Failed Many times, Finally Recommended from SSB Allahabad

He texted -”Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots. How can we ensure that we are not idiots?”- after I got screened out from Allahabad through NCC special entry in my third attempt. The above question left me with a doubt and I thought what if I would not succeed in my life or the path I have chosen would not take me to the ultimate destination, I would end up as an idiot. But I believed in myself and began preparing for my next SSB.

Hi to all, I am Anil Kumar from Distt. Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. I come from an army background, my father is a serving JCO did my schooling from Army Schools, three years in NCC and lived most part of my life in Army Cantonments. This all is enough to get motivation for joining armed forces. Here I share my experience how I walked years to achieve my goal. My story is full of failures before this I had written NDA exam two times, four times CDS exams and other competitive exams plus 4 SSBs ( 3 NCC SPL entry and 1 AFCAT entry) every time I tasted failure. But I didn’t lose hope and kept slogging towards the acme of my dream.

1st Jan 2018- yes, for the first time my search matched and my roll number was there in two columns IMA and OTA both cleared, I selected the date 6th of March for SSB and I had another SSB from 26th Feb through Afcat entry which we know as AFSB. Now I had two opportunities in a row, I skipped classes and began sharpening my arrows to hit the bull’s eye.

25th Feb – I reached Dehradun and luckily my stay was arranged at IMA by my father, it was a Sunday I was waiting for the Uncle at front of Chetwode building gate, dreaming to be there one day and then the Uncle came and picked me, I spent a night there.

26th Feb – We were supposed to report at MCO at 0600hrs, the place was already filled with candidates, I interacted with few then we were taken to AFSB Centre Clement Town in a bus. After it the show began, candidates were clubbed into different categories fresher, screened out, repeaters (legends) and recommended, after documentation part I of screening commenced with the OIR test, it is a simple test of reasoning.

Part II of screening – we were shown a hazy picture and we are supposed to make a story covering what led to the situation, what is going on and what can be the possible conclusion. After it comes the important part of screening- Narration, and Discussion. I narrated the story well but participation in GD was not satisfactory as I was the last person in the group and was left out. To my surprise, the result was ready just after the discussion got over. We were again asked to sit in the same auditorium for the results, my chest number was 124, and chest numbers were called in an increasing fashion. I was the last in the row after 121 my chest number was called out.

P.S- while writing your screening story, try to cover what led to the situation part in 2 lines and what is going on in the third and in next 7-8 lines write actions and then conclude it well. Keep cramming it till Narration, narrate it with confidence, look right-left, and try to make it simple and crisp.

I didn’t get recommended, only 3 were able to make it out of 63( 2 previously recommend + one Fresher ). This gentleman who was a fresher Swarnim Mishra, I congratulated him but it was not the last time we both shook hands.

2 March – the festival of colors, I was all alone at home in New Delhi , parents had gone to native town. No celebration only one thing in mind that I was left only with 1 SSB, the last had been miss fired. I prepared my SD, and last TAT story well. Framed scores of question out of PIQ. Self Description is one of the pillars of Psychology Test, it stems out what you really are. And the best thing which I did was that “I promised to myself that I would be what I am “.

5th March – I boarded a train in the evening and this time I was not carrying the pain of rejection or selection with me.

6th March( Reporting)- At around 0400 hours I was at Allahabad. Reporting time was 1300hours , I rested myself at MCO and with the first light candidates began mustering around MCO. I met three new friends , all repeaters , we shared our old experiences, went out to eat , and our friendship began taking shape. It was 1100 hrs., we decided to go to Centre by walk. Nothing was new except the Under construction road at front of Main Gate.

At around 1330 hours the bus came and we all were called for Documentation, around 140 candidates reported for two batches, among them I sensed a known presence, a familiar face, I tailed him to discover, he was Swarnim Mishra. Two batches were formed and luckily Swarnim and two of my friends were allotted 11SSB. Now again we became four. We were called for brief documentation after we settled for a while in the dormitory. After it, few sent back home for not having documents. And the final count was 64.

7th March( Screening )– the same process, OIR test was administered by a JCO. It went well I did all questions. Part II of screening- PPDT, our Psychologist entered the hall from the back, the sound of his steps and our adrenaline both getting louder. He began the show after briefing us. A picture was shown, it was hazy in nature. A man was running in a water body and he was followed by other men. Now I did nothing but a change I just repeated the AFSB story and in place of the jungle, I wrote water body.

Now the narration part , my chest number was 51 and again last in the group, i narrated the story well, in the group discussion -our group was partitioned, the other group was given first chance to discuss meanwhile our group began talking through eyes. Now our turn, we didn’t waste time we copied certain points from other group and eventually a common story was constructed within time. Swarnim was made scape goat by the group , he confidently narrated. We all moved to the shed where our belongings were kept, we waited for half an hour then we were called for results. We were again seated in the same fashion, then came the man with the result. Chest numbers were called out in random order, I was craving to hear 51 and I had no plan to return home. But patience is the key the number 51 pierced the thick air and reached my ears. I joined the line and I had 16 on my chest. Only 26 out of 64 retained on day one. All of my friends made it, we picked our luggage and occupied the same beds.

8th March(psychological test)– We were to report at the same auditorium early morning after breakfast. I had heavy breakfast and was feeling sleepy during my Psychological test, not feeling comfortable but anyhow I completed it. I wrote all TAT, 60 WAT, 51 SRTs (still I had time left with me, and I stopped writing SRTs because I was not getting what to write in 52nd). Self Description I completed within time as I had already prepared it well in advance.

