NewsAbhilasha Bisht. (By Arrangement)
Summer and winter vacations were all about spending time in the dense forests of picturesque Uttarakhand for Abhilasha Bisht when she was growing up.
The Bisht family would stop by streams and brooks to collect flowers and pretty rocks, pine cones and orchids while accompanying her parents on tours in rickety jeeps and partly on foot into the wilderness, replete with lush green forests and valleys. A pair of their Apso dogs, would either lead them up the hill or roll down the hills behind them.
"We spent our vacation in nature, without electricity or phones. We would tramp around in the sun all day and read books in the hotly contested illumination cone of the lamp in the evening," recalls senior IPS officer Abhilasha Bisht.
It’s those adventures, long-distance treks, and time spent in nature’s splendour that make Abhilasha a committed, dynamic, and hardworking cop, even as she balances her busy schedule between family and work.
Abhilasha’s father is a retired government official who was transferred all over the state of undivided Uttar Pradesh (back then, Uttarakhand was part of UP), and her mother is a Dehradun-based school teacher. Abhilasha attended Welham’s Girl School in Dehradun, where her mother taught.
MY MOTHER, MY GURU
"So, I had a guru (her mother) at home who was my role model, apart from the times I fought with her as all children do," says the 1994 batch IPS officer, who is currently serving as Additional DGP, Telangana State Special Police.
Abhilasha’s mother, who was a teacher, ensured that she excelled in school. "When your teacher is with you, there will inevitably be classes even during vacations. So we would get hands-on science and math education as we walked and stayed inside forests or made camp, as we learned how to start fires and get light from petrol lamps, as we walked to rivers that emanated from pristine glaciers and tumble large boulders, polished stones," recalls the mother of two.
Love for Forest
She recalls fondly her stays in old colonial bungalows in the midst of dense jungles. "All bungalows had small libraries, with books from an eclectic group of authors ranging from Virginia Woolf to Punch and Judy, Guy de Maupassant, Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, Daphne du Maurier, and Edgar Allen Poe, which I remembered reading and then promptly found myself haunted every night by figments of my imagination," laughs Abhilasha, whose husband Kumar Vishwajeet is also a senior IPS officer and her batchmate.
An avid gardener & dog lover
She claims that her upbringing instilled in her a lifelong love of the environment, particularly plants, as well as her faithful companions – dogs – and reading. Abhilasha is an avid gardener with a large dog family.
"They are fantastic stress relievers. I try to recreate a small piece of my childhood green forest wherever I spend time, whether at work or at home. I must have plants and trees because I prefer a natural look to a manicured look. Let the plants grow and flourish," says the IPS officer, who attended Lady Sriram College before attending Jawaharlal Nehru University.
When asked how she finds time for her hobbies, the senior cop responds, "When you love doing something, you make time for it. In fact, it fills those small gaps of unutilized time when one is bored. I’m never bored when I can spend time in my garden with my dogs or read a book. Indeed, my idea of utopia is to be in a hammock in my garden, listening to music, reading a book, or gazing into the greenery, with a dog curled nearby!"
The Additional DGP rank officer describes her two sons as a blessing in her life. "Our relationship is very open and close. This is what I will tell all boys’ parents: teach them to appreciate and respect women’s roles and power. Do not raise them as entitled heirs and mummy’s boys who believe they have the right to trample on others. I hope my boys grow up to be responsible men who support women’s legitimate rights in their lives and at work," she says.
Her husband, according to the IPS officer, is very supportive and a good partner. "One thing I tell all the young people: don’t be blinded by infatuation. Marriage must be a two-way street; you must find someone with whom you can form a partnership."
TRAVEL BUCKET LIST
When you ask her what she’s always wanted to do but can’t because of busy schedules or family time, she says "more travel."
Her bucket list includes a trek in the Nilgiris, as well as trips to the Amazon Rainforest and Indonesia’s lagoons. "Exploring new places, discovering new plants, unusually shaped rocks, and wood. I prefer immersive travel to touch and go. Stay in a remote location and enjoy the local flavours, flora and fauna, culture, and handicrafts. Relax, unwind, and recharge," she says, adding that she would love to be able to do at least a couple of treks in the mountains each year. "This is something that I am going to put into action sooner than later," she assures.
BATTLE WITH BULGE
Abhilasha admits to a long battle with the bulge. "I am one of those people who gain weight when they smell something delicious. I do yoga as often as I can and add a couple of weight lifting sessions per week. I prefer to practise yoga in the manner prescribed by Patanjali. I enjoy challenging myself to achieve proper posture and stances," she says.
Eclectic taste in music
Few people know that Abhilasha has a very eclectic musical taste, from Pink Floyd to Eminem, from Pt Jasraj to Divine! "It depends on my mood — I like them all," she says with a smile. The officer enjoys watching English science fiction, as well as investigative, comedy, and action films such as Marvel Universe, Foundation series, CSI, and Lapataganj.
LOVES SIMPLE FOOD
When it comes to food, the bureaucrat says she enjoys yoghurt. "It’s a necessity I’d rather not live without — in all its forms," says Abhilasha, who cooks on occasion, especially when the children demand something the cook cannot prepare. "I can safely say that cooking is not a hobby of mine, and I usually like to simplify recipes. When I was working with the UN, I simplified many favourites like palak paneer, baked vegetables, and chicken curry into nearly 2-3 step recipes," she says.
While she enjoys trying new cuisines, she prefers foods with simple ingredients. I enjoy Japanese, Thai, and Korean cuisines. Momos, sushi, and soup would be an ideal meal to be followed by a nice fruity yogurt for dessert," says the foodie.