OTA SS 37 Officers

Unique Example of What Coursemateship Means

OTS Diary -  GC 14192-S Ravindernath

 

HOW ALL THE THINGS STARTED

 

As the morning was usual there was nothing special to do and so I quietly walked into the garden.My dog Sheru followed me. I picked up the newspaper and Employment News this weeks edition.I knew that the results of CDS exam which I wrote will be published today.The eagerness to join the Indian Army as a commissioned officer was so much in me that I took the NDA exam thrice and could not make it due to my weak mathematical ability .Anyway I was doing my graduation and in the final year  I wrote CDS exam. I was confident of success and interview preparations were on.

 

Turning the pages of the Employment News , I saw my roll number among the first ten.I was the seventh in the order of merit.  Now this calls for real celebration. I started my preparations more seriously. Physicals were real challenge to me. However I concentrated with full enthusiasm and finally the Day has come for the six day interview and Medical test.

 

First day at 24 SSB,Bangalore

 

I reached Bangalore from Trivandrum by train. Time was  5.30 AM. It was the month of  March and the weather of Bangalore was excellent.  I saw the Reception Centre at the railway station and approached them. They  showed me a Shaktiman modified truck with seats for my transportation to the Interview venue.

Whlie approaching the vehicle I  made some friends like Tiwari who also got selected along with me later on. We reached the Selection Centre within a matter of half an hour. The three days from that day to the final day with so many individual and group tests were amazing and cannot be described in words. Just by undergoing the SSB interview for 3 days will change one’s personality. Its really a fast track personality moulding module of three days for a few privileged young citizens of our country who could pass the CDS examination.Thats all I can tell in words.

 

The Medical Test

The detailed Medical Test at air Force Hospital ,Bangalore will ensure the health condition of the future young leaders.

Clearng the Medical Test made me so happy and when I reached back my home instead of  studying for the Mcom Fist year Exam I started reading the Military books like THE LIGHTNING CAMPAIGN etc.                                           

                                     

 

First day AT OTS

The training selection letter reached instructing me to report to OTS Madras for a Ten Months Pre commission Training.

I reached Madras Central Railway Station and again there was  a Reception Centre and An army Truck for taking me along with others to OTS. We reached OTS by 9 AM and we were registering ourselves , I still remember it was in the First Floor of the old building .The Flooring were made of strong wooden planks during the British times. Capt Jamshed Hussain (Later on Our DS) was addressing us and familarising us with the formalities.A tall well built Havidar From the Brigade of Guaards (Drill Instructor) came and stamped his foot in attention and saluted the Captain and handed over a paper to him and again stamped his foot to salute.The entire buiding was shaking and many of us had doubts and notions were melting to nothingness.This was only a beginning.

We were allotted battalions and companies and told to go and collect the uniform and equipments. All were all strangers and still making  all possible   efforts to gesture each other to be familiar and friendly. Suddenly there was a loud voice “you bloody jokers! What the hell ,you all are upto?” A senior cadet with shoulder tap obviously some appointments , like Company Under Officer and some with canes in their hand surrounded our group. They told all of us to bend on our hands and there was no other go but to obey. They  were so commanding and assuming themselves on us that we had to obey. Some of us  started murmering and they were given physical punishment(ragada) They instructed us to be disciplined and move around in an orderly manner.Rather we were to march like soldiers. In that hot weather we started swetting and getting tired. “Double up” was the order then ,where we started going helter skelter. “Come back You bloody clowns “ We all came back  giving total lost looks. “You Idiots ! When you double up you should match the steps and be in one squad. Don’t behave like bloody civilians,you are all gentlemen cadets(GC-s)” Thereafter we were told to march towards the barbershops inside the campus.There were so many barbers waiting for us. All of us were having long hair and the horror of having a close haircut was imminent. I tried to be  friendly with one tamilian barber and he was sympathetic. I requested in broken tamil that iam not very keen to have a  close haircut I was foolishly requesting him to keep long hair in front when I saw a Thambi senior staring at me and gesturing something to the barber. As good as going to Tirupathi for a "Mundan"  was the fate and the Thambi Senior ensured that my head was shaven properly with honourAfter the haircut I looked in the mirror and could not believe, I am not the one I was. This sort of haircut  I used to see in War movies only.It suited them since they had good physique. But with my sort of body ,the only attraction was the hair style.Now that style is gone and new style has set in.

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Issue of Uniform and Equipments

We were directed to the uniform and equipment store near RMI shop. All were standing in queue for collection. The Senior GC –s came and I smiled at one of them. “Cut your bloody smile” was the reaction of the Senior cadet. Then I was told to fall out of the queue. I was taught the way  and procedure to cut smile and stamp it under my feet.By the time I learned how to cut a smile I was physically and mentally  exhausted. The I saw one GC throwing out the Dangiri he has collected and crying out to one Senior “I don’t want to join this training .I  want to go. “ It was Raghavan  from Madras. He was  told by a Senior cadet to start front rolling  as he was not standing erect and talking to others. Soon we saw Raghavan , the thambi from Thambaram coming to terms with the senior GC and doing demo type front rolls.It was an ordeal to collect uniform and equipments like web belts, ground sheets,Haversack,Pouches,Anklets,boots,shoes etc.

 Evening in the Barracks

Sunset closing in ,we longed to see our resting place and finally we reached the barracks. The items collected were kept in individual almirahs. We were six cadets in each  Room.We were Mektila company guys which was part of Shivaji battalion.Our room was  closer to the bathroom and we thought of having a shower. I told my room mates that I will have a bath and come and moving out in my pyjama, could hear somebody shouting and rushing towards me. “You bloody joker, how dare you move in your pyjama ,where is your dressing gown ? And what are you up to? Bend Down.” By this time I saw some other guys already in bend position and I followed the suit. When I told that I was going to take bath alone they all had a hearty laugh.” You beggar  are you a female that you take bath all alone Call the other fuckers also and have a bath together in two minutes and your tme starts NOW,” The first time in my life I had a community bath with all naked guys around.

We were getting ready after the hurried bath when there was a long whistle with a Senior shouting “Guys Fall In “ Hardly any time to get ready some seniors started coming in to our rooms and shouting ‘Bloody Get ready and Get Out”

Our platoon , Mektila was getting fallin infront of our room in threes we saw Naushera guys were making their  squad forming up infront of their barracks. A Moral Lecture followed with in between physical ragdas.We were told to get ready with mufti dress and tie for anti room procedure. We wondered what the hell is this.But soon we realized that this procedure took the hell out of us. Guys were asked by seniors in turn to tell their profile and also perform songs,mimic ,dance etc.  

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One senior asked me whether I was a Bengali and assuming himself that I was one he started conversing in Bengali. I was keeping quiet and trying to act as his country cousin and he started shoutng. Soon I told him that I was  a keralite. He made my life miserable for another one hour for acting smart(Chattak) He called me “Wrong Notion” I seldom realized at that point of time what is a wrong notion , but later in my life I was a wrong notion at many places.Human beings ,I felt ,was wrong notions at many occasions in their life.

There was going to be a dinner night and we were supposed to fall in outside the Cadet mess.duty Officer will be coming and taking the parade state of all cadets of both Shivaji and Ranjit singh battalions.Afterwards we have to move in the Dining hall in an organized manner.The procedure was over and soon we were inside.

 

Basic Table manners- From civilian to Gentleman Cadet on the table