As a defence aspirant, there should be only 1 question running in your mind at the end of the day – “Was this my best?” Whether it’s you preparing for UPSE or training yourself mentally and physically to crack SSB, give it your best shot because the word “Regret” doesn’t exist within most of the warriors. I am Kezhepat Indu who cracked SSB all the 4 times and made into AIR 2 in my 4th attempt. The love for the Indian Army, the OG uniform and the brass stars started when I was in college. Being an NCC cadet and attending different training camps such as Republic Day Camp and Youth Exchange Program added fire to this love and it became a passion.
After my graduation, I applied for NCC special entry which had only 4 vacancies for women. I come from middle-class family background and more to it there isn’t anyone from the Armed Forces. I was nervous with all these thoughts in my head, but then I remained calm and maintained my stature. Clearing the first stage, that is the screening test, boosted my confidence. The psychology test, interview and GTO went well leading to the proud moment of getting recommended for my 1st SSB at Bangalore. The excitement in me grew stronger as days passed and the merit list was published. I looked for my name and found it in the 8th position. It was disheartening but then soon I realized I can improve and was confident. In the meantime, I moved to Bangalore and started working to be an independent woman and at the same time support my family.
2nd SSB was again at Bangalore, I got recommended, but this time I faced a new challenge during my medical test. I was rejected for axial length elongation of the eyeball. I appealed and went to Command Hospital, Pune for further tests and unfortunately, I got rejected from there too with a minute error. I had no intentions of quitting even when my heart felt heavy. I again appealed for medical review and went to Delhi RR for further test keeping my hopes high. When I reached Delhi, the merit list was published pushing me to 10th rank. I started thinking about what went wrong in my performance. But the funniest part is, a recommended candidate will not know why he/she was recommended and a conference out candidate will not know why he/she got rejected (well, we all assume about the reasons). With confusions, I still decided to work hard especially physically as I was very thin and actually struggled to lift a heavy plank for my GTO task.
The 3rd SSB was at Allahabad which created a tension in me, as I had read in many articles that it is called the rejection centre (that’s not at all true- Please do not get carried away with such statements). I was not really happy with my performance in this SSB compared to the previous ones and almost felt that I will not clear this time. Yet again I cracked it! The next challenge as I mentioned before was clearing the medical test. I was medically rejected due to the same issue. This time I dint have to go to Pune as the merit list came before the reporting date, putting me back to 8th rank and again only with 4 vacancies. It was at this point of time I realized that I had to do something more to cure the eye issue. The doctors who had conducted my medical test told me that there is no cure for the issue I faced. Apart from working on the interview, my effort to clear the medicals increased day by day. I met eye specialists from different medical fields. All of them had the same answer – No Cure! Somebody suggested Ayurveda and I went to their hospital, went through so many procedures and daily eye exercises. My focus was just to clear the medicals, and I did few checkups before appearing for my 4th SSB. Guess what, there was no improvement in my eye issue. This was a slightly tough moment for me to accept the fact that I will not clear the medicals and there is no treatment for it. Some of them discouraged me not to go further, but there was a fire still in me wanting to be satisfied within. As I said in the beginning the word “Regret” doesn’t exist for some. So I decided to make sure my name comes in merit list within top 4 because I wanted to prove myself that I have done my best. In future, I dint want to regret about it, but wanted to remain with a self-satisfaction I did my part because certain things are not under your control.
4th SSB I took it as a do or die situation. I tried to improve each and everything that I felt I can do it better, right from eye contact to talking about different topics in current affairs. I practised so many verbal and non-verbal questions to ensure that I perform better in IQ test. (The competition for NCC Spl Entry Woman is really tight, as you can miss your name in the merit list even for a mark or lesser than that). Daily workouts to ensure I am fit, reading newspapers to understand a brief about the current affairs, performing self mock interviews in front of the mirror and even lecturates. After 3 SSBs, I could guess what kind of questions I will be facing from the SSB board and I was well prepared. With full confidence, I got recommended again from 24 SSB Bangalore. As I knew about my eye issue very clearly, I did not carry great expectations for my medicals. The optimist in me made go further ahead to try for my luck. Once again I travelled to Pune and from there to Delhi wishing I could change the destiny. Neither luck or destiny was by my side, I couldn’t clear my medicals. The merit list was published, I saw my name on the second column. It then struck me, I had what I aimed for, I got the AIR 2.
The realization hit me hard. There are certain battles you win within yourself, this was mine. The satisfaction I carry till this precise moment even when I don’t have the OG uniform or brass stars on my shoulders cannot be expressed by mere words. The hard work I put has made me who I am today and still lead an amazing life. I respect those who deserve what I wished for and never miss an opportunity to motivate my juniors to join the Indian Armed Forces. Jai Hind
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