When Aanie SP, a Kerala police Sub-Inspector, walked out of her abusive marriage more than a decade ago, she was merely 19, and already nursing a newborn. Today, at 31, she is policing the very small town whose streets she once roamed doing small jobs like selling insurance, lemonade, and ice cream.
Her life of grit and determination stands out even more at a time when a number of cases of dowry deaths and domestic abuse have been reported in the state.
“Married life is about adjustments. But when things cross the line, your ability to bear, especially in physical violence, there’s nothing to think about. Just call your parents. Go to your parents,” Ms Aanie told NDTV.
“My son was nine months old when I walked out of an abusive marriage…I would make Rs 3,500. Of which, Rs 3,000 would go towards the house rent, Rs 400 for my son’s day-care. I would be left with only Rs 100. I would do more odd jobs to make ends meet.”
At state capital Thiruvananthapuram’s Varkala police station, the Sub-Inspector appears prompt at addressing grievances, despite a stream of people visiting her to congratulate her on her being posting there recently.
“The feeling of returning to Varkala as a two-star police officer is something I cannot express. I feel proud,” Ms Aanie said, recalling her days there spent in struggle.
The Kerala police have now accepted, on compassionate grounds, her request to be posted in Kochi again for the sake of continuity in her son’s education.
Over the past two years, the policewoman’s mother has been living with her, though her father is yet to speak to her.
“I was not accepted by my parents, when I walked out of the marriage. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. I stayed with my grandmother and wrote my final year exam, with my son. I was already doing door-to-door sales…I then moved out and was by myself,” Ms Aanie said.
“I know the value of this uniform. The protection it gives, not only me, but to many other women, and the elderly.”