What is life?
I generally prefer to start with this question whenever I take up anything to write about. And why is that, you may ask. Well… I am a strong believer of the fact that everything in our life happens for a reason and based on the stereotype, we tend to overlook its core purpose during its occurrence. Let me try to explain myself further. Events keep occurring in our lives pretty much every day. Be it small, big, significant or not so significant. We have a response towards every event. Every occurrence brings out certain emotions from within us. Certain things like going for a movie with our friends and chilling out suddenly brings a wide smile on our face while on the other hand, losing our car keys makes us panic and gives us really negative vibes. But we focus more on those immediate emotions that come out as our natural reactions that time. But is that the real reason why those things happen to us? No.
I totally agree with this cliché “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”. So, I believe that no matter what happens to us in life, be it good or bad, there is always something good in it. And that good thing is called EXPERIENCE.
Hi. My name is Ayush Bansal. I live in Gurgaon, Haryana. A family of five. Mom, dad, two siblings and me. I would like to share a phase of my life with all the readers with the intent of being able to convey as much positivity as I can through my words.
This starts back when I had just passed 12th standard. Just like the majority of mediocre science students, I was hoping to make it within the last cut off list of some decent engineering college. My dad used to run a departmental store back then which used to serve the family decent enough. When I say decent, I mean to an extent where we could unwaveringly yet modestly, call ourselves the middle class. We never had to think twice before spending on out needs, but we knew that expecting luxury would only lead to disappointment. Anyway, I was glad that I had got admission in Bhartiya Vidyapeeth Engg College, Pune. Now one fine day, I was generally talking to a customer at dad’s store and turned out that he was Flying as an Airline Pilot with Spicejet Airlines. I was always very curious about the field of Aviation but never found out much about it. So I kept asking him questions and he was sweet enough to entertain me on them. So, by the end of the conversation, I had a basic idea of what one needs to do to get into this high flying Aviation Career. So, in the night during dinner, I was generally talking to my dad and very casually I told him about this conversation I had. Trust me; I had no intention of seeking my dad’s opinion on it as I knew it was not something that lied within our affordability. So he was listening to me patiently and after I was done, he asked me how much one has to spend on the whole course. I told him casually its approx US dollars $ 40000 – 50000 according to what he had told me. And there it was… a silence for a few seconds. Nobody said anything for a few seconds and my brother and dad were looking at each other.
I was wondering what they were thinking as I had no clue they meant to consider it. After that brief pause, my dad says with a casual tone… “theek hai… kar le flying”.
I could not believe what my ears had just heard. I was overjoyed and pleasantly surprised at my family’s support. Within a couple of days, I was on it. Quite quickly, I realized that I had a really good aptitude for Flying as I was able to get a good grasp on aerodynamics without any guidance just using google. I often found myself really engrossed into studying materials related to aviation technologies. Things were going well and I started with the process. The first hurdle was a Class 2 medical test. For those who don’t know, it’s really easy to pass. Pretty much a cake walk for almost everyone… well… “Almost”. I had always been a fat kid in the school but I never really realized how fat I was till I found out I was turned down on the medical because my hemoglobin was low, BP slightly high, Blood cholesterol was high and last but not the least, I weighed 102kgs.
I was disheartened. Felt like someone had dangled my favorite chocolate in front of me and took it back when I was about to grab it. But it was too late. I had completely determined myself to do anything it takes to get there. I really wanted that chocolate bad. I spoke to the doctor and found out what I needed to do. She said that according to my height, in order for me to be able to even get within the maximum permissible range, I needed to shed 15kgs. I nodded.
The very next day, I woke up in the morning and went out for jogging. Within 200mtrs of running, I was panting like crazy and felt like my heart was going to explode. So, I decided to do it under guidance and hence I joined a gym the same day. My instructor was very helpful and guided me throughout the process. I started running daily and before I knew, my stamina had become far, far better than the average. I had decided to not give up. It was not in the list of options. I used to just keep running… never even thought that I am tired or that I need rest or that I can’t. The results were obvious. Within a matter of 80 days of workout, I had shed 23kgs off my body and I had excavated a well built handsome boy out of myself. I not only easily cleared my Class 2 medical; I even cleared my Class 1 medical without any limitations. It was one of the best feelings I had ever had. All of a sudden, everyone’s attitude towards me seemed to have changed. People suddenly wanted to talk to me. I started getting attention. People used to come to my dad’s store and ask me where my elder brother was and I used to tell them it’s me. Girls seemed to be attracted to me… I couldn’t recall having as much of female company ever before… hahaha…
Anyway, the process had just begun. There was a long way to go and I was nowhere near tired. I used to keep going to the office of DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) every now and then to get more information about what I needed to do ahead and to make sure that I don’t take any wrong step or don’t skip anything important. Now, I had to take Ground Classes in order to clear the exams that DGCA conducted to qualify you to become a hard core Airline Pilot. I started with the classes and yet again I was really impressed with myself. A student who had been a mediocre 60 to 70 percent scorer all his life suddenly seemed to be one of the brightest in the class. The class was humongous with strength of more than 200 students. I made some friends quickly. It was a very different experience than regular school classes. The students were of all ages from 18 to 45 or even more. The trainer was a retired IAF Squadron Leader who was then flying for Air Deccan. He was an incredible teacher but extremely strict. He could yell and insult you in front of everyone to an extent that you could crack up and burst out in tears. All the students were treated similarly. Anyway, I would often find myself surrounded by several students who used to approach me to clarify their doubts after the class. I was getting all the attention I could have dreamt of and I was simply loving it.
