“4 AFSB, Varanasi” (2 Oct. – 6 Oct., 2011)
This is the beginning of my first blog, and most probably the unique one. Not actually a blog descripting some kind of technology or science, what actually is my profession, but a blog to reflect some kind of personality aspect and behaviour of human mind at times of extremities and intense pressurized situations. This can be a story of many amongst us but difference is that, i am describing it.
** The entire story circles around the five dayz of my life that i experienced in 4 AFSB, Varanasi for the SSB of “INDIAN AIR FORCE“.**
Day 1 (The Day Of Nervousness)
It was a moment when we looked at each other at the MCO office at VARANASI Jn, where we were asked to assemble. There were some 60 candidates. Some were smiling and gossiping but rest of them were xtreemly nervous (i was one amongst them). It was actually due to the phobia of SSB, as no-one amongst us knew wats going to happen now. I’d never expected such a huge rush even after shortlisting done at FTS Amritsar. I was nervous and at the same time curious to know what happens now. I leaned around the sidewalls of over-bridge, waiting for the moment of our departure from the station, waiting for the moment bus of AIRFORCE will come and take us to our destiny.
Situation prevailed, adrenalin rushed through our blood, as the moment came, when we saw a yellow colored bus with logo of AIRFORCE heading towards us. Our call letters were verified, luggage put in a 3-tonner, we were seated in the bus and within a span of 15 min, we were taken away form the site and in next 10 min, we had a first look at the AIR FORCE SELECTION BOARD. I was surprised to see that it was located just wall-to-wall with railway station Varanasi jn, but despite of the nearness we were unable to make it out. Salute to the architecture by engineers.
Bus dropped us at the gate of “OUT OF BOUNDS” area, we made an entry to the premises of AFSB and OMG faced another round of document checking. It took some 30 minutes for the procedure to get completed. After this, we were expecting some more harshness from the authorities, but a smile came on our face when we heard about that we are going to have the BREAKFAST (our first one within AIRFORCE).
We enjoyed every moment there while eating, as it were pooris and aalo along with mango pickle. After this, we were headed towards the testing centre where we were going to be punished for our breakfast (symbolically). We filled some forms of their benefits (declaration, noc etc. etc.) and some of our benefits (journey particulars). We were alloted chest numbers (batches in our common language). I was alloted 10. After this we made a first look at an AIRFORCE officer with flying eagle and colored strips on his uniform. We came to know that he is Wg. Cdr. AMARINDER (DSO). He greeted us in such a manner that is we were his childhood friends. He then briefed about the testing series.
A moment after that it all began. We were provided with tests like OIR (where we had to show our reasoning abilities on verbal and non-verbal skills). Next was the shots of tests, one after other.
It was TAT first for which we were shown some 12 pictures in a row with 30 sec for visualisation and 4 min to write a story on these. This led to muscular fatigue for people like us who were freshers and engineers and even don’t like to write much, not even in exams. After this, WAT, a test to make sentences on random 60 words. After this we had to describe ourselves with respect to our parents, teachers, college frnz, etc etc. It was embarrassing for me to write all this as i din’t knew how to write my bad qualities. Only god knows what i wrote in that sheet. ** I was also expecting some kind of tests like CAT, MAT, GMAT etc. lolzzz**
At the end of day, this process actually described where you stand among the row of intellectuals. After this we we made to fill an PIQ form, which was simply filling general information about ourself. We filled it casually but it was a blunder we made over there. This cleared our way to hell.
It was evening around 8:30 when we were briefed again by DSO. He truly killed us when he uttered “MOBILES ARE TO BE SUBMITTED WITH US“. It truly left us in despair. 5 dayz without mobiles meant a lot for us. But he allowed us to make a last call to parents, friends and any1 we wished to ;). After that there was a lost connection to cellular world. Our mobiles were sealed in a box. We were then , for the first time told about our luggage. Bags were arranged one after other like a rajdhani express in our balcony. We got our beds in billets. Our’s was the MIRAGE. We entered mirage. Pilots use it for strike on enemy, we used it for sleeping. “Royal Persons Royal Choices“. It was the first time when i came to know about my room-mates. I got the second bed. to my left was a guy with chest number 14 (Rikki) and to my right was chest number 13 (Ashish). We introduced ourselves to whole of the mirage house. Both these guyz came out as my best buddies throughout the SSB.
