They say “You must be a soldier, and then a soldier, and again a soldier”. A soldier’s path is not an easy one. And you get the glimpses of it from the first day you land onto the academy. Life of a trainee officer in all military training institutions is pretty much the same…there are phases of training you’ll go through, and once you graduate (or pass out as they call it) you’ll be a changed man/woman.
Battalions/Companies In OTA
OTA has two battalions respectively which are again sup-divided into 3 companies. Cadets after reporting to OTA, will be assigned any one of the company in which they will continue the complete training. The battalions & companies are:
1. Shivaji Battalion:
- Meiktila Company
- Naushera Company
- Zojila Company
2. Ranjit Singh Battalion:
- Jessami Company
- Kohima Company
- Phillora Company
We’ll cover an edited, informal version of what an officer’s training means in OTA, a vague picture of daily schedule and more.. read on.
The Magnate Phase
This is the time just after you get the call letter and before you actually join the academy. You’re the hero of the neighbourhood to have “secured your future” (that’s exactly what they say) at a young age in a profession that most people deem glorious. At school (or in college in case you’re joining OTA, IMA, AFA or INA) you start getting undue attention from your “hi-hello” friends and even from those who never knew you existed. Perhaps you might get some girlfriends too overnight & also become icon or godfather for some. 🙂
The ‘Well Inside Hell’ Phase
Now this starts the day you enter your training academy. The first thing you do is to say goodbye to your Flash Gordon locks, a small thing to start with but it only gets worse. A usual day starts at 0330 or 0400 hrs in the morning. Activity starts with P.T, drill or equitation. Classes will go on from 0830 hrs till 1315 hrs. Cadets go for lunch by 1330 hrs followed by swimming classes or drill or hobbies club period. At 1545 hrs, again cadets go for physical training session. By 1700 hrs, you are back in front of company. After a tiring session, at 1745 hrs cadets go back to their room, carry out some house-keeping activities and maintain study period. At 2100 hrs, cadets go for dinner. Again the physical activities start which goes on till 2300 hrs. Next activity is a good night sleep. No movements after 2300 hrs, it’s lights out in the company.
Well, this is just the rosy part of the story. The worst part is that you never get enough sleep. You’re always to take the longer harder route when running. You can never ever afford to get late. You get pushed around every now and then as they try to find (and expose) every single weakness in you. Your seniors aren’t much help as they blame you for your incompetence, and claim that the selection board isn’t doing it’s job properly or scumbag like you wouldn’t have been there. You get screwed (figure of speech) for the mistake of some other guy. You miss your family, your friends, and most importantly the leisure of letting go when you don’t feel like trying. There’ll be hands that’ll never pat your back because what you consider an achievement is something that everyone around you is doing or has already done. The same hands, however, will be ready to point out the slightest, most insignificant mistake you make and to punish you mentally and physically, imperative of the fact that you realise where you went wrong. You start getting a feeling that you might have made the wrong choice…. And then..
The Subconscious Enlightenment Phase
This one starts towards the end of your training. This is when you start realising that all the hard times you thought you were made to go through purposely were indeed that way, but only to make you a better, rough & sturdy person, mentally, physically, emotionally & as a whole. You’ve been made to learn everything the harder way, just so you can respect everything you’ve learnt.
Moreover You’ll learn some basic things that you might never have learnt had you not joined, like terrestrial navigation, Para Sailing, Arboriculture. You’ll get better at sports like football, hockey, boxing, sailing, horse riding, shooting etc. You don’t have to trouble your mom for petty things like ironing your clothes and doing your laundry. You’ll make some great friends and you’ll call them “course-mates”.
Overall, you’ll realise that the time you once considered the worst phase of your life was actually the best phase of your life and it just passed away!!!