From selling lemonade to finally becoming a police: Kerala woman who shut many mouths
When SP Aanie, who hails from Kanjiramkulam in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district, separated from her husband before she turned 21, her parents refused to take her in along with her eight-month-old son. She took shelter in her grandmother’s house and did odd jobs for a living, from working as a door-to-door salesperson to selling lemonade and ice-cream at festival grounds. But Aanie never let obstacles come in the way of her dreams even as she fought prejudices and financial hurdles. Now at 31, she is prepared to begin a new chapter of her life, having just taken charge as a sub-inspector at the Varkala police station.
With success, recognition has followed — since she took charge on Saturday, congratulatory messages have been coming in from everyone, from the Leader of Opposition to film stars and countless others on social media.
In her first year of graduation, Aanie had rebelled against her parents to marry the man of her choice. After she separated from her husband and started living with her grandmother, she never compromised on education even in the face of adversity. She became a graduate and later got a post-graduate degree through a distance learning course.
All the while, she did odds jobs, from selling products as a door-to-door salesperson to selling insurance policies at banks. When these stints did not prove to be successful, she tried selling lemonade and ice-cream at festival grounds and tourist venues in and around Varkala after someone she knew suggested that these would fetch her better profit margins.
As a single mother in a big city, Aanie often found it difficult to find owners who were willing to rent out houses to her and had to keep shifting constantly. She decided to adopt a ‘boy cut’ hairstyle because she felt that would save her from the unwanted attention and stares at many places.
In the end, it was a relative of hers who encouraged her to apply for the job of a police officer and simultaneously write the sub-inspector's examination. He also loaned her some money to help her study for the exam.
In 2016, Aanie’s struggles turned out to be fruitful when she became a civil police officer. Three years later, she successfully cleared the sub-inspector's examination. After one-and-a-half years of training, Aanie took charge on Saturday as a probationary sub-inspector at the Varkala police station.
“To return to a place where I have struggled a lot, where I broke into tears regularly, as a sub-inspector in a police uniform...it’s not a position of struggle anymore," Aanie was quoted as saying by Asianet News.
She added, “It was my father's dream to see me as an IPS officer. So, I studied very hard and it became my mission to get a job. It's no use crying over the circumstances of our lives. We have to take the leap. It’s not a defeat until we decide that we have lost.”
Celebrating her achievement, Aanie wrote on Facebook, “Ten years ago, I sold lemonade and ice cream to people coming for the Varkala Sivagiri pilgrimage. Today, I return to the same place as a sub-inspector of police. How better can I take revenge on my past?”
The Kerala Police' official Facebook account also celebrated her feat with a note that read, “This is the story of a struggle. The life-story of our colleague who firmly stood up to challenges.”
Many have taken to social media to praise Aanie’s achievements in the face of adversity.
Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan wrote on Facebook, “...her life is a ray of hope. There's nothing that she hasn't undergone. But when she faces all those challenges and raises her son by keeping her head high, she's becoming an icon. She must be an inspiration for all the women to fight back. I want to meet her soon and congratulate her.”