23-year-old Rucha Surendra Sial had opted for an MNC job. But the news of three women pilots being inducted into the Indian Air Force’s fighter squadron last year changed her life. Being always fascinated with the defence services, Rucha decided to opt out of the corporate world and do something meaningful for the nation. So she did what she always wanted to do — take up a career in the force.

Within 12 months, Rucha found herself excelling at the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT), the Engineering Knowledge Test (EKT). The passionate girl from Pune will join the Air Force Academy at Dundigal in Hyderabad next month. But before she could pin the badge, she had to undergo 78 weeks of tough training. Rucha will be joining the technical branch of one of the world’s largest air forces.

Also Read: Special Feature: Women in Indian Armed Forces

Prior to vying for the force, Rucha had worked with a multi-national software company in Baner, Pune. Despite having a promising IT career, the young recruit took the plunge to do something that’s anything but easy.

“When I was in my last semester in college, a Bengaluru-based software company offered me a job with a good salary package. I did not take it up because I wanted to stay in Pune and prepare for the IAF. Today, I’m really happy with my decision,” she told TOI.

READ: IAF’s first batch of women fighter pilots avoid the fighter aircraft stream?

“I studied two hours every morning and three hours during the evenings. I could have a morning slot because of flexible working hours set by my company. So, some credit goes to them too,” she added.

Rucha’s mother Deepali works as a superintendent with the Central Excise and Service Tax department in Pune and her father is a businessman.

“We gave importance to her choice. My parents once supported my decision and I have done the same for my daughter,” Deepali said.

Also read: Conquering the high seas: Navy’s first all-women crew reaches Mauritius

This Puneite never stopped chasing her ambition. “It was during my last semester that I finally made up my mind to join the IAF. And that historic induction of three women pilots gave me the confidence to stick with my decision,” Rucha added.

We all are so proud of Rucha and can imagine how proud her parents are feeling now!

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Feature Image Credit: TOI

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