“If your mind can conceive it, you can believe it…. You can definitely achieve it.” Hello aspirants, I am Islam from Hisar, Haryana. I got recommendation from 3AFSB Gandhinagar in my very first attempt for Flying Branch. It all started with a joining letter for ‘Y’ Group of IAF and 3 re-appears in graduation previous semester of undergraduate in year 2018 when I decided to live a life without any regret and try my best to fulfill my dream to join flying branch of IAF. I always believed in the fact that “If your mind can conceive it, you can believe it…. You can definitely achieve it.” I relinquished the joining opportunity to go for AFCAT, cleared it in first attempt but was not able to appear for AFSB as I had re appear in graduation. I again appeared for it but this time my score were 2 marks less than the cutoff marks. Then came my third and last attempt for AFCAT through which I got my chance to appear for my very first SSB.
I had my reporting on 11Nov,2019 at Sector 11,Pathikashram Bus Stand (Gandhinagar) at 0630hrs. All of us reported on time. After briefing of what needs to be taken care of, they took us to the 3AFSB, Gandhinagar.
There was a Warrant Officer who gave us the briefing and also checked the necessary documents. 200 candidates reported at the center. After allotting the chest numbers according to the AFCAT Number(Mine was 09), we were taken for breakfast. Sandwiches and eggs were provided there. I preferred having light breakfast because I wanted to enjoy the lunch and dinner there. After having breakfast, we were taken to the main testing hall. Seating capacity was good there and OIR test was conducted. I attempted all the questions. The key here is just listen to the Instructions and act accordingly. OIR was simple and I performed well in both. Then it was the turn for PPDT. Image was not hazy but clear to perceive. There was a girl in a beautiful dress and I made a story on Performance in Youth Festival which I attended recently.
After PPDT we were taken to Ground Testing hall where our narration and GD took place. Key here is to just rehearse your Story within the time span between your story writing and narration. If you’re not able to complete your story you can complete it in narration and make sure narration is crisp and clear and take part in GD with 3-4 valid points. I was confident of screening in. DSO(Duty Selection Officer) came up with the chest numbers of screened in candidates and when I heard chest number 09. It was the happiest moment of that morning. Now I was allotted with chest number 03 and my heart was whispering that I want to hear same chest number from the DSO on the conference day. We were taken for lunch, allotted rooms. My room name was Kiran(Trainee Aircraft). 06 out of 13 were screened in from my batch. We were now in a group of 08 in a room which is the same group for Ground Tasks. Everyone was provided with cell phones and everybody was busy in calling at home to convey the message that they will be at this place only for next 5 days. I did the same but soon cut the call and was thinking about my SD and Blank TAT story which I have to write at Pysch Test in the evening. As we had limited time with cell phone I searched the template of SD on Google Baba and framed my SD on a notepad. I was sure of what I have to make for blank slide at TAT. After having snacks and evening coffee. We were taken to the same testing hall at 1915 hrs. Within 5 minutes our testing started. I did well in TAT, completed all the stories with first thought and emphasized more on quality than quantity. Key here is to focus on action part.
No need of giving reward to anyone. I utilized my time to complete other stories when completed a story before time. After TAT with a brief introduction of WAT , our WAT started. I did 55/60. Key here is to practice it before and write your observations related to your knowledge and experiences. In SRT, I did 28/60. YES 28. I had written long replies to situations. I realized that I could have done better if I shortened my replies. In SD , I did as planned in the evening but did one update in the section where we have to write ”What kind of person you want to be?” I wrote “I want to be a person with few words”. Key here is being spontaneous in nature. Almost in every task. After Psych a thought came to my mind that this 28 SRT could have been the cause of my rejection. I was not much satisfied with the number of my SRT attempts. Before going to bed I just backed myself that if I give my best in GT and Interview, I can fancy my chances. My GT was next day. We had two GDs and a GPE. GDs went good. My participation was adequate with valid points. In GPE, during the narration of GTO, I missed the narration part for about 30 secs thinking about my performance in GD and that thing backfired as I was not able to frame a good planning.
