He saw an opportunity in failure and today Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan is all smiles after securing second rank in the prestigious civil services examination, 2015.
23-year-old Khan made it to the coveted Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in his second attempt.
"I had appeared last year but my ranking was down and, therefore, I was offered Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS). I joined but IAS was my first love and I planned to to do both -- join the training and appear again."
Hailing from Devipora-Mattan village in Anantnag district, 60 km south of Srinagar, Khan, son of a school teacher, says he became interested in joining IAS after Shah Faesal from the Kashmir Valley topped civil services examination in 2009.
"I did not have a great exposure to coaching classes but I was confident that I can do it. Extensive reading and complete dedication made me realise my dream," he said.
Wasnt expecting 2nd rank, but I did expect a good result: Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan-2nd topper, Civil Services exam pic.twitter.com/j4bgPTR0kT— ANI (@ANI_news) May 10, 2016
Besides this, he said, he always wanted to be of use to the society by being "with the people" and doing something "for the people".
Khan, who did his 11th and 12th from prestigious Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar, said he had made it to the IIT but did not join as he was offered a B-Tech course when he wanted to pursue BE. "This also acted as a catalyst for me to appear for the civil services and I qualified last year.
"I met Mr Shah Faesal and took his advice on whether I should join the services. We had a long discussion and after that we arrived at a conclusion that I should join as well as appear again.
"So here I am....happy at the decision. I have already given IAS as my first choice and Jammu and Kashmir as my cadre preference. I believe that there is a lot of scope for me to do something for my people in the state," says Khan, who is at present undergoing training at Lucknow for IRTS.
Meanwhile, an elated Mohammed Shafi Khan, who teaches economics at the Government Higher Secondary school in Anantnag, has a steady stream of visitors coming to congratulate him on his son's success.
"I am a proud father today. The best moment in a father's life is when he is known by his children and today my son has given me this happiness," an excited Khan Sr said.
Expressing the hope that his son's success will inspire the young generation to try and make it big in life and not let failure overwhelm them, Khan said, "It gives me immense pleasure that my son did it against all odds. He was undergoing training at Lucknow for his IRTS and simultaneously he was preparing for the civil services exam again.
"His hard work has paid rich dividends. Allah has listened to our prayers," he said.
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