by Swatee Jog
She’s just like any twenty-something you’d know. Except that she is the CEO of Belagavi Cantonment and already has about 7 years in Civil service to her credit with some awards added in.
So while you do the math about when she cleared her UPSC in the first attempt, you’re left baffled as one layer after the other unravels. If you’ve seen her Facebook post a few days ago with her husband, Shreyas Hosur (In the Civil Service, posted at the PMO in Delhi) beaming as he sits in her office, the first thought is that nothing could be more nationalist than this couple in civil service. She is what happens when an already intelligent girl (she calls herself “nerdy girl” as she grew up) with a great upbringing, gets a professional education and cracks the UPSC to join the Indian Defence Estate Service (IDES) to become CEO of cantonments across the country.
But when you meet her, she comes across as extremely grounded, level headed, with a thorough understanding of her role and responsibility and hard working. She’s assertive and is known for her work wherever she has been posted. You feel proud of this new breed of civil servants in India- a potent combination of brains and guts, living life to the full and yet doing meaningful work.
Divya hails from Chitradurga and after schooling there, completed her engineering degree in Coimbatore and Bangalore. It was her first year engineering at Coimbatore that led her to the ISHA Yoga Center of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and she’s still into meditation and spirituality. She cracked her UPSC in the first attempt to join the IDES. IAS could have been an option with another attempt, but looks like she’s satisfied with her career.
She met her future husband at the UPSC training in Delhi. If you’ve followed her rare appearances on social media, you will see her summiting peaks in the Himalayas, or holding the medal at the TCS 10 K marathon that she completed or simply being praised by her husband for being with him during some other marathons. She travels to interesting places and chronicles them. Now you wonder what a petite girl like her is doing excelling in sports as well?
Divya credits her love for the sport to the training as a civil servant when every candidate has to pick up a sport. She did and won 9 medals, a gold in long jump, high jump, badminton, sprint and relay and silver medal in 9 km cross country. What next, you ask? Well, she’s also a trained dancer and vocalist in Carnatic music.
You must hear her speak about the Himalayan adventure. Divya and her husband embarked upon this adventure of climbing the Stok Kangri (20190 feet) which is the highest peak in the Stok region of the Himalayas from the Indian side (the only civil service couple to do so together). She beams while talking about the time she had swollen hands and giddiness with low oxygen levels. But then, she says she found it all worth the risks. “One must see the Himalayas, they make you realize how insignificant human beings are, “she says matter of factly. You keep sensing this facet of hers again and again as you get to know her. “We’re here because we have cracked some exam. Otherwise, we are nothing different from others except that we get to do meaningful work for the country”, she says.
Just over a year into the marriage, the couple manages to get some quality time which they love spending on travel and doing things they are passionate about. Passion is something which she has in plenty. She’s even completed her two Masters degrees, one even when she was serving as the CEO of Cantonment at Goa with an additional charge of Karwar. That was the time when work was huge, she had to frequently travel on work, and yet she traveled to IIM-Bangalore every weekend for one whole year to attend her classes of executive MBA in public policy. Also in the final stage of completion is her Masters in Sustainable habitat and climate change from ISB-Mohali. She studied for this degree when she had just taken charge at Belagavi. Having no proper computer at hand, still, put up at the guest house, she came to her office at 1 in the night, studied till 5, got back to the guest house, had a walk and then back to the office. As a common person, we only get to see the privileges of the civil servants, but one must get to know them up close to understand the hard work that they put in, especially since they have to deal with stakeholders from different sections of society, the common man, the politicians, and the bureaucrats while performing their duties which they hold close to their hearts.
After having put in a whole long day’s work, she unwinds by spending at least an hour in the kitchen cooking her own meal and relaxing with her pet cat. But here is someone who is also into some thankless work of updating the entire system using her engineering background. Divya reads a lot. Currently, she’s reading The Incredible History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal which speaks a lot of her taste in reading. As is with every civil servant, she may be posted someplace else after her two-year stint in Belagavi. Buts here’s someone you must look out for in the years to come and reminisce her Belagavi connection in her successful journey of nation-building.