The Limitless: SUO Bata Krishna Giri
A Cadet embellished with the most plentiful of ceremonials. A student with a CGPA of 9.08. A chatty and a pleasant persona. A grin stretching from ear to ear. Name anything from paragliding to painting graffiti on the walls of NITR, he has done it all. Bata Krishna Giri, presently in his final year in the Department of Metallurgical Engineering is someone, every single person can learn something from. His story from the grass-roots until who he is today has been an amazing and an ever-humbling journey. Team MM brings to you exclusive excerpts from among the entirety of the Indian Army Aspirant.
For in every adult, there lives a child that was.
Born in Mayurbhanj, Bata Krishna Giri moved to Rajgangpur where his Dad got a job, and then to Kansbahal which is some 27-30 km away from here. It's a very remote and simple place where people engage in simple activities. While kids in the metros and cities used to play with high-end gadgets and toys, he used to run around on the grass, climb hills, go fishing, take open baths, stealing a mango or two on the way.
I believe that having your roots at such a place helps you keep your humility, politeness, obedience and keeps you rooted to your tradition.
A Solid Ground
He comes from a simple, humble, middle class family. With a father who is a Machine Operator at L & T, Kansbahal and mother, a housewife, Bata Krishna Giri has a family that never held him down. Unlike him, his younger sister who was born and brought up here in Rourkela and hasn't seen much of the rural life. You won't find anybody in his family who is so very highly educated to actually know things about what he was studying or what he should do next.
The only thing they asked me to do was keep studying and be the best.
School was where it began.
He started from Montfort School, Kansbahal, an ICSE board school which later transitioned into DAV Public School, Kansbahal, a CBSE board school when he got into Class 9. He believes that studying in an ICSE school and then being in CBSE, was a good thing, because you had to do a lot of comprehensive studying in ICSE and it became sort of easier for you in CBSE. Even then he was one of those least highlighted people of the class. The zeal to excel was born in him when he was in Class 5.
I made it a point to grab any opportunity that was thrown at me, right from Olympiads to sports to debates to essay writing. I used to represent my school at Inter School level competitions and indulged in a lot of co-curricular activities.
With a pleasant laugh, he says that other than singing and dancing, he has done pretty much everything.
One of the turning points in his life was a Talent Search Exam that used to be conducted by the ICSE Boards during Class 5. A friend called Amitabh, came to become his study partner since he used to study for these exams. Because his Mom was a teacher, he had all kinds of inputs. So, when in Class 5, he got the third position for TSE, he thought to himself that maybe he could also do something good.
Pages out of his Life (#1)
Taking everything in his fold, the failure and everything, he moved on to his 11th believing that the one thing he had to do was to rise above the bar he had set for himself. He also made it a point to not lose out on his co-curriculars because they added flavour to his life. He represented his school for National and State Level Competitions like, Debating Matters India by the British Council, UK, which was held at Kolkata (Regionals), Mahatma Hansraj Aryan Athletic Tournament, Rourkela, Regional Science Exhibitions and the like.
If you have a career graph that is ever increasing, it's good. If it is constant, then it is okay. But, if it's a graph with a negative slope, you have to buckle up.
Pages out of his Life (#2)
He always tells people that whatever little things you indulge in, do not think that it is a waste. It will eventually help you in your future. Somewhere or the other. Theirs was the last batch who gave their AIEEE separately, so they were all focussed towards the Entrance exams much more than the Boards.
I used to sleep for hardly 3-4 hours, you could say I was a God-level GMAT during that time.
The One with Ekta and Anushasan
Every person who has seen this gentleman has a mental picture of him in a well-pressed NCC uniform with an impressible row of badges on it. As a shy and a timid boy who used to stammer a lot, he joined NCC when he was in Class 7. He even remembers that his roll no was ORI/JD/06/43109. He believes that NCC is a lot more than just march-past and kadam-taal. It provides you a platform to exhibit whatever talent you have got. Literary, sports, cultural, everything. At a young class of 8, he became the 2nd person from Kansbahal who went for the Republic Day Camp (RDC), through which you are selected to march at the Rajpath on the parade during 26th January.
Once I had deliver the news of the day during our assembly and I stammered 10 times over. I kept saying, "Sorry... Sorry... Sorry." But gradually as I got involved in NCC, I got many opportunities to address the cadets and take command of my troops. It gave me confidence and helped me get over my fear and weakness of stammering.I will say, my experience in NCC changed me. If you do it sincerely, you will discover yourself.
