Life SSIFS - Not Another Day in Your Life
Life is about choices. We do things we want to do and rank our actions based on priorities. When I am asked to define or come up with a word that defines what SSIFS stands for, the one thing that comes to my mind foremost is the choice it gives you. In this, I believe SSIFS has no equals in any other major institution that trains bureaucrats in India. No one at SSIFS will ever pester you with what you ought to do with your time. No whistles will be blown in the morning absolutely. If you are the type who wakes up with or before the sun and you love to do some yoga, you can attend those yoga sessions happening every day with a quaint and unfailing regularity (as if it is beyond time). You can also access the gym if you are not the yoga type.
However, if you are the guy who wakes up just in time for class, no one here is going to hold you guilty for that. The classroom sessions in SSIFS facilitates the unbridled curiosity of a young probationer to set up a date with the experiences of a lifetime of eminent persons ranging from retired Ambassadors, serving senior officers, academicians, experts in respective fields, journalists and anybody and everybody who could chip in with a piece of wisdom to people who are going to perform the unenviable task of representing India. The smaller batch strength ensures that the interactions in the class are not straitjacketed by time or space. Many a times, the interaction reaches the point of a constructive discourse rather than an unrelenting didactic which most classrooms in our country often tend to become.
The evenings offer further choices in terms of what you can do with your time. The choices range from a dip in the swimming pool to playing any of the racket sports -tennis, badminton, table tennis -to playing cricket in the tennis court to working out in the gym. The SSIFS also has a good cultural scene wherein your creativity in theatre, dancing, singing or anything else that can entertain human beings is welcome to brighten the evenings. It is also possible that occasional blessings of a cocktail party thanks to a visiting diplomatic team from another country where you meet people from other nations doing the same job as you could make you feel mighty good. Besides this, you can also screen movies of your liking, movies which you couldn't convince your family members to watch included, in the auditorium after wresting the keys from Deepak, the factotum of SSIFS ( duly informing him of course.)
Most importantly, SSIFS is situated in the middle of human civilization, South Delhi, that too where you actually have places to hang out. SSIFS doesn't believe seclusion is an important aspect of training for bureaucrats. Diplomats need to talk. And to people. Besides, all the major educational institutions such as JNU and IIT Delhi are like a stone's throw away, so one is free to learn from interacting with people from all walks of life.
Another major exciting feature of SSIFS training cannot be technically covered under this topic because that happens outside the campus. A lot of what is detailed here would not be applicable during your mission attachment- where you go to a foreign country for a week , to learn about how the diplomatic missions abroad work, your state attachment- where you visit a state and learn of its administration, Armed forces attachments- where you go to the army barracks and study how the forward areas are managed and under what conditions our soldiers live day in and day out and finally Bharat darshan- wherein you go around the country understanding its culture, its problems, most importantly, let the humanity of this great nation wash over you in many succeeding waves.
And even in all the above-mentioned attachments, one factor is universal and that is choice.
Perhaps, it is fitting to say, a day in SSIFS is as good as your choice is, and what you make of it.