AFPA

MEMORIES TO CHERISH

This is Atta Satya Ganesh hailing from Visakhapatnam, completed my B.Tech in the field of Electronics and Computer Engineering and recommended from 18 SSB Allahabad for Indian Army SSC (NCC) – 44 Entry of course commencing Oct 2018 at Officers Training Academy, Chennai. I am from a defence background where my grandfather was a JCO Subedar major infantry regiment of Indian Army and my father is retired personnel of Indian Navy with rank MCEAP-II. I got motivated to join Armed forces as I spent my childhood being in defence areas. My aim to join the armed forces was since childhood. I could not make it through NDA exam twice. Therefore, I planned for the CDSE exam and direct entries after graduation which is one reason I chose to pursue B.Tech. I am a good all rounder and so actively participated in all activities like sports, NSS both for my recreational value or fun and to add value to my PIQ form. Here, I will be the first generation officer making my parents and well wishers feel more proud than myself.

This was my 3rd attempt – one conference out from 24 SSBBangalore (Army UES) on 14 Feb 2018 and Screened out from NSB Visakhapatnam (Navy-UES) on Mar 2018. I was still with the strong dedication and feeling that I can make it. My Semester exams ended on 27th Apr 2018, thereafter I got engaged in my brother’s DNS surgery which took 10 days and household work. I went through SSBvideo series of Cdr. N K Natrajan sir, a mock interview on skype with sir and had my psychological assessment with scholar buzz which was assessed by Dr. Ashok Thamburaj sir. It was of great help as I got my weak areas on which I worked and yielded positive results. I started my journey to Allahabad with full confidence. During my trip, I had a conversation few of my friends like Kunal recommended candidate got medical out in NDA entry and Mukesh who was my best friend in +2. There was again a friend with whom I wanted to talk who was in software company Hyderabad but was busy. Honestly, well wishers are the ones who always keep motivating. My reporting was on 10th May 2018 at 0600 hrs. I reached Allahabad on 9th May, had a comfortable sleep and got geared up to clear my first round of SSB. I have made many friends by the time I could board the bus a at railway station. At the centre 147 candidates reported in total. We had a healthy breakfast followed by quick document verification. We were made to sit in a hall where we had OIR test and PPDT. OIR verbal and non-verbal test were easy. Verbal and Non verbal test was of 25min. and 30 min, respectively. I could attempt 100% and was sure all were correct. For PPDT, we were shown a hazy picture where there were two persons one being female and another I perceived as a person sitting and talking to each other. We were given 30 sec. to see the picture, 1 min. to write its description (gender, age and mood), its action (what is happening/present scenario) and told to write a story in 4 minutes. Since they seemed young, I made a story where Shreya, school head girl plans to organize a teacher’s day celebration. After story writing was the discussion part. We were divided in group of 18. I was 7th in the line. Each one was told to narrate the story one by one and begin the discussion as last person finishes. Maximum time for narration was 1 minute. I  my story narration thoroughly (maybe 30 times during break) and confidently narrated my story. As I couldn’t complete, I asked GTO sir for permission to complete my story as I could not complete it in script. It was really surprising that in the whole group I found myself only candidate who was given 1 whole minute to narrate whole story where others were barely given 20 seconds. I believe it was because of a highly positive story with a different/new theme and bold & confident narration. Our group was divided into two sub groups 9 and 9. We were told to discuss, there was initially a fish market. I was 3rd last to speak where I mixed my theme (planning to organize event) with their theme (women empowerment).  Other subgroup was given a chance. Our discussion lasted for not more than 10 min. We were sent for lunch and it was a healthy diet. At 1430 hrs, results were announced. Out of 147, 27 got screened in and the rest were sent back. My new chest no. is now 18. We had one already recommended candidate chest no. 14 who came out of Naval Academy under medical grounds, shoulder dislocation back in 2014. He became a very good friend and a great competitor in GTO task.

We again had documentation including sports and co-curricular extra curricular activities and were made to fill many forms. Our rooms were allotted by 1800 hrs but to our luck there was no electricity till 0200 hrs next day. Allahabad board awestruck me area like basketball and volleyball. We had wonderful conversation with our new mates. by the accommodation with T.V room, coolers, Table tennis, verandah and sports.