It was a time to go for dinner at around 10.00pm. It was late but we got a new rule that we will be served dinner only when we are in formals. So, we sticked to this, afterall dinner was the supreme one. It was a good one, was better than expected. Again in mirage, were exhausted by the process, had a night with dreams of reality. This marked our end of the day. A tight schedule was to be followed the next day.
Day 2 (Day Of Many Surprises)
The last time for breakfast was 6.45, so to get up early in morning, we made certain plans, but all in vain. But another friend of ours (Rohin) wake us up at 5.30am. It was so hard for us to get up so early, as it was the first time i (i think evry1) got up so early. But we did it, n exactly at 6.45 we had our breakfast. We had to replay them for the breakfast they offered us. So, we were offered our interview schedule that day. So, the countdown began for the interview. I’d to wait for some 3 hrs. for my slaughter. I was interviewed by Wg. Cdr. Malik. He was so upset with me that he hanged me for over 1.15 hrs. He fired questions on me as he is in SU30MKI and firing at enemy troops. I then made him realize that i m not an enemy trooper. He din’t listened to me. I was totally exhausted. As, i was new to this, i din’t knew that short answers are required. I elaborated and evrytym i answrd, i digged the earth more deep for me. At the climax, it was so deep that i prefferd to stay inside, instead of coming out of that pit. This was the blunder i made. I completely lost myself in that interview. I had never expectd such a disaster in interview room. It was worst than 1000 tsunamis. After he said thankyou Rahul, i sighed with relief. I went to have lunch and after that amidst discussions in Ante-room, i enjoyed the game i used to play in 12th standard (the mighty POOL) with another cueist Tusshar. We enjoyed playing while others kept blaming the system. for us the system was OKAY.! After dinner at night, we enjoyed the interview at night, copying the acts of interviewer. We enjoyed moments when whole board was sleeping.
Day 3 (The Day of Relaxment)
Day 2 ended with opening gates for relaxment. With my frnz, i played pool whole of the day, and the rest of time watched movies. It was a day to refresh ourself, but i am unaware that if we refreshed ourselves or not. We made the day more complicated by discussing things of future.
Day 4 (The Day of Monkey Crawlers)
We were unaware that this enjoyment on 3rd day will destroy us the following day. We were having Ground Tasks that day. Everyone was ready in shorts and t-shirt, as if they were students of pre-nursery. We made best plans to complete the tasks. The drawback of being fresher is that we look for difficult alternatives even if we reach an easy alternative. We commited the same mistake over there. We applied practically impossible ways. While performing command tasks, one of the Gentlemen (Rikki) applied unique way of executing each task viz. MONKEY CRAWLING (what is this, he can better explain you). His plan was commiting suicide and less workable, but he applied in every task meant to be executed by him. He is therefore termed as Mr. Monkey Crawler. He, in individual tasks, did the same, where he was supposed to walk on log of wood, he did monkey crawl and wounded his leg. He injured almost every person in his acts and plans. Among us one was a Superman (chest no 17 not sure). Rivers, oceans never meant anything for him. He was the ultimate person. Our chest no 13 (Ashish) was so good at ideas that he straight ways jumped a person in rivers water to save a friend. Salute to his boldness. He was the only person to proudly say “10 KE 10 TASK KIYE HAI“. Rikki in his command task made me to do KATHAK with a drum in my hand, standing on the top of wood. What can i say, he was the commander then. A good part of this test was that, we were offered LASSI after the tasks. I seriously enjoyed it, and possibly everyone enjoyed it.
Day 5 (The Day of Losses)
It was the morning of which we were afraid. We reported the testing hall. Heart started beating at extremely high pace which was audible to whole of the arena, as the time of conference was arriving. I was 10th one to enter the hall. My nerves froze. I was among some 30 officers. I’d never expected such an environment inside the hall. They greeted and after formal questions, thanked me. I came out. This was the process with others also. After lunch, results were to be announced. We gathered again, results were announced. I had expected some kind of positive news from their side, there were positive news but surely not for me. From our group no. 12 and 18 made this happen. All of us were disappointed. We were provided with our mobiles and asked to leave the premises. This was the bad thing among those officers, that actually hurted us.
After the worst failure in life, i left in the same bus that brought us to the board, dishearted and broken. It was not just a failure but a broken dream to become an Fighter PILOT.
It was something lovely, rewarding, high ended. Atleast i got very good- friends for lifetime.
Rather than blaming the system just think “They performed their duties and we performed ours“.
GOOD LUCK boyz for your future.. :) Enjoy Life & Keep Smiling.