Dear All, I am Dipak Wankhade and its my pleasure to share my SSB experience on such an auspicious day i.e 8th October,IAF Day. It was the month of March in 2014; I was eagerly waiting for my AFCAT result. It was announced and I was happy to be shortlisted. However the real journey started after the results. It was the journey to know myself, my strengths and weaknesses of my friends, family and everything which I have experienced in my life. I found it tough. I feel it’s easy to comment on others without having a second thought but when time comes to judging yourself, it is one of the toughest things in life. Be honest while judging yourself because SSB is all about your personality. Don’t try to pretend or project you as a different person, be yourself!
I was supposed to select the date and place for SSB. When I was going through the dates , I saw 30th June, the day which has been always lucky for me, my 10th class result, engineering admission and most importantly my brother’s birthday J. I selected it and place as Mysore. I had heard many things about SSB and that was one of the reasons for my excitement about it. My friends Arvind and Yogesh helped me by sharing their experience and overall 5 days procedure. I used to read guest posts on SSBCrack which inspired me a lot and then I decided that even I will write it one day J. Time has come now to share my experience.
I went to Mysore on 29th June afternoon and stayed in my friend Naveen’s home. Enjoyed homemade lunch and dinner J. That night I couldn’t sleep properly, maybe because of my nervousness. Next day morning I reached Railway Station at 6.30am as they asked us to report at 6.45am. Few IAF personnel came and took us to the AFSB.
Day 1(30th June):
We were taken to a hall and the total count was 135. First test was the OIR. Officer gave us clear instructions and then we finished the test. Questions were easy but we had to solve two Question papers with 50 question each and 20 minutes of time for each paper. Second test was the PPDT. We were shown a blur picture and then had to write a story in 4 mins. I completed my story in time. Then we were divided into groups of 15 and taken to different rooms for discussion. Everyone narrated their story and discussion started as soon as last person finished his story. Time allotted was 20 mins and we were supposed to come up with a concluding story. I had spoken around 3 to 4 times and gave useful points but our group couldn’t form a final story as time was over. Then we were directed for lunch and after having it, we assembled to a place where result was going to be announced. Everyone was tensed. Result was announced and I was happy to get screened in. Total 60 were screened in out of 135. We were allotted rooms according to our groups. We were 7 in our group, I, Amit, Kunal, Karthik, Rushi, Sai and Neeraj. We all were crazy and excited about remaining process.
Day 2(1st July):
We all assembled in the hall and sat according to our chest numbers. My chest number was 31. It was time for WAT, TAT and SRT. I could attend all WAT and TAT but only 40 SRT. I was sad that I couldn’t attend more SRT but I made sure that whatever I attempt was proper. Tests got over at around 2pm and then we had free time. We went out in evening to make ourselves relaxed and came back before 8.30pm.
One thing I realised that day is there is no point in thinking about what had happened in past so I stopped worrying about my SRT. Next day schedule was GTO in morning and Interview for few of us in afternoon.
Day 3(2nd July):
We had our breakfast and reported on ground around 7.30am. First task was GPE . We were shown a map and given some situations to deal with. First we had to write our responses on paper in 10 mins and then we were given 20 mins for discussion so that we could reach a concluding plan. Everyone in our group contributed well and finally we had to nominate one person amongst us to narrate final plan so we nominated Sai for it as he was very clear in expressing his thoughts. After narrating our plan we could make out that GTO was not so happy with our group L. Then we were given three topics for group discussion and we had to choose one. We had chosen topic related to India and neighbouring countries. We discussed well and everyone got chance to put their points. For second GD we had no choice and GTO gave us only one topic related to Indian Educational System. We did well in this GD too.
Next was the PGT where we had to cross four obstacles along with the load and material i.e rope and wooden plank in 45 mins. First one was easy and we crossed it in very less time. Second one was little complex and we spent around 5 mins in thinking how to cross it. Suddenly an idea of using plank clicked in my mind and we implemented it and crossed the second obstacle. I was happy that I could contribute my ideas.
