NEW DELHI: In a first, four young pretty girls—from what was once known as “Tora Bora of Kashmir” for being badly infested by militants—are all set to take to sky as air hostesses, thanks to the efforts of the Indian Army. At the outset, the dreams of these girls, barely crossing their teens, seem that of normal Indian girls. But prod them further, and you will realise the dedication with which they have surpassed the insurmountable odds to inch closer towards their goals.
“I want to do something different,” 21-year-old Taabida from Chak Wangun, Anantnag, said assertively. Donning a sky blue shirt and formal skirt and hair perfectly tied up in a French bun, she was anxiously waiting for her turn to get interviewed by a private airline.
She, along with three others, has been sponsored by the army to train at an airhostess training academy in Srinagar. For a society, which has always seen men with uniform with distrust, the achievement is another feather in the cap of the army to bring normalcy to the Valley. The vehemence of the opposition can be gauged from the fact that initially, the number of girls and boys sponsored by the Army were 10, but gradually, six of them opted out of the programme under societal and parental pressure.
Ask these four girls how the society is reacting to their newfound passion, and Razia, the youngest of the four, chips in: “Things are changing… Currently only four girls have stepped up, but more will come. Seeing us they’ll also want to become airhostesses.” Another girl Mudassar added: “Initially we had problems in even wearing trousers and shirts. There are certain difficulties, like we cannot think of wearing even formal skirts at home. But one thing is for sure, more and more girls now want to be in our place.” Suraiyya has also come to the National Capital all the way from the Valley accompanied by her brother to pursue her dreams.