For Anny Divya, flying is a metaphor, for her wings are flesh and bones and not just ones made with welded metals and all that went into the making of Boeing 777 she flew as the youngest woman to do so!
One could only imagine the times Anny Divya must have looked at the sky while walking home from school in Vijayawada, spotting an aircraft — dreaming of the day she would fly one. The path, of course, was laden with a lot of hurdles. One of the 24 who got into flying school the year she turned 17, Divya air-dashed right into the turbulence sector of her life. One that shaped her into a stronger being, who would someday be able to brush off the negatives of being a successful woman in a man's world.
"Once you're passionate about something, I think you'll go beyond your capabilities to work towards it, and that's what happened. I did it," is how she explains the trajectory of her path in the last 15 years.
The cultural shock she endured at school for her pronunciation and grammar mistakes helped her become calmer when she had to deal with people from different nationalities, with tongues she had no clue how to comprehend. Everything happens for a reason, yes? Her story illustrates so.
"It's okay not to know, but it's not okay not to learn."
She made mistakes and learnt from them. After people used to be done laughing at her, she would badger them into making her understand what she did or said wrong, and how she could improve. It changed the cycle from not knowing, to learning at a super fast speed. "It's okay not to know, but it's not okay not to learn," is her motto.
Divya was the only woman in her batch when Air Indian hired her at the age of 19, no minor feat, especially in a sector where it takes a lot of money to even enter.
Financial struggle is a small part of her story, one of the initial hurdles. It was quite a risk for her family to invest in her dream for the price was pretty steep. Would it be worth it to spend a fortune on their daughter's education in a field where a job might not come easy? There was social resistance. However, her passion trumped it all and things began to fall in place. Every profession has its own challenges and obstacles, might as well fight for the one that is in sync with your dream, she feels.
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"I didn’t realise that I will soon be an inspiration to several young women from across the world. But here I am!"
Her milestones included flying the Boeing 737 to the Middle East and far east sectors before the much-awaited experience she has craved for years knocked on her door, knocking her off her feet — Boeing 777 was all hers to fly into the skies of Europe, literally. Today, she is a LinkedIn Influencer. Her note on the site says: "Being the captain, and that too in a commanding role, I didn’t realise that I will soon be an inspiration to several young women from across the world. But here I am!"
When the international media got wind of her B777 feat, her hustling schedule included shuttling between flying a plane and answering emails and calls from journalists across the globe, her fingers getting used to being attentive to the touch of buttons and keys from both her new worlds. Her story was reaching millions, inspiring girls to break the mold, and dream. Appreciation came in plenty, humbling her in ways only success can.
A journey of a million mile-counts has been completed and many more millions are yet to be covered. Her inspirations include her female family members who have all had their own set of hardships and accomplishments to shine on her path, making it clearer for her to walk on.
All said and done and all those cockpit-hours away, she is pretty much just another person suffering from jet lag and sleeping it out. And, that is probably her biggest achievement.