Doesn't every Indian youth deep down in his/her inner conscience has the feeling to lay down his/her life for the country. Well, I definitely had it in me and to add to it all the news I read about the Kargil war only added to my enthusiasm to do something for my country, my India (not getting too patriotic here).
With these thoughts in mind I always applied for whatever openings I found applicable in the Employment news. In September 2001 I got called for the SSC(Short Service Commission) at the Indian Air Force, Mysore. At this time I had conveniently landed myself a job in one of the emerging s/w companies in Pune.
The whole selection procedure was to be for a week, with a written test on the first day and those clearing the test would remain further on for the ongoing selection procedure. I very eagerly packed my luggage and along with my parents made the long bus journey from Pune to Mysore. That night we checked in a hotel in the city. The next day early morning we reached Mysore station from where we would be taken to the air force selection centre.
There were about 500 girls come from different states, all with their luggage and parents :) . There were 4-5 buses waiting to take us to the centre. After bidding good-bye to my parents we were taken to the air force centre. Then we were taken in a big hall where we had a written test which included General Reasoning, maths etc. After the test was completed our papers were taken for evaluation while we all tensely awaited the results, only 30 from this group of 500 would be selected, the rest would have to go back home the same day.
As each name was called there was excitement and dissapointment and finally the 30 names were called which included mine as well, so I was to spend here my next 3 days. The 30 of us were taken back to the dorms while the others were boarded in the bus to leave. We were assigned numbers and from now on this was to be our individuality/our recognition.
We went to our dorms, got friendly with the ones with us, had dinner and slept off for an early morning start. The next day we were ready by 5:00 a.m in the morning and we had an officer who divided us in 2 groups. The group that I was in would have the Interview first and then the Physical tests. We were taken to another hall where we waited for the interviewer to call us. My interview was for an hour with all sort of questions from History/Geography thrown at me of which I must say I could not answer much.
Next we were taken to the grounds for our Physical tests with lot of jumping and running around done where I did manage to do fairly well. By 3:00 pm we were asked to go back to our dorms. By this time we had our own group formed and in the evenings we wandered about in the Air-Force grounds.
The next day we again formed a line at 5:00 a.m. This time we were divided into 4 batches and each batch had an officer assigned. We were then taken to the ground. This time we had mental exercises given which we had to complete as a team. Speech was given on a topic we chose and then in conclusion some more physical tests.
By 3:00 pm we all got to know each other quite well, formed a group and took a bus tour to the Vrindavan Gardens. A lot of leg pulling etc happened which is normal if about 25-30 girls get together and as tonite would be the last nite together we tried to make the most of it.
Night time saw us frantically exchanging e-mail addresses and even though our captain asked us to go to bed by 8:30 pm, we played Antakshari and songs like "Yeh dosti, hum nahi boolenge" were sung with much emotions.
The fourth and final D day we were taken to the Assembly room where the results would be announced. Anticipation was written over all the faces as each and every one awaited the result to be declared. For me, I knew I had not done all that well to be selected and at that time I felt I was more comfortable in my software job. Anyway all said and done, as we sat in the hall, each one was asked to go and meet the entire selection panel where you could tell them your grievances or experience if any.
Finally after each one's session the captain walked int he hall with a chit with the selected number written on it. As the SELECTED one's number was called out there was hurrays and congratulations and in such a manner 7 numbers were called out. These were the Selected SEVEN who had made it to through the rigourous selection procedure while the rest of us left dejected, dissapointed.
Many of them were determined to try again a second time and make it through but as for me i was done, happy to go back to my own world. I had a beautiful experience at this place and it would be a lasting memory for me in my life-time.