Somehow I managed to write all the problems and dividing equal number of persons in buddy pairs for the same but I participated in GD with logical points. Again a task was not upto the mark i.e. GPE. Then in PGT I gave ideas, implemented the same. I was the one who used to cross any bridge made as I was the lighter of them all. In HGT everything went smooth. I was called as sub ordinate by 3 commanders in command task. I had my command task in the last. Before start of Command task, GTO asked me about my profession, why I want to join IAF, which aircrafts I would love to fly and why? Why I have not chosen a Company after Graduation and why I’m doing PG? At last he asked whom I want to call as sub ordinates and why? My command task was interesting as he tricked me 3-4 times by saying your bully is broken, now rope is not there, now bully and fatta is not there. I solved all of them and I was really happy with my performance in CT. Now it was turn for FGT and it went smoothly. I participated, put forward my ideas and it was done for the day.
Now, It was time for the interview and as all freshers I was busy mugging up all the current affairs and knowledge regarding my hobbies and interests and giving the mock interviews to the fellow candidates. That night was long, really long. Next day, it was again a long period of waiting in the waiting lounge and heartbeats start kicking up as I moved forward to Interviewer’s room. Sir welcomed me with a warm gesture and a big smile. After comforting questions, it was turn for rapid fire and time elapsed soon. He asked me everything regarding my studies, self awareness, family,friends, daily routine but didn’t ask what I had prepared for i.e. regarding hobbies and interests.
He asked me to tell about some national and international current affairs and I was like “Option bhi milta hai yaha”. The best thing here is to be honest and smart while maintaining your decorum. He asked me why I was not able to clear NDA? Why I was not able to clear CDS? What my friends think my weakness is? Why I was not able to appear in AFSB after clearing my first AFCAT attempt? And answer of all these questions was Mathematics and Re-appear in Mathematics. Interview ended up on a light note as he asked me which places I am planning to visit here and how I am enjoying here. I was really satisfied and happy after the interview.
Next day, I was free but now it was the time for overthinking. I kept on remembering how differently I could have answered some particular questions and things which I was not able to put forward as I planned which is quite natural I guess. We went on to visit Akshardham, Adalaj Stepwell and Indora Nature Park. An eventful day came to an end.
Now it was turn for “Dooms Day”. I was busy in remembering the questions I left half answered in Interview and SRT’s which could have been thrown up as I did only 28 SRTs. After planning the best possible answer of every expected question when I moved into the conference room and there was a buffet of officers. One of the neighboring officers to the president of the board asked me just two questions. “Why you want to join Indian Air Force?” to which I replied “It was my childhood dream, NCC Airwing motivated me further. I want to be a fighter Pilot in Indian Air Force.” and “If you didn’t make it this time in defence forces what is your backup option?” to which I replied “I am looking at teaching sector and for the same I am doing my masters of computer application.” and after complementary questions I was asked to leave the hall. A series of questions went through my mind “SRTs backfired? GPE backfired? They are impressed? Recommended? Or Better luck next time?” holding this series we went to the testing hall after lunch where DSO was supposed to announce the results.
Again it was a wait for eternity. DSO Arrived in the hall with the results and after giving the formal speech, he finally announced “So the first chest number is 02, (and I was like GAME OVER as consecutive chest numbers are only supposed to be called up in NDA entries only) BUT then came the dream call, CHEST NUMBER 03. One of the best moments so far. Every hustle, grind, failures, hardwork made sense in that moment. Total 06 Candidates got recommended from our batch.
At last I cordially want to thank my commanding officers from NCC specially Grp Capt MS Virdi and Grp Capt Rajesh Sharma sir for always being there to guide and help. Big thanks to my family, my friends specially Sumit Sharma and each and every one who has been part of this journey. Jai Hind.