Saturday, March 31, 2007


Disclaimer : This post could get pretty long ... Either spare enough time to read through the whole of it . Or .... Hmm .. Well ... JUST SIT HERE and READ IT !!

First and foremost ... My heartfelt thanks to all my friends,lovers,followers , chaatus ( Sagar .. U fall into that category) , relatives & foes for the overwhelming support throughout the 'testing' period I went through.
" Tumharay pyaar aur aashirwad ke bina ..... "

That my cellphone bill would be reaching astronomical heights should also be credited to you all. Nevertheless.. I loved every bit of the attention.

So ... If you would've had the super excess time , and were utterly bored and disgusted , am sure you have gone through my earlier post. Before leaving for the Air Force Selection exams , I was brought to believe by everyone that the SSB exams are the best experience one can ever have in his lifetime. A must for every individual.
While I do subscribe to the second view , I still maintain that the three sports trips to BITS - Pilani gave me the best moments of my life.
(Thanks Darryl and Nunni and Nishank and Bhatia and Jollu and JD and Rajesh and Divji and Pondi and my cricket and football teams ).

Okay .. cutting the crap and getting to the point .. Here goes ..

Day 1 : As soon as me and Dhawal reached Mysore station we met this large group of diffident yet cheerful hopefuls , all dreaming of flying a Su-30, discussing about the Light Combat Aircraft - Tejas and the reasons for its delay , the Cheetah and Chetak ( fellow ignorant bhais ... We are talking about helicopters here ... not apna Hamara Bajaj wala Chetak !! ). Almost everyone had a military background and they couldn't help but discuss about their parents' experiences at the defence forces , while I was desperately looking for someone whom with I could discuss India and Pakistan's losses the night earlier.
So we reached the AFSB and had the introductory session where all my efforts to hide the floaters that I was wearing went in vain. Everyone around me had their shoes on. The initial barracking that the entire group got from the DSO ( commanding officer ) got me quivering in my boots.. floaters rather.
" What the hell am I doing here !! "
" Run away Puneet .. You'll end up embarassing yourself "
" Why don't you just go back to Mumbai and report to work ?? "
Some of the questions that I found myself staring at.
A late night round of table tennis with my new found buddies helped settle the nerves.

Day 2 : Waking up at 5am wasn't as big an issue as I'd thought it would be. A two hour lecture greeted us. Me , Dhawal and Jude almost dozed through the last half hour. The tests while a little tricky , weren't a major concern , with us having to read instruments and guess the state of the aircraft,its direction , the speed and altitude gained etc. Following it were the PABT tests , where we were made to sit in simulated cockpits and asked to play a few games. No .. It wasn't Doom 3 or War of the Worlds that was being played .. but games of the Tetris sort. But were terrified or what !! Managed to sail through the two of them though.

Day 3 : A few psychometric tests to begin the day. We were shown a slide for about half a minute and expected to write a story within 4 minutes.... the four minutes though seemed to have got over in 20 seconds. A GD on the same topic followed. My raagpatti talent saw me through this elimination round as well. 26 out of the 56 who had come for the SSB exams were made to pack their bags and leave the academy after this stage. The rest of the day was spent indulging in chess , TT , volleyball and some sleep.

Day 4 : 15 seconds to see the word and coompile a sentence. The same thing getting repeated 60 times over. And with words like death , greed , curse , bully , thrown in , the test was everything but a cakewalk. To keep coming up with positive emotions in each of the sentences was getting tougher with each passing word. Prior to that we were shown 12 different slides and were required to write 12 different stories in 48 minutes. A few paplu intelligence tests were rendered early in the morning. The sort that a nursery kid would consider childs play. That they are called 'Intelligence' tests is an irony in itself.
A hilarious round of running table tennis followed. The night was spent watching the hapless Bermudan's concede the 414 runs. So what if I kept making the silliest of errors while playing chess , atleast I got to witness Yuvraj slog the hell out of Leverock and Co.

