History dates back to may- 2008, a young chap from the tinsel town of Odisha sat for NDA written and cleared it quite comfortably. This is going to be a long article so I would request you to spare your next 10 precious minutes for this never ending article. Eventually the day came he needed to board the train for Allahabad, his SSB centre as a fresher unclear about its technicality. He managed to clear the Screening and stayed back for the rest of the four days. That was the time, which had an everlasting effect on a boy whose dream was to fly till that time as every alternate child has in this world. He was not at all aware of the things he is going to face in the SSB. Frankly speaking from whatever sources he got to know, just because he was getting a fully paid trip to a new place and that too in all probability a free stay of five days and most importantly away from the normal boring college life, who will want to miss it???
But, once after getting conferenced out, then only he realised how near he reached to getting into the cockpit but was far away from it in real sense. That was the time, when he returned and realised the difference between a civilian life and defence life. That was the time, when he realised what it takes to be an officer in Indian defence Forces and he has that thing in himself where just a might ignition might be missing.
Subsequently, time passed like anything, didn’t got ample time to prepare for the SSB interview, but went on appearing for the same as he never wanted to miss even a single chance after his first experience.
With the passage of time, he got to know various myths relating to SSB interview like Allahabad being considered as SRB (Service Rejection Board), Coaching is a must to get recommended, people out there taking bribe and the list is never ending.
Every time he attended, he kept on improving, but still that thing was missing which could have made him get recommended which they call it as OLQs.
Slowly and gradually the interest for joining the defence forces kept on increasing and finally a time came, when it became like becoming the officer was the sole motive of the life.
But as everything doesn’t happen as you would like to be in the script, the wait seemed to be never ending. It went on and on for six attempts. So many failures in a series, anyone could have thought that this is not my cup of tea.
But I took it as a blessing in disguise, my aim of life was slowly deviating from being an officer to just getting Recommended by hook or crook.
It was like a battle, more than anything else, as you will start doubting your own ability and just to prove it to myself, I decided whatever it takes, doesn’t matter to me. I am not going to sit quietly.
And that was the time when I went for my fifth attempt, Allahabad again and it was CDSE IMA Entry and I would count that as the best attempt that I had given till date, but somehow I screwed my Personal Interview and kind of sure that I would be conference out. Even though, I was not able to get through the passage this time also, somehow it made me more confident that the cup of tea which was till that time giving me a perception of not being mine , was not the case anymore.
After coming back to my college, I analysed my performance of each and every minute during that five day trial and felt like it’s just the one step that I need to take to enter into that dream of mine, as ‘Antim Pag’ we have in IMA, after stepping on which you become a Officer.
Time passed, in the meantime, appeared for many written exam likes of AFCAT and CDSE. My College days got over and came the time for my sixth attempt in the month of May, 2014 for AFCAT.
Being in home without any worries about college, prepared very hard and covered each and every section. I updated my current affairs, analysed myself and practised the Psych part rigorously keeping the time frame in mind. So, when the time came, I was feeling like I am fully prepared and ready to face the challenge this time and I am going to perform better than the previous time and going to sail through.
However, as you say everything comes in the right time, around 210 chaps turned out, we had a screening in which I got a group of 20 chaps full of repeaters, you can imagine what can happen if they give you a minute and a half to discuss the common story, it was like a typical fish Market and to end it all, whole group got wash out.
So, there was I, uncertain of the future sitting on the holy Ghats of Varanasi being shown the Exit the very first day. No tickets in hand to return even, as I had booked it for a train which was on the fifth day. I was continuously getting Calls from Family and friends that not to get disheartened, it happens, it’s a part and parcel of life.
But on the other hand, I knew how much I had put in to be where I was sitting at that time. I was a person who used to practise WAT, SRT and TAT even before the night of semester exams and even got the backlogs to deal with as a reason of the same. It was the kind of dedication I used to have which others were unaware of, even my family members.
But as the time passed, being the biggest healer, came back to home, enjoyed a lot in the break before joining TCS and apparently decided to put a full stop to the SSB journey. Finally in August, again packed my luggage and headed for Chennai, and this was the first time I was going somewhere other than to attend SSB. It was time to join the biggest IT firm of the country.
