I’m a Captain, a vlogger, a wife & a mom – Ritu Rathee Taneja
“It wasn’t easy being ambitious in a society where people thought, ‘Ladkiyan bojh hain.’ Relatives thought I should get married before I got ‘too educated’. But my parents worked hard to send us to school, despite papa’s only income being the money he earned as a contractor.
I was a skilled bike rider too, so when a friend suggested I become a pilot, it appealed to me. So I applied to programs in the US & 8 months in, I heard back.
I was ecstatic, but I knew papa was scared to send me alone. I told him, ‘Papa, spend the money you’d use for my wedding, on my training–I’ll make you proud.’ He agreed, but our relatives said, ‘She’ll go abroad & do things with boys, get her married before she’s fully ruined’. We turned a blind eye to them & I was off on my first flight ever.
I trained for 1.5 years & went home after. But I struggled to get a job since there were no vacancies. Relatives said to papa, ‘We told you this would happen’. Matters worsened when mom got a hemorrhage & passed away. Dad was miserable–he’d cry all the time & barely slept.
We were surviving on loans & I knew I had to step up–so over the next 2 years, I did a side job, studied for 7 hours a day & barely slept to ace my applications.
Finally, I got an offer from an airline to be the co-pilot! I was elated–we celebrated with my favourite burger & cold coffee. Then papa & I went to the temple to pray.
For the next 4 years, I flew about 60 flights a month & was eventually promoted to Captain. Sitting on the Captain’s seat was my ‘Apna time aa gaya’ moment. During this time, I met my husband who’s also a pilot. We’ve grown into a happy family with our 2 year old daughter–we even vlog our journey of being a hustling couple!
I’ve gone from feeling guilty about spending on a movie & snack to being a Captain whilst raising our daughter. It’s no cakewalk, but we’re still doing it.
And I know I’ve made papa proud when I hear him tell the same relatives, ‘Meri beti Captain hai!’ But what makes me proudest is that I’m not even just that–I’m a Captain, a vlogger, a wife & a mom. And I won’t allow anyone to set limits on what I can be.”
This article is brought to you by Humans of Bombay
Featured image: MissMalini