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MP tea seller’s daughter makes it to Indian Air Force, selected in flying branch

Mumbai :She is daughter of a tea seller, but that never came in the way of Aanchal Gangwal’s (24) dream of soaring in the skies. This girl from Neemuch district in north-western part of Madhya Pradesh has been selected in the flying branch of the Indian Air Force (IAF), and her dream is to fly fighter planes.
It was sheer determination and belief in herself that made her stick to her dreams of joining the Indian armed forces. “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.” Aanchal said.
But she never gave up her dream. A product of Metro H S School in Neemuch, she stands at an impressive 5 foot seven inch. She was the school captain, topper in her class. She won a scholarship and went to Vikram university, Ujjain where she was part of the basketball team and also 400 m race. “I always knew that I had it in me to make it,” she said.
Meanwhile, she was looking for a job and started appearing for competitive exams. She cleared the police sub-inspector’s exam and even joined the training, but she realized that the tough schedule would never allow her to prepare for her dream job. “Fortunately, the results of labour inspector exam also came at that time. Here the schedule was easier and I got chance to prepare,” Aanchal said.
But clearing the Air Force Common Admission Test was not easy. Over the years she faced the interview board five times and was only successful the sixth time, whose results were declared on June 7. She was among the 22 selected from all over the country and the only one from Madhya Pradesh. Five of those selected are girls. Over 6 lakh students appeared for the exam.
She has been receiving congratulatory messages from all over ever since her selection. In a message on Twitter, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had congratulated her. A few days ago woman and child development minister Archana Chitnis visited her home and feted her.
Her father, Suresh Gangwal who runs a tea stall at the Neemuch bus stand stands a proud man today, but stood behind her daughter’s dream. “Now everyone in the area knows about my “Namdev tea stall” and I feel very happy when people come and congratulate me.”
Suresh never allowed financial condition come in the way of his three children’s education. “I took loan to send Aachal for coaching in Indore, and also financed my elder son’s engineering. My youngest daughter is in Class 12.”
Aachal goes for a year’s training in Hyderabad from June 30, and on completion her dream to fly high will come true.