It was end of my term in Indian airforce. A major accident had rendered me unfit to fly planes. As a pilot for last 10 years that was all I knew. I was known around as a proficient pilot. I felt like my most valued possession was taken away. I had an identity crisis.
In the hospital I was told that I would be back on my feet in a month’s time. I was aware of the fact that Indian airforce would never desert me and would find some work suitable for me. But I knew that my life had changed forever. I did not want to be in the airforce doing anything other than what I did the best. Lying on the hospital bed, I decided that once I am well, I will start my new life, a life trying something new.
Once I was discharged from the hospital, I informed airforce about my decision. They were quite supportive to let me go. Airforce was first love. I knew nothing could replace it. But I had to discover the close second. It took me some time to pick my future career. I decided to start dance classes. I was always passionate about dancing and was active member of dance teams in my school and college. I had to drop my passion in want of guidance and future avenues. I wanted to help others in the same situation.
First few months were very difficult. Apart from financial issues, I had no student for first three months. Day after day, I would open my dance class centre, wait there from morning to evening and then head back home. This was my journey from hope to hopelessness each day.
I finally got my first student. I soon got 4-5 others. But they all belonged to a nearby slum. They were not capable to pay for the dance training. Meanwhile, I was running out of my cash reserves. I borrowed from my friends and sustained my centre. My hard work finally paid. Soon, I got new students, who were both willing and able to pay. Since then, there was no looking back. As of today, we have 5 centres in the city.
When I look back today, I see the silver lining in the gloomy picture. If I was not injured, I could have never explored this career as dance trainer. I was very happy serving the country. That is the best any citizen can do. But having given my prime to my country, I am glad that I heeded to the calling of my heart. I could have very comfortably taken a managerial role at Indian airforce, but I would have made a bad manager, because that work doesn’t excite me. There is always a risk involved in starting afresh. But it’s truly worth it.
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