At the age of 18, abandoned by her husband and rejected by her family Anie Siva had nowhere to go. She wasn't just fending for herself, but for her six-month-old baby boy too.
Siva had no degree, no financial support and no emotional backing. But she didn't give up. She took to selling lemonade and ice cream on streets of Varkala in Kerala. More than a decade later, Siva has been posted to the same town as a sub-inspector, in a surreal twist of karma. This woman's story isn't a rags to the riches fairy tale, but a story of grit, determination and resilience.
Kerala | Anie Siva, who was abandoned with a baby at age of 18, has become Sub-inspector at Varkala PS— ANI (@ANI) June 27, 2021
I achieved this goal against all odds. I would be happy to see other women getting inspiration from my life in order to stand on their own feet: Anie Siva, SI at Varkala PS pic.twitter.com/ujquLjb5hn
Thirty-one-year-old Siva is a native of Kanjiramkulam in Thiruvananthapuram district. Apart from selling lemonade and ice cream, she also sold insurance policies and worked as a door-to-door salesperson to make ends meet, gradually saving up money to study further and sustain herself and her son. Being a single woman, with a young child in toe came with its own set of challenges. She struggled to find accommodation and resorted to wearing her hair short to avoid unwanted stares. "I realised that I can live and sleep anywhere with that haircut,” she said in an interview.
Then in 2016, she cleared the civil police officer exam, three years after which she cracked the sub-inspector's examination. After finishing 18 months of training Siva is back on the streets of Varkala, but this time as a cop, not as a single mother fighting for survival. Read more about her inspiring journey here.
Siva's struggle and eventual success has so much for us to learn from. It showcases the heartbreaking consequences women have to bear when they marry against family's wishes, when they find themselves abandoned by partners who they trusted and loved. It is also a tale of a single mother's struggle against social odds to raise a child and live a life under constant scrutiny, where your standing in society is deeply rooted to your marital status. Also, Anie Siva's story tells us so much about success and failure.
Siva refused to be bogged down by the weight of failures in the early years of her life as a single mom. She tried many things, several businesses, but nothing worked. But she never stopped seeking success. Instead of sitting on her hands and waiting to be rescued, she continued to try and open different doors in her life, until she found the one that worked for her. I think this is something every person, irrespective of their gender or age, needs to understand about life - our identity may be eventually pinned to our success, but it is our struggle that defines us, makes us who we are.
Second chances do not fall off the sky. Or let me rephrase it - there is no such thing as second chances. You can have as many chances as you want in your life, but you will have to keep seeking them out, instead of waiting for them to fall in your lap. There is no guarantee you will find what society defines as success. But yes, you will find a way to crawl out of deep, dark spaces that life pushed you in and start afresh.
The views expressed are the author's own.