It was 24-year-old Tejal Kamulkar’s childhood dream to fly.
It came true barely four months ago when she was recruited by Air India as an airhostess cabin crew. But those dreams came crashing down, quite literally, on Saturday morning when Air India’s Dubai-Mangalore flight IX 812 crashed at Mangalore.
Kamulkar was among the six members of crew who died in the crash. A resident of a middle class locality at Tukaram Nagar, Dombivli, Kamulkar graduated from Model College. She had obtained a diploma from the International Air Transport Association and joined the national carrier as an airhostess in February.
Her mother is a homemaker and her father works in Dubai. Her younger brother, Gaurav (20), is studying engineering at G. R. Patil College, Dombivli.
Her father, Anil, rushed to Mangalore on Saturday morning after he heard about the crash. “He decided not to not break the news to Tejal’s mother Bharti and brother Gaurav and snapped the cable connection before rushing to the airport,” Kamulkar’s cousin, Ankita Pokhre, told PTI.
Neighbours guarded Kamulkar’s house and requested reporters from television channels not to flash the news of her death because her mother and brother were unaware of the facts. “She was a nice, helpful girl,” said a neighbour requesting anonymity.
Pokhre, who is also undergoing training to become an airhostess, remembers her cousin as a hard-working and jovial girl who nurtured the dream of becoming an airhostess since childhood.
“Tejal never played with Barbie dolls. Her first toy was an aeroplane and we both used to play with it,” she said.
Close friend, Pradnya Lele, said Kamulkar was very passionate about her job. “Every time we spoke she went on and on about her work and her on-flight experiences,” Pradnya said. “The last time we met was on May 5 when we celebrated her 24th birthday. I can’t believe she is no longer with us.”