I do this because…

I do this because …. I must… for nothing less is acceptable!

If I could breathe more, I would
If I could eat more, I would
If I could fly more, hell I definitely would!

I gazed skyward, apprehensive yet unable to snatch my eyes away. The massive shape with lights in the night sky looked ominous. The sound loud and scary. Alone, on the terrace of my two-story home I watched. On the one hand I wanted to dash downstairs and hide behind my mother’s sari, on the other hand I watched fascinated at this massive shape, zooming by in the night sky with lights illuminated, resplendent. I was 10 years old and that was the first memory I had of viewing an airplane in the sky.

“You have to be the prime minister’s son or really rich to fly airplanes,” was what I heard throughout my childhood. “Flying is not for the common man.”  The only person that we knew of who was a pilot, was the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s son. I returned daily to watch the airplane, as it made its way to land at the nearby airport, and slowly the fear was replaced by amazement of this man-made creation that flew and soared like the birds.

I devoured any books I could lay my hands on flying at the local British library. Television was just gaining popularity in India and I glued myself to all BBC programs. It was one afternoon while watching a program about airplane crashes on takeoff, that my fate was decided. While the details of the exact program are vague in my mind, that was the precise turning moment in my life. When I silently acknowledged to myself that I wanted to be an Aeronautical Engineer.

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