Pages out of his Life (#3)
The selections for the RDC begin during June-July. After attending an Annual Training Camp (ATC) at the Battalion level (headquarters at the city level), a few people get selected for a Combined ATC (CATC) Camp. The selection procedure depends on a lot of factors like management skills, your leadership skills, your general knowledge, drill and so on. After that three arduous phase camps follow up where there is no selection and you keep facing rejections until in the third phase camp, and then he got to know that he was going for the RDC. It was a blissful moment (he recollects).
I was from a very rural part of India Now when you come back from a place like that, you have a completely different perspective towards everything. It will help you to shape yourself, change things at your surroundings, influence others and understand things. You won't get disappointed by trivial failures, because you have seen the bigger picture.
He had got the award for the "Best Drill Award" there which made it easier for him to go ahead. Plus, he was tall. From the "Best Cadet" of my school to the "Best Cadet" of Odisha, he was just one step away from being the "Best Cadet" of India. Now, there was the amazing feeling combined with an attendance loss of six months.
Everyone said, "Bata karega kya, fail hoga yeh ab." (sic) However, I got studying after the 10th of February and ended up scoring a 92.6%, that too in ICSE. Again, everyone was shocked, including myself.
Pages out of his Life (#4)
Today, he recollects this senior with reverence and feels that, if something comes in between his honesty, he wouldn't have the slightest hesitation saying no to it.
From the rank of a 'Sergeant' to a 'Senior Under Officer', today, he has come a long way. From a JD cadet in khakhi shorts to a well-dressed SD cadet in full ceremonials, he has pushed himself harder and harder. He believes Learn before you teach. Follow before you lead. Obey before you command*He has led the cadets in various State and National Level Camps like CATC-Burla, National Integration Camp- Rourkela, Army Attachment Camp- Ranchi as the "Camp Senior". He was among the chosen few from the country for coveted camps like Indian Military Academy (IMA) Attachment Camp at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and the National Skiing Course at Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg which was entirely sponsered by Ministry Of Defence in collaboration with Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India. From paragliding to Snorkelling, there isn't one thing that he hasn't done.
Where there is no roof for the losers
Bata Krishna Giri came from a place where they had no idea about anything. They hardly knew about IITs and NITs. His friend Sagar was who interested for the National Defence Academy, showed him the way. Now, Bata had seen a lot of military and officers' life during his period in NCC. The kind of gentlemanly life that they lead had made a great impression on him. He however, had no idea how to go about it. He just knew that here existed the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam, that had to be given after one's Graduation.
Nothing else existed for us. I didn't even know that NIT existed in Rourkela, frankly. But I had this inner feeling that I could also try being one, not for the pay or the salary but for the way of life that they used to lead.
Pages out of his Life (#5)
On December 22, he got this letter for the Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview to be held in Bhopal during February. February was the time of the Board practicals and the dates were clashing.
Fortunately what happened was, my Principal had a lot of contacts at the administrative level. When I told her about this, she was very happy about it and she arranged to postpone the practicals. That was the power she had.
This was again something he had no idea about. He got through the Screening Day and the Stages 1 and 2. He got through the "ferocious" GD as well. For the next 5 days that they stayed there, everyone was studying, reading up while he used to lay all day doing nothing, studying nothing.
He passed the meticulously planned Psychological Test, a Ground Task, an Interview, a conference, and the Medicals and hit an all India rank of 108. The 16 and a half year old boy had got a straight ticket into one of the most prestigious organizations ever: the NDA.
He describes NDA as a beautiful place, but a terrible one as well. Two months out there and he was a completely changed person.
They test us based on Mansa, Vacha, Karma; what you think, what you communicate and how you act. An officer is someone who can do all the three simultaneously.
The Pebble in the Shoe
Here began problems back in his family and hometown due to a lack of awareness and a common misconception of "Arey, soldier banne jaa raha hai. Border pe gun pakad ke khadaa rahega."
There was a mental tension in the family regarding the fact the fact that after toiling so hard for Engineering and already having received a call from NIT, I was somewhere no one knew about.
Pages from his Life (#6)
I always believe that wherever I am and whatever I am studying, I have to give my best. People these days think, "Since I have to do an MBA or some other thing, I just have to cross this Graduation, and I can try to do well in that." But if you aren't able to do justice to your present, how do you think you can do well in something that you aren't sure about yet?
He convinced everybody back home and went for re-enrolling himself at NDA, but since they did not have a policy of re-enrollment, he didn't get through and began preparing for NIT again.
He cracked it. Once again.
