Apurva Gilche, a young girl from Pune’s Abasaheb Garware College was watching a group of her college mates in the National Cadet Corps parade.
Their uniforms, with their decorative epaulettes, fascinated her. Even more thrilling was learning that these cadets, as part of their NCC training, had learned how to fly, to scuba dive and Para sail.
That very day she enrolled herself at the NCC Air Unit, Pune.
The very thought of getting airborne, defying gravity, doing something different and challenging brightened up her eyes! She wanted to fly!
The NCC personnel enrolling her looked amused. He warned her she would have to undergo rigorous training. ”I knew I wanted to fly. I had never flown in my life before that,” grins Apurva Gilche, 27.
Thus began Apurva’s journey into the world of flying — a journey that was at times tumultuous and mostly adventurous.
Today life is reasonably stable. As a co-pilot for IndiGo airlines, her life soars high.
But when Apurva came back to India in May 2009 with a commercial pilot license from Australia’s Aerospace Aviation it was all pretty uphill.
The tremors of economic meltdown, that shook the US, in October 2008, had hit the Indian shores hard. There was a drought of jobs. More so in the aviation sector.
Muddled aviation policies in India and rising fuel prices had taken its toll on a sector that had initially promised large-scale employment.
“The seniors who had (graduated) before us were still looking for jobs,” recalls Apurva of those hard times.
Her father, a government officer (now retired) had spent lakhs of rupees, including on her board, for Apurva to get her commercial pilot license and instrument rating from Australia. This money had been rustled up via a personal and education loan.
“Repaying could have been really difficult but my cousins and father’s friends were really helpful. My father spent all his life savings, investments on my education,” says Apurva of the hard times the family faced.
Through this crisis her family stood rock solid behind her. Her father, whom Apurva considers her hero, never lost faith in her abilities. Nor did he let his daughter feel the pinch of their economic hardship.
But when her father retired Apurva knew she had to get out and find a job, even if it was not flying a plane.
She had come back to India in May 2009 and there were no jobs till December 2010.
So, when she saw an advertisement for IndiGo’s walk-in interview for the post of cabin crew she knew she had to apply.
Though she was trained as a commercial pilot and had dreams of commanding a cockpit one day, Apurva took a cabin crew job to help her family. At least she was flying in an aircraft. It didn’t matter then if it was inside the cockpit or beyond it.
She was pretty confident that one day soon she would be able to switch domains. Her father agreed. “At least I got to see the cockpit,” she offers spiritedly..
Her advice to people who have a commercial pilot’s license but are jobless…
- Just keep the fire burning; keep chasing your dreams! That’s what I did when I was part of the cabin crew and even when I did not have a job.
- Keep revising the subjects.
- Remember, there are no shortcuts to success. Wait for opportunities, prepare yourself for that opportunity and don’t give up on your dreams.
- There are times when you apply but don’t get a call. When you get that call, you stumble. But you have to get up from that fall. You have to keep trying till you reach your goal.
Read her complete interview on rediff.com here
Courtesy and Source : Rediff