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Friday, July 23, 2021

Beating odds: Single mother in Kerala selling lemonade now sub-inspector

Ten years after she ran a lemonade stand at Varkala town, S P Aanie (31) returned to the local police station as a sub-inspector on Saturday.

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi |
Updated: June 28, 2021 7:09:55 am
kerala newsKerala Police said SP Aanie “firmly stood up to challenges”.

The story of a single mother in Kerala who struggled against all odds to become a police officer has gone viral on social media, with congratulatory messages and notes of praise flowing in from all over, including politicians and film stars.

Ten years after she ran a lemonade stand at Varkala town, S P Aanie (31) returned to the local police station as a sub-inspector on Saturday.

Aanie, a native of Kanjiramkulam in Thiruvananthapuram district, had rebelled against her parents and married in her first year of college. Within two years, Aanie and her husband, who had a child together, had separated. However, her parents refused to accept her, and so, in tow with her eight-month-old son, Aanie, aged just 21, sought refuge in her grandmother’s house.

Though she continued her education by finishing her graduate degree and later did a post-graduate degree through distance learning, Aanie struggled to land regular employment, instead dabbling in a series of odd-jobs, from selling products as a door-to-door salesperson to selling insurance policies at banks.

Later, someone told her about the relatively good profit margins of selling lemonade and ice cream at festival grounds and tourist venues
in and around Varkala.

As a single mother, Aanie often found it difficult to get houses on rent and had to move constantly. Thus, she chopped off her hair, saying the “boy cut” saved her a lot of unwanted stares. “I realised that I can live and sleep anywhere with that haircut,” she said.

At this point in her life, a relative encouraged Aanie to apply to the police as an officer and loaned her the money for the examination. “It was my father’s dream to make me 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 life. We have to make a leap. It’s not a defeat until we decide that we have lost,” she told a news channel.

Aanie cracked the police examination and became a civil police officer in 2016, and three years later, she cleared the sub-inspector’s examination. Following a 18-month training course, she took charge as a probationary sub-inspector at the Varkala police station on Saturday.

She 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 official Facebook account of the Kerala Police shared her story with a note: “This is the story of a struggle. The life-story of our colleague who firmly stood up to challenges.”

Aanie’s story has won her admirers across Kerala. Actor Unni Mukundan posted, “Women empowerment becomes a reality not through big bindis, but through big dreams. The real fighter. Inspiration for all.”

Health Minister Veena George wrote on Facebook, “Even when her husband and parents abandoned her on the street, she fought against life’s challenges and earned graduate and postgraduate degrees, while raising an infant on her own. From starting out as a hawker to becoming a sub-inspector, she’s a source of energy for women across the world.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor wrote, “The life-story of SP Annie the warrior mother is very inspiring. She’s a model of success of life and mental strength.”

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