The Distinctive Flavour of a New Era
After being through NDA and one year at VSSUT Burla, he finally entered into NIT Rourkela in the branch of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Recollecting about those times, he feels the first few days were adrenaline-high, everyone being in their highest energy states. Having an experience of first year courses, he was pretty light in his studies and took part in co-curricular activities. He felt happy about the vibrant club culture here, which was non-existent in Burla and the fact that he could still carry on with NCC. People in NCC were surprised to have a guy among them who had gone to camps as prestigious as RDC!
Comparing the difference in the first year studies at Burla and NIT-R, he feels that the curriculum here is a bit rushed.
Here, students are forced to jump into writing programs in C-laboratory without giving them any background knowledge of coding.
Pages from his Life (#7)
Once when they were being made to parade together, he got a chance to command. That got him noticed and eventually helped him to grab a chance to command all the cadets, including his seniors.
Making it a point to do something productive in every vacation, he never missed any NCC camp that came his way. That not only helped him become a better person altogether but he gained a lot of contacts in different places in the process too. He went for technical internships simultaneously, the first one being a vocational training at RSP. The other one was at NML (National Metallurgical Laboratory), where he learnt a software Franchise and had a fabulous experience with the sophisticated equipments.
He also kept a track on the recent developments in the world of metals and materials, whereby he shifted from metallurgy to materials science, the latter being a broader one globally.
I can tell with conviction that I have an acquaintance to greet him in any part of the country, today."
An artist takes it personally
There is also an artist within this multi-faceted person. Drawing his inspiration from maternal grandfather, the only one who draws in his family, he had a knack for drawing anything random like funny faces of teachers at school. Noticing this, he was sent to a tutor, Sanjay Sir, the person he owes all his drawing credits to. Completing all the certification courses, he secured a Masters degree in Fine Arts in his 12th standard, a pretty young age to do so.
Pages from his Life (#8)
A Genius knows Balance
Finding it extremely difficult to manage time, he had to leave Chitraang as he felt that he wasn’t able to do justice to his activities. For a guy whose paintings were put in exhibitions at school, it was sad for him to see his drawing activity being reduced here. He resorted to sketching and some digital form of painting at DesignTab, as they were less time consuming compared to painting with oil colours, which would take months.
I managed to make five paintings so far here and there are several unfinished ones too.
In his first year itself, he joined Innovision team as a web designer. Being a pro, he remembers Siddharth Tirthankar as his guru who taught him many things. He went on to be the web designer for NES (National Entrepreneurship Summit), Nitrutsav and ISM. He didn’t venture into event management of any fest until last year when people approached him to lead the event management team.
In order to write, you need to read
He used to read about solar cells in the end of his first year, but realizing nothing big can be done here in that field, he shifted to piezoelectrics later and finally settled with composite materials in his third year. He decided to make this topic as his project work too and he is proud to be working under this. The fact that composite materials are coming to the forefront in a big way and is expected to replace many materials make it all the more interesting.
One of his remarkable achievements was receiving an Internship at Sterlite Technologies.
Pages from his Life (#9)
Besides technical skills, a lot of other skills like interpersonal traits, creativity are also put to test in any selection.
It was what he feels, set him apart. While most guys keep posters of their favourite television series, actors, etc, this guy has four potted plants neatly maintained in a corner of his room. He loves gardening, watering and observing them grow a bit everyday gives him the power of patience. Jogging, swimming and reading novels are some of his other hobbies.
I and me are always too deep in conversation
The tough guy on the outside has a huge philosophical side to him. He believes that it's quite important to keep a good company, friends are the ones who define you and your character. You don’t need to fit in a group, if you feel out of place, change your friend circle. His inspiration is the person he looks at the in the mirror, he looks and introspects himself every morning and tries to be a better person than he was yesterday. An ardent follower of great poems, he considers the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, as his bible.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
He plans to go for research in a premier university like Stanford or EPFL, Switzerland after completing graduation unless he get a good core job. He doesn’t want to be in haste in choosing a company as he feels that it’s very important to be selective about the first organisation you join.
Other than that, if I get another chance, I will definitely step into the Indian Army. That is a dream, I haven't lost out on.
We can fix the pulpit by changing the messages.
A lot of people here daydream and take the work very lightly which is very bad. You actually need to work to see yourself successful and do not demean yourself. If you’ve reached a cliff, you still have a summit to climb. It’s never a bad day, only a bad moment. People actually lose their innocence and try to be cool by resorting to smoking, etc after coming here. Hold to your instincts, cultivate etiquettes, remove negativity from your life and don’t let small setbacks affect you.