and enjoy the life with whatever we have with the thought to get better always.


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