P.S- See don’t run after positive or negative in the picture, nothing is positive or negative. Just see what is there in the picture , cover all character and there is a work hidden in the picture, there is a purpose find it and write a beautiful story around it with a conclusion. Your hero in the TAT should not be a defaulter , show him/her a winner. And make stories related your PIQ and SD. (I did this)

Coming to WAT – write first thought whatever comes to your mind, here also no negative no positive

For e.g. – LOAFER – I wrote:” loafer shoes are easily available in the market”.

FAMILY-” family planning combats rapid growth of population”.

SRTs- write using commas, conclude it. Repeaters should attempt at least 45.

For e.g.” he was surrounded by thieves in a thick forest” – I wrote –gave the illusion , ran away, told the police “.

Self Description – prepare your PIQ , SD and Daily routine in advance and there should be an alignment.

9th March(GTO Day 1)– PT dress , all white except strategies in mind. GTO comprises of 9 test. First the Group Discussion , I submitted relevant points , didn’t focus much on facts, and tried to build relation among the three leads which we were provided that how one leads to another. After GD , Group Planning Exercise was administered , I gave valuable points and helped a group to solve all problems within time. PGT, HGT – I took the group out where it got stuck with my ideas and supported others ideas also. In lecturette my topic was Indo -Pak relations.

10th March ( GTO day 2) – I completed 11 individual obstacles, and now the acid test of GTO came to the Command Task as it reflects your performance in GTO. I was third to be called by GTO Sir , we shook hands then he asked me why I didn’t shave – I said sorry, then he asked me about what I was doing at present, about education , where I was staying, number of attempts, why I wanted to join armed forces, how I prepared myself this time, about hobbies and which is my favorite novel? I answered all the questions. He took me to the task , I was to take out the bomb with the help of two subordinates.

There were three ways the bomb could be taken out. First was very simple I did it with ease , then he asked me to do this from other, at that time I got a wind of recommendation by GTO, I did it from second structure again he said it had been broken , and asked me to do it from the third one. It was difficult , I kept on injecting ideas and I didn’t want to lose this chance, a do and die situation aroused. I changed my place with the subordinate and with 3-4 failed attempts finally I got the idea , and he knew that so he put time pressure on me and I quickly made a bridge and the bomb was taken out.

After it, I was pretty sure that I had been recommended by GTO. In Final Group Task , I didn’t give any idea , I held the fragile material in hand and helped others.

Coming to my group members, you all have been very helpful , you guys encouraged me , motivated me and I hope to see you conquering your goals. I am leaving email ID , send me your contact details.

INTERVIEW – I had my interview on the last day just after GTO and before lunch , I quickly rushed to the candidates line , changed into formals. The interview was to be taken by deputy President , I waited in the Waiting room then 16 number appeared in the LED display with a sound. I entered the room smiling, I was asked to sit then he began with my number of attempts, I had prepared all the possible questions which could be asked from the PIQ in advance . He asked me about my hobbies, daily routine , pocket money , friends , family, Current Affairs , reading habit, academics, sports, and why I want to join the army, and how I prepared this time, strength, weakness, what I fear the most , what are my other plans besides Army? I answers all the questions. The interview ended in 35 minutes approximately.

11th March (Conference Day)– All items packed, locked , and placed in the shed. Conference began in reverse order, chest number 24 was called first then next. Three candidates were supposed to wait on chairs and the forth one was supposed to be questioned in the conference room. When 17 was in the conference room , I was waiting for my turn them he left the room, now I was being discusses inside the room, I began counting on my finger tips and it was the first time I waited for three minutes otherwise in earlier attempts I was called within a minute. My number flashed on the LED screen with sound , I entered the room, officers sit in semi circle and the candidate in the middle ,I wished everyone with smile and was asked to occupy seat the first question was “How this SSB is different from other SSBs?” second question ” How you will prepare for next SSB?” and then normal question. How was the stay and all?

I was very worried about my result after conference because around 10 candidates were discussed in detail and in my case they took only three minutes. I began looking for trains to return home, there was a tussle going in my mind, I didn’t want to repeat the same thing, boarding train, telling parents, getting sympathy calls by friends, family, relatives , boring journey, railway station and facing people expectations again.

When conferencing of 26 candidates over we were called for the last time to sit in Chanakya Hall. Duty NCO told us to remain quiet and informed us that result would be announced very soon by one the officers. We all were looking at the gate , and Psychologist sir appeared with a clip board, the A4 sheet on it holding names and chest numbers of recommended candidates. He began without wasting time first chest number 25, all surprised , then 24 Swarnim Mishra I surprised, then 18, 17, then he got a phone call I thought this was the end because generally, 3-4 candidates make it. And I threw my hat in the air, I lost all hope, he hung the call and called 16. I shouted my name, upsc roll number with tears in my eyes, the chase was over, for seconds everything went crazy around me. Chest number 13 and 5 also made it. We all lined up , Psych sir, Duty NCO and our friends congratulated us. We were given two minutes to call our parents and to take luggage back to candidates line. We all sped to shed, took mobile phones out of beg, I called my mother and gave the good news.

In evening I received a text from him – ” A winner never quits and a quitter never wins. Yes, winners they never quit but at the same time they do what is required to achieve their goal.”

P.S- Introspection is all about improvement, analysis your last day, improve your today and set new bars for tomorrow.

I end my story with a line BINA PARISHRAM YASH KAHA

All the best to all, stay motivated.

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