Ladies and gentlemen. I am Rittik Kumar Jana, from Barrackpore, WB. I finally got recommended in my 9th attempt by NCC Special entry flying from 2 AFSB Mysore and got into the merit too. It’s a long journey of failures. i ‘ll talk about my AFSB’s after a small introduction. (well AFSB because i never got the motivation to even get screened in, in the army and the naval SSB boards.)
Here it began: Being an army brat. I saw my father serve with dedication, in the uniform. He was respected by all. He inspired me, from a tender age to adorn the uniform. He retired as a Hav. and passed away leaving me with a bag full of experiences and teachings of various aspects of life and places across India, and a responsibility to stand back for my mother and sibling.
I Did my +2 from APS Barrackpore and Btech from HIT, Haldia. The passion towards the uniform drove me to NCC and I joined up with the NCC junior division and later, senior division in Air wing (2 Bengal air sqn NCC). My NCC unit wasn’t in my college. I had to manage with a far located college and keep up the josh high for my training in NCC on weekends. I got selected for the Prestigious Republic day Camp representing not only the Air wing but the whole directorate as a best cadet competitor.
I participated in all the activities like singing, dance, drill, interview, shooting etc. and got selected for GOH (Guard of honor) and adjudged the Best Cadet Air Wing 2017 by the Prime minister, Mr. Narendra Modi. Later, i got selected and went for the Youth exchange program, Russia and got a lot of other achievements too. All these achievements made me think that I am an officer material but I failed. I failed again and again and again, even after taking coaching twice, I failed. With 3 conferences in AFSB, 2 at Dehradun and 1 at Varanasi and 5 screen outs Twice in Allahabad, 1 Varanasi,1 Bangalore,1 Coimbatore, I started questioning my achievements.
What went wrong in previous attempts? (read next line slow, relate, its deep)
Combining all the loopholes, i would say it was lack of self-awareness and preparation. I wasn’t aware of myself, yet, overestimated myself. I also thought that I am wasting my time in dreaming of joining the forces. Rather, I should just take up the job that I got during college placements. Yes, I thought it all just the way like people amongst you, who haven’t made it yet. “Paar dil hai ke manta nahi”. I kept going, kept working on myself, kept pushing myself, kept a progressive attitude, faced every challenge head on and yeah, here I am. My only advice to you, yes you, is that, give it, “WHATEVER IT TAKES”
The 9th Attempt, summation of all previous attempts.
What happened finally in this successful attempt?
2 AFSB MYSORE
I reached Mysore, a day prior, and jumped into the Sainik rest house located nearby. Reported the board the next morning with friends already known from previous SSB’s.
After the document check and chest number distribution, OIR Test is done. Then in PPDT, the Hazy picture seemed like a village scene. I made a story and narrated in flow. Entered the discussion second, directing the group towards deriving a theme rather than focusing age, mood, sex. Group story was different from mine but constructive and relative to the picture, so I supported it with the points from my story. I linked my story with the group story and gave some common points. Nominated the guy who gave good points and listened to others too. 2 guys got in, me and one more. After the documentation and rest, the Psych test was briefed and conducted. The stories I made were related directly to my real-life situations. It was simple as i just wrote what i did when i faced that situation but with detailed actions without any justification. WAT came up without factual data and only practical thoughts, making me finish off by 10-12 seconds for each word. SRT, I could only manage to complete 45, but with effective detailed actions. SD was pre- prepared and hence it was completed with comfort. We wrote our PIQ’s then and the day ends with a briefing for the next few days.
That’s the day 1 of GT. The previous night I kept on saying in my mind not to think about the previous performance to be in the present. I went through the notes of Cdr. Rajan sir. The morning we began with GD, having lack of knowledge about the topic I just managed to give my view points and kept the talk simple. The group too was very friendly and cooperative and hence had a beautiful discussion eventually making me understand the topic. In GPE my motive was to keep an overall practical approach considering all the factors like resources, priorities, time, men, distance etc. in every solution making it a crisp solution. This helped in clarity of thought hence allowing me to put better logical points during discussion. The PGT went good as my thoughts were acceptable and theirs too from my side. I helped my friends whenever required keeping in mind the ease of movement for them and the load. GOR, though i stood at the middle of the line. I was easily able to make my way forward but I also kept up with the ease of movement for my friends. I helped them whenever required and got back holding the snake while proceeding to next. The war cry was funny “ Aam ka achar, Aja mere yaar” we made that during dinner while having the achar literally. The next HGT,we treated each other’s idea with patience but quickly, but ended up having no clue.the GTO then pointed out with a hint and all three of us got it and proceeded to finish it off. We had our lecturette then, having got the topic Himalayan ranges in 1, i started with a motive to explain the topic like its done to a small kid. I finished off in 2 – 2.15 mins and went back. The day ended. I noted down the places I made mistakes just in case I’m not selected. It will help in correction for the next attempt.
