When your eyes are set on the goal, no roadblocks will ever be strong enough to deter you from achieving it. 24-year-old Aanchal Gangwal’s story is a testimony to this.
The daughter of a Madhya Pradesh tea seller, she has become the only student from the state to be selected to the flying branch of the prestigious Indian Air Force (IAF).
A resident of Neemuch district in north-western part of Madhya Pradesh, Aanchal’s biggest dream is to become a fighter pilot.
“When I was in class 12, there were floods in Uttarakhand, and I was impressed with the way the armed forces rescued the flood affected and decided to join the forces, but the family condition was not conducive at that time.”
Even in the face of financial crisis, Aanchal did not give up her dream. A student of the Metro HS School in Neemuch, she worked hard to stand out as the captain as well the class topper. She even won a scholarship and went to Vikram University in Ujjain, where she played basketball for her team and also sprinted 400 m.
“I always knew that I had it in me to make it,” she added.
Soon after, she started looking for employment and also appeared for public competitive exams.
She successfully cracked the police sub-inspectors exam and joined training, but the biggest deterrent was the tough schedule, which she said would never allow her to prepare for her dream job.
And so she waited.
When the results of labor inspector exam were declared, she decided to go for it, since the schedule was relatively easy and even left her time to prepare for the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT).
Cracking the AFCAT was nothing short of a herculean task. In the next few years, she appeared for the interview about five times, until she cleared it at the sixth time. The results declared on June 7 left her overwhelmed.
Of the 6 lakh students who appeared for the exam, Aanchal Gangwal was one among the 22 students from across the country to have made it. She is one among the five girls out of the 22 and the only one from Madhya Pradesh.
Her success story of beating poverty to attain her dream has touched many across the country. She is being bombarded with congratulatory messages ever since the results came out.
One of the admirers of her feat was Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who took to Twitter to congratulate her. Even Woman and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis visited her home and praised her.
The happiest and proudest of the lot though is her tea-seller father, Suresh Gangwal, who runs a stall at the Neemuch bus stand.
“Now everyone in the area knows about my ‘Namdev tea stall’, and I feel very happy when people come and congratulate me,” he told the publication.
Suresh might be a humble man, but he did not let any financial crunch stand in the way of educating his three children, including Aanchal.
“I took a loan to send Aachal for coaching in Indore and also financed my elder son’s engineering. My youngest daughter is in Class 12,” he added.
Aachal will leave for year-long training to Hyderabad in a week on June 30. We hope she aces it just like she did the exam and makes her dream come true!
The next time, you think life is bogging you down, and the pressure is too much, take a deep breath, then remember students like Aanchal fought all odds to attain their goals. And if the naysayers bother you, keep in mind – today they will ask you why you are doing it. The day you achieve it, they will ask – how did you do it?
Fly high, Aanchal!