“When you get recommended, it’s your duty to motivate more and more people for joining the Forces and help at least five to ten more aspirants to get through their SSBs before you join the academy.”
That’s what my seniors believe, and I’m a result of one such person who passed on the legacy, who helped me in my journey after his recommendation. So here I am, Nilesh Kumar Yadav, just 20, recommended for the Indian Army in my very first attempt from Bhopal.
When you talk about the motivation that landed me where I’m today, my answer is a very common one, yes you guessed it right, my dad served the Indian Army. So yes serving the motherland wasn’t just in the blood, but in the atmosphere where I breathed every day. Not to mention seeing the officers, their etiquettes, their crisp gestures, their uniforms, also, the last KV I studied at, KV NRC, you could see the pilots of CAATS in their practice, hovering their helicopters, and we used to tell each other, we’re definitely getting into this profession, to live a life, so exciting, and eventually less ordinary. Almost every day everything kind of gave you a new reason to join the forces. With my father’s transfers, moving with him from place to place gave me an overview of why and how bad I wanted to live the same life for the rest of my life, serving with honour.
Back in school, I was an average student. I too like lakhs of aspirants appeared for Military School, RIMC, NDA, but all to my utter disappointment didn’t result in my favour. I completed my schooling from various KVs and APSs, the last being, KVNRC Nasik, and 11th and 12th from Nasik Cambridge School, later, my 12th marks weren’t enough to get me a call from TES. Happened to most of us, I know.
I have 3 sisters, one a teacher at APS, and the other two, engineering graduates and working in the IT industries. So the invisible pressure of going for BE stayed throughout, but I wasn’t much of interested as I couldn’t imagine living in the engineering culture my sisters went through, so opted for BCA instead thinking this course would take less time increasing my CDS attempts further. As I never cleared my NDA in any of the attempts and further didn’t opt for engineering, so I remember this one day my dad walking into my room and telling me that how I’ve wasted his efforts and how I’ve been putting him down, and this went on for hours. Back then, in the first year of college, I wasn’t much of focused and after this encounter with my dad, I decided to take charge of my life. As the will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare, so when I was in 2nd year, I started preparing for AFCAT and CDS simultaneously. With the preparations, I also got myself enrolled in the NCC, adding to that bagged the post of Senior Under Officer by my final year. Being a part of NCC taught me a lot, as I was a shy person back in school, but through various activities at the NCC, I opened up, gained great confidence, got to lead, improved my social skills and hence could put to practice all the OLQs I ever heard of.
NCC is an organization that motivates every defense aspirant to stay upright to one’s goal of joining the forces, not to mention the people you meet there just adds to the motivation further.
During all these co-curricular activities, I went a level up with my preparation, I kept a hand on the current affairs, subscribed for GK magazines(Pratiyogita Darpan & CSR), consulted other friends around me who were armed forces’ aspirants too, bought books, installed apps for the same, and hence to my and everybody else’s delight, cleared CDS-2(2016). I read it somewhere that “One important key to success is self-confidence, and important key to self-confidence is preparation” , so I straight away went and met my ideal whom I religiously follow, GC Prateek Sharma, who has always been a great influence and guided me throughout, he being so generous that he guided me till the day he left for the academy, (I’m glad he’s also going to be my senior at the academy) I was done with my final year exams by April and had only a month to get familiar with the SSB procedure. So in that period I met every person I felt who could guide me well, so I was left with Prateek Sharma’s friends, also my seniors Kumar Goswami, Vijay Manhas and Manmohan Sharma who were also preparing for their SSBs, I joined them in their practice sessions, in which they reflected on their ideas, be it PPDT, WAT, TAT, SRT, lecturette, GDs and at times PI as well. My father’s experience from his 3 SSBs (1-ACC, 2-SCO) surely did help me a lot. When it comes to motivation, I know nobody would miss Lt Col Dhoni, Mr. Captain Cool, his calmness, and the part that made me look up to him was the fact that he belonged to an average family and how he made his way to Indian Cricket team, and eventually to the Indian Army. Motivation is needed
About my SSB 5 day Experience
DAY 1- Screening
Attempted all Questions in OIR Test. In PPDT, wrote a simple story, narrated well but 1 assessor made me sit without completing my story, got little disappointed, but didn’t loose hope and participated in GD with full josh. No common story could be made. Result announced and 22 out of 53 made it.
