In the recently held recruitment drive by Saudi Airlines at Srinagar, eight valley girls made it to the cabin of the airlines. Ruwa Shah talks to Darakshan Bhat, a girl from Eidgah Srinagar, who is soaring high with the Saudi air carrier.
Fifty-year-old Mohammad Lateef Bhat had not imagined that his daughters would someday make him proud and fulfil the void of not having a son.
Darakshan Bhat, a young girl in her early twenties was recently selected as a flight attendant in Saudi Airlines. Her selection in the Airlines has made her parents realise that daughters cannot do less than sons.
“Dreams don’t come true, unless you work for them.”, reads one of Darakshan’s many inspirational Facebook wall posts.
Lateef belongs to a middle-class family. He lives in Eidgah, Srinagar along with the twelve members of his family and runs a medical shop at Rajouri Kadal.
Lateef worked day and night to provide proper education to his three daughters. For that he got all three admitted in a prestigious school in Srinagar.
Darakshan, the eldest daughter vividly remembers the days when her father would toil to give his children a quality life.
“My dad had to suffer throughout. He had to work very hard to bring us up, besides taking care of other family members”, Darakshan recalls.
Schooled at Mallinson Girls School, Sheikh Bagh Srinagar, Darakshan initially opted for medical subjects under societal pressure.
“I never wanted to study science, thus I did not excel in that subject. I didn’t want to catch the same train as that of my friends, I wanted to do something different, something of which my parents would feel proud, and at the same time that could help my father financially,” she said.
After getting disappointed from all the entrance examinations, Darakshan decided to study Fine Arts and she got admitted in Institute of Music and Fine Arts, Srinagar for her bachelors in Fine Arts. “I was very much interested in arts since my childhood, so I gave it a try,” she added.
Her eagerness to earn for her family especially her father didn’t let her stop from working hard. Her younger sister, Munazah Lateef an aspiring Company Secretary (CS), advised her to join the airline service. And on one good day she was selected in Go Air airline services as a Customer Service Agent (CSA).
She worked there for about fifteen days for free. Meanwhile, she got appointed as Customer Service Agent in Indigo airlines.
“I was selected on the basis of my hard-work. Everybody used to keep an eye over my work, that helped me to fetch a job,” she said happily.
However being a girl she had to face taunts and criticism from some members of her family and society in general.
When Saudi Arabian Airlines started a recruitment drive for selection of airhostesses from Kashmir, Darakshan started living her dream. She was amongst eight girls selected by the airlines from Kashmir
This was a great moment of achievement for her and her family. Although Darakshan was earlier selected in Indigo airlines, New Delhi as cabin crew but she did not join there. “The uniform over there wasn’t comfortable. I was lucky enough to find Saudi Airlines where we have a comfortable uniform with hijab as well,” she told KL.
After completing a training period of about forty-five days, she has joined the operations. Fetching her about Eighty-Thousand rupees a month, Darakshan easily manages to help her father now.
“My mother has always boosted my confidence. Despite of taunts and criticism, she always held her head high and she believed in me,” Darakshan said proudly.
Munazah, who is currently studying at Indian Institute Of Company Secretaries, feels that Darakshan’s success has added to her and her youngest sister’s confidence as well.
“I feel proud of my sister that she is able to help the family at this age only,” Munazah said.
The recruitment drive held at Hotel Taj Vivanta, by Saudi Airlines was the first time in valley which drew about eight girls from here to Jeddah.
(Ruwa Shah is recipient of Jawhara Shawl Scholarship)