Everyone in our group was very understanding and helpful. We crossed remaining two obstacles within the time and this time GTO was happy with our performance as a group. While doing group tasks remember that you are a part of a team and everyone has to contribute to make it a success. Don’t be selfish and work as a team with high energy.
We all were happy after our PGT. Next task was snake race where we had to carry a rolled tent which looks like a snake over the obstacles and the group who crosses the finish line first will win the race. Every team had their own outcry. Our groups’ outcry was “Jai Ho”. Race started and everyone in our group was so energised that we crossed all obstacles and won the race. We enjoyed it a lot! In the evening we came to know that there were very few groups who could cross all the four obstacles in PGT.
We came back to our room. I and Kunal had interview so we got ready in formals and took our files. We sat in waiting room. Those moments were tensed as we were not having idea that what all things interviewer going to ask. Finally my turn came. I went inside and officer welcomes me with smile and handshake. He was very friendly and charismatic. He asked me about my family, education, teachers, friends, hobbies, likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness and few things about IAF. I never lied throughout my interview and was talking confidently. Interview lasted for around 50 mins. Take care that don’t look here and there during interview, maintain eye contact which shows that you are confident about what you are telling.
Remaining ground tasks i.e Individual obstacle, Command task, HGT, Lecturette and FGT were scheduled on next day.
Day 4(3rd July):
First one was the Lecturette where everyone had to talk for 3mins on one of the four topics given to you. I spoke on SAARC because I had recently read an article about it. I spoke for around 2 mins 45 seconds with a conclusion in the end. Next one was the Individual Obstacle. There were 10 obstacle with different difficulty level and carrying marks from 1 to 10. I could finish 6 of them in 3 mins. Next was the command task where everyone got chance to choose two other group mates for the task. I had been called 4 times. I called Sai and Karthik and finished the task in time but I made a mistake. We forgot to carry rope with us.
Then we were divided in group of 3 and 4 for the HGT. It was similar to the PGT and both the groups could finish it in time. Last one was the FGT which was easy and we finished it in no time. GTO was satisfied and happy with all our Ground tasks.
By this time we all group mates had a great understanding and we were very good friends in just 3-4 days.
Day 5(4th July) :
It was OFF for our group. We went out, visited Mysore mall, had lunch outside and watched Transformer movie J. A day full of fun. Schedule for next day was Conference, the last step of SSB.
Day 6(5th July):
All candidates got ready in formals. I could see the nervousness on faces. Even I was nervous. Each of us had to face 10-12 Officers sitting in front of us in Uniform. They were calling us in conference room according to our chest numbers. There was discussion of around 5 mins before I was called in. I went in and wished everyone. One of the Officers asked me to sit. He asked me about my stay in AFSB, food, accommodation, different places in Mysore. It was hardly for 1.5min. By 1pm everyone finished their conference.
All were waiting eagerly for results. At around 2pm Officer came into the hall with result in his hand. He spoke for 5 minutes before announcing results. My heart was beating rapidly. I knew I was just one step away from my dream. He started announcing chest numbers of those who got recommended. He said, ”Chest no 4,chest no 11, chest no 15,chest no 21,chest no 28”.By this time I could hear my own heart beats. I was praying. And then I heard “Chest no 31..”Expressing that feeling in words is really difficult. I stood up and went ahead. I was almost in tears. Everyone was clapping for us, even Officers present there. It was the most wonderful moment of my life! Dream come true! There are few lines which inspired me a lot,
“As I get commissioned as an Air Force Officer today,
The feeling of exhilaration is unrivalled but…
The Pride I see in my Parent’s eyes
Surpasses all… ”
We were 7 who got recommended from our batch. I was lucky to have such wonderful group mates. This would have not been possible without them. I cleared my medicals and now waiting for final merit list which will come in December. Hope I will make it to the list J.
About Dipak Wankhade: Presently working in a MNC in Bangalore as a Software Engineer.