Day 5 : "Your group is only good at talking ... You can't make a single idea work. You are worse than standard twelve boys. I really doubt if you are BEs and BSC graduates. Do you even know what Physics is ? " , rambled our Group Testing Officer(GTO). These were progressive group tasks... and we kept on stumbling from one failure to another while performing those. Provided with a bamboo log , a wooden plank , a rope and a dead weight (ridiculously heavy) , we were supposed to build bridges to cross over hurdles without touching the ground or the obstacles in between. As was evident from the GTOs words , we fared quite pathetically. The super work done during the 2 Group Discussions and the Military Planning earlier wentdown the drain. The frustration , rueing and introspection helped us pass the evening.

Day 6 : A one and half hour interview in the morning set the tone for the rest of the day. The interviewers made me feel at home and got details about things,people and places that I didn't know ever existed. Questions ranging from family to friends to work to college , to career decisions , to extra curricular activities to current affairs to love interests to sports to quizzing (a rapid fire quiz round at the end of it ) being asked . The only thing I wasn't asked was the colour of my undergarments.

Picture this :

Interviewer : Puneet .. Tell us about your school friends .
Me : jdfsdjfuisdfmdsf .......

Interviewer : Your college friends.
Me : wawr90jkjfdfdfdld ....

Interviewer : Your engineering and neighbourhood friends...
Me : ;l';,dsd9==ijjfdsf ....

Interviewer : And your other friends ?
Me : ( WTF !!! Aur kitnon ko paida karoo ? ) Are we talking about friends or pupae ?

The answers to most questions were delivered with utmost conviction and truthfully. And right then .. I knew I'd sealed it.Then and there itself... The confidence gained after that interview persists with me till date...
Learning : 'Honesty can on certain occasions be the best policy '
Atleast on that day it was ..
The momentum was carried on to the succeeding activities. Was asked to deliver a lecture on plastic money .. Back of the hand stuff , considering the fact that I have been working on Debit Card related projects for the last 7 ..
The command task had each candidate being made commanders and ordering two guys to work for him. The same obstacles that we screwed up in as a group were to be overcome now by being the leader.
" Very well done commander. Extremely good performance ." was the GTOs review of my work. If I hadn't sealed it during the interview itself , then I'd surely done it this time around.
The individual obstacle course followed where I could score a mere 27 out of a possible 55 points. Stumbled from one obstacle to another barely conquering a few.The jump off the 20 feet ladder onto the hanging rope and then sliding downwards got everyone's palms burnt. Took about 0.02ms for the blisters to make their appearance.

As we were making our way back towards the dorm from the course , someone yelled out " Medical centre mei lady doctor hai. 25 - 26 years ki. Aur bohot beautiful bhi " ( well .. beautiful wasnt exactly the word used .. you can figure out for yourself kya bola hoga )
Just that one announcement had nearly all of us rushing to the medical centre with our new found wounds , blisters , headache and other issues. By the end of it they knew what we were upto , and almost shooed us outta there.

Day 7 : The Day Of Reckoning. Saara doodh ka doodh .. aur paani ka paani .. They asked each one of us to pack our bags and keep them ready in our respective rooms. A conference session followed .. With the President of the Board grilling you in a few areas. The room had about 12 Air Force personnel , in their full uniforms , with the medals and the caps on. Plus a battery of psychologists too were present in the same room. Quite an intimidating scenario. The President fired questions like Why Air Force , Why Engineering , Job Profile , Why don't you go back to Kashmir , What if you are travelling with your friend and the police pull you over and tell you your friend is a terrorist. Guess I managed myself well through it.
After an hour long wait for the final results , we were asked to go back to our rooms , carry our luggage and load it into the trucks. Once we came back the DSO announced the results .. " Chest No. 12 has been recommended for the Air Force "
And there I went on the dias .. Amidst smiles and applause to collect my cap from the DSO.

