By now, the whole country is in awe of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who displayed utmost valour when he was in Pakistan's captivity a month ago. And it seems like, professionalism runs in the blood of the fighter pilot. Abhinandan was reportedly advised by the doctors to go on four weeks sick leave from March 14, but he chose to go back to his squadron in Srinagar instead of spending time with his parents and wife in Chennai.
The IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 in Horran village of Bhimbar district in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, barely seven kilometres away from the Line of Control. His Mig 21 Bison jet was shot down during an aerial stand-off with the Pakistan Air Force.
Pakistan released Abhinandan on March 1. Abhinandan's display of ethics and bravery when he was in Pakistan's captivity had turned him into an overnight hero and a youth sensation.
After his release, Abhinandan underwent a protocol of two weeks' debriefing. He was also treated at the Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi and was advised four weeks rest. But the Wing Commander went back to his professional turf in Srinagar, preferring to stay with his men and machines.
"During his sick leave, the officer had the option of going to his family home in Chennai where his parents live but he decided to go back to Srinagar where his squadron is deployed for operations," the ANI quoted sources as saying.
Abhinandan can't wait to get back to flying his fighter jet but he would have to be reviewed by the medical board in New Delhi after the completion of his sick leave to resume flying.
Abhinandan's brilliant professional conduct may be attributed to his lineage. He is the son of Air Marshall (Retd) S Varthaman, who also served in the IAF and was posted as the air-officer-commanding Eastern Command till 2014.
Soon after Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan, an old video of the Indian pilot surfaced on the internet where the wing commander talks about ethics while serving in the Indian Air Force.
He also says that having a "bad attitude" is not best suited for those who wish to serve the nation. "I trust (Sandy), my co-pilot with life and he trusts me too. That is our training. That is blind faith. No two ways about it," Abhinandan quips. Watch the video here:
Looks like, Abhinandan is a man who lives by his words and prefers his colleagues over anyone else