"I want to join IAS and not IFS (Indian Foreign Service), as I want to be in India and serve the people. Though challenging, I will get an opportunity to learn and work for the people," Ms Nandini told IANS from Haryana's Faridabad on phone.
Ms Nandini said her friends had been joking for a week that she would be a topper and should get ready to celebrate the occasion.
"I didn't believe when they said so. I told them not to joke but wait for the results. I feel very happy and also relieved as the anxiety is over," she said.
Ms Nandini was appointed as a probationary officer with the Revenue Department in the Union Finance Ministry in 2016 after she was selected in 2015 under the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) category.
"I appeared for the UPSC exams for the first time in 2014 and got selected in 2015 under the IRS category. I am at Faridabad for training in the revenue service," she said.
"In my previous attempt, I was not consistent. I realised it and ensured consistency in my efforts. I want to work at the grassroots level," Ms Nandini added.
From the Kembodi village in Kolar district, about 100km from Bengaluru, she is the eldest of the two children of her parents.
Her brother Thorun Patel, 24, is a post-graduate student at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in New Delhi.
Nandini studied in Kannada medium from the government-aided Thimmaiah Vidyalaya at Kolar and Pre University Course from Alva's College at Moodabidri in Dakshina Kannada district.
She graduated in civil engineering from the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru and was a gold medallist. After graduation, though Nandini worked in the state public works department as an assistant engineer for two-three years, she always aspired to become an IAS officer.
"I was sure of my daughter's success as I know her dedication and hard work since her childhood," said her father Ramesh, an assistant school master in the Government High School at Mudiwadi in Kolar.
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