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   When my two sons, Darryl and Derek, told me that... (September 25, 1986)

When my two sons, Darryl and Derek, told me that they wanted to be pilots when they grew up, I gave them the following advice.

Sons, having an ambition is a very good thing and I am happy and proud you have decided to be pilots. Pilots are very important people and these days some of them can even become prime ministers or advisers to prime ministers.

However, as in every other job, you have to know exactly what you want to do. Eventually, the decision is yours, but I would not advise you to be an air force pilot. No doubt it is a very safe job and nothing ever happens and you spend most of your time living in air force cantonments, but, though your mother will not agree, there is no life if there is no danger.

Now, then, being a pilot in a commercial airline is much more dangerous, especially if you have stopovers at airports like Karachi. I would like you to become pilots in commercial airlines. I do not wish anybody to tell me in my old age that either of my sons had shirked danger.

The next step is you will have to decide which airline you want to be a pilot with. You do not have to take a decision right away, you are children and there is still time, but you will have to start thinking in that direction. I can only guide, the decision will be yours.

Generally, you will have to decide whether you want to join an American ariline or any other airline. Both have their good points and their shortcomings. Basically, in American airlines, as per the instructions of their Persident Reagan, you task will be to immobilise the plane and leave the responsibility of looking after the passengers in the hands of your very able cabin crew. Which, according to my thinking, is a very sound policy. After all, looking after the passengers and serving them bourbon and smoked almonds is the job of the cabin crew and not the pilots.

Now, if you become pilots in the airline of other countries, which do not take instructions from President Reagan or Sylvester Stallone, your main job will be not flying the airplane but looking after the passengers and taking orders from hijackers. Mind you, it is not all as bad as it may sound and I am not discouraging you from joining a non-American airline, but your tasks may include flying all over the Middle East, from airport to airport, as the hijackers shoot the passengers in small batches and dump them out.

Now it is for you to decide which airlines you wish to join, I will help you by way of your education and whatever financial assistance may be required for special training as pilots. I am sure you will not let your mother and me down.

And, yes, Derek, you want to know whether you can become an Air India pilot. Well, joining Air India will not be such a bad idea. At least, you will not have to make all these decisions, since you will be on strike most of the time and your planes, in any case, immobilised.

 
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