Laxmi Joshi, a Woman Pilot who played a major role in bringing back home stranded Indians during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Vande Bharat mission was introduced to evacuate Indians stranded abroad. And Laxmi Joshi was among the several pilots who participated in the mission.
About the Woman Pilot
Lakshmi Joshi loved her job and always wanted to do more than just travel. So when the pandemic hit and the Vande Bharat mission was initiated, she volunteered to fly abroad for the cause of the mission.
Her parents were initially worried, but Ms Joshi says, “when I explained how important the mission was, they reluctantly agreed.”
Her first flight for the Vande Bharat mission was to Shanghai in China. About which she said, “China being the hot spot of Covid, everyone was distressed,” she recalled, and also that she would never forget that flight.
“Our aim was to bring back all the Indians stuck there… We all wore hazmat suits through the course of the flight, I flew the flight wearing one,” she adds.
From a very early age Laxmi Joshi was keen about airplanes. She was eight-years-old when she first sat in an airplane. She knew that she wanted to become a pilot and when she grew up, she worked hard to ensure her dream came true.
During an interview, Ms Joshi said that her father took a loan so she could train to become a pilot. “Go for it, beta. The sky’s the limit!” her father told her.
After two years, during which she put her “heart and soul” into training, Ms Joshi got her pilot license. “My dreams had gotten wings, I was ecstatic! Soon after, I landed a job with Air India, the national carrier,” she recalled.
While talking to Humans of Bombay she said about how she flew three flights a month during the peak of the pandemic to rescue Indians stranded abroad.
Further, talking about her 1st flight to China during the pandemic she reminds how the passengers gave the entire crew a standing ovation after they finally landed.
” One little girl came up to me and said, ‘I want to be like you!’ And I told her what Papa told me, ‘The sky’s the limit!'”, she says.
After that , Ms Joshi flew three rescue flights a month. The flights were long, and wearing a hazmat suit made it tougher for her.
But she says the thought of Indians who were stuck kept her going. “Once, I even flew to bring medical aid to India. That was the strangest flight – instead of passengers, we traveled with hundreds of carton boxes,” she said.
“Papa says he is proud of me. He recently told me, ‘I used to tell you the sky’s the limit. But you’ve scaled even that! Keep flying!’ And that’s what I’m going to do… Keep flying!”, Lakshmi Joshi said.
The pandemic is in its third year now and Ms Joshi will soon be flying out to Newark to bring home Indians who are stranded there.
The Vande Bharat mission
Vande Bharat mission was planned by the Indian government. It is the massive evacuation operation to bring back stranded Indians in different parts of the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
As per report, the Union government’s Vande Bharat Mission helped repatriate over 72 lakh stranded Indians from over 100 countries amid the pandemic.