It is heartbreaking how our society’s patriarchal mindset kills the dreams of so many young girls. While many succumb to the pressure, there are a few who fight against the whole world to make their dream come true.
One such person is Captain Ritu Rathee Taneja.
A pilot by profession, a successful YouTuber by passion, and a mother to a two-year-old girl – Ritu Rathee Taneja is an inspiration for every ambitious girl, who was told not to pursue her dreams.
From persuading her father to use her marriage money for training, to fighting against her own relatives for living life on her own terms, Ritu’s journey will give you the inspiration to never give up on your dreams.
While sharing her inspiring journey with HoB, she mentioned how fighting for her dream wasn’t easy:
“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.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of her inspiring journey and wish her luck for the future.
Dear Society: We hope through Captain Ritu’s inspiring story, you could spare a few minutes to introspect and understand how we can create a better world. And how can you stop setting limits on what our daughters can do!