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My Mains 2017 Playlist + Therapy

Mains 2017 was a beautiful and interesting time for me. I came out of my indolent shell and worked hard for something truly big. When the stress and the monotony reached peak levels, I made it a point to blast my speakers for a while. My study room usually felt like a home rave in the evenings. I’m certain that my neighbours couldn’t have imagined that their neighbour’s daughter is writing Mains. I agree with the mighty Virat Kohli when he says — mahaul ek dum light rakhna chahiye. (He spoke in some interview about how he blasts punjabi music in the Indian cricket team’s changing room before a big, high stress match.) Indeed, art is how we decorate space and music is how we decorate time. Music is a magical stress buster and an excellent form of therapy. So here are the songs that were playing at my place during Mains 2017.

The point of this article is also to humanise the folks who join the IFS. The stereotype is that highly nerdy duds who don’t have a life crack civil services. This is of course a total misconception.

I wish I could share the details of all the fun stuff that is discussed on the IFS 2018 what’sapp group. We all have very lively and colourful personalities to say the least. We were just relatively more willing and able to sacrifice for 2–3 years of our life. We had the emotional resilience to accept failure, learn from it and move on. This is why I always say that CSE primarily tests how sorted you are as a human being. It’s not only about mastering the current affairs and the subjects. It is majorly about working with your own mind to evolve into a happier, productive and an emotionally stable human being.

In my own case, I had a very defined and limited social life for 7–8 months during my 3rd attempt. I was only in touch with 5–7 people including my parents. I did not get into any relationship/fling, join Facebook, instagram or snapchat during 4 years of my CSE preparation because I didn’t want anyone or anything to waste my time or drain my energy. For 7–8 months in my 3rd attempt, I didn’t have a smartphone. I used a Nokia 105.
Was that phase of renunciation, struggle and focus worth it? Absolutely. Just seeing my parents’ faces on result day made everything worth it.

The exam has totally centred me as a person. When it’s time to enjoy, I have a great time but when it’s time to work, I forget about the world. What you need to crack the exam is BALANCE, especially because it is a very long exam. You cannot become a hermit but you have to remain focussed. I went out to chill with my cousins and friends but I also deliberately discarded everything and everyone who brought even an iota of negative energy into my life. Your priorities should be crystal clear in your mind and that comes from a strong intrinsic motivation to clear the exam. There is no substitute for a basic intrinsic motivation which brings me to a key point — reflect on why you want to clear the examination and the kind of work life you want. From that clarity stems the will-power to push through. And that alone will make you wake up early with a smile on your face.

My preparation has made me come to the realisation that discipline is emancipating. It may feel limiting in the moment. It may feel that one’s spontaneity and individuality is being crushed. But trust me, on a macro/long-term level, executing your schedule is giving you the freedom to be yourself and live the life you desire. Momentary pleasures and laziness might feel instantly gratifying but in the long term, you are just putting a cage around yourself. I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, back to the playlist. I gave myself 3–5 songs that I listened to each day in the month leading up to Mains. This is now probably one of my favorite playlists because it instantly takes me back to those days when I had nothing other than my own hard work and self-belief. Be your own best friend. As the great Swami Vivekananda says, “Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong. Tell your mind that it is strong. And have unbounded faith and hope in yourself.”

7th October
Need You — Flight Facilities
Lebanese Blonde — Thievery Corporation
Nicotine Love — Tricky

8th October
Before Today — Everything But The Girl
Cocaine Model — ZHU
Right Here — Tricky feat Oh Land
Skywalker — Miguel

9th October
Need to be Loved — Adam K and Soha
The Zephyr Song — Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Otherside — Red Hot Chilli Peppers

10th October
Come as You Are — Nirvana
Eventually — Tame Impala
Yes I’m Changing — Tame Impala

11th october
Halcyon on and on- Orbital
Earth is Burning- Orbital
The more you make it- Garden City Movement
Tame Impala- Past Life

12th october
Cherry Blossom Girl- Air
Run Run Run- Air
Tennis Court-Flume
Free Tibet- Hilight Tribe
Fuel My Fire- Prodigy

13th october
Safar- Thievery Corporation
La Femme d’argent- Air
Palestine Girl- Tricky
End Hits (full album)- Fugazi
Karmacoma-Massive Attack

14th october
La femme parallel- Thievery Corporation
Break on through- The Doors
Bhor Bhor- Indian Ocean
How Soon is Now? — The Smiths
Light My Fire — The Doors

15th October
Le Monde — Thievery Corporation
Patience- Nas and Damien Marley
4 am- Kaskade

16th October
Girls — Abir
Playground Love — Air

17th October
Take my soul — Thievery Corporation
Omid — Thievery Corporation

18th October
Trains — Porcupine Tree
Always Never- Porcupine Tree
Time Flies — Porcupine Tree
Remember me lover — Porcupine Tree

19th October
Love + Loss — Garden City Movement
Lir — Garden City Movement
Best of Times? — Garden City Movement
She’s so untouchable — Garden City Movement

20th October
Invaders must die — The Prodigy
Sober — Tool
Megalomaniac — Incubus
Highway — Audioslave

21st October
Feel Good — Gorillaz
All Alone — Gorillaz
November has come — Gorillaz

22nd October
Crazy for you — Slowdive
Rutti — Slowdive
Miranda — Slowdive

23rd October
Fluffy — Wolf Alice
Your love’s whore — Wolf Alice
Giant Peach-Wolf Alice
Changeling — The Doors

24th October
Lotus Flower — Radiohead
After Hours — Velvet Underground and Nico
Venus in Furs — Velvet Underground and Nico

25th October
Ashes — Above & Beyond
Secret — Above & Beyond
If I could fly — Above & Beyond
Come Home — Above & Beyond

26th October
Water of Life — Stan Kolev
Moaning Lisa Smile — Wolf Alice
Reunion — The XX

27th October
Glory Box — Portishead
Hummingbird — Maya Jane Coles

Before I sign off for today, I just want to reiterate that I do not have a Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat account. So send your questions/get in touch over twitter (@m3ghaarora) or my e-mail.

Stay fine and soar high! Love always.



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