Born to Telugu parentsin Pathankot Anny Divya spent her formative years in Vijayawada. ‘ I did my schooling and Class XII in Vijayawada where my mother hails from while my father [ an ex army man] is from Warangal. Since childhood I was fascinated with becoming a pilot. In fact I remember when a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up my list of goals has pilot on top which eventually became a reality” she says with a smile.
Divya learnt about pilot training at the Rashtriya Uran Akademi in Uttar Pradesh and started preparing for the All India entrance test. “ Getting into the Academy was difficult as I had to clear the test but I was really keen on getting into the pilot training course. Luckily the education system in Andhra Pradesh was good and I was good at academics so I could crack the exam and make it” she shares.
Apparently one of her English teachers helped her prepare for the interview. ‘ One interviewer asked me what Vijayawada famous for while another asked if I would be comfortable wearing trousers during the training since I wore a salwar kameez for the interview she recalls.
Coming from a small town, adjusting to the new environment was challenging, admits Divya. “Getting used to the English pronunciation was difficult. The way North Indians speak is also different, and although I studied in an English medium school, nobody spoke much of English in college. Also, getting used to the diverse culture was a tough. However, my parents supported me a lot, and my determination helped me overcome all difficulties,” she says.
After her course, Divya was posted with Air India in Mumbai. “At 19, I went to Spain to train on a Boeing 737 Jet aircraft for a couple of years. Later, I was trained in Boeing 777 in London, and became the youngest woman in the world to fly as a commander of a Boeing 777,” she recalls.
Ask her how life changed after becoming a pilot, and Divya replies, “A lot has changed!” She adds, “After overcoming the initial hurdles, I learnt a lot.. I have to be on my toes at all times as we have to get used to the changing technology and stay focussed. My thought process has also changed and I am optimistic about all aspects of life. Also, I feel being connected to one’s roots is important.”
Divya operates as captain on international flights, and has flown to more than 30 countries. She has also pursued her B.Sc., Aviation and LLB. She divides free time between singing and dancing.
Courtesy Deccan chronicle