In Today’s Dose Of Daily Inspiration, Meet Ritu Rathee Taneja Who Successfully Juggles Her Roles As A Successful Pilot, Vlogger, Wife And A Proud Mother.
For a long time, whenever I was asked about what I do for a living, I would say I am writer. Plain, simple and neat ties up everything, I thought. That was up until, over the course of writing more than 1000 articles, I realised how what I do was more than just stringing words together for a meaty article. It was a way of story telling, of building hope and delivering content that people can read and understand what happened and how I feel about it.. How, it wasn’t just writing but creating a narrative strong enough to resonate with people. And if there is one way in which it has been made possible, it is through telling the personal stories of inspirational men and women, who have the power of bringing people together.
It is often said that, ‘stories connect us all’, especially in my profession. And to an extent, that is true too. Our urge for cinema, books or even attending seminars usually arises out of the need to learn more about people out there, looking for motivation that we couldn’t otherwise find in ourselves. And giving us that encouragement today, is Ritu Rathee Taneja, a successful pilot, vlogger, wife and a mum whose story has left thousands inspired.
Featured in a post by the famous Humans of Bombay page, Ritu’s story is inspiring and loving, except in this one she is her own shining knight in armour. Sharing her story in the post, she mentioned how, “It wasn’t easy being ambitious in a society where people thought, ‘Ladkiyan bojh hain’.”
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“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, knowing that it’d be the first of many flights to come. 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 haemorrhage & 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.”
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She went on to share how she applied to the pilot training programme in the US and then went to seek permission from her dad to move abroad alone which didn’t come easy to her. “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’,” she recalled saying. And after a lot of convincing from friends and family, she finally went ahead.
But it wasn’t all a bed of roses after that either. Coming back with a degree, but no job, her woes worsened after her mother passed away, leaving Ritu in a state of grief. But they say life goes on, and it did for Ritu kept working hard and relentlessly to get an offer from an airline to be a co-pilot.
Being promoted to a captain soon after, Ritu met her husband and tied the knot and started making beautiful vlogs out of their life together. She is now a proud mom and her journey has been a bit like a Bollywood movie, one that wasn’t obviously directed by KJo. Today, her story has garnered over 1.3 lakhs likes and that’s just the beginning. With loving comments from users all around, that call them “Literally the best pilot family!”, her story is what you need to read, to know that life is full of surprises, and it doesn’t take much than some honesty and hard work to turn the odds in your favour!