I would share the main and interesting aspects of my 6 day experience at 1 AFSB, Dehradun, which was memorable and which I will cherish forever.
I have made some very good friends during my stay there. A group of 10 candidates were allotted a room. But my room got changed the third day, so i got to make more number of friends.
It was like reliving those carefree hostel days again, which I had experienced during my graduation days. We shared our thoughts and memories, had long hours of discussions together, ate together, played together and laughed together. We even went out of AFSB campus to see the Dehradun city one afternoon.
This part was probably the best part of my stay over there.
Oh! I still miss it. It was more delicious than one could have expected. I ate like a beast famished for days. Although, the non-veg dish was given in limited quantity to each, i and couple of my friends used to stay there till the last so that the mess people serve us with some more!
Before telling about my GT, i would like to mention how i almost screwed my GT.
We had been asked to bring white t-shirt, white shorts, white socks, and white sports shoes for the SSB. I didn’t take those instructions seriously and went for SSB with none of the above but a pair of shoes which had some white coloured designs on it. When we were talking about GT on our first night in the room, i realised i have made a big mistake by ignoring those instructions. All others had brought their complete kit; some even carried an extra kit as well for contingencies. My friends advised me to purchase these things from the CSD Canteen in the AFSB campus.
When i got ready for my GT two days later, i was in the proper kit. But, the socks were purchased from the CSD Canteen, and rest everything was borrowed from within the room and outside!
Now, the Group Task-
My group task got messed up for we did not perform as a group. In spite of the instructions given by our Group Task Officer(GTO), not many in my group were willing to discuss and make a plan to cross the hurdle, before actually executing it. As soon as the the GTO started his timeer, we behaved as if our asses have been put on fire!
One picked up the plank and tried to put it somewhere. The other, without any coordination with the first, tried to use the wooden log in his own way. The third started tying one end of the rope somewhere without much idea as to what purpose it would serve. As many as them assisted them in doing these things.
The rest of us (including myself)? – we first shouted and asked them to first make a plan by discussion and then execute it, but later just stood there behind them doing nothing.
Result – we could not clear the hurdle.
The GTO allowed us to try the net hurdle and the next one, but we did the same mistake everytime. Finally, he asked us to come back.
In this round, each candidate of the group would pick up a chit from a bowl on which would be mentioned 4 topics. One had to choose any one of them, and speak on it to the GTO and other group members for 3 minutes after 3 minutes of mental preparation (no pen/paper was provided).
To my advantage, I could speak on any of the 4 topics that i got. However, i spoke on the topic ‘Fundamental Duties’ for I have read Constitutional Law and had many points to speak on the topic.
During my 3 minutes speech, I mentioned many Articles of the Constitution, Supreme Court judgements, and other legal things which a layman generally doesn’t know. I sensed from the pale faces of my group-members that many points went directly over their heads.
This was the task that i found the most challenging and the most rewarding. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
In this task, the GTO made each one us the Commanding Officer (CO) one by one. We were allowed to call 2 candidates of our choice from our group whom we would command to cross the hurdle. Other than these 3 candidates, the rest were not allowed to see the task. There were numerous hurdles in that area, and i was called at the last to cross the hurdle which i think was one of the most difficult of them. I was selected by 2 of my friends when they were made the CO; so i got to have a fair look at all the hurdles and know their difficulty level.
My hurdle was difficult to cross, and it took me sometime and a few failed attempts to think of a way through it. But I ultimately managed to clear it, and was happy when the GTO approved of it.
But just when I had started to go back thinking that the task was over, the GTO asked me to stop and do the same task in a different way. It took me by surprise, as he didn’t do the same with the other candidates.
When I did it in a different way as well, he further made that same task difficult by blocking one of the routes and asking me to do it then. I managed to do that as well.
But he didn’t end it there. He now took away plank and asked me to do the task only with rope and wooden log. I was fortunate to clear it that way as well.
Thus, he made me cross the same hurdle in 4 different ways.
