2021: The epic year that changed my perspective towards life

Once I felt I had everything in life but then the next moment all of a sudden everything vanished into thin air.

Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash

Through this article, I want to give a brief overview of the struggles and the hardships that we all face down the line in our lives, but we still hold ourselves and our family together. You do not let things fall apart even if you have suffered and struggled for continuously 365 days. You have fallen, once, twice, thrice….n number of times, but there will come a time when this will stop and it is then that you will start sprinting with such a force that no power in this entire universe can ever stop you again.

So, embrace the struggles but don’t lose heart as your good time is about to come.

Selection into IAF

The year 2020 was full of happy surprises and everything was nicely falling in the right place. I got selected into Indian Air Force(IAF) while I was doing my Masters in Chemistry itself and I was to get trained as an Education Officer Cadet in Air Force Academy(AFA) in Hyderabad. Then the pandemic hit and I had to leave for home due to strict lockdown even before my end-semester exams.

On 28th August 2020, I joined the AFA as a cadet for training and finally, I felt that now I can take care of my family. I felt that now, I can help my sisters in their education without any compromise. I felt that now, I can tell my father to rest from his exhausting private driver life and fulfill his dream of starting his own business. For the first time in my entire life, finally, we could stay together as a family. As prior to my selection into IAF, my father used to be driving all throughout the year, I was always in the hostel, since my first standard, and one of my sisters used to stay with our aunt. So, you see we were never together and now was the time that we could finally live as a family.

Rest about me and my family in some other article, but for now, let us stick to how the year 2021 changed everything for me and my family.

Series of Setbacks

My training started and as expected, it was really a tough one and not for the weak-hearted, especially the junior course(the first 6 months of training). I got accustomed to it along with my course-mates. The first six months were the best phase of my life due to multiple reasons. Fast forward to December 2020, and everything started falling apart. Some document-related issues and later on right knee Cartilage injury put a full stop on my passion once and for all. This didn’t end here, I was made to pay all the training costs, which was a huge amount around 3 Lakhs.

How I managed to pay such a huge amount being a son of a private truck driver is one of the most memorable and interesting incidents of my life.

By the way, such a petty document-related issue had never happened in the defense forces till now. I have a lot to say on this, but we will save that for later.

I was back home in February 2021 after trying everything possible to save my passion, career, and my first love but soon I realized that some things are not in my hands. As if this setback was not enough, I started facing multiple disappointments.

My second setback came after I was continuously given the wrong diagnoses by multiple doctors for my right knee injury. These so-called reputed experienced doctors didn’t even bother to see my leg while giving diagnoses. After around four months of treatment by these doctors and after I had lost all my patience, my correct diagnosis was done by a doctor from Kerala through a telemedicine service run by Sri Sathya Sai Organization for free. This so-called partial ligament damage turned out to be Chondral thinning in the right knee, a condition that will eventually lead to arthritis.

During the same time, I didn’t lose hope and I decided to go for IAF again. With the belief that if I could crack it once, I can surely crack it again, I cleared Air Force Common Admission Test(AFCAT). As part of my second phase of selection, I chose 4-AFSB(Air Force Selection Board) Varanasi as my AFSB center. But unexpectedly, here they asked me for documental proof for my 6 months of training on the last day and I have nothing since I was sent from the academy, with the assurance that I will get all my documents of AFA directly from Air Headquarters. Worst of all SSB(Service Selection Board) centers don’t have any back-channel communication regarding such things. SSB centers don’t even know how many cadets got medically boarded out or how many cadets had to leave the academy just because they submitted their documents late. All this information could have helped me.

Soon after this before I could move ahead with my next SSB, I was strictly told by my doctor that you have to take proper care of your health, restrict all your physical activities, and obviously big NO to any defense aspirations.

I had no choice but to move-on in my life, accepting the fact, that I can never ever go back to my defense life. There are many things to regret and there are many, “If’s”.

If only, I wouldn’t have got that injury.

If only, I would have finished my training without any problem.

Like that, I can go on and on but we are well aware that life is full of highs and lows. It is tragic that I faced all this at a very young age but it was quite a learning lesson for me. I am a stronger version of myself due to those incidents.

Still trying to find the right career option amidst all the financial constraints and this pandemic. But eventually, I will figure it out.

There will be a lot of pressure on you, in these circumstances but no one can defeat you until you yourself accept defeat. So, be strong, be positive, and aim for your dreams.

In the end, I would like to thank all my Indian Air force course-mates of batch 207 & 208 for all their love and support. Also, a big thanks to everyone who has been associated with me knowingly or unknowingly in this journey.

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