He sold eggs, worked as a vegetable vendor and even mopped the floors of an office to earn a living during his struggling days in Delhi.
Sheer grit and hard work only helped Manoj Kumar Roy, who hails from Bihar, brave all odds and bag the 870th rank in the coveted central services exam in 2010.
Roy, 35, - now an Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS) officer - spends his weekends grooming poor students of his state to help them crack the UPSC exam.
Changing lives: Manoj Kumar Roy with one of his students, Reshu Krishna, who came 13th in the BPSC exam
"The service is absolutely free," he said.
Roy travels 110km from Nalanda, where he is posted as an administrative officer at Rajgir Ordnance factory, to Patna every weekend.
"When I cracked the civil services in my fourth attempt, I thought about many youngsters who could not afford the costly coaching," he said. "So I decided to extend my help to them."
Roy said he was lucky to get his first posting at Rajgir in his home state. "I was allotted the IOFS on the basis of my rank in the UPSC exam," he said.
Roy started providing free coaching to deserving and poor children soon after he was posted at Rajgir. "Most of my students belong to poor or lower middle class families," he said.
Valuable experience: Manoj Kumar previously made a living selling eggs and vegetables
Roy's mission is supported by his wife Anupama Kumari, a deputy collector in Patna City.
"My wife has qualified the Bihar Public Service Examination," he said. "I asked her to coach and share her experiences with my students. She readily agreed to my request."
Most of his successful students owe their success to Roy. Reshu Krishna, who scored the 13th rank in the BPSC examination and qualified for the post of deputy superintendent of police, said she had benefited immensely from Roy's classes.
"Sir (Roy) used to teach us geography and general studies," she said. "His tips were invaluable to all of us."
Arun Kumar, who came 390th in the same examination, said Roy inspired him to appear for the BPSC exam.
"I came in contact with Roy sir during my college days," he said. "When I failed to qualify in the UPSC examination and the Bihar Police's recruitment test for sub-inspectors, Roy sir motivated me and helped me crack the state civil services examination," Arun said.
As many as 45 students, who were trained by Roy, have qualified the recent combined BPSC exam of three batches.