Friday, September 09, 2005

A stint at the Indian AirForce

Doesn't every Indian youth deep down in his/her inner conscience has the feeling to lay down his/her life for the country. Well, I definitely had it in me and to add to it all the news I read about the Kargil war only added to my enthusiasm to do something for my country, my India (not getting too patriotic here).

With these thoughts in mind I always applied for whatever openings I found applicable in the Employment news. In September 2001 I got called for the SSC(Short Service Commission) at the Indian Air Force, Mysore. At this time I had conveniently landed myself a job in one of the emerging s/w companies in Pune.

The whole selection procedure was to be for a week, with a written test on the first day and those clearing the test would remain further on for the ongoing selection procedure. I very eagerly packed my luggage and along with my parents made the long bus journey from Pune to Mysore. That night we checked in a hotel in the city. The next day early morning we reached Mysore station from where we would be taken to the air force selection centre.

There were about 500 girls come from different states, all with their luggage and parents :) . There were 4-5 buses waiting to take us to the centre. After bidding good-bye to my parents we were taken to the air force centre. Then we were taken in a big hall where we had a written test which included General Reasoning, maths etc. After the test was completed our papers were taken for evaluation while we all tensely awaited the results, only 30 from this group of 500 would be selected, the rest would have to go back home the same day.

As each name was called there was excitement and dissapointment and finally the 30 names were called which included mine as well, so I was to spend here my next 3 days. The 30 of us were taken back to the dorms while the others were boarded in the bus to leave. We were assigned numbers and from now on this was to be our individuality/our recognition.

We went to our dorms, got friendly with the ones with us, had dinner and slept off for an early morning start. The next day we were ready by 5:00 a.m in the morning and we had an officer who divided us in 2 groups. The group that I was in would have the Interview first and then the Physical tests. We were taken to another hall where we waited for the interviewer to call us. My interview was for an hour with all sort of questions from History/Geography thrown at me of which I must say I could not answer much.
Next we were taken to the grounds for our Physical tests with lot of jumping and running around done where I did manage to do fairly well. By 3:00 pm we were asked to go back to our dorms. By this time we had our own group formed and in the evenings we wandered about in the Air-Force grounds.

The next day we again formed a line at 5:00 a.m. This time we were divided into 4 batches and each batch had an officer assigned. We were then taken to the ground. This time we had mental exercises given which we had to complete as a team. Speech was given on a topic we chose and then in conclusion some more physical tests.
By 3:00 pm we all got to know each other quite well, formed a group and took a bus tour to the Vrindavan Gardens. A lot of leg pulling etc happened which is normal if about 25-30 girls get together and as tonite would be the last nite together we tried to make the most of it.
Night time saw us frantically exchanging e-mail addresses and even though our captain asked us to go to bed by 8:30 pm, we played Antakshari and songs like "Yeh dosti, hum nahi boolenge" were sung with much emotions.

The fourth and final D day we were taken to the Assembly room where the results would be announced. Anticipation was written over all the faces as each and every one awaited the result to be declared. For me, I knew I had not done all that well to be selected and at that time I felt I was more comfortable in my software job. Anyway all said and done, as we sat in the hall, each one was asked to go and meet the entire selection panel where you could tell them your grievances or experience if any.
Finally after each one's session the captain walked int he hall with a chit with the selected number written on it. As the SELECTED one's number was called out there was hurrays and congratulations and in such a manner 7 numbers were called out. These were the Selected SEVEN who had made it to through the rigourous selection procedure while the rest of us left dejected, dissapointed.
Many of them were determined to try again a second time and make it through but as for me i was done, happy to go back to my own world. I had a beautiful experience at this place and it would be a lasting memory for me in my life-time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

Well, the July 4th week-end was nearing and all my friends had their plans laid down, well I was not the one to be left behind. Immediately a couple of phone calls here and there ensured that I had a place and a group to visit the place. The place chosen was Las Vegas- The Sin City, the name itself stirring a lot of excitement in me.

As soon as the trip was decided one night saw me and my roomate frantically searching on the net for the cheapest tickets available, but being the holiday season luck did not favor us and finally we got tickets which landed us at midnite in the city.

We were waiting eagerly for the D-day to arrive, had all our luggage packed, and all I had to on the morning of the flight was get our boarding passes, go to the airport and fly to 3 days of fun and excitement.
Morning saw me logging in to get the boarding pass and to my astonishment I find that the flight we were scheduled to leave was CANCELLED!!!. This was not happening, I rechecked the flightno and then made a call to the Customer Service where I was informed by a male voice that yes, the flight was indeed cancelled due to a mechanical problem and the next available flight would leave at 9:00 a.m and take me to Vegas at 11:00 a.m the NEXT MORNING. My God, half a day wasted, what abt our hotel bookings, planned trips, who was gonna pay for that but apparently the airline never bothered about that.
Now I was not going to moan the entire nite, I went to the airport and demanded they put me in any available flight and after much running around at different airports I was put on a non-stop flight and reached vegas at midnite :)) (reaching ON-TIME I would say).

First Impression :- VEGAS WAS HOT, I could feel the heat waves all over my body. The morning saw me taking a stroll along the STRIP, do a little of shopping, a Magic show, went to the Wax Studio and late nite went to a haunted Show which was a big dissapointment and haunt me for years to come. Had dinner at midnite and as we returned to the hotel our vehicle refused to start.
Oh no, was this supposed to be the trip where things would just go wrong if they had to.
Anyway we had our guys running around late nite changing vehicles while we girls decided to take rest.

The next day we drove to Hoover Dam and from there all the way to GrandCanyon, not to mention that we had to return back the same nite to watch the oh so spectacular Bellagio's musical fountain which I must say was a spectacular event.

The last day we visited to Stratosphere, a very high tower and the added attraction there are the rides on top of the tower. After a good amount of force from my friends I decided to take the rides and they were quit fun. Evening saw us hopping in and out of a few casinos and then we were off to the airport.

Well we spent a good 3 hrs at the airport before we boarded our flight and had a good sleep till we finally boarded off at la Guardia and was back at home, back to work, back to plan & prepare for the next trip.
Photo Link: