The course of true love never did run smooth, says the Bard; what if the course charted seven skies, literally? Long training periods, erratic schedules, frequent layovers far away from home doesn’t sound like the perfect recipe for a relationship, but as Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
Romantic or chaotic, what goes into the love life of pilots... we check out in a country that boasts of double the number of women pilots than the global average!
Adjust & adapt
With five pilots in her immediate family, Captain Ankieta Sekhon knew only this world, “People might say it is tough, but trust me not getting enough time together is the only challenge.” Now married to a pilot, odd timings are the order of the day, “Sometimes at four in the morning he’s leaving and I am reaching, but then we ensure we make the most of our off days.”
What she really loves is the understanding among ‘flying’ couples, “Being a pilot comes with loads of responsibility and stress. If I am flying say six in the morning, so in all likelihood I should be sleeping by six the previous evening, which will ensure at least nine hours of sleep before I head out. You cannot attend every family gathering or entertain friends till late; the house should be quiet and lights off. Your spouse, if a pilot, knows the dynamics, which is a great support.”
Neither was flying on Captain Neha Chaudhary’s mind nor marrying a pilot, but both happened! A chance visit to a flying club attracted this engineer to the adventure and thrill. Nine years into flying now, she’s married to a pilot for two years now. “I subscribed to the dictum of never marry within the profession, but then got married to a pilot and its going exceptionally well,” she confesses. She admits that during the first month they were stumped, “He was flying morning, me in the evenings; we were clueless.” Over a period of time they spoke to the company to coordinate offs and for more or less similar flying hours. “Now that he would be plying the wide-body aircraft, he would have four days a week off; so we are much sorted,” she laughs.
Currently interning, this 25-year old, who does not want to be named, is looking forward to flying in April, and also dating a pilot in the defence services. “So far it’s all good for there is time to socialise; we are yet to hit the real world though,” she giggles. Not that she’s not aware of the challenges though, “He intends to fly commercial from next year on; we are hoping to have the same base, so that seems like a plan.”
Flying for nine years, Captain Gursharan Kaur is single, yet believes aviation is relationship-friendly. “It’s all about how much you are willing to put into a relationship; you have marriages on ground drifting apart.” Her mother in cabin crew, she has seen long flying hours but nothing has dented her home life, “I remember at times my mum would be away for 15 days and we would barely speak; now with modern technology, distances are hardly any distances.”
Captain Kiran is single at the moment, and admits that frequent layovers mean little or no time at home. “When it’s just the two of you, it’s perfectly all right; challenges multiply when you are married and want to raise kids.”
With dad and brother into flying, before Captain Aarti Dethan took it up she knew what it meant to have a pilot in a house. Now married to one, she says professional pluses outweigh minuses. “Coordinating routines isn’t that big a deal when you consider that your spouse comprehends the challenge, “I don’t even have to say; he knows, for he practically does the same!”
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