 

It was fun time, highly humorous jokes and chest no. 14 also shared his experience of Academy. It was also the day of conference of 11 SSBboard and to my surprise 15 female candidates got recommended. They were busy calling their well wishers and expressing their feelings which in turn boosted me to get recommended. Mobiles were allowed to be used in rooms. I called my mom, she was happy and blessed to me to get selected. I called one of my dear friend Rishi who was also preparing for AFSB (Airforce selection board). He discussed and spoke to me for hours and boosted my confidence that I will get through. I also got my Psych. Assessment sheet from scholar buzz which I practiced. I felt confident after looking into feedback report.

Day  Psych test

We were told to report by 0730 hrs and breakfast was available from 0600 hrs. We got ready as per schedule. This was the test I was very prepared. There were 4 tests namely Thematic Apperception test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test (SRT) and Self Description Test (SDT). In TAT, we were shown a picture for 30 sec. and told to write a story in 4 min. thereafter again a picture for 30 sec to write a story in 4 min. There were 12 such picture shown consequently and last one was blank one where we had to imagine a picture and write a story. The pictures were closely related to my real life so I wrote a story imagining myself in the picture and what I could have done. Pictures were like an athlete running, Cadet in NCC training.. etc. All my 12 pictures main character was either Btech 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th year or passed out graduate. In WAT, a word was shown for 15 sec. and we were supposed to write a sentence on it. I attempted 59 as I didn’t know the meaning of ‘boredom’. My responses were my opinion about it.

Eg: Cry- War cry motivates team

Particulars- Particulars must be filled correctly

Kill – kill the mosquitoes

Friend – time with friends is memorable.

In SRTs, I attempted 43 SRTs. All my responses had solutions with happy ending, solution were short, crisp, to the point.

Eg: He had exam to prepare for tomorrow and his widowed a mother is sick. He would…….

Ans. give medicine to mother, mother takes rest, prepares for exam, mother gets well and he passes exam with flying colours.

He had a train to catch after 3 days for SSBbut there’s about to have a railway strike. He would….

Ans. book ticket to travel by Air/Bus and enjoy the journey.

His train ticket is in waiting list and is not confirmed yet. He would….

Ans. Book tatkal ticket and enjoy the journey

Two of his friends are arguing and about to fight. He would….

Ans. talk to both of them, sort out issues, hang out together and become good friends

In SDT, We were told to write our parent’s opinion about us, our teacher’s opinion, friend’s opinion, what I think about myself and the qualities I would like to develop. I was well prepared with my SDT and wrote the same. I wrote the examples and situations supporting opinion of each individual.

Overall I believe my Psych test went well.

After Psych. test, we were sent to our rooms while few others had their interviews.

My interview was scheduled for next day. I reached room and mobile had missed calls. It was of my well wisher who is working in GGK technologies. I was waiting for that call as it was a long time I had a conversation. I didn’t call in return as engineers in private companies go through a very hectic schedule I believed especially during day time, they only have time during night which is for them to rest so I sent a text message. I spoke to my other well wishers, my mother who felt happy and confident after listening to my experience of day 2. Then, it was my friend Rishi with whom I had hours of conversation. Then I spent my rest of the day with my dear friends having great conversation, jokes, played basket ball. At Night, I used to prepare for next day, by neatly ironing clothes (got own iron box), shoes polished and neatly arranged. I had a good sleep after good conversation with my friend Rishi again. This guy actually made me feel as if he is my girlfriend. I never had such a long conversation and I used to share all my feelings and experiences with him.

Day 3: GTO -1

We were to report at 0630 hrs. We were all set. GTO sir instructed us about upcoming test and made us sit for Group Discussion.  We were given with two topics :

  1. What do you think is the major issues of the world? Is it – a. global warming b. terrorism c. Nuclear war.
  2. On what is the India’s region of development differs? Is it – a. Availability of resources b. Government/ruling parties c. attitude of people.

We decided to speak on a 2nd topic. I initiated the discussion but was cut in 10 sec. by chest no. 14 previously recommended, my friend and my competitor. I didn’t bounce back but listened to his views. Healthy discussion started after he finished. I put across my views and chest no. same option availability of resources and we supported each other to convince others. I was highly positive with my views and so was chest no 16. I maintained my body postured relaxed and like a gentleman with both hands on thighs and maintained decorum of discussion.

