For 36 long years, Devkaran had remained a nameless and faceless employee in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), hidden behind bulky files he carried from the chamber of one babu to another.
On Wednesday, as he approached the end of the corridor on the first floor, his feet trembled in
tension as well as excitement.
For, the class-four staff of the country's highest executive office was about to meet his top boss—Narendra Modi. The occasion was special, too.
Devkaran's son Rajesh Kumar has secured the 578th rank out of 1,122 selected candidates in the civil service exams and as soon as Modi heard about it he wanted to meet both father and the son.
"I could not have expected more in this life. When I entered his room, the Prime Minister stood up, came around the table to feed sweets from his own hands to my son. The PM told my son that whenever he needs any help, he can meet him," said Devkaran, a daftari (office help) in the PMO.
Another surprise came towards the end of the meeting when Modi told the bright young man what he had been telling his cabinet colleagues and bureaucrats: "If you have any innovative idea (of governance) in your mind, feel free to tell me."
Rajesh's grandfather Narayan Ram had worked in the first PMO during Jawaharlal Nehru's tenure. When he died in 1978 still working in South Block, Devkaran got a job under compassionate ground.
Last week, after the civil services results were out, an elated Devkaran distributed sweets in the PMO. "I gave sweets to the PM's personal staff and they said they will inform the PM about my son's success. Last evening, I got a call confirming an appointment."
Rajesh, a graduate in Electronics Communication from Alwar's Institute of Engineering & Technology had brief stints with the Centre's National Informatics Centre (NIC) and ICICI Bank while he prepared for the civil service exams.
He is currently working as an assistant in the department of personnel and training (DoPT) of the Government of India.
This was his first attempt in the civil services examination.
The Devkarans originally belong to Rajasthan and fall under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.
"If luck permits, Rajesh may bag a slot even in the elite group of Indian Police Service or Revenue Service. And who know, one day he might enter the South Block following his father's footstep but as a bureaucrat," said a senior officer.
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