My name is Kartik Menon and I feel immense joy and privilege in sharing my success story. Joining the Defence Forces has always been my ambition for the longest time. I am from a defence background and have always been surrounded by army officers. I had joined the military school in 9th class and worked for it and was immensely proud when I cleared the NDA written exam for the first time during my 12th class. I had my first SSB in NSB Coimbatore. However, I could not clear the SSB and the consecutive written exams. I kept faith and pushed on during college and aimed at UES entry and CDSE entry in college. During all this time my mind did not waver over my career option and knew it was where I wanted to be. During my final year I had cleared CDS exam and AFCAT exam.
In my second interview I was overconfident and did not consider the possibility of getting screened out and that was exactly what happened! That followed were months of introspection and swore to make it this time. I made a regime and woke early go for a run and exercise and thoroughly updated my general knowledge every day. This time my SSB was in Allahabad in the 11 SSB board. I was again able to get screened in, however, I felt intimidated by the entire batch comprised of repeaters! After hearing the testimonies of 8 times and 10 times repeaters I had lost my cool and again failed to perform. On the trip back home my mind went blank and the only thing that was on my mind was to clear my next one that was to happen in a month’s time. By this time I had a clear idea what I was doing wrong and I started practicing for my psychology test available online.
I contacted Dr. Cdr. NK Natarajan watched his video lectures from Amazon and availed the psych assessment and the mock interview and received proper guidance and was made to be aware of my shortcomings. And when I went for the SSB this time my mind was still in that blank stage and i wasn’t nervous anymore and only focused on performing on the test alone. This time my SSB was again in 2AFSB Mysore and reported there on 18 Dec.
18 Dec 2017
On the first day, screening test was done and results came at 2 PM. The PPDT picture was that of a blurry public place and I made a simple 40 sec narration story and moderately participated in the following discussion. The results came positive and I was assigned chest no.43 and among 164 who reported 64 were screened in. Soon after we were routed in and I slept for 3 hours and soon after we had our Psych Test for which I was fully refreshed and gave sufficient responses in all the tests.
19 Dec 2017
This day we had our first GT and I went with an alert mind keeping in mind my mistakes and mentally preparing myself for the discussions. My aim was to take as much part in the discussions as possible without coming out too aggressive. In the group planning it was chaos. But I took that chaos as an opportunity to lead the group and I did that by raising my voice, gave a section and reasoning of the plan and let others discuss further and in the end I gave the common solution which the group agreed upon. Hence, I took active part in the group and for the PGT and HGT my experiences in the previous SSB had helped me stay ahead of the group and at the same time keep listening to my group and incorporating their ideas where I can. I felt I performed better than I expected and felt this might be it. My lecturette went especially well and I spoke on odd even formula in Delhi.
20 Dec 2017
This was my 2nd GT and we had our Individual Obstacles, Command Task and FGT. I felt it all went well thanks to all the running I did before the SSB.I got the most different obstacle and It took me a while and I kept a cool head and was able to identify the solution after which I thanked the group for their help. The FGT went without a hitch and thus ended my GT.I felt very satisfied with my performance as I felt I was able to work well with the group.
21st Dec 2017
This day was the most nervous day for me before the interview. My interview was at 10.30 AM and knew this day could make or break my career. But I was strangely calm and knew for some reason all I had to do was not mess it up. I reached the waiting room at 10.00 AM and was called in at 10.15 as the person before me was already done early. I focused on my appearance in front of the mirror, made a last minute adjustment to my formals and headed in. My interview went very smooth and all of his questions were focused on my personal life and I was straight forward and honest with all my answers. I mentioned some of my funny life incidents in response to his questions and I had fun sharing. At the end of the interview the interviewer said with a smile, ”Looks like the interview has gone on for an hour, I got everything that I wanted. You may take your file and go now.”
Before the conference I had no fear. Knowing that I had been able to do my very best and was sure I’ll get through. I went into the conference room and he asked me a bunch of questions regarding my engineering background and finally they asked me what my priority career was and I had only one answer. ”Armed Forces”. My Chest No.”43” was finally called I was surprised but at the same time couldn’t comprehend the implications apart from the fact that I have achieved my goal!!