Next was Group Planning exercise: There were 5 main problems to me. I wrote problems identified according to priority, and solutions to it as per priority. In solutions, I depicted chest no. XY their task which was comfortable for me to sort issues and used resources at my best. I initiated the discussion by prioritizing the problem. I was again cut down here by chest no. 14 my competitor. We had a good discussion at last. Chest no. 14 was given chance to give common solution. We all agreed to his solution which was good enough.

In progressive group task: We had 3 min. discussion on how to start 1st obstacle. GTO sir has great sense of humour. He told us to sit on chair and discuss the obstacles. We apologized and immediately started working. Chest no. 14 was very active here. I decided to cooperate and help him out. Since I was the shortest and lightest, I was the first one to cross any obstacle my team bridged. After me demonstrating, all but one were shifted to move on to next obstacle and asked us how could we get the last person. I gave pretty much ideas wherever we used to get stuck especially in 3rd stage.

Half Group Task: Our group 7 was divided into 2 halves with 4 and 3. I was in 2nd half (chest no. 18, 19 and 20). It was now much easier for everyone to put across their ideas. There was a mistake I made unconsciously, I had rope on one hand and load on the other hand, As sir asked for the idea to bring last person, I kept the load on ground to explain my idea. He scolded that there is break in rule. I looked at chest no. 20 he seemed good, then 19 who was again ok but then I saw myself that I breaked the rule of putting load on ground. I was scolded badly but after some time as he stopped I apologized and moved on. I took it positively that he was with good intention that I am his hero, want me to get selected and doesn’t want me to make mistakes.

Group obstacle race : GTO sir instructed about the race. We were told to decide a war cry. I was at the front holding the snake as I was athlete. I was with full josh and enthusiasm. I was loudest to shout war cry, helped my team mates cross obstacles and ensured no one touched the red zone. IT was good josh till the end.

Lecturette: In the lecturette, each one of us was told to introduce ourself  telling his name, where he came from, his parents profession and his no. of attempts. The first person introduced himself took the card and went to prepare his lecture. The rest continued to introduce themselves. After exactly 3 min., bell rang by GTO sir and 2nd person took the card and first person delivered the speech. This continued till last person. As my turn came, I took the card while chest no. 17 was delivering his speech.

In my card there were 4 topics: 1. G20 Nations 2. Political upheaval in northern Africa 3. Fuel cells 4. ICC world cup.

I chose to speak on ICC World Cup. I could barely prepare on it. I was confident about my strategy on delivering a lecture. I used SPELT method. S- Social, P- Political, E- Economic, L- Legal, T-Trade. Any topic would cover all these parameters. As I could complete SPE 30 seconds bell rang. I continued two more sentences and gave a conclusion which ended exactly in 3 min.

By this test, it was the call for the day. My interview was scheduled today and I was told to report at waiting hall in same uniform.  It was 11.05 as I reported and my interview was to be conducted at 11.15 am. Others were sent to come in formals. I washed my face and relaxed myself.

Interview:

My no. in waiting hall displayed, I asked permission to come in and I was expecting I hand shake which I had in previous interview. I sat on the chair which was 5m away from interviewers table. Sir, asked me about my previous attempts, my eligibility as I am pursuing final year student and about the place I come from.  He started with the rapid fire question with barrage of questions(around 10). 1st sequence being my education from class 10 to present, co-curricular, friends I have, teachers, achievements, placements I secured. Next rapid fire i.e, barrage of questions (maybe 10) were about my family, my parents and their occupation, about my siblings, friends in neighborhood, activities I am involved in house and with my locality, pocket money I get. Now I was asked about my daily habits/schedule both in regular and holidays, hobbies. I was told to tell current events of last 2-3 months. I was asked how North korea and South korea divided? On what basis states of India is divided? I was then asked if I had any achievements in NCC, why AINSC which used to held in Visakhapatnam till 2014 shifted to Karwar? What is Karwar? Coming to technical questions, I was asked about Computer hardware technology is advancing towards which field? After saying Artificial Intelligence, he asked me definition, electronic components used, software used, then about neural networks, hardware and software used, heuristic programming, quantum programming, quantum mechanics. At last, He told me about theme of weak one’s and strong zero’s used for artificial intelligence and asked me how would I code it? I answered all the question to the best I can and the rest I replied “I am sorry sir, I don’t know but I will definitely find it out.”  There were plenty of questions I could not answer but I still kept my hopes and confidence high.

My interview went on till 30 min. I was with the feeling that it was good but could have been even better. I got to room it was 12 noon. We have a liberty to roam in the city from 1400 hrs to 1800 hrs.