He then asked the other 2 candidates who assisted me to go, and asked me to walk with him while he had his tea. He asked about me, my background etc. He then asked, “How was your group performance?”
Myself(with embarrassment on face) – It was pathetic, sir. We failed as a team. Everyone tried to apply his own plan without any consensus and planning.
GTO – And what do you think, how did your Command Task go?
Myself – I, frankly speaking, have no idea, sir?
GTO(with a rare smile) – Don’t worry. Be confident. It was good. Go, now.
My interview was taken by an officer of Air Commodore rank, who also headed that AFSB. It was very cordial. The interviewer was poker faced all the time, and showed no expressions at all. It went for about 40-45 minutes.
As soon as i entered the room, i walked in the direction towards the interviewer, ignoring that my chair was in opposite direction. The interviewer pointed his finger in the right direction and made me realise my mistake. I apologised and took my seat.
I don’t remember all the questions, but i would mention all that i can recall with answers wherever required.
Interviewer – I would first put up a series of questions and when i stop, you answer them one by one.
Your name. Father’s name. Mother’s name. 10th school and marks. 12th school and marks. Graduation college and marks etc etc etc
(I could only recall 60-70% of the questions and answered them and stopped.)
Interviewer – The rest of them?
Myself – Sorry sir, i am unable to recall the questions.
(He then repeated the left over questions and i answered them.)
Interviewer – We don’t really find people who have done B.Tech in Pulp and Paper Technology everyday. Tell me two things about this field which a common man should know?
Interviewer – What have you been doing since graduation in 2013?
Myself – Sir, i didn’t take up a job after graduation. I appeared for the Civil Services Exam and reached till the Interview round, but was not selected in the final merit list. Last month, i took up a job as an Analyst at Yepme.com
(These were his following questions.)
Interviewer – Have you appeared this year as well?
Interviewer – What topic did you write Essay on? (possibly to check if was lying or not)
Interviewer – Why do you want to join the Air Force?
Interviewer – But the respect, perks, lifestyle etc are also available if you join the Army. Why not Army, then?
Myself – Sir, i don’t want to take up a combat role. I know i won’t be good at it.
Interviewer – If you get selected in both Air Force and Civil Services, what would you take?
Myself – Civil Services, sir.
Interviewer – Tell me two of your weaknesses.
Myself – Sir, i am a little under-confident at times. And, i am also not very hygienic.
Interviewer – Hygienic? Elaborate it.
Myself – Sir, i am not very fond of bathing. So, i usually skip it for a few days.
Interviewer – Have you bathed today?
Myself – No, sir.
His other questions were about my friends, my teachers, problems in Delhi, views on policies of Arvind Kejriwal, history of Air Force etc.
This was scheduled on the last day. In it, each candidate was called in the conference room one by one where all 20-odd officers in the AFSB campus were sitting in their uniforms in a U-shaped table, with the head of the AFSB sitting at the centre.
We were told we would be asked some questions by one of the officer and we have to look towards him only while answering it.
Most of the conferences lasted less than a minute. Rarely, any one lasted 2 minutes.
When I was called inside, I felt a little nervous seeing so many uniformed officers. I was put up with my first question. But I couldn’t realize who was the one who asked me questions. I kept looking at them with a dejected face for 10 seconds, when the question was repeated. This time I found out where do i need to look.
I came out after 15-20 minutes. It was more of a mini-interview to me. They asked me about my current job, what work do i do, any challenging situation i faced in job and how did i handle it. Also, they asked me about my college life, what did we do in hostels, any interesting instances of hostel days that i remember etc etc.
The final results were announced after a few hours and i was one among the four who got recommended.
I asked my GTO when the recommended candidates were having an informal discussion with him over tea in the evening, that why my conference lasted so long.
He replied, “Candidates like you don’t come here everyday. All the officers wanted to know more about you.”
He further said, “We have shown faith in you, and expect the same in return.”
Written by Vipul Bawa on Quora.