The Takeoff

by Kavita

Sometimes, you just happen to pick a great book.

A few months ago, Google celebrated Amelia Earhart’s birthday, as usual, on their search page. I went to the aviator’s wikipedia page and one thing lead to another. By the end of an hour, I had ordered two books written by her. I finished reading ‘The Fun of It’, a few days ago. It has history, travel, aviation, engineering, business and the story of a Kansas baby. It’s a wonderful read in a lot of ways but I expected to come across a lot of ‘struggle as a girl’ references.

To my surprise and relief, it’s a fun, positive compilation of her life. The experience of this person is unusual, but even more inspiring is her wisdom and unique perception. So, wherever she wrote about her challenges as a female aviator, she looked at the other side too. This page from this book which caught my attention the most, elaborates on the same point.

IMG_20150211_155345~2Here, she talks about how being the only woman made her a star in the crew, but it also took away from the efforts of the men who contributed in making her flight successful. I have lived through this discomfort all my life, because I’ve failed to understand why my aspirations, achievements have to be assessed against my gender, community, age or any other stereotype. And history has evidence that whenever someone succumbed to such a judgement, it has hurt all genders, communities and age-groups; because it has slowed our evolution as a species.

I am most humbled to know that someone who didn’t live in our world of labels, had the ability to see past its advantages and disadvantages. She didn’t think that she was a small-town girl, she ignored that there were no other kids thinking about wings and planes, she looked at the invention of men and not how she was deprived of it; she didn’t fight for women’s rights. Amelia Earhart took off while others saw that she was a woman.

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