I am Sanidhya Vardhan from New Delhi have done my engineering (Mechanical Engg.) and got recommended for Indian Army through CDSE 2 (2016) for SSC(NT) -106 course commencing at Officers Training Academy from October 2017.
I had cleared CDS 2 (2016) for OTA and my SSB was scheduled just after my Goa Trip which was a customary planned trip with my hostel buddies during my 8th semester.
This was my first shot at this highly coveted selection process and I wanted no stones unturned in the preparation so prepared for the same by a self-help book and by a little introspection into myself. So finally 21st May arrived was when I was supposed to report at Allahabad for my SSB at the so-called rejection board viz. “Selection Center East Allahabad”. Naturally, I was a bit anxious because of this rejection stereotyping of Allahabad by my peers.
I started working on establishing a daily routine to make myself fit for the Interviews both mentally and physically.
I reported at the MCO at Allahabad railway station at around 1230hrs, there were around 20-25 candidates already waiting there and I became engrossed with many candidates one of which was an already recommended candidate whose name was Bhavani Singh who unfortunately couldn’t clear the merit list hurdle. At around 1300hrs we were asked to put our luggage in a truck and get into a bus which would take us to the selection center, I helped some of the guys who climbed the truck to load our luggage.
After a journey of few minutes through midst of a city in scorching heat we finally reached Selection Center East after some time we were asked to get our documents for the Prelim Check by call-up office officials after they signed on the call letter I was good to go. There were total 41 of us, I was given Chest Number 4 in 14SSB board during the final documentation process. We were then given a welcome address by one of the GTO’s of 14SSB we were full of energy after that. Finally tired as hell we reached our candidate’s line took sheets and pillow cover from the caretaker and prepared our beds. We had our dinner at 1930 hrs and chatted till 0100 hrs with friends.
23rd May (Day 1)
We had our OIR and PP&DT on this day for which we had to report at 0630hrs. OIR was easy like if you have prepared for your placements then surely it’s a cakewalk just follow the instructions but in both the booklets I couldn’t complete 4 and 5 questions. After the OIR the projector was adjusted and picture was shown to us and we were asked to write a story. The picture had a doctor and a worried woman with another lady looking at the doctor. I wrote a story of a recently graduated doctor who aspires to be a servant to the society by serving to the needy ones.
We were divided into 4 groups of 10-11 people. I narrated my story confidently and crisply and after the narration of all the stories, we started the discussion which was a very friendly discussion where everyone was providing their inputs in our group there were only freshers finally one of the officers interrupted and told that it was a very fruitful healthy discussion and were told to wait outside for other batches to complete their narration and discussion.
After 1 hour the result was announced and 26 of us were screened in and were given new chest numbers, I was given chest number 10 and coincidentally my favorite football player Mesut Ozil dons that jersey number I was proud of myself and thought in my mind that at least one of many tasks is completed. I slept early that day so that I would be fresh the next day for the Psych Testing.
24th May (Day 2)
My psych test went fine I had done all 12 TAT, 60 in WAT and 41 in SRT was panicking after doing less SRTs but I focused on the quality more than the quantity, My SDT went okay had to struggle to complete it fully. We had a short tea break and were asked to wait for further instructions finally were informed that the chest numbers from 16-26 and 1-8 have their interviews on that day only while from 9-15 had their Interviews next day after the GTO testing day 1. I went to the Wet Canteen had some refreshments and finally returned to my candidate’s line played basketball in the evening had to maintain that clean shaven look so went to the barber’s shop got late there and was reprimanded by the CHM sir in the evening, was made to run 5 rounds of the facility. After listening to the interview experience of my friends slept early that day as I wanted to be fresh the next day for the GTO 1 Testing.
We were told to be there at GTO grounds of 14SSB at 0545hrs.
Day3 (25th May)
I woke early that day with full on confidence and had my breakfast got ready and all our group reported to the ground at sharp 0545hrs and to our amusement, the GTO’s were already present there. Our Gto groups were divided in the sequence of our chest numbers 1-8, 9-17, 18-26 were our Groups. Finally, our group was called and the GTO sir addressed us with do’s and don’ts the Sir was very friendly in nature and in fact our group had two GTO’s One Officer was constantly assessing us and one gave us instructions so finally our testing began. First there was a GD whose topic was Higher Education Scenario in India, this was the topic with which everyone was comfortable so Chest No 15 initiated the discussion professionally and there was a good discussion going while I was constantly putting my inputs with correct facts and figures so after a few minutes the discussion was concluded and the GTO’s changed their position and next topic given to us was “Insurgency In J&K what is the cause behind it “ this topic made me more enthusiastic and I presented good facts here and as usual our group conduct was so good that everyone got their fair chance to speak. The next exercise was GPE in which we solved the problem very diligently and came to a workable conclusion I was nominated by the group to speak up the conclusion which I did confidently and GTO sir praised our team spirit. After this came to our PGT I was little worried here because I didn’t what all I had to do here but the instructions from the assessors made me calm and the whole task went well and I have 2-4 ideas there.
We were then given a break for 10 mins in that break we had Amul Flavored milk and got ready for Snake Race (Group Obstacle).