We planned to move out after our lunch. We visited lake and Hanuman temple. The trip was great. It was lot of fun hanging out with them. At night, I had a good conversation with well wishers, my mother and my friend Rishi for hours. Prepared my uniform for tomorrow and had a good sleep.

Day 04: GTO -2

My group was asked to report at 0730 hrs. We were on time. Day 2 of GTO started GTO sir asked if we went out anywhere for a visit. Few said NO I said Yes sir. He asked me places that I visited.

Individual obstacles. I could finish 9 and just touched 10 maybe after bell rang. I was careful with red zone.

Command Task: I was called continuously by two persons for being a subordinate initially and the third turn was me. I was told to stay and GTO sir had friendly interaction about myself, my attempts, my family background. He made me commander and gave me a task to complete. He told me to get any two members as subordinates from my group. My task seemed to be very easy as there were only 3 bricks each painted half white and half blue and was in triangular pattern. I got the idea and completed the task. During the task, as I was making mistakes I was asked whether even I was B.Tech student if yes then what would happen if XYZ…

Lastly Final group task, all were back together. Sir asked a question to all, Who would you like to call your team mates? After 3 sec. I answered everyone. Sir, was expecting that answer and asked why everyone was thinking much. He then asked how much time is needed to complete the task. We answered 10 min. Sir gave us 15 min. to complete. Chest no. 14 again here was proactive. Similarly, I cooperated with him. Our FGT was very easy. Similar to 1st Obstacle in PGT. It barely took 4 min. to complete the task.

GTO sir finally briefed us. He guided us that whenever you are coming for SSBcome with preparation. Nothing can be achieved without preparation. He asked if there are any question one would like to ask. To my surprise, chest no. 14 asked if a candidate doesn’t get recommended even in 8th attempt shall he continue to attend SSBor look for any alternative? Sir, gave the same answer which he counselled i.e, to come with preparation.

Now, I was feeling very relaxed. All the test were complete. I prepared for the answers I could not answer in my interview. In the evening, we were shown conference hall, CHM instructed how to get in the hall wish sir and then move out. I had lots of fun with friends I made there. Again sports in evening, long conversation with my well wishers, I didn’t want my mom to get disappointed by result tomorrow so I consoled her that whatever the case may be tomorrow, there are plenty of opportunities to come, I already have a job in hand and will come up in life. So not to worry, either way is good for us. I prepared my uniform for tomorrow and had a good sleep.

Day 05: Conference

We were told to report by 0830 hrs. Everyone best dressed. It is the day full of hopes. Conference started and one by one candidate started going in and came out early. I was made to wait for 10-15 min. I could make out that there is a discussion about me to select. In the conference hall, all the officers were in uniform. My interviewing officer asked me all the question I told him I would find out. He asked me about my strength , weakness and greatest fear. Lastly, he asked how was the stay, any suggestion or feedback. I said it was all good sir and it was a wonderful stay, I enjoyed a lot. I was wished good luck.

Announcement of results : We were all again called back to sit in a hall by last chest no. Everyone settled and after 15 min., Col. Sir came in the hall with a file. A motivational speech was given by him for 4 min. He opened the file and called Chest No. 18.  After 2 sec. I realized it was me. The very first no. called was mine. He asked my Name and Roll no. and then told me to stand aside. He then called chest no. 25 and after him came chest no. 16. “That’s it Gentleman!!”, said Col. Sir. File closed. He came to us, instructed us to stay disciplined for our medicals testing maintain proper decorum and dress both in hospital and mess. We had medicals and had to stay for 5 more days. All our friends congratulated all three of us. We were now allowed to choose new chest no. with + sign.  My counterparts or I should say Course mates were very happy. For the next 2-3 hours, they could not even believe they got recommended and will be officers. Chest no. 25 is now 4th generation officer while chest no. 16 will be 3rd generation officer. I was happy that at last all the hardwork I did has paid.

informed it to my mother and sent her a picuter with ‘+’ sign chest no. and she was extremely happy. Of course why she wouldn’t be, she is now going to be mother of an officer. I was surprised when she said she had no sleep that night. My father who was on sail got the news and he too got very happy. All my well wisher got extremely excited and started putting me as their status. I felt really great seeing all my well wishers so happy and proud of me. I got medically fit and got All India Rank 22 in the merit list as produced by Indian Army on website. Looking forward to join the academy and have some fun.