The Walk Towards My Dreams!
It was in the beginning of the year 1989, I obtained an application form and applied for joining Indian Air Force and started waiting for a reply for examination. I received a call letter for examination that was to be held in Belgaum. That was going to be two-day stay to undergo the selection process at Belgaum. My parents started worrying how will I manage to reach the venue all by myself. They did not want to let me go alone. Finally, my father decided to accompany me. We set on the journey to Belgaum. The city was new to my father too. We made it to the venue with the help of a few locals there. The journey from the city to a place called Sambra was so mesmerizing. The greeneries so fresh and soothing to the eyes. Being brought up in the city of Bangalore, which is not short of lush during those years, this one was a different feast to the eyes and soul. I enjoyed every bit of the 15 kms journey to the venue.
At the destination, we were welcomed by a massive structure that we could look through the huge gate. The visual was simply breathtaking. I was amazed and excited to walk inside the campus. I admired the massive building and dreaming about going inside the building someday.
I was among 600 odd candidates attending the same entrance test all competing to be selected among the final 40 candidates. I made an acquaintance with one smart boy who was sitting next to me. He was looking so confident and relaxed. I was feeling a bit relaxed and confidence had taken leave long back. I was not hopeful to pass through looking at the way other candidates answering the question papers. The result was announced after the lunch hours. The announcement for the 40 final selected candidates started. The whole 600 candidates along their guardians that could have been around 1300 people were flocking outside the gate and my father and I were one among them. They announced the names of the selected candidates and these candidates were allowed walk inside for the further examinations. My father was very confident that I will succeed. I just sulked and stood there for the sake of being there. I have already started looking forward for the return journey to Bangalore. Then comes the announcement and I was brought back to present moment by a few people around. It was the second time they are announcing my name. I was totally clueless. If I cannot make it near the gate by the third announcement, I am out from the game. They announced this at the very beginning. I ran tearing through the crowd and made it inside. The feeling I had at that time is inexplicable. I made it! I made it among the 40 candidates. I am one among those 40 lucky boys.
Once inside we were instructed to return the next day for medical examinations and a few other formalities. We returned to Belgaum and on the next day all the selected candidates were put through rigorous medical test. A few boys were rejected on medical grounds and finally we were left out with around 38 candidates. We were told to return to our respective homes and wait for an appointment letter.
From there onwards, my waiting for the appointment letter started. The postman who I used to think is only to deliver letters suddenly started looking like a messiah. I started waiting for his arrival every day with a hope to receive the appointment letter.
I had just passed my Intermediate and refused to continue my studies further as I would any way be leaving the studies in between to join the IAF. I did not want to add burden to my father on the education that is going to be short-lived.
Days passed by and months passed. A boy in my neighborhood had attended the same recruitment rally that I got to know later. We became good friends from then onwards. He got the appointment letter in June and set on his journey to become an airman. I went to see him of at the selection center where I met a few other folks who had written exams with me. One among them is Rajesh who is a best buddy even today.
I started feeling dejected and started losing hope day by day. I started repenting my decision of not taking up further studies. In the meanwhile, I also discontinued my one-year Diploma in computer application. My classmate a well matured gentleman of 29 years who was already working, asked me lots of questions as to why I am doing what I am doing. He advised me to complete the studies and apply for officer cadre where the life will be different. I was determined to join now, and I found this is a great opportunity to be on my own. My dream had started growing so big that there was no turning back. I assured him that I will take up all exams to upgrade my ranks in the IAF. He was partially convinced. We finally parted after he treated me with a movie and lunch.
Come July, my messiah finally brought that most awaited message that is going to change my life forever. The appointment letter stated that I need to report on 07 Sep 1989 at the same office where I bid adieu to my other friends.
I set on to a brand-new journey! The journey that I had been dreaming for so long…
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