'The phone keeps ringing day and night now', beaming with pride, Jema Jasmine Lakra spoke to Republic TV about the long-drawn struggle to make her daughter the first commercial pilot from the Malkangiri district, Odisha, which generally makes headlines for Naxal activities.
Defying all odds, Anupriya Madhumita Lakra, a 27-year-old woman has become the first tribal from the state to become a commercial pilot. Jema Jasmine Lakra, Anupriya's mother, is not keen on the sudden fame and the attempts made to popularise their story, she wants her daughter to soar higher. "This is just the first step, there will be many more obstacles coming my daughter's way but she is prepared," she said.
Anupriya's father is a police constable and to pursue her dreams of becoming a pilot always met with financial obstacles. Anupriya's mother had to ask for the support of her brothers and to push her daughter's dream forward. “When Anupriya started her training, we needed funds. One of my brothers works in the secretariat in Bhubaneshwar, he helped me a lot financially. My elder brother is in the railway department in Bhubaneshwar, he also cooperated with the lending of money and provided the much required moral support. My brother in law is in BSF, he too extended the hand for help. We are really happy that all our efforts have come to fruition,” she said.
Controlling the lump in her voice, Anupriya's mother fondly remembered how her daughter fared as a student, “She was always a bright student. She always stood first in class, even used to score the highest in maths, she took up engineering but later on she decided to follow her dreams. We always ensured she is never demotivated."
After completing her schooling at Dipti Convent School in Malkangiri, Anupriya’s family moved to Semiliguda where she completed her Plus Two at Jeevan Jyothi School. She left Engineering midway and took admission at Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI), Bhubaneswar, the first step she took to achieve her goal.In 2012, Anupriya’s special training started after she successfully cleared the entrance exams in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Now she has been selected as a co-pilot with Indigo Airlines and is expected to join official later this month