This was the Fun part we had to choose a war cry and we consented on “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, our group won the snake race with ease. The last task was HGT which is a mere cakewalk. So finally we were done with our GTO-1 testing and all the interview pending candidates (9-13) were informed of the schedules.
I reported at the waiting room in my GTO dress, finally, Chest number 9 named Rajat Chand was flashed on the LED and his interview Started. That time I saw the time which was 1250hrs that waiting time there was very nerve wrecking. Finally, at about 1330 my chest number flashed on the Screen I got up and went to the Board President’s office, finally entered the Room IO greeted me with a beaming smile which I replied with my greetings too. IO told me to have a seat since I was wearing a sacred thread on my right hand (kalawa) the IO asked me about the thread and from where you got this, I told him that it was from Ujjain Mahakal. Finally, after making me comfortable and not putting pressure from the, he asked about my family and friends and about one negative quality in your best friend I told IO all the answers and then there was a five-question rapid fire which also I answered with ease. As the IO got to know that I am from Non Army back ground he asked me what are my inspirations to join the forces and If I am selected then where after several years I would like to see myself; to this I said abruptly that I want to become the General of Armed Forces listening to this he suddenly laughed and I asked whether this is possible or not and also told him about my inspirations of my close friend who is currently undergoing his training and will be commissioned next July. I was asked about the stars which a brigadier dons on his uniform I did not know the answer to that so the IO told me to answer that on Conference Day. There was a long discussion on Formula 1 between me IO and he asked me why I like Hamilton and what strategies does he follow in the Race Weekends I answered that aggression is the main thing I like about Lewis and how constructively he uses that Aggression in Motorsports, the IO enquired me about the Drag force, traction force and downforce I knew all of that so answered those confidently.
In the middle of the interview, he asked me if I have any concerns to which I replied I couldn’t wear my favorite Purple Shirt which my mother gave it to me; the IO told me to wear that on Day 5 and then asked me about OPEC issue and whether I Support this trade act or not. He also asked me about the differences in cost of living in Bangalore and in Delhi as I did my B Tech from Bangalore. Finally, the IO told me that he is satisfied with answers and wished me all the best for further tests.
Oh yes, he also visited us during our GTO testing and asked me who all were assessors so I told him that there were two assessors then suddenly it struck my mind that IO sir was also present there for a short time during our pgt so I exclaimed that fact to the IO. Finally, I left the office and had a look on the wall clock it was 1440hrs and now I was feeling pretty grilled out and thirsty on my way back to Line I had a mango shake and Maggi and then slept for few hours and went out with my friends to a nearby café.
Day 4 (26th May)
I got up early and our first task was Individual Obstacles in which we had to shout our favorite actresses’ name on the commando walk obstacle. I shouted Amanda Cerny’s name on that obstacle overall I completed 9/10 obstacles and was satisfied by my performance.
Then there was command Task and 2 times I was called as subordinate, my turn came at the last and then I was briefed by the GTO and he also talked a bit about my life, hobbies etc. The task given to me was of moderate difficulty and I finished my task with ease. At the end, I thanked my subordinates.
The FGT was a simple task which we completed in exact 2 minutes.
27th May (Day 5)
The conference day started with a closing address by one of the testing officers. Thereafter, we were asked to wait for our chest number to flash on the screen and then go into the conference hall. As soon as my chest number flashed, I went in with a smile on my face and wished the president. IO greeted me back and asked me are you comfortable now in your “purple Shirt” to which I replied Yes Sir. And to my amazement, the IO was of Brigadier Rank with 3 stars in a form of a triangle (which I was supposed to be knowing). I kept my self-calm and IO asked me whether my mother called me yesterday or not to which I replied that “Yes I had talked to my mother and she told me that irrespective of your selection result don’t stop believing in yourself and it doesn’t matter whether you’ll be selected or not just give your best shot tomorrow. IO asked me how it feels now, to which I reverted pretty confident sir. I was asked about the facilities here and which were the tasks according to you, are the one where you lag I answered PGT was the task where I think I had underperformed my favorite task was Group Obstacle. He then asked for suggestions to the board, to which I said that the board is giving us the best possible facilities.
He then wished me luck and we went to a hall to wait for results. After about half an hour, the results were declared
And to my shock and amazement, the Technical Officer Shouted that there is only one person who has been recommended viz. Chest Number10, I literally died out of shock attack that time was pretty elated and I stood up (while my folder fell) and told my name I was awarded a new chest number +21 (co-incidentally my birth date) I was feeling bad for my friends especially towards my GTO group which was the best group ever with best persons ever.
After my semester examination, I gave my medicals and was given TR in the dental Department as I had less number of required dental points. I took further treatment to get it corrected in 42 days’ time but my problem couldn’t be corrected and finally in AMB and Subsequent RMB was declared Unfit for this Entry and was told to Get my teeth Corrected For the Next Entry, I was shattered by the fact that how easily a dream can be crashed .
Recently the Merit list was published by the UPSC and I secured AIR 22 in that so I am satisfied with my performance and will surely continue to chase my dreams of becoming a fauji and serve my motherland with my full dedication.
I would like to quote the lyrics of my favorite song here ( Never give up –sia)
“But I won’t never give up, no, never give up, no, no
No, I won’t never give up, no, never give up, no, no.”
Kind courtesy to Sanidhya Vardhan.