Pilot and YouTuber Ritu Rathee Taneja is flying high on all fronts
Ritu Rathee Taneja is a pilot by profession, a YouTuber by partnership, a popular blogger, and a social media influencer in her own right.
But her best claim to fame is being one-half of the successful YouTube channel Flying Beast that she runs with her husband Gaurav Taneja. The channel, where they post vlogs on fitness, family, personal life, and travel, has over three million subscribers.
Ritu Rathee Taneja
The 30-year-old was born and raised in Gurugram and completed her Bachelor’s in Chemistry from St Stephen’s College. Becoming a pilot, she says, came on a friend’s suggestion.
“I was never a desk person and was very good with Maths and Science. I never wanted to get into engineering, but a friend’s suggestion to become a pilot got me thinking. I went to Arizona in the US for pilot training. It was not that I dreamt of becoming a pilot, but once I started flying, it turned into a passion,” she says.
Conversations and chemistry on YouTube
YouTube and fame was something she and Gaurav never planned. Initially, she used to feature on FitMuscle TV, a fitness channel run by Gaurav. “I used to be present in his video where I was shown doing normal household chores, and with feedback they realised that people were enjoying our conversations and chemistry. This led to Flying Beast.”
Ritu believes the channel hit it off with the audience because of the “real and raw connect”. “Even if I am dressed in normal clothes, Gaurav will still shoot without caring about it. There’s no showoff.”
Originality, humour, and their chemistry as a couple and as a family has endeared Flying Beast to its viewers. And, Ritu makes it sound like it’s an easy thing to do.
“For us, vlogging is nothing but shooting our daily life, our journeys, our travel, our struggles, our tiffs, and our love. Earlier, due to time constraints, we didn’t upload videos daily, but now, due to the quarantine, we are uploading daily. Gaurav shoots throughout the day on the phone and edits in the evening and the vlog is good to go,” says Ritu.
Humour and wit are the other reasons why Flying Beast is very popular. Ritu says, in the humdrum of everyday life, we should take things lightly. “Most of the time, Gaurav uses sarcasm on me, and I am least bothered,” she says.
Being a pilot has also given her opportunities to travel and record experiences. “Earlier, I used to wonder how it would be to go out in the cities. I wanted to explore the narrow streets, observe the lives of people, and vlogging has been one of the main reasons for us to travel in India, especially by train,” she adds.
Some of her popular recent vlogs are: “The struggle of a Haryanvi Jat Girl”, “When she went into labour pain”, and “This custom-made gift made her emotional”.
For Ritu, with fame has come a number of interesting experiences. The couple performed at the YouTube Fanfest, and also met former US President Barack Obama in Singapore through Google, where they were one of the three Indians, and one of the six people from the Asia Pacific region invited to the event.
Surprisingly, Ritu says, being an influencer is not a tough business if it’s your passion. “Yes, it pays you quite well. I cannot share the numbers, but I can say it’s better paying than our jobs.”
The other side of life
Ritu is also a Captain with Indigo airlines, an exciting job, where she says no two days are the same.
“I love the randomness of flying. Flying challenges you; you’re thinking of your procedures, your way of doing things, and pushes you to bring out the best of yourself,” she says.
A pilot, YouTuber, and a mother – how does she juggle the different roles in life?
When Ritu is flying, she likes to keep all distractions away as it is a serious profession. But no matter how much work is pending as an influencer or as Gaurav’s manager, she spends two hours a day specifically with her daughter, playing with her, and teaching her.
The future looks exciting for the couple who are already on a high. But there are two initiatives they would like to single out - two that are top priority in the coming days.
The couple is also working closely with the Government to promote tourism, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is on hold.
The second is #RasbhariChai, an initiative they started on Women's Day in Tripura, which is a combination of her daughter’s name and Gaurav’s love for chai.
Ritu explains, “We searched for a chaiwala who has a daughter, and then we held a meet up with our fans and requested them to donate whatever they liked in exchange of a selfie and a cup of chai. We multiplied that amount and opened a fixed deposit for Rs 51,000 in the girl’s name with her mother as nominee. We want to take this initiative across India and help as many girls as possible.”