This is a tale of year 2008, when I and my best buddy Sharon successfully completed our Intermediate examination. A day came when we were summoned from a school to collect our certificates and mark sheet. Unexpectedly, we met few of our seniors who came there to meet the teachers. We also had chit-chat with them for a while. Few of them were pursuing engineering, few opted for medical as their career but, Ankita Didi’s profession was different from others.
She was an Air hostess in domestic airlines and was about to get promoted in an International airline within couple of months. We found it quite interesting and we spend few more minutes on this discussion with her. She summarized us about the responsibilities and perks of this career. “Are you travelling by aero plane daily?”- an anxious question from both of us. “Yes dear, our duty is on flight only”- she responded calmly. For our further information, she also suggested us to inquire from a training institute which was a kilometer away from our school. We were highly motivated and somewhere in our mind we decided to proceed on this vocation. Frankly, this career was something we hardly had heard before. The two reasons why we were so much passionate about this career were: Firstly, we were extremely eager to sit on aero plane, where we never had travelled before. Second thing was handsome salary which an air hostess earns.
After our document collection, we returned home merrily. I discussed about this profession to my mother and she reacted skeptically- “I don’t know what you are talking about? I have not heard any girl doing this kind of work. Go and ask your father first”. I was in dilemma thinking- “If mummy is getting this much annoyed, there is no question of asking papa”. I called Sharon and told her everything. I was stunned listening the same story from her side. However, we decided to go to the training institute the next day. We just informed our mother that we will be going to another friend’s house tomorrow and might return late. Thank God, we were saved of not receiving a call every time from our home- An advantage of not having mobile with us those days.
Keeping our dream in mind, we reached our destination “Frankfinn Institute of Air hostess training”. There, a form was given to us to fill all the required details (Name, contact details, educational and family background). We were informed about the criteria for selection which included a written English assessment, Physical checkup and final interview round the same day. Luckily, we qualified the two hours of English assessment and were ready for the next round. Height, weight, personality was all needed for the physical checkup, we were eligible for the height, weight criteria but look wise Sharon was the perfect girl and I just met the minimum requirement. Gracefully, we were short-listed for the final round. Now it was time for the critical step of this career where we were given a topic and we need to speak for fifteen minutes in English, hesitantly. Somehow, we appeared for the final selection and after an hour, we were informed that, we will be receiving a call within a week, if selected.
We did not discuss about this interview with anyone in our house, not even with our close friends. We were waiting patiently for the outcome. And we also decided to convince our parents in case we both get selected. On the 6th day from the date of interview, Sharon got a selection call and unfortunately her grand-father (Dada Ji) received a call. Now here I can say, it was a disadvantage of not having mobile with us. Despite being proud on her, everyone in her house scolded her crudely. She tolerated everything but didn’t reveal my involvement. Somewhere I was depressed because of not receiving call but when I came to know about Sharon’s condition, I consoled myself. I just lost hope of my selection.
The very next day when my father was watching Television, a telephone buzzed. That call was none other than from a training institute giving news of my selection. Papa, yelled furiously- “How can you think that I will send you for this work? When did you apply?” Rather than a word of appreciation, I got a worthless lecture for an hour. This news scattered like a fire among my relatives. I could only expect shower of comments from them: “छी-छी एरोप्लेन में खाना बेचेगी?” (yuck, are you going to sell food in aeroplane), “हमारे घर की लड़कियां ये सब काम नहीं करती” (girls of our house don’t get indulge in these work), “कोई शादी नहीं करेगा फिर” (no one will marry you).
Although, it was our first try towards our dream career where with rigorous selection process, we qualified. But, the weird thinking of our elders had killed our dream forever. Unluckily, our dreams could not take off to the desired destination. Getting high to the sky was not our job. Finally, Sharon was being sent to Delhi and I went to Jaipur for further studies.
Now, it has been nine years from then, but those pitiful days are still alive somewhere in our mind and heart. We still regret those days and are also feel proud to get selected in the very first attempt. The day I first travelled by flight and saw air hostess, was the day I could not control my tears from rolling down. Today, when I ask my husband- “Is it true, you would not have married me, if I were an Air hostess?” He replied smiling- “How could I? You would have married to some pilot or flight steward there. You would have also enjoyed more fascinating life then.”
Still, I salute to their work and dedication, no matter what people have stored in their mindset.