Dharavi Slum Officer

Dharavi Slum Officer

During my stint as selector at 17 SSB, I met several remarkable persons. One such person I interviewed in 2010 was- ‘DHARAVI SLUM OFFICER’. (This is the name I have given him). He was about 5ft 6 inches; weight about 52 kg, slim & wiry. I hope he reads this blog!

Dharavi Slum Life

He came from the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai. He had been working since childhood- doing odd jobs. He had to work to survive. He had been supporting his parents since his teen years. He had financed his own education & had done MA in English-(evening classes throughout his career). He had played no games or pursued any hobbies. Life never afforded him that luxury!  When I asked him as to how he had prepared for SSB as regards fitness, he said frankly that he had never practiced running because his life style left him with very little time & I quote him:
“There is no space to run, where I stay!”
However, with his hands he was good- push ups, chin-ups & more.  He was very confident & comfortable about his background & upbringing. His energy was infectious.  His overall competence was impressive. He was such a fascinating person that I went to see him during the GTO tests.  His abilities in some obstacles would have made a monkey proud!

Success in SSB

He would be a responsible officer somewhere today & would be upgrading the lives of his family & infusing energy in the unit in which he would be serving.

Lessons for Aspirants

  • Don’t worry about what destiny has not provided you. Instead focus on what you can do to change your destiny!
  • Great things can be accomplished if you have clear goals and work towards them with enthusiasm and purpose.
  • Don’t be apologetic about your circumstances and environment- just accept them as facts and move on in life!
  • Difficulties which don’t break us make us stronger!
  • You don’t need to have played games or pursued hobbies and interests to get selected in SSB. Being responsible and competent is far more important!


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