Finally, it is done. My preliminary interview for University Entry Scheme UES-27 was scheduled on 14th December 2016, just 5 days after my semester exam ended. But to my surprise, I have had no information on it (which was to be sent to me via email) even till 13th December when I received a call saying it’s postponed. So, the next interview date was on 9th January.
I was confident but at the same time, I was also nervous. I went to the assigned college well before the time. It was to start at around 10 in the morning but it started at 11:30.
The candidates from far away colleges were called first and the candidates of the same college were interviewed at the end. I and another guy were the only ones from our respective colleges to apply for this. So we were to go first. They called any one of us to the interviewing room. As he rose up to go, I said, “I’ll go first”. He, happily said “okay”.
Tip: Whenever going for an interview, be either one of the first ones to go or go at the last, as it will be the time interviewer will take more interest in you without worrying about time constraint.
I went in, there was a Colonel (the presiding officer) and a young blood, a Major (the interviewer). My interview hardly lasted for 10-15 minutes with no GD as there were only 17 people (2 were sent back as they were from 4th year of engineering). Also, no technical questions were asked to me in my interview.
Me: May I come in sir?
Colonel: Come in. Please give me your application and close the door. (That was very chilling inside which added to my nervousness, cold temperatures do not suit me, you see)
Me: May I sit sir?
Col: Yes please sit. (looking at my application) So, Abdul Junaid is it?
Me: Yes sir.
Major: So, Abdul Junaid, you have 5 minutes to tell me everything about yourself, right from your college, schooling to your hobbies, interests, parents, everything.
Me: Well, yes sir. My parents named me Abdul Junaid, Junaid meaning a soldier/a warrior in Arabic. So I am literally one from the armed forces, you see (with a smile). I am from Muffakham Jah College of Engineering and Technology and am the head of Web and Graphic Design team of my college student body. I am also a Cadet Corporal at NCC and a state level gold medallist in 0.22 firing and got the third position in Skeet Shooting. I’ve been to the All India Vayu Sainik Camp in Jodhpur. Apart from this, I am a writer at an online blog called SSBCrack.com……. (and went on to list my achievements, hobbies and interests for the next 5 minutes which I had prepared and said, “That would be it, sir.”)
Tip: Go on explaining in chronological order, either from the beginning or from latest. I went from latest to the beginning, i.e. told about my college and latest achievements first then went on to describe my schooling.
Maj: Why do you want to join the army?
Me: Sir, it’s not about getting to a higher position or being a sarkari damaad as a common belief. For me, it’s about pride. It’s about Olive Green, as it always was. The respect you get from the society and pride of dawning the Olive Green is what motivates me as it has a deep meaning in itself. You do not just wear the uniform, it is about undertaking responsibility.
Maj: What does responsibility/being responsible exactly mean to you?
Me: (I screwed it here by using a wrong word, “Manipulation” in my flow of answering it hence cutting it short) Sir, when you present a fact negatively, people will take it as negatively and when you present it positively, people take it positively. But the fact the manipulating the facts correctly as it is is what responsibility is, sir.
Maj: So, you will manipulate soldiers in your favour then?
Me: No sir, that’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean it in a negative way.
Col: You chose the wrong word. You are portraying yourself and manipulate is a negative word. Take care of it and do not use that word.
Me: Oh, I didn’t realise sir, I’ll take care from the next time.
Col: What are your marks in 1st and 2nd year?
Me: Sir, 73% in the first year and 71% in the second year. (recall that the cut off for CSE in UES-27 was 72% till 2nd year. My aggregate was 72.03% I was jusssttt near the border and was shortlisted. It is when I realised that every mark matter. I was further anticipating questions like ‘what is the reason for you decreasing marks’ and like so but it stopped there)
Maj: You said you are a gold medallist in 2.2 shooting. How did you get there?
Me: Sir it’s not 2.2, it’s 0.22.
Maj: Okay, how did you get there?
