From professor to firefighter, meet Remya Sreekantan

Remya SreekantanPHOTO CREDIT: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT/AAI

Eight months into raising her baby, Remya Sreekantan thought of trying her luck by applying for the “tough job” of firefighter with the Airports Authority of India (AAI). 

And today, the mother of a 2-year-old girl child, stands out unique in a field that is mostly dominated by men – she is now a Junior Assistant (AFS) at the Chennai Airport and the first firefighter in South Indian airports that are run by the AAI. She is only the third woman firefighter of the AAI across the country.

“I feel really proud to be the first woman firefighter of the Chennai Airport. It is quite a big responsibility and a challenging job. This is a field where there aren’t many women, but I am quite confident of delivering and proving myself,” 28-year-old Remya told DH here.

A post-graduate in structural engineering, Remya worked as a professor at Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Technology for Women in Thiruvananthapuram for two years before taking a sabbatical in 2017 for giving birth to a baby girl. 

It was during her sabbatical to raise the baby, Remya chanced upon the advertisement by AAI which was looking for firefighters. Though she never had any prior experience or knowledge about the job, the former professor applied for the job and as expected she was competing only with men for, they dominated the field for long.

“I got selected in the general category as there was no special category or quota meant for women. Our batch of 100 people underwent four months rigorous training at Fire Training Centre (FTC) in New Delhi after clearing both tests. I was the only woman in the batch. Even the college where I worked for two years is an exclusive one for women,” Remya said with a smile.

Remya cleared the written test in 2018 and since she was determined to pass the physical test too which was scheduled in March 2019, the mother of two-year-old decided to go for physical training in her home city of Thiruvananthapuram.

“I underwent gruelling training for about four months to learn the techniques. Since the training centre was close to my home, I did not have much problem in raising the child. I could continue my training and stay close to the kid too,” she said.

However, she had to be away from her child during the training in Delhi. Though she was provided with accommodation, the weather did not suit the baby. “My family, especially my husband, was supportive and let me pursue my dreams. I missed my child a lot while in Delhi, but now I have not just got a challenging job but has been reunited with my family,” she said.

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