Beete Hue Din by Ashok Bhatia

Rating : 3.5/5 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

“Beete hue din” is a memoir written by retired IAS officer Ashok Bhatia that narrates his story from the 1940s. It touches and walks through all phases of his life – childhood, student life, married life, IPS and IAS training days, official postings, and family. He has been very candid while writing it, and at times it gives a sense of reading someone’s diary.

IAS is one of the prestigious career paths for Indian youngsters. Thousands of students across the country tirelessly aspire to become IAS officers, and it is intriguing to observe the life of an IAS closely. Most of us only know the designation but not the responsibilities that came with it. This book made me understand the kind of jobs he has to take up and how the system works. Reading about his struggle like a commoner even after being appointed as a highly authoritative position somewhat amazed me. Arranging for transportation, traveling through local transport, and looking for a rented home shows officers’ lives are not always a bed of roses.

Most retired officers publish their memoirs to illuminate the controversies during their times. However, Mr. Ashok has restrained himself from doing so and has clarified the same in the introduction section itself.

Chapters about his lives are breezy reminiscent of a time before technology took over. Although I am an 80’s kid, I still could relate to many childhood memories. When he talks about his life during the 1960s, I got reminded of the stories my parents used to tell. At some points, the struggle seems superficial, like mentioning an “old” Chevrolet car to reach the airport during his childhood. What looks like a struggle to him was used to be a dream for us in our childhood.

Throughout the book, he has addressed only the good about everyone and everything. Unfortunately, it is where this book lacks. Readers don’t always want to read about controversies, but a little balanced view could have been appreciated. He only talks about triumphantly solving the long pending grievances; he doesn’t talk about failures. He mentions big names but never mentioned any abhorrent incident.

Overall, it is a pleasant and knowledgeable read with a profound personal touch. In addition, the photo gallery at the end stimulates a genuine connection with him and his family.