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


Blogger Ashutosh Deo said...

Very well done commander. Extremely good performance!!! :)

I am short of words right now!! will comment later on!

Amazingly written sirjee!

All the time I thought I was reading about some reality show ;)


2:23 PM  
Anonymous Preeti said...

Awesome stuff dude!! You know i am proud of u!!

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Priya Uppuluri said...

With every experience like this you grow, mature and unravel yourself. Another feather in your ego cap! Let your confidence soar; you are better than the best!
Heres one for you,
"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance"

9:51 PM  
Blogger Amit Panhale said...

What a fucking apt song to sum up those "s(h)even days" (The Ring ka phone call yaad hai na)....!

Btw somebody please tell me how does a fighter pilot keep his feet on the ground or stay connected to his roots...
Arey bhai toh plane udayega kaise??

Fucking swellheads they all are...kya karey ab kaam hi unka aisa hai...

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey cool to hear u're doing so well...wish u all the very best for the next rnds..u've written it down amazingly well too

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Sampreeth said...

PLASTIC MONEY..!!!! in the words of a 6 year old"SAME PINCH"! ...heheh..


6:50 AM  
Blogger rooneymaniac said...

Extremely well written and all the relief and romance associated with ur success is reflected in it ..
Waise hamein toh pehle se hi pata tha .. u ll do it ...
We r so proud of u !!

11:11 AM  
Blogger netneo said...

Mazaa aagayi bidoo padh ke.
This is a blog post like no other. I am sure everyone would be on the edge of their seats while reading this.. i am so glad it all turned out for the best.
We are all proud of you and may you pass with flying color through the medical test. May the female "beautiful" lady doctor bestow a medically fit diagnosis on you ;)

Life changes so dramatically na?
I remember last year when we were all together..acting like a bunch of kids as usual..and in 1 year it has taken each of us to such different paths, full of responsibilities and promises too.

Keep us all updated with the same level of detail...waiting eagerly for the next post!

8:05 AM  
Blogger priyanka said...

puneet..i am in loss of words...but what i feel after reading this..u will know that...i am soo proud of u man..knew it..always believed that if someone would get into this would be is my hug..for u as always..miss the opportunity of being there with u in person now..and talking and discussing this for hours..

10:40 AM  
Blogger priyanka said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Puneet said...

oye... Su 30 aur Cessna mein race ho jaaye :)
really happy for u yaaar... hope u get into it...

2:37 PM  
Blogger manish said...

I am going for SSB Banglore for ARMY will you help me I hope you have fantastic experience of the SSB

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you write so well!....RAMSAY ki Stories se tou accha hai( ha ha ha ha!)...seriously it was entertainng,refreshing and informative...all the best dude..u will do well!

1:23 AM  
Blogger Senti Indian! said...

all the best :)

3:42 AM  
Blogger jude said...

u and dhaval are two extremes , one writes all details & other doesnt . reading ur blog feels like u had no fun,
u should write what we did after 2pm
but very well written , i know i would not have been able to write so well

10:52 AM  
Blogger Dhaval Wathare said...

Egoistic BASTARD !! but superbly written (re written perhaps?) ... either way, its way better than mine !!

cheers. lol

11:59 PM  
Blogger tillu said...

hey well written mac. i loved reading the stuff

12:08 AM  
Blogger Aditya said...

My heartiest congratulations to you puneet!! Very well done. Dont think ull have any trouble passing the medical tests. You were always a sportsman anyway. All the very best for the future in the air force.

1:45 PM  
Blogger sunena said...

hey i have my ssb on the 29th ...can u tell me if there is any way i can prepare for the PABT..

4:08 AM  

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