The Last Interview Of My Life: An Army Officer’s Account

What is the craziest thing you have ever said (or done) at an interview and still got the job?

To give you figures, there were around 3,00,000 lakh applicants, only 15,000 were called for SSB, 126 were selected in SSB and out of that only 62 made it to the final merit list. The success rate is touching 1%. In this selection process, interview plays an important role, as this is the only stage when you are one to one with the officer. Here you have a chance to mark your impression of arrival.

My Army interview took place at SSB, Allahabad and My Interview started with a Bang, the dumbest thing I could ever do in my life.

On entering the Interview room, there were two visible paths, so I turned left from the door and Shocked I was. There was no one (What the Fish) now I came to know that the Officer was behind me and what a fool I have cut out of me, I was not having the courage to turn to him but I had to.

After turning to him and facing him , I was gone out of blood and color that what reaction will he give now, but he didn’t responded just gave a smile.

Me: Gudmorning Sir(firm voice)

I was sitting some 15 feet away from his table so that he can see my gestures and as well as I have to be on-top of my pitch to convey my answer.

Officer: Gudmorning son, please take your seat.
Me: Thankyou sir.

Officer: What is your name?
Me: (now this is very funny ques) Sir my name is ####

Officer: Is this your photograph(showing my PIQ From)
Me: (Looking at the pic) I said Yes Sir.

Officer: (looking at me) Doesn’t look like. Why haven’t you shaved your beard?
Me: Sir, I have never shaved in my life.

Officer: But somethings, you do first time in your life.
Me: Sir I believe in my originality, I don’t want to project any false impression.

Officer: (In a Rude tone) Why are you in Jeans-Tshirt? Do you think you have come here for some fashion show?
Me: Sir, I didn’t got chance to change.

Officer: Don’t you think, formals give you a Gentleman look?
Me: Sir, Formals can give a Gentleman look to your body, not to your manners and etiquette.

Officer: I didn’t get you.
Me: Sir Vivekananda traveled across the globe in just a piece of “Kesariya” cloth, He addressed many International forums where all the people wore Suits, thus giving them a Gentleman look but still they followed the preaching of a person who was not in Suit. Ours is a country where tailor does not make you a Gentleman, it is the character which makes you the Gentleman.

Officer: (Smiles)Ok
Officer: You are from which University?
Me: Sir,VTU (Vishweswaraya Technological University)

Officer: Who was Vishweswaraya?
Me: He was a renowned civil engineer.

Officer: That’s it, then Why do you think he is so famous?
Me: He was awarded Bharat Ratna.

Officer: What is Bharat Ratna?
Me: Sir, Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in the country. This is given every year to the individual for their contribution to the mankind.

Officer: Then, Who is awarded Bharat Ratna this year?
Me: Sir, No one.

Officer: Then you said it’s given every year.
Me: Sorry sir, It’s given to deserving individuals, not necessarily every year.

Officer: When was the Bharat Ratna given last time?
Me: Bhimsen Joshi in 2009.

Officer: It is highest civilian award of India, but has also been given to foreign national, are you aware of that?
Me: Sir, Nelson Mandela and mother Teresa were given.

Officer: What is PVC and who was the first officer recipient?
Me: Sir, it is war time highest gallantry award, I am not sure about the first recipient.

Officer: Major Somnath Sharma.
Me: Thankyou sir.

Officer: Your university is in Belgaum, why is Belgaum in so much of news everytime?
Me: Sir, Belgaum is called as the industrial capital of Karnataka, as belgaum is strategically located on the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka. So both the states are claiming belgaum as their city.There is equal number of kannadigas and Marathi residing in belgaum. So due to this claim game belgaum is in news.

Officer: Claim-game (smiles) Do you think there can be some solution to it?
Me: Sir, solution has already been found and implemented.New vidhan soudha has come up in the belgaum. it is under construction sir, once the contstruction is complete and then it would be illogical for maharastra to claim over belgaum.

Officer: I don’t find south Indians socially good? How did you adjust?
Me: Sir, that might be your personal experience but I beg to differ from you because I didn’t had any such experience and most of my friends are south Indians only.

(Always remember the golden rule of interview “Never spit venom”, what so ever condition may be. Later I found that interviewer was south indian, they try to bring out the negative qualities in you)

Officer: You are from UP, how is the administration in UP(looking at my PIQ)
Me: Governance is not in that good condition, Money is being wasted on construction of parks which otherwise could have been utilized for the betterment for the citizens.

Officer: In just one line tell me about Lucknow?
Me: (took 5 secs pause) Sir, May I have the permission to speak in hindi?

Officer: carry on.
Me: “Lucknow nawabo ka shehar hai jahan chicken khaya bhi jata hai aur chicken pehena bhi jata hai.”

