Swati Sahni, 31
Senior First Officer, Flight Operations, IndiGo
Swati Sahni wanted to become a fighter pilot. That didn’t happen because the Indian Air Force doesn’t recruit women in combat roles. She was disappointed because a woman can fight back as well as a man. But, it wasn’t long before a lucrative opportunity came knocking, and she joined IndiGo, the airline, five years ago. “It was the best decision I made, for two reasons. First, I feel very content working with India’s most professional and modern airline, and second, it gives me an opportunity to travel, which I absolutely love,” says Sahni, who finds that being a hub for travellers, Delhi offers great options for direct connectivity. Taking vacations, she says, is a lot easier since numerous destinations can be covered from her home base.
Like most pilots, Sahni too works odd hours. Does she regret being away from home? Not one bit. She has all the support she needs from her husband, who encourages her to work harder and better. “He understands that I love my job,” she says, adding, “When we’re not working, we like to spend time together, maybe over a quiet meal. With Delhi being the epicentre of all kinds of culinary choices, from street food options like the Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk to the upscale Cyber Hub in Gurgaon, we are never disappointed. It increases our happiness quotient since we’re spoilt for choice,” she says.
Living in a multicultural setup, with a cosmopolitan population like Delhi’s, it has helped the pilot appreciate various cultures, closely and equally. “Whether it’s Diwali, Eid or Christmas, everything is celebrated with the same fervour. That ethos makes an individual more aware of diversity, appreciating the little things each culture has to offer,” she says.
Coming from a south Delhi Punjabi family, Sahni finds herself easily adaptable to change. She has learnt to act according to any situation she finds herself in. Besides flying, the other things that have taught her this valuable virtue are the ever changing seasons of Delhi, each bringing with it, its own set of challenges and pleasures.
“Whether it’s the hot summers or cool winters, they teach you to brave all kind of extremities. Similarly, it’s taught me to live and work with the same spirit,” she says.
No flight of fancies, this girl.