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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

‘Steel frame’ that keeps govt machinery humming, knows how to unwind too

On the rare occasions that they do manage a breather, they turn towards their hobbies to take their mind off the daily grind.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
September 5, 2021 5:51:54 am
Jalandhar DC strums guitar at a party and (right) a still from Rakhee Gupta’s devotional album. Gupta is Resident Commissioner of Punjab at New Delhi. (Express)

FOR BUREAUCRATS of Punjab, it isn’t just all work and no play. These overworked officers, who are basically the silent force that keep the government machinery wheel turning efficiently, often need to put in long hours, prioritising their work before everything else on a daily basis.

On the rare occasions that they do manage a breather, they turn towards their hobbies to take their mind off the daily grind.

IAS officer Rakhee Gupta, for example, loves singing. The 1997 batch officer who is a senior Punjab bureaucrat, has at least one hit devotional song to her credit on YouTube, which was released in October last year. Rakhee, now, has released her second devotional number – a Krishna bhajan titled Aiso Man Hoye was composed by Devender Dev – that was premiered on YouTube by T-Series in the first week of August and has received 305,339 views (as of August 22) and more than 52,000 likes.

Rakhee, who is serving as the Resident Commissioner of Punjab at New Delhi, says,” I never learned singing professionally. But it has been my passion since childhood. However, once I became an IAS, the job hours got long and I got busy. I never really could explore my desire to sing completely. Finally, last year, I tried singing one devotional song, Main Toh Ratungi Radha Naam, and it got a roaring reception on YouTube. So this year, in the month of Saavan, I tried to come up with another number. I compartmentalise myself. When I work, I focus on work and when I devote time to my singing in my free time, I do justice with that. My husband, Rahul Bhandari, secretary irrigation and mining [ a 1997 Punjab cadre IAS officer], and both my sons have been pushing me to come out with a musical number as they have been listening to me sing for years together. That kind of motivated me. There is no age to live up to your dreams.”

Rakhee’s soulful rendition celebrates various facets of Krishna’s childhood. Composed in an innovative style, her second attempt dedicated to Krishna is a natural corollary to her first song that sings praises of Krishna’s consort Radha. “Radha and Krishna are considered incomplete without each other. They are worshipped together. The choice of my song on Krishna was obvious,” says Rakhee. adding that she wants to focus on devotional songs only for the time being, but will continue living her hobby of singing whenever she gets time.

Like Rakhee, another bureaucrat, Kumar Saurabh Raj, has found refuge in painting during his free time.

Kumar Saurabh, who is posted as the Director of Technical Education, Punjab, spends most of his weekends, painting.

He says,” I was fond of painting, but somehow, never got a chance to explore this hobby. About 3 years ago I started doing watercolor paintings and continued increasing my collections. Most of my paintings have been taken by my friends. I still have nearly 30 with me at my place. In the past few months, I even attended a few online classes to enhance my skills. Initially, I tried my hands on everything, but now I do only landscapes. I enjoy painting as it freshens up my mood and relieves stress.”

Ghanshyam Thori, the Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar, is another bureaucrat who has taken up playing the guitar to break the monotony of his work routine. Thori says, “I do play the guitar among my friends and family and of course sometimes for myself as well. After being a hardcore officer the whole day, sometimes we need to spend little time with ourselves as well. It relaxes me.”

MF Farooqui, additional director general of police (ADGP), on the other hand, loves shayari and has been part of many mushairas, while IPS Gurpreet Singh Toor has authored a book `Alharh Umran Talakh Sunehe’, which is based on his experiences and interactions with drugs addicts during his various field postings in the police department. This book was released by Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, in July 2018.

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