From Ola driver to Army officer

Mubarak Ansari
Sunday, 4 March 2018

Chance conversation with passenger drove youth towards Army career

Pune: Om Uttam Paithane (25), a youth who used to drive an Ola cab in Pune, will soon don the Indian Army uniform as an officer. Paithane will pass out from the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai on March 10. 

"My father, a driver, had undergone knee replacement surgery for both legs, but only one surgery was successful. We moved to Pune and he was working as a watchman. I was studying in college and had to support the family. At the same time, I had failed in some subjects. My friend Rahul Bhalerao owned a cab and I started driving his cab for Ola. I did this for about six-seven months," said Paithane. 

A special ride 
It was during one of his trips that Col Bakshi (Retd) hired Paithane's cab. "I used to talk to passengers and while talking to Col Bakshi, he told me about the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination and the endless opportunities it brings. He asked me to meet Lt Col Ganesh Babu, Director, Armed Forces Officers' Selection Orientation Programme (AFOSOP), who guides students," said Paithane. Paithane appeared for CDS in 2016 and cracked the exam in the first attempt. After clearing the Service Selection Board (SSB) exam at Bhopal, he joined the OTA and after a year-long training, he will be commissioned into the Army. 

'Background doesn't matter' 
Paithane believes that neither your background nor coaching institutes make a difference when it comes to joining the armed forces. "It is just an assumption that mostly Army kids get into the armed forces. If you are determined to serve the country and work hard, you can clear the exams. A famous coaching institute in Pune, which is run by a retired Army officer, was not impressed by my background in academics and sports (as I played mostly village games). But he told me that he will do some 'pinky ponky' and help me, but I left the institute on the same day as they were making students to become 'parrots' who can mug up information and manners," Paithane said. 

Life has changed 
An exalted Paithane said, "I am enjoying life now. It has brought total change in my personality. The way people look at you and the way I look at myself when I wear the uniform." 

Talking about the support he got from various people, Paithane added, "My uncle Chaitanya Kale, who is a journalist, helped me a lot besides Lt Col Ganesh Babu Sir and several of my friends." 

When contacted, Lt Col Babu told Sakal Times, "The boy was highly motivated and I just gave him direction." 

Who is Om Paithane? 
- Paithane hails from Limbarui village in Beed district. His father worked as a driver for a poultry farm in Tondal, near Sarola in Pune district. 
- Paithane's mother Sushila is a homemaker, while brother Adinath works with the HR department of an IT company in Pune. He has a sister who is married. 
- Paithane completed his schooling from a Zilla Parishad (ZP) School and New English School, Nhavi, near Tondal. 
- He studied BSc (Computer Science) at city-based Kaveri College of Arts, Commerce and Science. 

Pune techie to don Olive Greens 
- Among the 257 cadets who will be graduating from the Chennai-based Officers' Training Academy is Bharat Darbarsingh Jadhav (25), a techie with Tata Consultancy Services in Hinjawadi IT Park in Pune, who had left the high paying job to join the Army. 
- He hails from Sutala Budruk in Buldhana district. He lost his father while in school. His mother worked as an anganwadi helper. 
- Bharat's elder sister is a nurse at the government medical college while his younger sister has joined Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). His younger brother is a jawan in Corps of Signals with the Army.

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