DAY 2- Psychological Tests and Interview
PSYCH: Again, the stories I wrote were based on whatever came first in my mind after seeing the pictures. Same with the WAT and SRT. I couldn’t attempt 2 words in WAT as I didn’t know the meaning so I just wrote the word as it is.
INTERVIEW: we were informed that some of us are going to be interviewed on the same day, I was one of them.
So, interview started with warm up questions, with some rapid fire rounds, and personal life, and some current affairs, he then asked me to tell two things that I wanted to improve about myself, I looked at him, he said, “take two minutes, think it out, and tell me”. I thought for a second, and said, “Sir I want to improve my confidence level and my shyness in front of girls while talking”. He started laughing and I too had to. Time just passed and after coming out I noticed that I was sitting there for an hour and a half.
DAY 3 & 4- GTO
GTO started with little instructions, GDs, GOR, PGT, lecturette, GPE, HGT, IO, CT, FGT and in the free time we guys enjoyed with our meaningless jokes, mocking some batch mates, and the best part is that no one was getting serious with the jokes and there we were evolving as friends and most importantly as a TEAM. Before my command task, the GTO asked some general information about me, like where I’m from, to which I replied, “Nasik”, then he asked, where in Nasik, I said “near Artillery Centre sir”, he then asked me that how many guns I’d seen, I said “almost all present there sir”, he even tested me by asking about caliber of Bofors, I replied by saying “it’s 155 mm, sir”. Then he said “ok Nilesh, consider this is your Bofors shell, now you have to diffuse it, start right now, you have 15 minutes. I completed my command task and later was called by five members of my group to assist in their command tasks.
In all of this, I enjoyed the most in Group Obstacle Race, because of the Josh filled people of course.
DAY 5- Conference
As usual, everything was going fine until NCO sir noticed that one of us, the legendary boy has worn sports shoes instead of formals, little drama but all went well, as we managed to get him a pair of another guy whose no. is late.
Then comes my turn, I was asked only 4 questions and that’s it…..it was like, done in a blink of an eye.
Then comes the result part, as the officer came, he asked us to guess amongst the candidates which we felt would make the recommendations (I was not in the list as per other candidates’ opinion). So he said okay, you guys made 1 guess right, its chest no.11. Then he again asked and said apart from him, name someone else, this time no one had any names, so not wasting any time, he said, chest no.9 (my no.). That moment couldn’t be described in words, tears in my eyes, yet couldn’t cry, don’t know why. So, the moment I got my mobile, I called my father and said “Papa, ho gaya Recommend”, and burst out in tears, like a fool in a corner for some time. Then called my 3 seniors who’ve been there throughout. I could sense the happiness in their voice.
So from all of this, I’ve realised that:
- Being a fresher is The Golden Chance, so you have to make the most of it. You aren’t expected to ace at GK but make the most of it, stay updated about the happenings around the world(I had a habit of reading newspaper from my secondary schooling, so wasn’t much hard for me)
- Sports is good for staying fit and it was just a part of my routine, i.e. I didn’t hold any extraordinary achievements in the same, so you needn’t be a national level player, just being any boy next door involved in Galli games would do, they just want to see if sports a part of your daily schedule.
- You need to have command over your mind, a trainable mind can further be molded into the disciplined military life.
- You must be willing to learn new things, must hold an inquisitive mind.
- It’s not that the Forces want someone who has out of the world personality, they want intelligent adaptable selfless people who’re willing to serve the country and are honest at their approach.
- One MUST be familiar with the SSB procedure and must practice how to frame your response to clock.
- One must keep learning, be it reading books or contributing new achievements to your hobbies.
- Consistency and consistent improvement matters, be it your grades, your relations, or your each day performance at the SSB.
- So, if you are going low on motivation anytime, think about why you have even dreamt of it, and this not being just yours, but your family’s and friends’s dream as well, and how bad you want it, why even the first place you’ve opted for this life, to live it less ordinary, right ?
And at last special thanks to Sukanya Wable for framing my Experience. For any queries mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org on facebook.
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