I always wanted to be a part of a reality show .... And I finally got to be in one. Though it wasn't a show. But the wait for the results , and then the anti climax where we were made to go back and load our luggage into the trucks. And then on getting recommended had to go back and get the luggage back , while the rest were asked to get into the trucks and buses and leave the premises immediately was nothing short of Reality Show stuff. The only thing missing was the cribbing and back biting session which happens once a contestant gets eliminated.

A 5 hour relentless form filling session followed. And that is where it all ended.

The medical tests follow .. Would be from the 16th of April. Till then .. Fingers crossed.

Staind : So Far Away

Now that we're here , it's so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All the mistakes,one life contained
They all finally start to go away

Now that we're here its so far away
And i feel like i can face the day i can forgive
And i'm not ashamed to be the person that i am today

These are my words
That i've never said before
I think i'm doing okay
And this is the smile
That i've never shown before

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Past imperfect .. Future tense..

The World Cup is on .. And surprisingly I havent put any of my views on it till now.( Compiled a couple for a mag .. But the dumb ***** REJECTED MY ARTICLES !! )

About to embark on a World Cup of my own .. 13 days that promise to turn my life upside down.
In another 12 hours from now Id be making my way towards the SSB interviews in Mysore. SSB = Services Selection Board exams .. For the Air Force Academy.

Yes. .. This aspiring sportsman turned below par Biomed engineer turned banker (he's been a loser throughout all those ' turneds ' ) plans to be a part of the defense forces , as a fighter pilot. ( Stop giggling you ... Warna tere ghar pe hi missile drop kardoonga ).
The pilot aptitude battery test would be followed by the physical tests and the military planning and the group discussions and the personal interviews and the psychometric analysis and the ...... Aagay jo daalna hai daal do , sab kuch honewala hai. Preparations ?? They've been on a war footing .. After 6 months of absolute lethargy and considerable weight gain , I can still manage to run a whopping 15 minutes at a stretch.. (had told u so .. Have always been a sportsman ). My push-ups count has finally reached the hallowed double figures , and I resemble Aamir Khan in 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander' while doing those stomach crunches. Bas Pooja Bedi aur Ayesha Jhulka dilado koi !!
So why do you wanna join the Air Force would go the first question ? Still trying to come up with an ingenius answer for that .. If any of my devout readers can think of a 'phekable' answer , then ek ring maar dena.

After I am done showing off my wares at the SSB , the jamboree would move northwards. To the 'Jat' land .. Gurgaon , Haryana. ( I said JAT .. the JAT YAMLA PAGLA wala JAT .. not anything else .. U ghaati PERVERTS ) Haan Bhai .. CAT bhi toh diya tha.. Call aagaya MBA institute se toh meri kya galti hai. Interview , Group Discussion attend toh karni padegi naa ? Afterall everyone wants to have a piece of me. Thanks to all the preparation for the GD-PI session , I finally know what Capital Account Convertability is .. I know that Thrilla In Manila hadn't taken place n Manila , but the neighbouring Quezon city. Inflation is something more than what parents do to the birthday balloons .. Reading the entire budget newspaper takes 7 whole hours .. and at the end you are still left wondering what MAT is ? Minimum Applicable / Appropriate Tax .. Jo bhi ho .. Doesn't spell too well for the IT industries.

" Terese zyada badtameez aur koi nahi ho sakta hai .. Itni baar bolneke baad bhi kapday pack nahi karega ... " But I did try Mummy ... All I could find were the torn socks .. The 'istriwalla' still hasn't got the clothes pressed. And I can't zero in on a tie that would match the shirt I'd be wearing during the interviews.
So what if I'll miss watching Namibia and Scotland and Canada and Bermuda in action due to these impending exams .. I'll atleast be jumping over pits , climbing ropes , passing through tyres , monkey crawling and running 2 miles in 15 minutes.

" Samay Samaapti Ki Aghoshna Hogayi Hai " Dads just yelled after seeing the bags still unpacked. Do get back to the blog to know whether I could match up to those studs from the Sainik schools.

PS : Please let Steve Tikolo and his men reach the Super Eight stages. I love the Kenyan cricket team.