June 17th, 2015
Mumbai: Shrikant still sits behind a three-wheeled vehicle, but now its not his auto-rikshaw, but an aircraft! With the power of determination and a little sprinkling of destiny, he managed to achieve what he had only dreamt of as a child.
Son of a security guard, Pantawane, used to be a delivery boy in his school days. He switched between delivering and school to support the dwindling finances of his family. He then bought an auto in the hope that he would earn enough to get ends meet.
One day, destiny changed his life forever.He had to meet a friend, who was employed at an airport. He saw a handsome man in whites. When he asked his friend about it, he came to know that a person could be a pilot outside of Air Force.
In a conversation with a tea seller outside, he was told that DGCA offers a pilot scholarship. At that moment, he decided he would be a commercial pilot. He made the cut after his class 12 results. When he joined a flight school in Madhya Pradesh, the biggest challenge was his inferior English. Taking the bull by its horn, he accepted the challenge and surpassed the language barrier.
The wait for Mr Pantawane to soar the skies in a commercial aircraft finally came to an end when he got selected by budget carrier IndiGo. Mr Pantawane is now a first officer also known as second pilot or co-pilot with the airline. Commercial pilots start their career as a first officer.The inspirational story of this auto-driver just shows that if you have a dream coupled with determination, the destiny gives you wings to fly high.