“When life knocks you down and everyone thinks you are over then that’s the time for you to get up, bounce back and show everyone that what u are made of”. Hello friends I am ASHUTOSH KUMAR from LUCKNOW and I have been recommended twice to join OTA GAYA for TES-41 (MEDICAL OUT) and TES-42 (MEDICALLY FIT) in my 5 and 6th attempt. I always knew that army is the place for me and was in love with olive green since class 3rd. The motivation was my father who himself is a Retd. Nk from Indian army. To start my SSB preparations I took coaching but it was a sheer waste of money for me. The only benefit of coaching I can see is that it helps one to get aware about the tests which is available for free on Google. 16th AUG 2018, I was there on the Allahabad railway station for TES-40 SSB ,there was a huge crowd of candidates in formals spread near MCO, 262 candidates reported, I was nervous seeing such a tough competition and believe me if you are nervous you have already lost as “every battle is won before it is fought”. My nervousness hampered my performance and I was screened out, and it hurt but then I cheered myself up and started making plans to prepare for next attempt as one should “forget the mistake and remember the lesson”. I prepared well this time from whatever time I got after my JEE MAINS coaching. I practised psychology and read about general topics. 3 SEP 2018, Allahabad, I was there for NDA-141 , This time screening went well and I got screened in, I contended and immensely happy. In stage-2, I performed pathetically despite the fact that I had prepared I didn’t have points in GD, the interview was pathetic at least in 15 questions i said ‘I don’t know sir’ and psychology was average, after all this, the result was not surprising, I was conference out and I knew my mistakes so decided to learn from them and move on and I would say “let your past make u better not bitter”.
I devoted all my time to GK, practiced psychology and rehearsed my interview in my mind and spoke on random topics to improve communication skills. After 20 days I was at NSB VISAKHAPATNAM and there were 172 students and 40 were screened in and I was in the later group thanks to practicing narration and story writing. In stage 2 again I messed up with everything and I had one more failure to deal with as again I got conference out. That day I made a promise to myself that I will not give up on my dream and will keep coming after improving every time till they finally take me. Now I had good 6 months to prepare and I knew something is not right with the preparation. I started introspecting myself in order to improve genuinely as a person. I had some insight into my personality and for better analysis I asked my class teacher regarding what she thinks about me and she said that I am a shy, introvert kind of a guy who good in academics.
I knew an officer can’t be like this and I need to be an allrounder and also need to shed this “sadu” behavior of mine and this seriousness which I carried almost all the time. Now in order to improve my personality I started reading self help books, newspapers and saw various videos on Youtube in order to shed this introvert behavior. I started to meet much people, started playing games regularly and was following a strict schedule and with time I could feel that slowly my personality was improving. I remind that I became lively and happy, I was able to create a good atmosphere around me and this was enough for me. I did everything possible to make my dream a reality as it was “first love of my life and last wish of my heart”. My preparations were at peak I can remember my entire day went into SSB preparations, each night I slept with the same dream of wearing that plus proudly on my chest and every morning the same thought striked me and I have read somewhere that “if u can’t stop thinking about it then don’t stop working for it”.
With time I had practiced almost 1200 words, 450 stories and 700 SRT’s with a good guidance, I also narrated several stories, prepared around hundred topics, and was regular on newspapers, surfed entire YouTube for whatever helpful material I could get regarding SSB, read various books on SSB. 6 FEB 2019, SSB Allahabad I was there for NDA-142 fully prepared for everything and anything. I got screened in easily and in stage 2 also everything was going well but then in GTO the group was damn dominative and though in entire ground task though I had points I was not able to express them boldly and as a result I was conference out again. This time I was feeling pathetic as I gave 110 percent, worked day and night and then also the result was same but then “don’t be pushed by your problems, be lead by your dreams”. I didn’t talked much to anyone about that and started getting myself ready for TES-41 SSB at kapurthala. I had faith in my preparations and didn’t do anything new this time. 20 FEB 2018, selection centre north kapurthala 292 candidates reported and I knew the competition was going to be tough, I maintained my calm and gave every test with fresh mind, my previous experiences helped me and I was in the group of 32 who were screened in. I was immensely happy as the competition is really tough in direct entries The guys in the barracks were awesome and soon we developed a very good friendship and we were enjoying the testing and the stay over there. I remember once when I was along with one of my friends in some conversation and he said “yaar tu bilklul Para walo jaisa lagta hai” and I said ‘tu hi saccha bhai hai apna dil ki baat jaanta hai” and then just smiled as this was the best compliment I would have ever got on my looks. I was having a great time at kapurthala with great friends around and with late night talks filled with jokes, pulling each other legs, mimicry by some of us, altogether life was bliss over there. The tests were also going well and I had my interview on fourth day. In interview I made plenty of mistakes, I forgot questions in rapid fire, name of mayawati’s party, and in current issues out of 5 issues pertaining to Afghanistan I was able to tell only 3 and after this he didn’t asked any general knowledge question and I thought maybe he is not interested in me. After coming out of interview room I was like “ho gaya ye attempt ashutosh agle ke bare me soch”.
