This column is about those Goenkars who have chosen to tread the paths that are often left untouched. About those who followed their heart and chose the unconventional ways. Those who believe sushegad isn’t the way people pursue Goenkars to be.
Squadron Leader Rashmi Prabhu joined Indian Air Force (IAF) after pursuing engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications at Goa College of Engineering. Presently she is serving in IAF as a Technical Officer after completing rigorous training for two years at various Air Force training institutes. During the said duration she also received specialised training in communication equipments. She has completed six years of service during which she commanded a communication unit of one of the key bases in Punjab. Presently she is looking after the maintenance of communication assets at a premiere base of IAF in Gujarat.
QTell us about your childhood?
I had a very joyful and positive childhood in Ponda. I am the only daughter of my parents, both of whom are bank employees. My parents have always been very open minded and let me choose what I wanted. I have been an extrovert and always voiced my thoughts.
QDid u always want to get into this field?
My mom has always been my best friend and she had some inclination towards this field. She instilled some of these thoughts in my mind as well. But I didn’t give much serious thoughts to it mainly due to lack of awareness as to what kinds of entrance are available for a female in this field. When Army would come to our college for recruitment, they would come only to induct male students.
QHow did it happen?
I came across a friend from Ponda who joined IAF when I was working for an IT company in Bangalore (fortunately whom I later married). He mentioned the possibility of joining IAF after doing engineering. Then there was no looking back. It was a dedicated effort of two years along with the job that I was already doing before, I finally got selected to serve IAF.
QDo u think Goan youth are sushegad as people call them?
Definitely not sushegad in the manner in which people perceive. They are fun loving and bindaas. They know the fun part of life in addition to being professional. If we think from this perspective then YES we are sushegad and we are good at it.
QWhat are the hardships u faced in this field?
This field tests your emotional and physical capability 24 x 7. One needs to master dealing with extreme weathers, timings and unexpected situations. You sign your WILL when you join this field and thus you need to be ready to do anything that the situation and organisation demands.In addition, you find many who still cannot deal with female entering this field and thus proving your mettle at times requires double the effort than that put by the male counterparts.
QDo people have misunderstandings about your field? What are your thoughts?
Definitely. Majority think that there is no difference between Air Force and Airline. So it takes a lot of patience in making it clear about our service. There is a drastic difference in the kind of treatment or reaction we get when we are in Northern India as compared to the Southern peninsula. There is a lack of respect down south where this field is mostly measured by the kind of facilities that government provides us, ignoring the hardship that we actually go through. Or many are even ignorant of the combat role of my organisation.
QDo you think women are still being stereotyped even after years of proving themselves?
I think yes. I won’t be able to give exact examples but they are. If you ask me why this happens, I would say, everyone has their own thinking. It might be because of the way they are brought up or what they have seen at their homes.
QWhat do u miss the most about Goa?
Being away from my parents for months definitely hurts. I also miss the fish and the Goan monsoons.
QWhat is your advice for today’s youth?
The world is finally progressing towards the fact that all jobs are respectable. I would like to tell the youth to explore their options purely based on their interests and not due to what anyone says or does. At the end of the day, one can give their best to a profession only when they don’t regret it. Also, I have seen that although people respect armed forces, parents often hesitate to send their children to serve the country. I would urge all to give a positive thought so as to contribute to the defence of the nation.
admin May 26th, 2017
Posted In: Not "Sushegad" Goenkar