Anny Divya, a 30-year-old woman from Vijayawada of Andhra Pradesh, made history after she became the youngest Boeing 777 female commander in the world.
Belittled, discouraged and brought down for her ambitions and dreams, Anny defied the odds and at the age of 17, enrolled at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a government-run pilot training academy in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh. Soon enough, she was recruited by Air India when she was just 19. She started to learn to fly a Boeing 737 and later found herself in the cockpit of Boeing 777, flying the largest twin jet in the world.
Before Anny was born, her family lived near the army base camp in Pathankot. Anny's father had to quit his education and drop out of school at a very young age due to his family's poor financial conditions. He joined the army as a soldier and after serving for 19 years in the force, he chose voluntary retirement. The family then settled down in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
Anny's schooling had plenty of ups and downs, with her parents not being able to help her enough with her studies. In an interview with Business Standard, Anny said,
My mother helped us till she could with her limited education — Class IV or so — and then she left us to our own devices. No pressure was ever put on us so sometimes we did well and sometimes we didn’t.
A student of Kendriya Vidyalaya in Vijayawada, Anny spoke Telugu and Hindi at home but she could barely speak English, with no one at home who spoke English. Anny credits her love for flying, to her mother — when they were living near the Pathankot air base, her mother would often say that her middle child should become a pilot. This greatly influenced Anny who pursued her dream to fly. Her hard work paid off when she earned a scholarship and completed her training at the age of 19. Speaking with The Independent, Anny said,
I had the option to take command on a 737 but the Boeing 777 is the plane I always wanted to fly, so I had to wait a bit longer. This is what I wanted to do.
During her tenure with Air India, Anny completed a degree in BSc in Aviation and also learnt classical keyboard. She has funded the education of her siblings who studied abroad and also bought a house for her family.