“Always a winner”
(First - day experience at SSB interview at Indian army)
Hey!...Stop!...Stop!. I stopped my bike as I heard this cacophonic voice from the back side. Where is your helmet? A jawan asked me, who was standing like a statue at 90 degrees. I glared at him and was wondering as if it is really an army jawan or a statue. Where are you going..?That animated statue asked me. Now I was sure that it was a living thing and I answered Sultania infantry lines, Gate no-2, SSB 22”. Oh, you have an interview today for Technical Graduate Course 124(TGC 124) he inquired. Yes! Yes! I nodded. Ok..Do one thing. Park your bike outside of the gate and go on foot because I can’t allow bike without a helmet, the army man said. I nodded. I asked my pillion (friend ) passenger to dismount and I parked my bike as I was instructed. Both I and my friend started walking. As we walked around a hundred steps, one more voice I heard..Where are you going. Another army man asked. For SSB interview, I answered. He also was standing like a stone pillar. You, people, are much disciplined, Sir. As I was wondering to ask him but at the same time I saw a big hoarding which shows “Always a winner”. What does it mean? I changed my question to him. This is what the Indian army teaches us, army man answered. Sorry, I didn’t get you, I said. ‘Sab pata chal jayega, abhi toh interview ke liye he ja rahe ho na’.All the best, the army man answered. Thanks...thanks a lot, I answered and started walking again. As we walked 200 more meters a hoarding shows “army mess”. SSB 22 would be definitely somewhere in this area. I muttered to friend. So here is the SSB 22 as I moved exactly 5 steps. This is what our destination is, I said to my friend. Yes! Yes! This is SSB 22, he said. I looked at my watch; it was 5:30am. I was supposed to report there at 6:00am I entered in SSB 22 premises at 5:40am. Hey come here, one another soldier asked me. Show your ID card and TGC calls letter as I walked to him. I showed both as I was stipulated by him. Hmmm...Go and sit there in the cadet’s bay. Saab will come exactly at 6:00am, he said. Ok...Thank you, I said.
Almost all call-up candidates were assembled in cadet’s bay before 5:55am. Three army officers came on stage exactly at 6:00am wearing the same uniform that Indian army uses. Please close the main gate and ensure no one should enter now, the first one said to the gateman. How are you and how was your journey? The second officer asked us. Fine sir...we all answered in unison. So make sure first and second row should be for fresher’s, third and fourth row for screen out (those who attended SSB before but rejected at stage 1), and fifth row for repeaters (those who attended SSB before but rejected at stage 2) ...Ok, clear. The third officer instructed us. Carry only your original documents and mark declaration certificate and follow me. The first officer instructed in original army accent. We did the same as we were asked. We were brought in original document and application verification room. After all Verification we were given chest number. Now this chest number was identification for all of us in SSB premises. Having provided chest number we were asked to keep our luggage in room no.1 and quickly assemble in cadet’s bay by forming a line in chronicle order and make sure one line should carry only 17 candidates. We did the same as we were instructed. Go and have your breakfast and assemble quickly as you can before 7:45am, the first officer said. Breakfast was available in the candidate's canteen which was free of cost for candidates. We assembled at the time. Ok..So as you all know that on day 1 there are two tests:
1. Intelligence test (physiological test) and 2. PPTGT test (picture perception and group discussion test).
There will be two test coming under intelligence test.(a) verbal test and (b) non-verbal test.
There will be two activities coming under PPTGT Test.(a) Picture perception test and (b)group discussion.
Ok clear, second officer explained us. Yes sir, Yes sir.....we all shouted in unison. I don’t know about others but I was feeling excited, getting new experience minute after minute, what I never did in college life. Now I understood why that soldier said everything you will get within a short while. Now I can say confidently that punctuality and Indian army are almost synonyms. Now I was getting the meaning of hoarding “always a winner”, the tag line of the Indian army.
We assembled at testing hall at 8:15am. How many of you can't understand English, one of the officers asked but no one raised the hand. What a stupid question is? Those who can't understand English how could understand this question anyway. Officers said and laughed at his own joke. Aacha!....’kitne logon ko yahan English nhi samajh aati hai’? He asked the same question in Hindi. This time too no one raised the hand. Ok so you all know English, he said. Now we all were given a booklet of solved questions to familiarise with the actual test. They took back the booklet after five minutes. Now we were ready for the verbal test. They distributed the OMR sheet first to fill up some particulars. Now you will be given question booklet in short while and you will not open until you are asked to do so, the second officer said. We took verbal test followed by a non-verbal test.
Verbal test: - verbal test carries 75 questions (English, math) with overall time duration of 35 minutes.
Non-verbal test: - NVT carries 60 questions (psychological) with time duration of 30 minutes.
After completing those tests I was thinking whether we are a robot or something else, definitely not a human. All the things were being in a systematic order. We assembled in the same testing hall for the picture perception test. In this test, we were shown a picture for 30 seconds and we had to write a number of character, their gender, age, mood (whether +ve, -ve or neutral). Action:-past perception, present perception and future perception. Within one minute of time. Having done this we had to write a story about picture within four minutes of time duration. Followed by this, we had a group discussion.
2 hours later:
Results were declared; some of the students got selected in the second round and were asked to stay in army premise. And, rest of the students were asked to back their home with full motivation. I had two options. a) to get back direct to the railway station and, b) to visit ‘THE CITY OF LAKES’. I preferred 2nd one. I visited so, many places in Bhopal like (The city of lakes, DB mall -It is the largest shopping mall in central India. “Sair sapata”- a very good initiative by the government to attract the tourists,Karuna Dham: a place of prosperity, peace and enlightenment.). Thanks to my friend “RAJEEV” who guided me very well and accompanied me till my last stay in Bhopal.
Saurabh Kumar B.tech (mechanical engineering)
Thanks to the city of Raja Bhoj!!!