Officer: hahahahah (he broke into laughter) I am impressed.
Me: Thankyou Sir

Officer: Tell me something about your friends?
Me: Sir, I have many friends to name few Abhijeet, Mridul, Rohit, Mukesh, Bunty, Saurabh, Debo.

Officer: Who is very close to you?
Me: Abhijeet.

Officer: Why? any specific reason for that?
Me: Sir, he has supported me in my good and bad times. He was always there when I needed him.

Officer: What is the meaning of Abhijeet?
Me: The one who never loses and always wins every field.

Officer: What you have learned from him?
Me: Sir, he has taught me to be more social and open to all. He has taught me to help and get helped.

Officer: It means you are not social?
Me: No sir, I mean initially when I was in class 9th,then I was not that social.

Officer: What is the meaning of Mridul and what impact he had on your life?
Me: Mridul means soft and gentle, hence he has made me more fun loving.

Officer: Don’t you think being social and being fun loving is the one or the same thing?Me: Sir, Abhijeet taught me how to understand and solve others problem, whereas Mridul taught me how to live and enjoy each moment of life.

Officer: Do you have a Girlfriend?
Me: No sir.

Officer: (Smiles) Then you have wasted your college life.

Officer: To whom you are more close father or mother?
Me: Mother, because she is the one who has been taking care of us since past 12 years while my father was working out of the station.

Officer: How often your father comes to Lucknow?
Me: One’s in 15 days.

Officer: Who is your role model?
Me: My father is my role model, and I feel he is the best father in the world. He has been my friend, guide and mentor.

Officer: If given an option to choose one, Who would you choose amongst the two?
Me: Sorry Sir, I don’t want to answer this question.

Officer: Ok, Tell me something about your village?
Me: Sir, my village is around 150 kms from Lucknow, The population of the village would be approx 500 and the village still doesn’t has electricity supply, water supply and road. Illiteracy rate is around 80%. I had conducted a education drive “Hastakshar”, which was very successful. I started with 8 people and at the end it reached 412. Now atleast they can read and write. Moreover now they can sign on the documents no requirement of thumb impression.

Officer: Congratulations, a great initiative.
Me: Thankyou Sir.

Officer: You have written your hobby as Teaching and you have also taught under “Teach India” Program? (I had mentioned that in PIQ form)
Me: Sir, I was part of Teach India, Belgaum zone and use to teach kids of government schools. And in my hostel also I teach my juniors.

Officer: You have won prize in Business acumen?
Me: Sir, that was a national level technical fest, in which I had to prepare a business plan to sell the given product.

Officer: Ok. Suppose you have 5 mint toffee industries in various parts of the country. Each industry due to geographical conditions produces different taste of toffee. Due to different tastes you are loosing customers. What will you do?
Me: Sir, may I think for 1 min.

Officer: Please ( He started writing something)

After exact one min.

Officer: So whats the big idea?
Me: Sir, The different raw material which is being supplied to different industries can be collected at one industry, the calibration can be carried out. Then this caliberated raw material can be supplied to the different industries for the production of final product which will have the same taste all over India.

Officer: Ok but what about the transfer cost. (he took pause)
ok leave it(I guess he was satisfied with my ans)

Officer: How Biotech will help Indian Army?(Biotech is my engg branch)
Me: Sir, Biowarfare is no new concept, it has been used in WWII and WWII,where rats were infected with virus and then were left in enemy area.

Officer: Suppose you are in battlefield, how will you use Biowarfare?
Me: Sir, we can infect a dead body with epidemic virus, such as virus which causes chickenpox, and then we can air drop the dead body in the enemy territory. The cost involved in this is negligible. One gm of virus wiil cost 1000 Rs and can kill 1 lakh soldiers, on the contrary to kill 1 lakh soldiers you need ammunitions in tons which will cost you crores of Rupees. Future war will be based on the biowarfare.

Officer: He asked some question on carbon fuels.
Me: I said sorry sir, I don’t know the answer.

Officer: India and Pakistan have a very troubled relationship. What are the reasons you think for this?
Me: The first would be the tussle for Kashmir which is very much in news these days and the second would be the ceasefire violations in the past year along the Line of Control.

Officer: So what is the whole issue about Jammu and Kashmir? Can you elaborate?
Me: Sir, The story goes back to the time of independence and the integration of princely states with India. Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir wanted J&K to be autonomous whereas the Indian leaders wanted to integrate it within the territory of India. Also, our first Prime Minister being a Kashmiri himself had an affinity towards Kashmir. Due to Pakistani attacks on J&K, Hari Singh had to take help of the Indian forces and thus an Instrument of Accession was signed and since then we share a special relation with J&K under Article 370.

Officer: And what could be Pakistan’s interest in J&K?
Me: Sir, I am not sure, but I can take a guess. It’s related to the predominant Muslim population in Kashmir.

Officer: Have you ever done a Trekking?
Me: Sir, I have never done a trek but being sportsman I will love to do trekking if given a chance.

