Welcome to our section on Real Women—where we bring you stories of and conversations with real women who inspire us, who have changed lives and given back to the community. Today, I take immense pleasure in speaking to Captain Zoya Agarwal—Sr. Commander of Air India and this week’s #FSChangemakers. She is the youngest pilot to fly the mighty Boeing-777 & recently commanded an all-women crew in one of the world’s longest flight hauls from San Francisco to Bengaluru. Watch the insightful discussion on dreaming an “impossible” dream, persevering despite all odds & making time for the things one loves.
Watch the full discussion below or listen to the podcast here.
A few snippets from the discussion here
Adarsh: Hi Zoya! Welcome on board! Let us start from the beginning. What inspired you to become a pilot?
Zoya: As an 8-year-old, I would star-gaze & trace the contrails of planes as they flew by, and wonder if I’d ever be able to fly one myself. But that dream was constantly being drowned by the word ‘impossible’ due to the background I came from, where I was taught to walk in the shadows of menfolk. I was an only child, the only girl in a conservative family. Coming from there, I knew that it would almost be impossible, if not a challenge, to break these stereotypes in order to become a pilot. So, it was a childhood dream which I had to fight for & I’m so thankful that I’m finally here!
Adarsh: That’s amazing to hear! So, how does it feel to be in a position where it was a challenge at first to now being at a place where the entire country is looking up to you?
Zoya: It’s very humbling, to say the least, because I just did my job. I’m just a tiny drop in the ocean who did what she was supposed to do. However, I’m very happy that I could spread a strong message of women empowerment who could see me & could envision themselves in my position, and see that if I can defy the odds, then so can they. So long as I can change one mindset, one life, I think my work on this planet is truly done. I’m also thrilled that our country has got an amazing name on a global platform because this news has provided much-needed positive vibes & a silver lining to the tough times we’ve been in.
Adarsh: Considering your hectic schedule, how do you find time for yourself?
Zoya: You know, you really have to make time for yourself. There’s no such thing as finding time. Because you need to make yourself happy first in order to spread happiness to others. Only if you look after yourself, can you look after others.
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