Hello folks. My name’s Anoorag Nayak and I got recommended for NDA-143 from 17 SSB Bangalore and secured AIR 64 in the Merit list. The icing on the cake is that my recommendation was on Kargil Vijay Diwas. It was a proud and happy moment for me to get recommended to the same organization which has the privilege of having produced Bravehearts who won us Kargil. However, unfortunately, I got Medical-out. Nevertheless, I want to share my experience with fellow aspirants. This was my 2nd attempt and I had been C/Oed for NDA-141 from 24 SSB Bangalore in my earlier attempt. I was really anxious to come back to this city for my 2nd attempt. This city had given me a lot of painful memories. I dreaded the day I got the same centre for my 2nd attempt- Selection Centre South. Being a colonel’s son, I always had nursed the dream of joining the elite Indian Army. In a way, I was determined to crack it this time and follow in my father’s footsteps and to be a 2nd generation fouji.
Day 1 (Screening)– 26 of us reported to the centre and 20 of us were retained for stage 2. My OIR went well as I attempted all the questions with speed and accuracy. In PPDT, we were shown a girl playing the piano. I made a story about a musical prodigy preparing for a competition and bringing laurels to her school. Perceptions varied all across but the discussions were very smooth and so-called fish market didn’t happen at all.
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Day 2 (Psychology)-
Psychology went smoothly as well. I completed all 60 SRTs and WATs by writing short and crisp responses and made realistic, original and natural stories directly related to the picture shown without any preconceived ideas.
In my earlier attempt, I feel psychology tests is the part where I had faltered. I had tried to write very elaborate responses in SRT and WAT and had tried to write unoriginal and unrealistic stories in TAT where I had made my hero to be a shaktiman-type dude and his actions were as if you had activated the God-mode cheat code on some video game.
Day 3 (Ground/Group Tasks)-
I was at my best during these tasks. Full of energy, full of josh.
Group discussions went very smoothly wherein I gave 4-5 good points and reinforced other people’s point of view as well.
PGT (Progressive Group Task) went average and our group completed 3 of the 4 obstacles in time. I was at the front along with two others and helped in executing other people’s ideas although I couldn’t give many ideas of my own.
HGT (Half Group Task) was amazing and we literally completed it within a minute as there was no clash of ideas amongst the group as the group had been halved. FGT went along similar lines.
In GPE (Group Planning Exercise), I wrote a good plan and utilized all the resources to the fullest while keeping the time and distance factor in mind. I also wrote many alternatives to each course of action.
In the discussion phase of GPE, we took some time to arrive at a common group plan as resolving and accommodating all the various ideas and the conflicts that emerged and finally deciding on the modalities or nitty-gritties required some persuasion and ability and willingness to accept other people’s viewpoint on part of everyone. However, the plan that was ultimately fleshed out was very robust.
In Individual obstacles, I was able to complete 9 of them. I missed out on the balance beam. (It had rained the night before.) I tried it 4 times before finally moving on to other obstacles (as there was a time constraint) with a view to coming back to it after completing the rest in case I had any time left.
In my earlier attempt, I had also done 9. Last time I had missed out on the Commando walk as I was unable to balance myself. This time I was determined to complete it and I started with Commando Walk, walked across it in a blitz without second thought or looking down and shouted my chest no. at the top of the platform with full Josh!!
In the Lecturette, I spoke on the topic Indo-China relations fluently and confidently for 3 minutes while looking and scanning through each of my groupmates in the eye.
Lastly, there was the Command Task. I feel throughout the 5 days, this was the task where I was able to perform best and show my true mettle to the assessor.
I completed quickly from one side. The GTO told me to go back to the start line and use the middle path or approach. I was about to complete it as well but then he changed the color of the structure from white to blue. I managed to complete it as well. Then he again told me to go back and use the third approach. The third one was difficult and initially I was totally clueless as to how I could do it. But after putting my brain through the grind and observing the structures carefully, I was able to do it. I was also called by 5 other people as their subordinate during their CT and am happy that I managed to strike a good rapport with my group.
In the Snake race, we had a lot of fun as a group and also won the race (as the other group had some healthy fellows). Thankfully, no one got injured.
Interview (same day as GTO)-
Right after my tiresome GTO tasks, I was called for my interview. My interview was taken by the Addl. IO of 17 Ssb board.
