Book review | Once Upon An IAS Exam by K. Viyajakarthikeyan



Author: K. Vijayakarthikeyan

No. of pages: 138

Genre: Romance Comedy, Comedy

Published by: Rupa Publications

Published on: 24th September 2018

Format: Paperback 

My rating: ★★★★☆


Vishy’s worst nightmare—failing the UPSC’s Civil Services exam—has come true. He is plagued by insecurity, fear and doubts. The mother of all competitive examinations has rejected him and he needs a reason to live. So, what does he do? He tells his best friend Rithika, ‘I love you… Will you marry me?’

In Once Upon an IAS Exam, twenty-five-year-old Vishy tries to overcome the uncertainty and confusion about his future and figure out ways of convincing Rithika to marry him. Things turn even more interesting, funny and emotional as Vishy reattempts to conquer ‘Mount IAS’. As he tries to take his academic and love life towards safety, he seeks refuge in the world of IAS coaching centres.

Set in the bustling Civil Services exam coaching hub of Anna Nagar in Chennai, this book is a hilarious account of the actuality, stress and struggle faced by millions of candidates who prepare year after year for one of India’s toughest exams. Join Vishy as he sets out to prove his mettle to the world—and himself. Will Rithika accept the love of her best friend? Will Vishy overcome his sense of failure? Will there be a happily ever after?


This is easy-breezy story is about Vishy and his humorous journey to crack the most coveted civil services exam in India. The story starts with him failing to pass the prelims on his first attempt. Vishy, a mechanical engineering graduate goes on to crib about his wasted years in studying the course and finally made peace with his decision to serve as a public servant. A bright and young aspirant, Vishy wants to crack the exam and make his name but the day his results come out he emotionally breaks down and proposes his best friend Rithika. 

The hilarious turn of events make the book fun-filled and enjoyable. For instance, when Vishy goes on a look out for coaching centre for his preparation, his hunt for a perfect one turns into a nightmare for him; or, when the readers are introduced to different people with their own quirks from Vishy's class. 

Vishy and his close friends, Ashok and Vinod's, preparations for the exams and their way of fun gives a slight insight to the readers about this extremely difficult IAS exams. The way Vishy and his friends tackle different situations regarding the exam is a thing to watch out in this book. Also, the author makes sure to add some sob stories about a few characters in the book to add spice to the preparation fever. 

All in all, this book is a perfect companion book if you are travelling, or want a small break from the books you usually read, or if you want a cool break from your life. 


Author K. Vijayakarthikeyan has written this book to serve as a good take-a-break piece of entertainment. The book is simple and one that attracts readers of different ages. I would say that even a young teenager would find the narration easy. The main catch of the book is its simplicity. 


Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan is a medico turned bureaucrat currently working as a commissioner, Coimbatore Municipal Corporation, and is the youngest ever officer to have held this charge. He is well known for his hugely popular initiatives as an IAS officer and has won several awards and accolades for his pioneering work in land, solid waste and urban management. He has authored three Tamil bestsellers, Ethum Doorathil IAS, Adhuvum Idhuvum and Orey Kallil 13 Maangai. On sunny weekends, he can be found wreaking havic on the cricket ground with his explosive batting and deceptive spin. 



I received a copy of the book from Vinfluencers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 




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