Seven Attempts – An intrusion into deeply personal spaces of the seven protagonists

The book by Saionton Basu looks at the lives of aspirants for the civil services examinations in India and how one among them escaped that fixation and settled in London. It is not an immigrant tale nor is it a look at South Asian diaspora in London. It is more an intrusion into deeply personal spaces of the seven protagonists.

SBAuthor: Saionton Basu


In an incredibly rooted style, author Saionton Basu takes the readers through the barren topography of what is at stake in cracking the coveted Indian civil services examination. Where the winners take all. And what of the losers?

Seven protagonists. Each ploughing a lonely furrow. Yet each draw on the other when their reservoir of endurance is depleted.

The narration starts in the JNU Campus and shifts between the dustbowl and bylanes of Ber Sarai village in Delhi to the sylvan settings of Canary Wharf in London.

Seven Attempts will take you into the hearts of the tumult, emotional ferment and the striving for that one fortuitous strike by the UPSC aspirants and those connected to them alike.

A heart touching story of fortitude, gumption and above all plain old style goodness. It cannot be any other way where the odds of a seat at the elite IAS table is five times tougher than drawing a starting pair in a game of poker.

It will leave you in guffawing splits, deep contemplation and in hidden tears equally. It is after all the tears that don’t come to the surface that hurt the most.

It will make you root for the protagonists each in their own way. You will yearn to be a part of their lives. If only to see how they manage and contain if not conquer fear, camouflage foreboding and yet keep moving inspite of adversity. Above all with a jesters outlook to the world.



‘Detailed, astute and rustic. Basu weaves a vivid telltale of the dichotomy of the Indian caste system vis a vis the incongruous civil service examinations. His style is unapologetic and his characters are crisp’ Mrityunjay Devvrat (Filmmaker and Director of ‘The Bastard Child’)

‘With telling details, clearly gleaned from close observation, and gentle humour, Basu paints a vivid picture of the high stakes, hopes, pretentions, and challenges involved in the notoriously rigorous civil service exams, through the lives of seven people caught up in them’ Vidya Ram (The Hindu)

‘A great mix of love & life of UPSC aspirants, with a hilarious twist. Surely a blockbuster material!!!’ Atul Dua (Founder & Senior Partner, Seth Dua & Associates)

‘A wonderful mix of pathos, humour and nostalgia. Basu’s work is reminiscent of the best chronicles of Indian middle class tragic-comic lives’ Prof. N.S. Nigam (Associate Professor of Law at Azim Premji University, Bangalore)

‘Witty, funny & real – the story of our unfortunate generation’ Leher Sethi (Advisor, Delhi Literature Festival)

‘This is a book of aspiration, hope and success. Full of witty and quirky twists, the author has done an excellent job in narrating the story of a boy who goes from a small-town to the glitzy west. The story telling and the simple language makes the book unputdownable’ Vikash Gupta (Director, VaR Capital Ltd, London)

‘Nostalgic reading and authentic writing covering various aspects of a colourful and diverse country’ Sampa Bhasin (Investment Banker & Mentor)

 ‘I loved this book and can totally relate to Vikas. I had also at one time harboured ambitions of sitting for this very exam, and attended a class at a coaching centre that the author has described to the T. And like Vikas, I think I also did alright’ Nayantara Rai (Special Correspondent & Anchor, ET-NOW)


Saionton Basu is a gold medalist and graduate of the National Law School of India University in Bangalore. Saionton has been writing on a wide variety of topics for several publications for the last twenty years. Saionton lives in London. He blogs his published writings at:

Saionton is a strategic counsellor for several UHNW families and family offices and is qualified to practice in India and England & Wales.

Click the kindle edition – SeventAttempts