Charan Sparsh and sastang pranam at your lotus feet Swamiji. The days are drawing closer to have your Darshan and my emotions are running high!

During my last visit to one of India’s most strategic Naval Bases, I was greeted by Sailors with the ‘Naval Salute’. I am not a Navy Officer! But still I received the Naval Salute. When enquired about the curious event, I came to know that my current rank is equivalent to Lieutenant Commander! I am a Scientific Officer (long live Physics) as per designation, Technical Manager by post and now Lt. Commander as an equivalent grade! It was too much for me to understand and digest. I will narrate the incidents which made me have a deep contemplation of my current state of employment considering what could have I been if I had taken up some job which was on my way at various stages of my education.

Yes, I have been a good student as far as studies are concerned, though with a zero outlook and negative duniyadaari 云 云 . After my elder brother (4 years elder to me) did not do well in Intermediate Science (scoring a third division), my father got frustrated and got him admitted into 5 years’ integrated Law Course which had no takers at that point of time. But, my brother put in the hardest possible effort and with strong determination, he came out with flying colors overcoming all the criticism he faced. In the first attempt itself he cleared the Odisha Judicial Services exam conducted by the state Public Service Commission in 2005. But before that, we both were under immense pressure for getting employed 云云云.

Bitten by the bug of my elder brother’s poor performance in the Intermediate Exams, my father was determined to enroll me into Diploma Course after I completed my Matriculation to get a job as soon as I completed my Course. He knew that I would do well and get a Free Govt. Seat in good discipline like Electronics (just see the striking co-incidence – I am still in Electronics i.e. Nuclear Electronics!) or Electrical. But life had other plans for me. Fortunately or unfortunately, I scored 93 percent marks in the 10th Board Exams. My father was under tremendous social peer pressure and refrained from admitting me in Diploma Course. I got Intermediate Science admission with Electronics as elective (see, again Electronics) in the best college of Odisha. But he still had some thoughts of my early employment.

I was taken to appear for two exams at the Naval Base (again correlate that with my present involvement in a Project with Indian Navy) at Chilka: one is Artificer Apprentice (AA) and the other – Matric Entry Recruitment (MER). I was not at all interested, but had to appear for the exam. Though I solved the AA paper with more than 90 percent accuracy, in the last five minutes, I made deliberate mistakes in marking the answers so that I do not get selected (My father does not know my sabotage till date and plz don’t tell him as it is still ‘Classified’). There were lot of candidates who had passed Intermediate and were appearing for the exam. After the exam, they came out complaining that the question paper was very difficult and even beyond the intermediate level to save their own skins. But the truth was that the paper was not that difficult and could have been solved easily by a sincere student who has passed 10th Board.

But the hullaballoo made by those inter passed candidates saved my day and my father believed that the paper was really quite tough and beyond my clearance range! Again to my fortune or misfortune, I arrived late for the MER exam due to some transport issues. As I was delayed in appearing for the exam, I had the excuse of getting lesser time to solve the paper and I could not clear the exam! But truth was that, I had sufficient time and the paper was damn easy to solve at least for me. Anyway, my father’s attempt for getting me employed, took a back seat (for the time being).

I went on to complete my Inter scoring 83 percent to the bad luck of my Father不. But as I was not sure what to study next and could not get a good rank for getting a Free Engineering Seat, my Father got frustrated and got me admitted in BSc (Phy. Hons.) Course. But again a bout of employment keeda got the better of him. He made me apply for Air-Man post in Indian Air-Force. I made a commitment to him that I would definitely clear the written test and I did it as I knew the pattern and standard of the exam with my previous exams experience. After declaration of the result, I conveyed him that, I cleared the written test topping the merit list. Then the Original Certificates of the selected Candidates were taken by the Air Force Officials which I did not anticipate云.

Now I was in a trap. I did not want to join the Indian Air Force as an Air-Man. But my Original Certificates were with the authorities. Next, our Physical and subsequently Medical Test were to be conducted. The Authorities took lunch break and it was the time for me! I had seen the shelf where the Certificates were kept. I hid those certificates underneath my banian and bhaged away from the place. With a pale face, I came out conveying my father that I could not clear the Physical Test and I was shown the door . My father believed me as I was very lean and thin those days. So we returned home in a dejected mood. But as you have already guessed, I was like bachgaya! When I narrated the bhag away wala story to my brother, he shouted at me “Are you out of your mind! The Airforce Authorities may issue summon / warrant against your name.” To this I replied that, I wrote my name as “Biswa Mohan Nanda”, but certificates say that my name is “Biswamohan Nanda”. So I am not the same person! But still, I was worried for a few weeks in the fear of getting a summon / warrant云.

Then my brother got selected for the Judicial Services. I thought I would face less pressure for employment. But my father was even more curious for my job. To my bad luck, during the first year of MSc. in 2005, there was an advertisement for recruitment of “Graduate Apprentice Trainee” for Vedanta’s upcoming Aluminum Plant in a remote place called Lanjigarh in the district of Kalahandi in Odisha. The selection was purely on the basis of mark secured in 10th, 12th and Graduation. Yes, I graduated with 82 percent mark overall and 90 percent in my Honors Subject! With such marks, I was shortlisted in the Vedanta Company. My father took me to the site云. To be frank, I had never seen such places before as I was very much afraid. I was born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. Such a rural place was beyond my imagination. But my father insisted that I must join the job as it offered “Rs. 15000 per month” during training and a good salary of “Rs. 30000 per month” afterwards with all perks and allowances. Mr. Anil Agarwal (the owner of Vedanta Group of Companies) would have been happy to me on board (just kidding).

But, I was unwilling to join and took help of some of my Professors to put pressure on my father. That trick did work. But my father was very much upset and made a remark that “Do you think that you will go on to become a Scientist?” And by mistake云, I went on to become something like that within 2 years time. Even to satisfy my father, I appeared for Odisha Administrative Services (OAS) in 2007 and without any coaching, I could clear the prelims in the First attempt itself. After that, I applied for post in the Department of Atomic Energy and the result came earlier than the declaration of the OAS Mains exam date. Finally I got job!

So this is the long story of my employment. Hope, that I have not bored you!

Jai Shri Hari…

My sincere request:

Please do not form a negative opinion on my father. He actually wanted me to be self sufficient at the earliest possible. Also given my fluctuating mental state he was worried for me and wanted me to settle down so that he himself could feel relieved. He is a very honest person and a man of high integrity at work place. Despite his agrarian background, he was an Administrative staff in Utkal University and went on to retire as Deputy Registrar. He never shied away from spending money on our education and fulfilled my desire of using costly note books and purchasing costly books especially during my Graduation and Post Graduation Studies. As I was physically weak those days, he bought me a moped to go to college when my elder brother was still on bicycle.