In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, bodies deep in slumber lined the pavements of Coimbatore outside the Army grounds.
Over 1,000 people have spent hours camping out for a posting in Infantry battalions in New Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Kerala, vying for a chance to be one of just 24 selected to join.
With such a large number having shown up for the recruitment, warm beds or even a shelter over their heads is unavailable. While army officials usually provide accommodation for candidates coming for the selection, this time there was no such accommodation available.
Vijith Kumar, hailing from Madurai, said he jumped at the chance to join the army and serve his country. However, the situation ahead of the recruitment is giving him second thoughts. â€śWeâ€™ve all been sleeping on the road. There are no facilities, and we have to wake up at 4am and go for a physical fitness and high jump test.â€ť
He added that he hopes the recruitment officials will at least make some arrangements now. â€śI hope the people see us and give us some space. Because tomorrow, more people have to come and will have to face the same fate as us. I request the officials to provide some space. We are all from hardworking families and this is the least they could do.â€ť
â€śIn a bid to serve our country, we have come here. But this is how they treat us,â€ť says Jaya Pandi, who has travelled from Salem bearing the burden of his parentsâ€™ expectations. "If we can't get basic facilities, how can we be expected to perform well?" he says.