The day 2 of GT. (i was weighing 96 i.e. 20 kgs overweight) We got ready for the IO. I started off with rope climbing and did 8 tasks in total, leaving the wall jump and tyre jump as I was heavy. CT, I was called just once as subordinate and GTO called me the 2nd last. He changed some colors twice and wanted me to plan without a rope too once. I took small pauses of 5-10 seconds and came up with ideas. I made sure the tasks were executed by me as I am the commander and also kept my friends at ease while crossing, I just used them to pass on the helping materials. before CT the GTO asked for my introduction and some cross questions. One of which i wasn’t able to answer. I replied with a note to get back to him after I got that info. Then happened the FGT, with same efforts like PGT i performed here too, focused on helping and understanding each other’s idea’s and proceeding. The GT was over. We were routed back to dorms, we enjoyed the evening and I gathered info which I didn’t answer. My GTO was my DSO. hence while evening fell in he pointed me indirectly and then asked the same question. I was surprised, I replied with the answer and felt very happy.
I had the interview so the previous night I got back with the notes I made and brushed up my life literally. I made my formals ready and reached the location on time. He took my folder 5 mins before and I had to wait till then. The interview started straight away grilling me on my obesity. Initial 3-4 mins, weight was just the topic of talk. I had my replies. He enquired about my performance in other tasks, to which I replied that I was quite satisfied. He mixed up the CIQs and the way I prepared was not happening practically. I listened to the questions properly and replied one by one . He asked my loopholes and strengths and verified the same in different ways. As I had them with deep introspection a number of times, it went on with my personality. There were questions on family and friends, work profile, hostel life in college, co-curriculars and achievements. He also asked me some basics of air force and principles of flight and some latest news. The interview lasted around 20-25 mins and I was asked to leave with a smile. After going back I again noted down points of correction and possible places of improvement for the next SSB if not this time. I found something suspicious,” i did not mention my two biggest achievements even when i was given an opportunity to say”. I noted it down. Later With team we went out and enjoyed the evening then played basketball for some time and the day ended.
DAY 5 & 6
The D-day. “Conference”. Everyone dressed up well back in formals waiting for their name to be called. they went in and out it went on till 29 and then a wait of 15-20 mins… then a wait after 31 for 5-10 mins and a wait for 10 mins after 32. I was 33. I entered 10 mins after 32 left and was welcomed with a smile by all the assessors. They asked me one question,” What are your two biggest achievements?” I thought “OMG, I missed those things in the interview”. I replied “ sir i was the best cadet air wing of 2017 and another will be the Selection to represent India at Russia”. They said ok. I left. They made us all sit in the hall and the DSO Called up chest no 30, 32 and 33 are recommended. That is the moment which every aspirant can visualize. Finally. The DSO Told me to reduce my weight soon and the day ends. On 6th we had CPSS and I cleared it.
How did I prepare for this attempt?
I used to jot down possible mistakes done in previous attempts. Got into a coaching academy and had my interview done by a retired assessor Maj Gen VPS Bhakuni and got some correction tips. I joined as a video editor and worked there as an instructor for various adventure activities. My NCC Air wing knowledge helped me keep my Air force related knowledge strong. I Prepared with my friends, all of the same mind-set and practiced daily. I had my GT concepts cleared by Cdr Rajan sir and that worked as a strong catalyst for this success. So, I got an environment to make my mindset focused in a unified direction. This made me introspect, and find my actual loop holes to work upon. After 3 months came the AFSB and the bull’s eye was hit.
But there was another challenge. My sitting height was 1cm excess for flying and I was overweight by 25Kg. I got a TR. The reduction of height was directly linked to reduction of weight and I had to reduce that within a span of two months. I gave it my everything and was declared fit in the remedials. I got merit in and soon, will be joining the prestigious Indian Airforce Academy.
My advice for aspirants would be to Create a similar constructive environment for yourselves, you’ll make it, surely. It would require a good friend circle and positive dedicated mindset to achieve.
That’s All about my journey of AFSBs. A daunting, new journey awaits and I am eagerly waiting for that.
The seed of achievement lies in the human mind, But when the realization comes up,
There’s no looking back. Jai hind.