“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”-Nelson Mandela
Passion is all that matters. It is perhaps one of the essential words in any person’s life. Adding some hard work and determination to that desire will make you a successful person. This man from Nagpur found his passion, and he broke the barriers of poverty becoming a pilot. He is non-other than Shrikant Pantawane, a pilot working as the IndiGo Airlines 1st Officer.
Poverty is the biggest barrier for many talented young people, especially in India. As education in India is becoming costly every day, money has become a great deal. Although government have taken measures and has been providing scholarships, still a lot more are left behind because of several factors. Shrikant also faced the same because of being poor. Although Shrikant dreamt of becoming a pilot from his childhood, his poverty kept him away from his desire.
“Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.” -Lyndon B. Johnson
Born in a low-income family, Shrikant never thought he could become a pilot because of the financial problems. His father is a security guard and his mother a housewife. Due to his father’s insufficient income, his family went into economic crisis. So, Shrikant after completing his 10th class started working as a delivery boy to support his family. A few months later, he began driving an auto-rickshaw and used to deliver items within Nagpur.
Sometimes the road of life will take an unexpected turn, and you have no choice but to follow it to end up in the place you are supposed to be. One day he got a parcel to deliver as part of his daily work. So, Shrikant went to the airport to deliver the package. This is where his life took a turn. After delivering the parcel, Shrikant got a chance to interact with a cadet in the airport. From their conversation, Shrikant got to know that anyone could become a pilot irrespective of the degree. Till then, he thought that the only way to become a pilot is to join Airforce, which was proved wrong.
The most important thing is, he got to know about the “Pilot Scholarship Program” by DGCA(Directorate General of Civil Aviation). These words from the cadet made his day and removed is the only barrier to become what he desired. Shrikant then chooses his passion which laid his first stepping stone to becoming a pilot. From that, he started preparing on his own for his class 12 exams. With great determination and hard work, he cleared his class 12 with flying colors.
After clearing 12th, he joined a flying school in Madhya Pradesh where he started his training as a pilot. But his training at the school didn’t go smoothly because of his lack communication skills and lack of knowledge in English. This is where his friends came into play, who helped him overcome his language barrier. After two years of rigorous hard work, sleepless nights, endless studying and several hours of flight training, he finally got his Commercial Pilot’s License(CPL).
But his happiness didn’t last long when he heard that the aviation industry has been facing loses and has been in one of its seven-year cycle of highs and lows. So, he sacrificed his urge to be a pilot for some time and have been waiting for a chance. Till then, he started working as a corporate officer in a company.
Though he faced a lot of financial hurdles and struggles in his journey, he never lost his hope to fly. Finally, in 2016 he got an offer from IndiGo Airlines asking him to work as the 1st Officer in their Airlines, which fulfilled Shrikant’s dream to become a pilot.
“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.”
Shrikant’s story showcases the fact that as long as you have the willpower and the passion towards your goal, money and poverty can never be the barriers of your life.
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