Officer: What are the things required for a long distance trekking, any idea?
Me: (since I had not trekked, So I had not much idea about this) Sir, may be a hand towel, a water bottle. I cannot think of anything much.

Officer: (Continuing with India Pakistan) there is a constant tussle between the two and each other draws from the other’s strength. What do you understand?
Me: ( At this point I turn a little blank) I said something which I don’t remember.

Officer: How much spiritual you are?
Me: Sir, I am a firm believer of God.

Officer: What is Buddhist view on God?
Me: Sir, Buddhism neither accepts nor rejects the existence of God. The main concern of Buddhism is alleviation of human sufferings.

(See the sudden transformation in the question, at the same time by maintaining the logical flow of the thoughts)

Officer: Any prominent personality you know, who converted to Buddhism from Hinduism?
Me: (After thinking a while) Dr B R Ambedkar.

Officer: What was actual name of Dr B R Ambedkar?
Me: Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambavadekar.

Officer: Are you sure?
Me: Yes Sir.

Officer: Then what about Ambedkar?
Me: Sir, surname Ambedkar was given to him by his Guru.

Officer: Ok. You must have heard of the poverty line, have you heard of something called the empowerment line?
Me: No sir, I have not heard of this.

Officer: Let’s say I were to create an imaginary empowerment line, what do you think would be its parameters?
Me: Sir, the criteria for poverty line is economic based . But, the empowerment line would have parameters like access to health, education, justice, economic independence and political independence. (I also don’t know what I was speaking)

Officer: If the number of people below poverty line is 200 million then how many do you think will be below empowerment line?
Me: Certainly much more. Because even if people are above the Poverty Line, they are dependent, not empowered.

Officer: What do you think we need to empower people – a universal health care or Right to Food?
Me: Sir, I think it’s not the question of ‘or’ but it’s a matter of ‘and’. Looking at our current situation we need both.

Officer: You are Capt Smart and you are made the commander of a team, which is going for a raid on enemy post. While on move, you noticed that two men saw your team. What actions you will take?
Me: Sir, operation being in enemy area, we can’t afford to loose the secrecy of our move. We will..

Officer: (He Interrupted me in between) You are commander Capt Smart. Don’t use we, use I.
Me: ( I started again) Sir, I will apprehend them and take them along with me, till the operation is conducted. So that the secrecy of the mission is maintained.

Officer: In that case, they will be extra burden on you. What could be the alternative?
Me: (Not able to think) Sir, may be we can tie them with rope or something.

Officer: (Bursts into laughter) Son this is not a movie, this is operation which involves life of your men.
Me: (Puzzled)

Officer: You have to kill them, your country comes first always and everytime (In a firm voice, banging his hand on the table)
Me: (I was literally scared, and this was the first moment when I got the feel of Indian Army, I did not utter a word)

Officer: We are not dealing with profit and loss, we are dealing with lives and death.
Me: Yes Sir( punched back with a firm voice)

(Just to ease down the temperature tof the room, he diverted the topic)

Officer: Your hobby is also to read books?
Me: Yes Sir.

Officer: What kind of Books you read?
Me: Autobiographies, Motivational Books and History Books.

Officer: OK, How you would have been different, if India was still under British rule?
Me: Sir, instead of giving you interview, I would have been fighting you with the slogans of Inquilab Zindabad. Your country comes first always and everytime.

(Golden rule of Interview- Always catch hold of 2-3 words from Interviewer’s mouth and frame the sentence and serve them back. Believe me, they will love it. This is exactly what I did by saying “Your country comes first always and everytime”)

Officer: (Smiles) You want to fight me? (Then he writes something)

Officer: Ok son, Some people are born great, some people achieve greatness and some people have greatness thrust on them. What do you understand by this?
Me: Sir, there are some people who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, who do not have to do much to achieve greatness, whereas others through their efforts and persistence acquire skills and expertise which make them great-these belong to the second category. But, some people are so noble and so sincere that they don’t have to make any effort to be great. Greatness automatically comes to them.

Officer: But doesn’t thrust sound derogatory.
Me: Yes Sir, it might sound that way but I take it in the positive sense.

Officer: (looking at my email id) What can born2win mean?
Me: Sir, it might sound a little arrogant, but for me winning is about not being defeated. Picking myself up each time I fall down. I always say to myself, you are born to win, how can you accept defeat, it is a sin !

Officer: It was nice talking to you. Best of luck for your future. Do good and don’t leave your hobby of teaching. Your interview is over.
Me: Thankyou Sir. Pleasure was all mine.

One thing ,to be very frank, before entering the interview hall, my mind was completely blank.

Personality test is all about, How you think, What you think and most importantly in which way you thin. So just be yourself. Enjoy your Interview.

Result: Got selected with AIR- 01.

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