Life sometimes compels us to take a path we don’t really desire. The same happened when this Mumbai girl found herself in a job she didn’t want. Working as an air hostess, she wasn’t interested in only greeting the passengers, she wanted to be the one in the cockpit flying them to their destination!
Ankita shared her story of perseverance and determination to Humans of Bombay. “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 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,” she said.
For two years she didn’t get any job. “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,” she recalled that tough phase in her life.
However, Ankita was not ready to give up just yet. She started applying for any job she could find and finally after failing 4 times, she landed a job as an air hostess. “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 5 more exams to become a pilot, so I applied for the position of Ground Staff to give me time to study,” she told Humans of Bombay.
She had 12-hour shifts and travelled for 3 hours every day. “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!” Ankita said.
Ankita was 27 back then and her parents had finally given up all hopes. But this young woman was determined to become a pilot. “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 600Rs 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! ” she recalled.
A miracle happened and her hard work finally paid off. She topped in the entire country and received a full scholarship for the training. “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!” Pilot Ankita shared her secret to success.