This has been a long time in the making.
Finally, all the the hoops have been jumped through, all the hurdles cleared, and I'm actually in Madhya Pradesh to begin training at 1030 hours tomorrow morning for my private pilot's license. It's still sinking in, despite the fact that I was told quite a while ago that I'd be going. I had wanted to document the whole experience on this blog, and wanted to start much earlier in the process, especially covering the procedural hoops us flight monkeys had to jump through, but I decided to wait till the training actually began. Part of the reason for this was a slight superstition that I might jinx it by talking about it too soon, and part of it was that in case it didn't work out I'd look rather silly having started a blog in anticipation.
They really oughta stop making propellers from rubber :P
Now, though, I can finally start. The way i plan to do this is quick short and frequent updates, if possible with pictures. I will include a few flashback posts to cover some of the things that have already happened, though this will have to be later. At the outset, though, I cannot begin to tell you, dear four and a half readers, how exciting this is. There are very few things I have looked forward to as much as I've looked forward to this. The outcome is by no means certain, but I guess I can pause for a bit of breath here. I kept thinking some obstacle would've taken me out long before this.
It is also the happiest of coincidences that I start training on my 27th birthday. It's probably the only birthday I've spent with people I barely know yet, but the fact that tomorrow marks the beginning of an awesome gift makes it quite a lot better. We reached Bhopal after two interesting ATR flights on jet airways. We were supposed to be on 737s on both legs, and on both equipment got subbed and we flew ATRs. Prior to this, I've been on an ATR only once, and suddenly i get two in a row. Lucky, i guess, since I'm always eager to fly on types other than the staple Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.
Madhya Pradesh is beautiful in the rain, it is bathed in this intense green colour. Kerala is green too, but it's a darker shade there on average, and the green stays throughout the year. This green lasts a few months after the rains, and then turns brown. But right now it is green, and I love it. We also joked about how the place is rather flat, at least where we are, which means we have quite the pick when it comes to places to make emergency landings in. The mood in the group is optimistic, and over dinner we were all a bit philosophical. It's almost a given that 100% of us clearing the license in one go is not going to happen. DGCA works in mysterious ways, apparently until a year or two ago there wasn't even a defined syllabus for the pilot license exam. All sorts of rumours are doing the rounds, each more worrying than the rest, but i guess we've come to this realization that it's too late to worry now. We're here, so we might as well give it our best shot. There's this subtle pride you can sense in the group, since we all know we've been chosen for this over others, and we've had to struggle to get chosen. I like that, and I'm beginning to like them, and I hope we all have a good time.
Super fancy palace/restaurant we had lunch at. Food more than matched the ambience.
Safety was discussed too, but that warrants a whole post for itself somewhere down the road. Nothing more to report for the day. Apologies in advance if this becomes a whiny diary down the road. I wont have time to focus on the actual pieces, so I'll just be recording my thoughts at the end of the day.
On a more optimistic note, the ladies hostel is right across the road from our bungalow.