The nation is currently witnessing an unprecedented situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with numerous frontline workers across different fields fighting to contain the virus and keep people safe. One such example is Commander Pushpanjali Potsangbam, an Air India pilot who has been flying to different nations to rescue stranded Indian Nationals and bring them back home.
Her husband — former India captain and central defender Gouramangi Singh — currently at his residence in Manipur, sounded “immensely proud” at his wife responding to the nation’s call. “I have played football for India for so many years. Wearing that jersey and singing the National Anthem — it’s a feeling of pride you cannot put into words. I am sure it must be the same feeling for her,” said Gouramangi.
“We’re happy to do our part. I have done it through football which is something I have loved doing since my childhood. Now my wife is doing it through her profession. It’s her passion. There are sacrifices that we made and are still making now. But in the end, it’s a proud feeling.”
“One of the positives of the lockdown period was that most of us – footballers – got to spend time with their families. We generally stay out and travel a lot and our families make a lot of sacrifices for us. But this time, I am immensely proud that she is leading from the front.”
Throughout the lockdown, the Air India crew have flown to different cities in foreign countries to get the necessary medicines, kits and other supplies. Now, they have been flying to places like Auckland, Cairo, Dublin and Lagos — that essentially are “offline” stations for them.
“They do not make it seem like a big deal, but from our talks I have come to know how much work goes into flying into places that they don’t regularly fly to,” Gouramangi, a former AIFF Player of the Year mentioned.
“The crew goes through a lot of stress and anxiety for their flights as not only are these flights unlike normal flights but they keep themselves isolated from their families till the third test (the one done after 5 days of arrival into base) comes negative. To do that once or twice is fine but they live through that week after week for the safety of their loved ones.”
The 34-year-old, however, admitted that the situation can get “worrying” at times but stated the importance of looking at the brighter side of things.
“It is not an ideal scenario. I would be lying if I say that I am not concerned or worried but it is an unprecedented situation and you can either remain upset or you can look at the positives. Thanks to technology, we stay in touch through video calls, communicate regularly and keep a positive outlook,” he added.
Gouramangi also lauded the unwavering efforts of the frontline workers – all of whom have been fighting hard day in day out to keep citizens safe.
“From the armed forces who protect our borders to the various frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, police personnel, airline staff, etc. — so many people are sacrificing for our sake. We should not overlook the efforts they are putting in right now for the country and countrymen. It is critical for us to follow the regulations laid down by the government and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” Gouramangi expressed.