It’s hard not to sympathise with Capt Anjum Chabra, 28, whose rap song on Air India has gone viral on YouTube after it was uploaded on February 13. In case you haven’t seen the video, it starts with Chabra, an impish, Virat Kohli lookalike, putting on his uniform and then receiving a call that his flight has been cancelled. Yet again. This prompts the frustrated pilot to launch into a hilarious but pretty vicious rap on the airline union, corrupt bosses and aviation industry in general. Sample these lyrics: “I’m working Air India, I am in India, but not in the air”, “Is there anyone here who’s got some extra money to spare?”
I suppose, at one level Chabra’s expletive-ridden rap song can also be seen as an anguished cry for help over chronic mismanagement, repeated bungling and the growing sense of desperation that seems to have enveloped Air India staff.
But the rapper-pilot’s crazed rant, however true, is absolutely shocking and, in the private sector, Chabra would be sacked immediately and deemed unhireable in the aviation industry anywhere in the world after pulling a stunt like this. Say what he may about Air India, it also remains the only airline in the world which might just excuse such gross indiscipline. If he’s so fed up, what’s stopping him from quitting? The fact is that Air India still remains his best option, considering the number of pilots waiting in the wings for jobs nowadays. Chabra has a pretty lame disclaimer at the beginning of the rap song and he does say repeatedly through the song that he loves the airline and his colleagues, but goes on to berate them anyway. Not surprisingly, his song hasn’t gone down well with the aviation ministry. They’re currently going through his track records and Chabra has since, unconditionally apologised and promised to take down the video.
The damage is done. “Air India pilot rap” has received 1,20,566 hits on YouTube already. It’s never a good idea to publicly bad-mouth or antagonise your employer. Most of the time you need them a lot more than they need you.