But again… that was my immediate feeling… I knew that there was a bigger picture. I had to continue the hard work. Generally, whenever students pass their high school and start looking for colleges related to their career, their families are always there to help them. Even my elder brother and my dad helped me till the time I was trying to get into engineering colleges, but now, I had to do everything on my own as nobody in my family background had ever been into aviation so they did not have any knowledge about it. But I had no complains. The fact that my father was willing to pay an amount that would ask him to pretty much squeeze out everything he could; was more than anything I could have asked for. After I finished my classes, I found out that I could not appear for the qualifying exams due to some changes in regulations made by DGCA. So, now was the turn for my big step. I had to go abroad for my flying training. I was an 18 year old guy from a simple family who had never stepped out of home to go out of the city alone. To go abroad alone was understandably more than an errand. I had been an average fat kid all my life who was suddenly injected with something like a “confidence serum”, but still I found myself not matured enough to make decisions like where to go for training, where to live, how to go about it, which airline to fly, how much would the living expenditure be, how to get the visa etc. I told my dad about it and he did everything he could to help me out. I also sought for help from Capt B P Singh, the guy who used to come down to my dad’s store. Finally, it was decided. I was going to the USA for my training. My dad took a loan which added to the pressure but he asked me not to worry and just go. Visa was done.
22nd March 2007. I had to leave tonight. Everything was packed. I had packed everything keeping the worst case scenario in mind. I normally preferred to travel light, but I didn’t want to risk anything. I was ready. There was an adrenaline rush down my spine. I was very excited, yet nervous like I had never been. I could feel my feet shaking. It was 7pm. I had to leave. I touched my mom’s feet and bid my sister good bye. My dad and brother were accompanying me to the airport. We reached. Bid good bye. Emotional outburst was a prick of a pin away. But we all held it in. I boarded the flight and took off. Due to technical errors there were delays which consequently lead to further delay as I missed the connecting flight. All in all, my journey that was supposed to be for 27 hours, turned out to be 56 hours. I had a lot of time on my hands. The nervousness was soon gone. I was sitting at the front seat towards the window. That is my favorite seat. I was looking outside through the window and trust you me, looking out though the school bus window or an airplane window can be the best philosophy class. I was in deep thoughts. I was feeling very good thinking about all that I had done to be where I was. It made me realize something. If you ever decide to take up something in life, you will find brick walls. Those brick walls are like hurdles in your way of the pursuit. The brick walls are there for a reason. They are not to keep us out; they are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way around.
Finally, I landed on the American soil. I got out of the airplane and it was an incredible feeling. I was extremely excited. It was quite evident as I had not slept for more than an hour during the whole flight and even now, I was fresh as a daisy. I contacted my school administrator and I felt really warm to know that she sounded really worried about me and said they had been trying to track me for several hours. I was picked up by the flying school van and taken to the apartments where most of fellow students lived. I took an apartment on rent and as I had gone alone, I had no one to share the apartment with. Within a couple of days, I got familiar with the surroundings and the flight school and pretty much everything that I needed. Finally, after all the formalities, my flying training started. I discovered my problem of air sickness. I was not as pleased as I should have been after my first flight. My instructor was very supportive and said it was normal, but I was very wary of it. For the first few hours of my training, I use to get sick in a few minutes after takeoff. I even threw up once… hahaha… thank god they have sick bags in those things. Slowly, things got better and I started loving it. Now I enjoyed my flying training a lot and it was an amazing learning experience. I still remember the day I got my first solo. It was an emotional day. One after the other, I kept stepping on new milestones as I proceeded with my training. A lot of times when I flew solo, I remember looking down and thanking my parents. I knew that there are a lot of people who wish to just sit in an airplane once just as a passenger. And I was flying that thing.
Anyway, I wouldn’t say that the whole training period was a cake walk and that everything went hunky dory. There were a lot of setbacks. The training that was supposed to be for 7 months ended up becoming 13 months long, at times due to bad weather, technical problems etc., but then I always told myself… “Hey! What are the brick walls for?”
Finally, I cleared all my test flights with flying colors and my training was finished. These 13 months had been the steepest learning curve of my life. The experience I gained was incredible. I was a different person now. More matured, more experienced. I was gradually stepping into the shoes of a man from being a boy. But I knew that it doesn’t finish here either.