Harichandana IAS. (By Arrangement)
Frequent changes of schools is a challenge for most children — but not for Harichandana. Born and brought up in Hyderabad, this dynamic bureaucrat changed over 10 schools across the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh, but it taught her adaptability.
Friendly by nature, she quickly made new friends and adjusted to the changes. "I made so many friends studying in the many schools," smiles Harichandana, whose father D. Srinivas, an IAS officer’s routine transfers was what took her across the length and breadth of united AP.
The traits she picked up in her formative years, particularly adaptability and the ability to quickly understand the new people she met — are what make Harichandana, herself an IAS officer, stand out from the rest.
She still tries to keep up her childhood hobbies of painting and reading, but now has to devote time to her five-year-old daughter. "I sometimes paint with my child and it serves to relieve the stress of office work. I try to spend most of my free time with my kid, says Harichandana, who is currently the District Magistrate and Collector at Narayanpet.
She likes the traditional forms of painting, like the Tanjore, Cheriyal and Patachitra styles. She also makes it a point to read something other than work-related material before going to bed each day. "I can read anything under the sun," declares Harichandana, who graduated from the London School of Economics. She says her favourite books are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. As a bureaucrat, there are quite a few things which she aims to do. Passionate about the environment, she has been spearheading plastic recycling initiatives for the last few years. "I like balcony and terrace gardening. Growing your own vegetables and creating green spaces gives you a sense of peace and serenity. But my work commitments do not leave much time for this," rues the busy official, who yearns for more time with family and friends.
After working with the World Bank and BP Shell, Harichandana took the unusual decision to return to India and join the Indian Administrative Service — a less-paying though more responsibility-laden and challenging work profile than her previous career options.
She comes across as completely grounded. "I believe that all of us have a purpose, which is not to work just for ourselves but for our fellow humans too. The onus lies on us to be better than we were yesterday," says Harichandana. If not a bureaucrat, she says she would have been a social entrepreneur or an academician.
And as to food habits, Harichandana prefers to eat local. "My diet is mostly millets and home-grown veggies and fruits. Occasionally I binge on biryani and enjoy trying out new cuisines," she shares.
And meditation is her favoured stress buster. "Given my busy schedule, it is only meditation that helps me manage stress levels. I practice it for 20 minutes daily. I also do some yoga and cycle whenever I can," she says.
The IAS officer is a bit of a movie-buff as well. "I tend to watch all kinds of movies. I like realistic movies." She reveals. Some of her favourite movies are Erin Brockovich, The Godfather, Inception and Titanic. "Recently, I watched Puspha and 83," says Harichandana, who likes to listen to soft music, classical piano recitals and old Hindi and Telugu songs as well.
So, what are the things she wishes she could indulge in more frequently? "I like travelling, soaking in new experiences and photography too. Hopefully, I will be able to pursue these someday," she smiles.