Next day my conference was for 1 min talk, a casual talk pertaining to my less JEE score and then I was asked about stay and all. Now there was some hope as first time I waited outside for 5 min, after some time the psychologist came and after a motivating talk told us that “gentlemen the results are not encouraging, only 2 of you have been able to make it” and he announced chest no 30 and I with a thought that ‘ab mushkil hai’ I was praying with my heads down and there was complete silence and then the officer said that “ok who all are praying” and then pointed his hand towards me and said chest no-23. For a moment my journey till now flashed in front of my eyes, finally all the hardwork, the sleepless nights, struggles, downfalls and all the efforts paid off. I ran to the officer told my name and roll no loudly and got the chest number and I wore it on my chests, that feeling it was just so special I was wearing my hardwork and determination on my chest in form of +4. Apart from the fact that I have made it the best part was that I had improved as a person as “what you become in the process is more important than dreams”. Now I could finally say that I have it in me, it was the best moment and best day of my life. About this I can say that “the climb is tough but the view from the top is worth it”. After the documentation I called my father and told him that ‘recommend ho gaya’ and he said ‘sabbash beta’ he already knew that as my group members told him at the gate of selection centre and now he was heading back to lucknow, I could make out from his voice that he was also very happy and no feeling in the world can replace this one when you know your father is proud of u.
I got my medicals done and got a TR, after reaching Lucknow I visited the specialist and initially he said it’s curable and the treatment started but after some time I came to know that there were several complications and I won’t be fit. After this I visited many doctors and the reply was same, I was completely devastated and the feeling that I will never be able to join the forces was killing me everyday. I could have survived with anything but this was just not bearable for me and it seemed to be the end of the world, all the hardwork seemed useless, my mind was completely engrossed with the negative thoughts all day. Now I wasn’t even able to sleep at night and there have been times when I have been awake entire night thinking about the fact that I was a failure. Nothing would interest me now and with every passing day it was difficult for me to survive and I started remain stressed all day. My health was also deteriorating, I wasn’t even able to score well in JEE MAINS as I had compromised its preparations for my SSB. But I had an option to join AIRFORCE as a soldier in GROUP Y as I had cleared that and was medically fit in that, I had the joining letter in my hand but my inner conscience just didn’t gave me permission for that. My father was determined to send me there by hook or crook, I did every possible thing to convince him but failed every time. Once I had an argument with him and told him that I have decided to go for civil services and I won’t change my decision anyway, he along with my other relatives and some friends considered this as a foolish decision as I was leaving a good option for IAS which is toughest exam in India.
My father kept pushing me towards that till the joining date passed but I feel he was right in his position as he wanted me to get settled but then I was mad and there was an add of MS DHONI in which he says “jab railways ki naukri chori thi dar to bahot laga tha” and I thought “yaar dar to lag rha hai par jo hoga dekhenge” and with the living legend saying to take risks I took a decision whose consequences were to be faced by me alone. I took admission in RAMANUJAN COLLEGE (DU) for Bsc. (MATHS) and there was 10 for me to go to Delhi and I remember once I visited command hospital lucknow and met with a doctor my father had found me and discussed my medical issue with him and he told that its very well curable and within 20 days I was fit, the medicals sorted and now again the dream of olive green overpowered me. In the past 4 months from FEB I had gone through a lot but now I was much stronger mentally and emotionally, during this time my best friend also left and then I realized “it’s better to walk with an enemy in darkness than with a fake friend in light” I was frustrated and already dealing with a lot but then a good friend can make tough times easier and a bad one can make it worse so I would just say “choose people who lift you up”.
However moving on now I had this challenge of preparing for SSB again and since from the past 4 months I didn’t read anything but then I went through my notes and again got catchhold of Newspapers and after a month of preparation I was ready again for my SSB for TES-42 at 17 SSB BANGLORE. It was 1 AUG 2019 and 275 candidates reported, I was confident of clearing screening and was amongst 40 who got screened in. in stage 2 also I performed well apart from interview in which I was not able to tell him some GK questions but was confident of making it this time too. Next day in closing address the deputy president was motivating all of us and I remember he also said that famous dialogue “agar tum kisi cheez ko poori shiddat se chaho to puri kaaynaat tumhe usse milane me jut jaati hai” and I with the thought of making it today I just smiled. My conference was of 45 seconds, after 1 hour the psychologist came with the results and started with 22 and then 23, here I was again I had made it,I was like yess.. yes.. here it is the second in the row and then just took a deep breath, I was on cloud nine again, after going through so much finally I had done it. Later I called my father while talking to my father I was emotional which is very rare as normally even in the worst of situations I don’t cry, I told him that I got recommended again with tears in my eyes and later I got medically fit at COMMAND HOSPITAL(AF) BANGLORE. Finally I was there at the top and soon will be wearing that OLIVE GREEN with a maroon beret hopefully and one thing which I can proudly say now is that yes… yes…..yes….. I have it in me. Now I would leave you with a note that have faith in your abilities and your and success will be yours definitely as “champions believe in themselves even when no one does”.
GOOD LUCK AND BEST WISHES