Published: 07th March 2020
Everyday Sheroes: Anjali Divakaran took up nursing for the love of service. Here's why
In our run-up to Int'l Women's Day 2020, we have curated this series of stories of women who aren't extraordinary — but our world may just stop going around smoothly if they decided to call it a day
The first time we met Anjali Divakaran, she was teaching a young mother how to carry her newborn twin babies. The babies slept soundly and peacefully, without twitching even once. Content, the mother tells us how lucky she is to have a nurse as a friend. But nursing was never Anjali's first choice of career, she admits. She tells us how, as a child, she was always fascinated by white coats and stethoscopes. "It was my dream to be a doctor someday," says this 23-year-old. However, things did not go the way she had planned. Anjali could not appear for the medical entrance examination in 2014. But she was neither disheartened, nor ready to give up. "That was when I realised that I wanted to be in the medical field and not specifically become a doctor. I really wanted to help poor patients. Also, I was keen on talking to more people and getting to hear their stories. So, without wasting a year, I enrolled into a BSc Nursing programme," she narrates.
Hailing from Vaikom, Kerala, Anjali is the first nurse in her family. "My parents are both daily wage labourers and my elder brother is pursuing his Master's in Malayalam," she says. She tells us how, since the day she graduated, she's been bombarded with questions and doubts on health from family and friends. But she has no complaints. Instead, she tells us how this makes her proud and happy. "I love clarifying their queries. I've had a lot of young women approach me, especially with questions on menstruation and menstrual health. Undoubtedly, they are comfortable talking to a woman about this. Apart from that, several diabetic people in the neighbourhood approach me to get their insulin injections," she says.
It is a great profession for people who are keen on service. But at the same time, the work hours are awful and there is hardly a work-life balance
Right after getting certified as a nurse, Anjali joined the Surgical ICU of a private hospital in Ernakulam, where she worked for three months. "That was when I got first-hand experience of the nursing world. Things were quite different, to be honest. The work hours were stringent, we hardly got any time to even eat our food properly. Despite that, we were paid peanuts," she says. "And that's not all. We weren't allowed to take political stands and speak up about issues. Sadly, this made me miss the anti-CAA-NRC protests that were held in the city," she adds.
Having said that, Anjali also tells us that there were so many heartwarming instances that she'd come across. "I got to tend to a lot of patients. I remember a 35-year-old AIDS patient who was admitted multiple times. His wife would accompany him all the time. They were from a poor financial background and on multiple occasions, his wife would come and talk to me. She has even broken down a few times. I always listened to her and we;ve had long conversations. I hope her husband stays healthy," she says. Anjali's next goal is to go abroad and finish her Master's in Nursing. "It is a long shot but nurses are paid better abroad," she says. "The first step is to write the IELTS examination, which is a costly affair. The plan is to work for a year or so and then, move towards my dream, slowly and steadily," she says and signs off.
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