HYDERABAD: “My life has been nothing short of a movie,” says Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh (24), who grew up seeing her father, grandfather and uncles serve the nation.
Riti continued her family legacy after she was selected as one of the first women to join as an ‘Observer’ (Airborne Tactician) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream.
Earlier, the entry of women was restricted to the fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore. Riti’s father served the nation for 20 years and her grandfather had fought in the Kargil war. Riti is the fourth generation defence officer from her family.
“I knew since my childhood that I wanted to serve the nation. I have been waiting for this moment all my life,” Riti told Express.
A native of Uttar Pradesh, Riti has been living in Hyderabad with her family for the last 18 years. Just like Gunjan Saxena, Riti was also trained by her parents, said Riti’s elder sister Riya.
“As shown in the movie, my father and Riti would get up early and he would prepare her for the entrance exam. My mother, who is an English teacher, would train her in English. And I have always been a pillar of support,” says Riya.
Riti says there is no gender discrimination in any of the defence forces. “Both men and women were rigorously trained and were always at par during the training,” says Riti, who has completed her 60 hours of training.
Rita is part of a group of 17 officers of the Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard, who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony, a defence ministry statement said.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)