When we were kids, every time someone asked us who we wanted to be, we tended to say things like cardiologist, pilot, astronaut or even Prime Minister!
But as time passed and the realities of life took hold, more often than not, most of us settled for something less spectacular, either due to circumstances or financial difficulties. But there are always some who decided to trudge down the road less taken.
This story is about one such Mumbaikar – who did not let external factors become roadblocks on her way to success. From being unemployed for two years to working 15 hours and studying in trains, buses, washrooms and during meals, she did it all to fulfil her dream – becoming a pilot.
This is Ankita’s story.
Speaking to the Humans of Bombay, the gritty Mumbaikar narrates:
“When I told my parents I wanted to become a pilot, my dad was unsure because the course in the US was 25 lacs — but…
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“When I told my parents I wanted to become a pilot, my dad was unsure because the course in the US was 25 lakhs– but still, my mom fought for me, and finally dad took out a loan and gave me his blessing.
After my training, I started applying for jobs here, but I couldn’t get any. So for two years, I sat at home, feeling like a burden. My relatives didn’t make it easier with their taunts. Some said my parents spent ‘too much on a girl’s education’, others said, ‘you should’ve made her a doctor’… after a point, I started believing it too.
This was a low phase, but I couldn’t bear to stay at home, so I applied for any position — I tried four times for the air hostess post and failed. The Secret got me through this — I kept visualising, and on my fifth attempt, I got through!
I started earning and getting international flights, but I wasn’t content. My dream was to see myself in that pilot’s uniform — I knew that being an air hostess wasn’t going to last. I had to clear five more exams to become a pilot, so I applied for the position of Ground Staff to give me time to study.
I had 12-hour shifts, plus three-hour travel time. I wasn’t sure how I’d work for 15 hours and compete with those who were preparing all day. But I had to make it happen — I’ve literally studied in trains, buses, washrooms and while eating every meal. All the while dealing with irritable people throwing their boarding cards at me for no reason!
It was now or never — there were only two openings a year to fly a plane, and I couldn’t miss out!
Finally, I gave my exams to become a Pilot. I remember waiting for the result — I was 27, with just 600 rupees in my bank with no idea how I’d pay the 20 lac fee to finish my training on the off chance that I cleared! My parents had given up too — they’d started to look for boys and wanted to spend their savings on my wedding.
I don’t know what you’ll call this, maybe a miracle, maybe the law of attraction — but I TOPPED India in that exam and got a FULL scholarship for my training!
Finally, after seven long years, I would wear that uniform. My first flight was to Baroda, and I tripped over a bag when I saw people staring at me, proud to see a female pilot. I was even asked for an autograph by a little girl because she thought I was the captain of the plane!
How did I get through it? It’s simple — as pilots, our major training is for emergencies. When everything goes wrong; when the engine fails, what will we do to land safely?
In the same way, when everything was crashing around me, I just said to myself — I AM going to land safely, I just need to calmly think of how I’ll do it — and I did it!”
So the next time, you feel something bogging you while chasing your dreams, remember the story of this ordinary girl who made her extraordinary dream come true. Take your chances. Just like Robert Kiyosaki once said, “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” Believe that you will land safely despite the turbulence, and you just might.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Feature Image Credit: Facebook/Humans of Bombay