Inspiring story….Many of us dreamt that by joining the armed forces, we served the country. Some, however, often experience social and systemic complications on the path to this service..
One fighter pilot named Aston Wun on the social media tells such a storey of trial, tribulation, and triumph. The officer of the Indian Air Force spoke with Humans Of Bombay to the effect that “being poor was a crime” he realised early on.
In a series of posts on Instagram he says, “I could count my sisters’ number of days and eat the whole meal as long as I grew up.” “Maa used to wrap a cloth around our bellies to keep our hunger pangs at bay,” he remembered.
“Papa would have to sell a portion of his land to marry one of his daughters. Maa began to pawn her jewellery as time went on.” “I was born in this village, but I will not die here,” I’d tell myself.
I needed to get away from my home in some way. “I had no idea that the entire country would become my home in the years to come,” he said. “I’d walk to the ground near my house and sit there, staring at the sky,” he said, explaining how he realised he wanted to serve the country.
On one such evening, I witnessed three fighter planes flying through the sky at breakneck speed. I’m intrigued, I ran as fast as I could after them.
‘If I sat in one of those planes, I could fly far away,’ I reasoned. By the time he finished Class 12, the officer was certain that flying for the country was his calling, and he quickly filled out an NDA application.
Papa gradually improved and returned to farming.” A visit from a cousin from Patna came just in time, giving the Air Force dreams new life. “I was able to persuade him to return with me.
‘You must prepare for engineering entrance exams,’ Papa agreed on one condition. Instead, I filled out my NDA form once I arrived. I took my exams and passed them four months later.
The aspiring fighter pilot, however, was forced to flee his home due to family opposition. “Admissions at NDA are closed,” said the Major in charge of admissions. I begged him. ‘I’ve only seen people flee from NDA,’ he said, laughing.
‘You’re the first to flee your home to get here!’ With the help of the Major in charge of admissions, he soon persuaded his father to support his choice. The battles didn’t stop there. The officer had to contend with the English language barrier as a cadet.
After that, he had an accident that cost him a semester. His motion sickness interfered with his flying practise, and he was asked to leave the plane. “I begged for one more chance–’It’s either do or die,’ I told myself as I boarded the plane. I wasn’t sick at all, believe it or not! I was hired as a pilot after finishing the course!
“There was a time when we had nothing left to pawn except Maa’s earrings – she cried a lot because those earrings belonged to her mother.” As an officer, he also had to deal with the tragic death of his friend and roommate, which he blamed on himself because he had been unable to fly that day and his roommate had stepped in.
“My boss told my roommate to fly instead of me. He taunted me before leaving. His plane vanished just minutes after takeoff, and we had to search the desert for his remains.”
Following that, the officer’s father died in an accident, which changed his outlook on life. The accident happened when the officer and his mother and dad had just recovered from a disease, travelling from the hospital.
“I kept praying for a lift for 1.5 hours, but there was no help from anyone. A large number of people just came near us to click photos, but they just left when I asked for help.
I prayed, I wept… Daddy breathed on my lap his last… I thought about myself when I performed Dad’s last rituals– “Did my dad deserve such a brutal death?” I risk my life at the border each day so my Indian friends can be safe at home and that is what I get back?'”
But if he saw a 10-year-old boy requesting a lift, His real call to help his compatriots, he realised. “Why should a group of drunkards decide what type of person I ought to be? I’ve taken the U-turn–hijacked the boy to his goal.”
He said, “…serving the country at the border is not work, passion… It is a last piece of advice for young cadets. Sirf dil lagate, yaha dimag nahi lagate hai (Here we operate from the heart, not head).
Then say to me now, how many are you in?” The inspirational storey of the pilot struck an Internet chord. It has shared thousands of favourites and comments over a series of six posts.
“It’s a true hero… because we are safe for people like you!” one Instagram user wrote. “You’re an inspiration, sir,” another one said – a feeling many people echoed.