Hello defence aspirants, I am Manuel Sebastian and I recently got recommended from 3 AFSB Gandhinagar for NDA 143 in my first attempt. Most of that credit goes to SSBCRACK and Cavalier India for providing me tips to face the SSB and keeping me in check with the defence news. On the 12th of August, I reported to the Pathikashram bus stop in Gandhinagar. I saw everyone was already looking like a gentleman cadet. Everyone was so tall and had a military haircut, well I at least I was different. On reaching AFSB our documents were verified and we started off with OIR which was easy compared to what was about to come. I did as many as I could and after a small break, we had our PP&DT in which I wrote a story on the social theme of charity. We were then called to the group testing complex and fun part began, or maybe nerve-wracking. Individually each one narrated their story and I narrated mine fluently as I had a good logical story. I avoided any mannerism and looked confident throughout. When it was time for group discussion, things got out of hand, all 15 in my group were shouting their lungs out at the same time. I tried to get it under control but nothing was gonna happen. The group was further divided but it was still of no use. Then I knew it was better to keep quiet than contribute to the mess. At the end of the discussion we didn’t reach a common story but I was satisfied with my performance. This gave me an idea of what was to come on the rest of the 4 days. When they started calling out chest nos of screened in candidates, my chest no 99 being called wasn’t surprising.
After we were given our new chest nos, I was referred to as 64 more often than my name from the hereafter. We had our lunch and it was announced we would be having our psychology test on the same day. We came to our room called ‘ Dhruv’, met my buddies and phoned my parents. Then phones were taken away for the next 5 days. The psychology test began that evening with Thematic Apperception Test in which I wrote first 11 stories realistically with a good ending and the 12th blank slide on how I worked hard to crack the NDA written after failing my first attempt. Writing TAT as realistically positive as possible and having a simple story would do. Don’t overcomplicate as time management is critical. My WAT went exceptionally well as I did all 60 very freely. Not overthinking and going with the first thought will help and practising some negative words will get you out of the tricky situation. Then came SRT for which I was only able to do 44 but I made sure I didn’t leave any in-between. Here don’t go for completion but rather the ones you do should be very good. They prefer quality over quantity but still try as many as possible. My Self-description was spontaneous and not prepared in advance so I was completely honest but this is something candidates can completely prepare in advance. After the psych test, my hands were numb from 2 hours of continuous writing. That day I had a good sleep.
The next day, it was our Group Task and it was the fun part of SSB. Our group of 8 were made to sit in a semicircle and we had already begun discussing topics before our GTO came in. To our surprise, our GTO was a mam and after a basic introduction we started off with group planning exercise. We had to write our individual solution to multiple situations faced at a time like a bomb threat, theft, missing bag, the injured person and still reaching on time to attend a function. After writing we started discussing and got to a certain understanding of common solution. Our Group discussion was based on the topic of why government policies aren’t benefiting the common man and the second one was on how tourism in the country could be improved. In GD I gave a few valid points and avoided making a mess or dominating it. Being an attentive listener is also important.
The outdoor would then start, our PGT wasn’t that great but with the tips of our GTO we got something done. Our group must have funnily surprised the GTO because whatever the situation we used rope because who needs plank when you got a rope. Honestly, I felt we could have done with planks. My half group task was great and so was my command task. My command task was easy as it required a simple cantilever to solve it but GTO made it tougher when she said what if one of the structure I put my plank on wasn’t there. Here using rope was the key. Our individual obstacle started right after where I was able to do 7 out of 10. I felt the time was too short and left out the rope climbing, high jump and going through tyre which was either hard or time-consuming. I was satisfied with what I could do because the AFSB individual obstacles are harder than other SSB. After a short break, we had our final group task which was done after some struggling because we were mentally and physically drained. After that our group task was over. It was all done within a day as lecturette and group obstacle race wasn’t done.
That day out group visited some places and our group had a fun evening where we ate a lot of street food. The next day was free and I went to the motivation room where I read about different squadrons and air force history. We even had a fun conversation within our group and enjoyed our day.
It was day 4 and I had my interview. I walked in and wished him a happy independence day as it was August 15. He started off the personal interview with the meaning of my name, about how I came, and about my place. After the initial questions, the rapid-fire questions were asked on my education, my family, my routine, friend circle. He would later go on to ask why I want to join air force to which I replied that I want to become a fighter pilot. Then he asked about the fighter I want to fly, the squadron and if I knew anyone who flew Su-30. He also asked about my hobbies and plenty of GK questions most of which I answered. I hadn’t done so well in rapid-fire as I kept forgetting questions but I remained calm and dealt with the situation properly. As long as ones got presence of mind and remain calm, he will good in the interview. A good knowledge about himself, his surroundings, his decisions are also needed for getting a yes from the interviewer. The golden rule in the interview is don’t bluff or fake it. My Interview lasted about 45 minutes. When the interview was over, I knew I had chances. But the anxiety still remained.
On conference day, we had to wait for hours as my chest number was towards last. As I opened the door. “Good afternoon Manuel” was shot right at me. After wishing him back, I was overwhelmed by seeing about 15 officers in full uniform. It was something of a feeling when all the officers stared at you as you spoke. It lasted for a short time. Then there was an anxious wait for the result. Even if my name wasn’t called, I knew I had learnt a lot and had a very awesome experience in my life. As my chest no was called, I was filled with emotion and as well felt sad for my group because no one else could make it. That moment remains the best in my life as it’s a dream for many but very few make it.