In new India where aspirations are as big as space missions, women are breaking into male bastions to prove their mettle. They are piloting wide-body aircraft, driving heavy vehicles, taking up food delivery gigs, commanding security missions, directing conglomerates…. Their journey started towards breaking the glass ceiling the moment they were set free from patriarchal shackles.
Especially, daughters’ dreams are no longer sacrificed on the altar of family honor in middle-class Indian households. This momentous change in Indian society has been driven by some cool fathers who don’t look at certain professions through the dark glasses of conservatism. They not only invest in daughters’ education, but also give wings to their careers. They not only marry off daughters to the best grooms, but also support them if the marriage falls apart.
To be precise, they are superheroes. Sadly, they remain unsung in the shadow of mothers’ overwhelming care and love. They sitting on the front edge of two-wheelers leaving good space for the family to be seated behind get less prominence than mothers with infants on lap. However, Pooja Bihani Sharma, a lead cabin attendant at IndiGo Airlines, has recently put her father in the spotlight of social media for right reasons.
Pooja dropped on Instagram a short video of her father feeding her with his hands as she was getting ready on a casual work day. The video showing the mothering care and affection tendered by a father – which is an unconventional sight in typical Indian households – has gone viral across geographies. The video has touched millions of hearts and left everyone moist-eyed. It also breaks the myth that Indian fathers only provide for their families.
The good-feel video of IndiGo’s air hostess Pooja is still garnering comments (more than 5000 as of today) from all quarters. Some netizens said it is because of such supporting fathers that India’s female pilot strength is gradually rising. Some netizens remarked that there is a doting father behind every successful daughter. Pooja Bihani Sharma’s Instagram video resonated with many NRI women who are far away from their family in India and reminded them of their caring fathers.
The caption of the video reads, “Papa, you are the best. I know I don’t say it enough, so I’ll say it extra today: Thank you for everything. My home is wherever you are. I love you, Papa.”
Indeed, Kalpana Chawla could not have become an astronaut if her father had not taken her to a flying club for a ride. Kiran Majumdar Shaw could not have become what she is today if her father had not encouraged her to earn a master’s degree in Malting and Brewing. When she returned to India with the degree in 1975, her job applications met with rejection in the male-dominated field of brewing. Her father told her, “These people don’t know what they are missing. You’re a brilliant brewer.”
The story of India’s youngest commercial pilot Sakshi Kochhar is not an exception in this context. Her father invested the entire family savings in her daughter’s dreams of flying.
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