He asked me about my family background, educational background, sports and extracurriculars, hobbies and lastly tested my general awareness. I answered all the questions confidently and honestly. There was a slight amount of grilling, especially in the GK and sports and extracurriculars field but I maintained my composure.
Highlights of the questions asked-
IO- Why do you want to join the armed forces?
Me- Bookish response. (Adventure, sports etc)
IO- That’s a very bookish response. Now tell me the actual reason you want to join. In the civil, you get more opportunities. Do you know that more people in the civil have climbed the Mount Everest than army officers?
Me- Sir, I have lived in a cantt since my childhood. I got inspired by looking at officers and I want to make my parents proud and follow in my father’s footsteps. In the civil also, we get many opportunities but army is where my heart is.
Few other questions-
Q- Can you tell me the states bordering your state?
Q- Can you describe your father’s uniform?
Q- Do you know the Raising day and motto of Ordnance Corps? (My father’s corps)
Q- What is currently happening in Hong Kong?
Q- Give me any 2 national and 2 international news.
Q- Give me 5 bullet points as to how India can solve its Water Crisis.
Q- What was your topic in Lecturette and both the Group Discussions?
Q- How many SRTs did you do?
Q- What are 2 negative qualities of your father?
Q- What are the 2 qualities in your best friend that he should improve?
Q- Are you closer to your mother or father and in case of any issue, whom do you approach?
I play badminton, so he also grilled me a lot on it.
Q- How many feathers are there in a shuttlecock?
Q- What is the diagonal length of a badminton court?
Q- What is India’s National tournament for badminton? (I wrongly answered as PBL but he corrected me and told me that its Syed Modi Grand Prix.)
I feel I made a positive impression on the IO and after every answer of mine, he was saying “fair enough”. I was doing most of the talking and directing my interview towards the desired direction and didn’t lose my footing at a single instance.
Day 5 (Conference)
Well, the D-day was finally here. The day that decides the fate of many aspirants. The day that breaks the heart of many and also the day that is described by few as the best day of their lives.
I was very anxious as I entered the hall filled with fully-uniformed officers. They had an aura of their own. The shining stars, sanguine lanyards, and the olive greens that are coveted by many but only few manage to earn totally overwhelm the onlooker.
I greeted the President and sat down. The conference lasted for 1 minute. I was asked about my stay, what all did I learn during it and also for a compulsory suggestion. I answered them boldly and quickly and then exited the room feeling confident about my recommendation.
Then we were made to wait outside for a while and then finally made to move to the room where our fates were gonna be revealed.
The officer who was going to announce our results came in and everyone’s pulse rates quickened. He went like- Chest No. 2, Chest No. 5 and then he announced Chest No. 9 (mine) …
When I heard my Chest No., I was on cloud nine and literally went numb. All my memories of the past one year since my earlier attempt flooded my mind. All the apprehensions about my future, about my self-worth, about whether I have it in me were quickly erased. I finally knew that “Yes, I have it in me!!”.
I called my dad and with khushi ke asoon in my eyes, I told him- “Dad, I did it.”
In the medicals, I got a TR (Temporary medical rejection) due to Substandard CP-4 Color Vision (color blindness) by Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore. My AMB (Appeal Medical Board) got rejected and the Review Medical Board at AFMC Pune got rejected as well.
I was completely heartbroken and mentally shattered at my medical rejection. But then I realized that medicals are never under our control. The only thing that was under my control was SSB and I am satisfied with the fact that I gave my best and cracked it with a decent merit.
I was confident of clearing merit but this minor genetic disorder of color blindness ultimately managed to decide my fate. After all, you can’t beat destiny. Maybe I am not meant for soldiering. But who knows? Maybe I am. I am still hopeful of joining the forces and wish to complete what I started. I am definitely gonna try for CDSE and JAG entry (since I am pursuing law) after my graduation. Maybe, if luck permits, I may get through the medicals in those entries.
However, the takeaway is that we should never give up. I want to keep trying until all my chances or attempts to join the forces are exhausted. This is so because later on in my life, I don’t want to have any regrets that I didnt give my best in what I sought to achieve.
As an aspirant, I have bared it all. From not being able to clear written in NDA-140, to getting conferenced out in NDA-141, to not being able to give written in NDA-142 due to a stomach infection to finally getting recommended for NDA-143 but getting medical out. It’s been a hell of a journey. But I will keep bouncing back up every time I fall and so shall you.
That’s all. Thank you for patient reading.