indian army
The Ola cabbie realized his dream of serving the nation as he joined Indian Army. In picture: Indian Army soldiers participate in a war exercise during a two-day "Know Your Army" exhibition in Ahmadabad.Reuters

The phrase "It's all about the journey and not the destination" is a classic example of a story that changed the life of an Ola cabbie in Pune. When a retired colonel boarded his taxi one day, little did Om Paithane realize that his tête-à-tête with an army man would end up making him one himself.

The chance encounter between the duo helped Paithane realize that his life goals revolved around the Indian Army and not driving around the city.

"My father was a driver who had lost both his legs in a road accident and was working as a watchman. I had to support the family while studying for final year BSc computer science but I got arrears," Paithane was quoted by Times of India as saying.

"So I started to drive for Ola. One day, a retired colonel hired my cab. We started to talk and he told me about the combined defence services examination and the endless opportunities it brings," he added.

Soon after he finished his graduation, Paithane appeared for the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) and cleared it in the first attempt. After the results, he called up the retired officer who had guided him throughout the course of time.

Paithane who is all set to become an army cadet will pass out as a junior commissioned officer. Not just him, over 257 cadets will pass out from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai on March 10. From techies to national-level woman boxer, the cadets' courage and determination have paved the way for them to serve Indian Army.

"I remember the careless version of me. Though I enjoyed it, this life is better. The training has taught me discipline and manners, which I am proud of," Paithane, a resident of Tondal village, near the Pune-Bengaluru highway, said

In a similar incident, Aparna Rai, a 23-year-old girl who was in a high-paying job in Chennai decided to quit and followed her passion to serve the Indian Army. She will be commissioned as a Lieutenant at the OTA in Chennai on March 10.