One of my cousins is in the army and a Major. Another cousin wanted to join the defence and this is his story. Statistics say that youths nowadays are opting for other streams and are not willing to join active service but ask those who have not been selected and you'll know how hard it is to join the army or anything in the defence.
My cousin grew up dreaming that he would be a soldier someday. Aunty used to tell me that she would often find him standing in front of the mirror checking if his knees are joined together, if his foot is properly shaped etc. because he had heard that the knees should be like this and the feet should be like that to pass the physicals.
Right after his secondary boards, he gave the written test for the National Defence Academy. He got through it and our happiness knew no bounds. Everybody said that he had the right physique to be in the army etc. Come personal rounds and he was not selected.
He went for an Engineering degree in EEE from Tamil Nadu and completed it with very good marks. His friends were talking about campus recruitments and a job in the IT industry, but he wrote the Combined Defence Services exam. This time too he got through the written test but failed in the rounds after that. Then we heard that he was going for some interview here and some interview there and all turned out to be something related to Active Service. The SSB and what not? In all the cases, he always got through the written test and the first couple of rounds, but would be rejected in the later rounds.
At home we have a laminated picture of my cousin and some other 24 boys standing, their names and numbers written on their chest. I heard this was for something in the navy. He was among the last 5 prospectives who had to stay behind but unfortunately, not the one who got selected. (I heard just one of them made it). This is a snap that reminds us how close my little brother was to his dreams.
He has finished his MTech and is teaching in an Engineering college in Tamil Nadu while doing his Phd.
This is the story of my cousin but he did share the story of another boy he met in one such interviews. The boy said, "My dad, brother, brother-in-law are all in the army and I haven't made it for the third time. You guys have no expectations and pressure. At home, I feel as if I am not a man. I don't know what else to do in life and I don't know how I am going back."