ABLE OFFICER, CONSUMMATE PAINTER, SEASONED WRITER
Ms Nidhi Chaudhary, IAS
Nidhi Chaudhary is a paradigmatic IAS officer whose skills with the brush and pen gush forth once she returns to the tranquil ambience of her house and the effervescent company of her kids. That boundless joy has resulted in 200 paintings, 300 poems, many books and assorted writings. And all this at just 36! For some people, sky is the limit.
Creativity does not wait for that one perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments – breaking out of established patterns by looking at the world around you through a completely different prism. But what if one’s creativity is replete with child-like freedom, self-expression, maverick ideas and relentless experimentation with a matching courage of conviction? At a relatively young age of 36, IAS Officer Nidhi Chaudhary packs all these traits and many more making it tricky to encapsulate them in words.
Her academic credentials are archetypal and should be a benchmark for any student who aims for the record books. With Master’s in English Literature, Public Administration, Rural Development, Public Policy, a JAIIB/CAIIB she can be attributed with a world view of administration. Starting as a Section Officer, DGACR in 2006, her work experience now stands at being an IAS officer of the 2012 cadre after being the Manager of RBI (2006-2011), Indian Audit and Account Service (2011-2012).
Her career profile as an IAS officer is a striking example of how a competent officer can earn the reputation of being upright with only a handful years of experience behind. As Assistant Collector at Pen (Raigad), Chief Executive Officer, ZP Palghar, Joint Commissioner MCGM, Deputy Secretary (Water & Sanitation) and District Collector Raigad she left a stamp of her iron-fisted administration. Even in the high-risk Covid period, she was ubiquitous, supervising the dexterous implementation of lockdown in initial stages followed by upgradation of health infrastructure and disaster mitigation.
Ms Nidhi does not believe in carrying work pressures home. The tough exterior is left in the office and what returns home is a substantive, flexible and prolifically gifted woman whose dreamy eyes keep searching for a creative outlet. This shift is compatible with her inherent compassionate, committed and courageous nature. It gives her the tensile strength to glide her through difficult situations. Her weapons of combat are Reading, Writing, Oratory and Painting. Time and circumstances willing, the wanderlust in her comes to the fore. And engaging such diverse spectrum of activity comes without compromising on quality family life.
Painting and writing have been her childhood passion and pastime. Her first ode, at 10, was published in a children’s magazine. It was the first rung of her poetic ladder from where she has never had to look down. The parents were proud of their little daughter and never judgmental about what she wrote. They encouraged her adventures with colours, brush and even framed her creations on the walls. The father would often send her poems and stories to various publications. This freedom and encouragement spurred the best faculties in her. In the course of time, painting became her biggest stress buster.
Programmed with an academic bent of mind, Ms Nidhi finds comfort in writing academic, research-based articles/essays, rhymes and fictional stories. Most of her stories portray the everyday struggle of a woman. The stories that she writes for children are motivational and mythological while on a higher plane, her write-ups are mostly about self-help, banking and finance.
Even as she has resourced poetry from the vast repositories of her inner recess – she has over 300 – her book “Bachpan Ke Geet” is a collection of poems was a birthday gift to her son. In what should be a rare, she authored two books “1234 Economic Terms” and “Understanding Economic Terms” while she was preparing for the UPSC. With such a large collection of stories and articles, she aims to get them published at the first opportunity. It is remarkable that her preferred work is in Hindi although she has a Gold Medal in English Literature. Each award and appreciation that she won was a stepping stone to another. By her own confession, writing remains her prime pastime activity.
Being a mother of two and saddled with a very demanding job , work-life balance is a tight-rope walk but Ms Nidhi has no intentions of being an example of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Her hobbies unshackle her mind to reanimate herself from the routine skullduggery. So in the office, she is back with her batteries fully charged to take on newer challenges. For all those whose life is meshed in officialese, hobbies are the best diversions, she feels. Her creative experiments with the acrylic/oil paint brush – which began with her maternity in 2018 — give her a tranquil feeling and the outcomes are stunning. Multiply that feeling by 200 paintings and one can gauge her serenity quotient. As student, she found a perfect equation in straddling studies and recreation. As a professional, she has struck a phenomenal equation with work and satisfaction.
As someone who has over 200 paintings to her credit, she is all modesty when she claims not to be a professional but she makes no bones about being upbeat over Bob Ross’ paintings. Her kids are her jubilant partners as she paints her subjects, most of which are natural landscapes or religious. The divine manifestations are Buddha, Radha, Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, Hanuman and Rama.
The future, they say, belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Ms Nidhi has many more to chase because a thing of beauty is a joy forever. With the pen and the brush by her side, those dreams keep turning into reality with practiced regularity.