Me: Sir, my CO held trials in our unit and I was the best one to perform in the trials at the beginning. Hence, I was selected and given more practice, like really a lot and subsequently, I achieved the feat. I dedicate my gold medal to my Commanding Officer, sir.
Maj: Okay, what if you didn’t get to join the Army?
Me: I’ll try again sir.
Maj: What if you could not join it then too?
Me: I’ll try again sir and I want to quote shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan ji here:
“Asafalta ek chunauti hai, sveekar karo;
Kya kami reh gayi, dekho aur sudhaar karo;
jab tak na safal ho, neend chain ko tyag do tum;
sangharshon ka maidan chhod, mat bhaago tum;
Kuch kiye bina hi, jai jai kaar nahi hoti;
Koshish karne walon ki, kabhi haar nahi hoti.”
I’ll try again, and again until I make it sir. (the stanza is from a poem called “Nanhi Chinti”)
Maj: What do you do in your free time?
Me: Sir, I like staying fit. In my free time, I go to the gym. I also like running. Apart from this, I work on designing apps and websites when free. I also write blog posts on the website in my free time.
Maj: Okay, tell me about your father, you said he was in the army? When did he retire?
Me: (confidently) Sir, he retired in 2006. I was a kid then, I was in 4th class. (It slipped, actually I was in 6th class and dad retired in 2008, but, anyhow, I was confident and they do not know it XD)
Col: Which corps was he in?
Me: (confidently) Sir he was in the Corps of Engineers (showing my tie to him).
Col: (shocked) Corps of Engineers?!
Me: (again confidently) Yes sir, EME.
(Until this point, I used to think that Corps of Engineers and EME are same and that EME comes under Corps of Engineers. Also, I was wearing my dad’s tie which he used to wear in his ceremonials during his service days in EME, hence I pointed to the tie. Also, the officers were from Corps of EME, hence the shock as they could recognise the tie)
Maj: Have you heard about BREXIT?
Me: Yes sir.
Maj: What do you understand by BREXIT?
Me: Sir, it is Britain’s exit from the European union.
Maj: Why did Britain exit from the EU?
Me: Sir, being a part of EU, Britain has to contribute to the Euro as Euro is the common currency in EU nations. This had slowed down Britain’s economy and growth speed. Hence, Britain chose to exit from the EU.
Maj: Was the decision democratic?
Me: (confidently) Yes sir, since Britain has a democratic government, the decision made by the parliament was democratic. (And that is why you should brush up current affairs. I knew Britain’s people voted for it, still said it was a parliamentary decision just because I didn’t revise the current affairs. But as I said I was confident, that worked)
Maj: What were the implications of Brexit?
Me: Sir since the Greek economy was also collapsing, it resulted to the fall in the value of Euro.
Maj: Who was the Prime Minister of Britain during Brexit?
Me: David Cameron.
Maj: Who is the PM now?
Me: Meresa Thay. Sorry, Theresa May.
Maj: David Cameron quit due to Brexit. As a consequence of Brexit, David Cameron quit.
Me: Oh yea, David Cameron quitted due to Brexit and Theresa May became the PM.
Tip: Guys, please go through the current affairs of at least last one year, for sure and brush up the facts. Because even while knowing it, you couldn’t recall it, like me.
Col: Okay, do you have any siblings?
Me: Yes sir, I have a younger daughter (realising it quickly), sorry, Sister. I have a younger sister.
Col: Is your college autonomous?
Me: No sir, it is affiliated to Osmania University.
Col: Can you provide a proof for that? Actually, we need affiliation certificate for colleges.
Me: Sir, my marks memo, they are issued by Osmania University and it is written on it.
Col: (looking at marks memo) Okay, that would do. You can leave now.
Me: Thank you, sir.
My results are expected to take a time of about one month along with the reciept of call letter, if selected in Preliminary interview. They said they will inform about it through phone call.