The story of Vaibhav, Shivansh and Brig Shashank is instructive as well as inspiring for defence aspirants as also their parents.
Brig Shashank is a very good friend and course-mate. Vaibhav and Shivansh are two brothers who were keen on joining the Defence Forces. Vaibhav had just cleared the NDA exam and Shivansh was his younger brother. They knew Brig Shashank and through him they enrolled for my guidance program.
When I first spoke to Vaibhav, I realized that he had the overall potential to get selected but the level of his English and general awareness needed improvement. Moreover, as a raw kid, he over-rated his chances of being selected. He did not get selected for NDA and joined DU for Economics (Honours) course. Shivansh also did not get selected for NDA and joined Vaibhav at DU.
Brig Shashank and I had often been speaking about the selection system and the disservice being done to the defence aspirants by the coaching academies, offering 15-day coaching. I had been telling him that to get success an aspirant had to be overall competent and there was no need to be conversant with the selection process. Moreover, it was my conviction that to guide an aspirant to success at SSB there was no need for the guide to have been a part of the selection system. In my view, the former selectors at SSB tended to scare the aspirants by projecting the selection system as a highly complex system, generally beyond the comprehension of a lay-person. Though Vaibhav and Shivansh were formally enrolled with No Frills Academy but were under the guidance of Brig Shashank. He guided them to improve their English and general awareness and develop a productive way of leading their lives.
Vaibhav and Shivansh were dream students and performed well at college and focused on overall improvement as guided by Brig Shashank. The approach of Brig Shashank to queries like what to answer when asked by the IO as to the reason for joining the Service was that this question need not be discussed with anyone and the candidate should give his answer because the IO wants to know the specific candidate’s reason to opt for the Service and not the top answer to the question at Google. Thus, both the brothers were kept away from the SSB jargon and coaching academy type preparation. They became competent and confident students.
Systematic Effort, Patience and Perseverance: Keys to Success
As I write this essay, Vaibhav is undergoing training at AFA and Shivansh has been selected to join IMA. Their success proves that systematic effort, patience and perseverance are the keys to success at SSB and not short-cuts and coaching academies.