The daughter of a tea seller, Aanchal Gangwal, fought all odds to become a flying officer of the Indian Air force. Aanchal, who comes from a small district in Madhya Pradesh, proved her mettle at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal. She was awarded the President's Plaque at the combined graduation parade on Saturday, June 20. The parade saw 123 flight cadets commissioned as officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
"When I was a school kid, I had decided to be in the defence," The 23-year-old told The New Indian Express. "Today as I become an officer, it still feels surreal. It is a dream come true," she added.
The pandemic did not let parents of the flight cadets attend the passing out parade at Dundigal AFA.
"I used to dream of this day almost every night. To stand in my uniform, in front of my father and mother, who have fought all the difficulties in their lives to get me here. However, due to Covid-19 that could not happen. But I am happy that they could see the ceremony on television," Aanchal said.
Aanchal said that her parents never doubted her capability.
"When I told my parents that I want to be in defence, they were a little worried like any parent. But they never tried to stop me. In fact, they have always been the pillars of my life," she said.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, during the parade, said that this year the newly commissioned IAF officers would be proceeding straight to their next units to shoulder their responsibilities for the tasks that are now at hand, instead of going home for a break.
"I am always ready to serve my motherland and see this as an opportunity to do so," said Aanchal, who holds a graduate degree in Computer Science from Sitaram Jaju Government Girls College in Neemuch, MP. Before joining AFA, shehad earlier worked as a sub-inspector in the MP Police Department and a labour inspector in MP Labour Department for eight months.