Initial 3 months, we were given the training which included both technical and communication part. Talking about the second part, I will say those three months were kind of a turning point in my life. We were taught of each tit and bit of communication, even to the extent of speaking on daily basis on some topics in front of a crowd. The best way to get confidence in something is to practise and to do it time and again. For me, it was Public Speaking.
Finally got CDSE Written results and I don’t know why, everything turned out in the ideal way. I got my name in AFA List for the very first time that too without any preparation and luckily got my SSB location as Mysore, as Varanasi would have been practically impossible to go from Chennai for me. Being busy with my Sister’s Marriage just days before the SSB, I was kind of zero prepared for my interviews and level of readiness was even less than that of my first attempt.
This was the first time I went with zero preparation, with my own hard earned money, without informing my family and friends and most importantly without thinking of the outcome. I cleared the Screening, psychological was not up to that mark, I attended only around 45 SRTs, 51 WAT and even in TAT, many stories were not complete. But as I said, I was least concerned about the results, I was kind of Bindas full of confidence of whatever I was doing. I performed superbly in GTO, and my interview was taken by the most famous interviewer of Mysore AFSB, Mr. Khan which was altogether a different experience which I will share in detail may be in my next post.
Finally, the result time came, as usual before the conference, I was searching for the trains to return back but when my Chest number was announced, for a moment, I was not able to believe my ears, even up to the extent that the Officer announced it again and the guy sitting near me asked me to get up. Tears started rolling down my cheek and I was speechless at that time, at last after filling up the forms, my GTO came to give us AIRFORCE bag and other items that they give to recommended candidates and he said “Kaushik finally you did it, Dreams do come true, Never stop chasing it. Which aircraft would you like to fly?”
I was like in a different world altogether, it was surely a dream coming true for me. It was giving a sense of pride and satisfaction that once upon a time the ability of mine that I doubted, I proved it to myself that I was wrong more than anyone else.
My Medicals were scheduled after one month in Bangalore, and that one month was one of the best time periods of my life. I was flying even before joining the academy. I got best wishes from every sphere of my life and was ready to join the AFA in flying branch, that too Permanent Commission. Being from CDSE Entry, I was damn sure of coming in the Merit list and knew that the Medicals were the last formality for me before realising my dream.
I took a Double Decker train to Bangalore for my Medicals, which I was sure of clearing without any glitches.
But, but, but………I was declared Unfit just because of just a single thing that even the President of Medical Board said, didn’t hampered me till date and is also not going to have any kind of problem in future. Apart from that, I was fit in each and every test, there were people who were given temporary rejection and they had to undergo some surgeries to be fit whereas for me, it was something which I was not even aware of till that time and which made me permanently unfit from all the three Services. As the rules are laid down,
I am Unfit.
As I said, time is the biggest healer, here I am sitting in the balcony of mine experiencing the first rain of the season and jotting down my boring fairy tale. I want to say just one thing, I HAVE NO REGRETS. I still have my bookmarks which include the likes of ssbcrack, careerairforce, joinindianarmy, nausenabharti, etc and it will remain like this for the rest of my life. Through the whole journey, I got a whole lot of good friends and even got to meet many young SUKHOI Pilots at IAM, Bangalore and got a glimpse of their life which is going to be one of my unforgettable moments of my life. May be I was not destined for it, and something more fruitful is awaiting me.
Concluding it, I didn’t elaborated my experience of my successful AFSB attempt and my Medicals which I think many would be interested to know, just because I think it’s already a Mini Novel, may be next time. Forgive me for any mistakes as I am not a professional blogger and this is going to be my first so called Blog. Always have faith in your ability irrespective of whatever happens. And for repeaters, just think, only that one step more which is eluding you, never ever stop chasing your dreams.
DO WHATEVER YOU DO BUT WITH “CONFIDENCE”
Here is Kaushik signing off…
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About Kaushik Joshi:
I am presently working as Assistant System Engineer- Trainee in TCS at Chennai. I did my B-Tech from VSSUT, Odisha.