Like thousands of working mothers in the city, Akanksha Redij’s day involves the monotony of waking up at 4 am, travelling long distances in crowded local trains for an eight-hour work shift, and spending the remaining time to raise her son and run an efficient home.
But by awarding her with an achiever’s certificate on Women’s Day, Redij’s workplace made her feel proud of a life that is special even if it is ordinary.
The 39-year-old has been working as a postwoman for 10 years, and was one of the six women felicitated by the Postal Women’s Welfare Association at Fort’s General Post Office on Tuesday.
Redij travels nearly 130 kms from her home in Nalasopara to Vashi in Navi Mumbai, where she visits 60 buildings every day to deliver letters. A babysitter stays with her five-year-old during the day, but that doesn’t always make motherhood easy.
“My son often asks me why I don’t come to pick him up from school like the other moms,” said Redij, who loves her job despite the hard work. “Earlier, people would assume I’m a saleswoman and shut their doors in my face, but now they respect postwomen much more.”
Meanwhile, another woman achiever was felicitated at city-based literary forum Urdu Markaz –Fatima Ansari, 75, the oldest surviving teacher of the Anjuman-e-Islam schools.
A student of the Anjuman’s Saif Taiyebi Girls’ School, Ansari was one of the rare women of her generation to complete post-graduate studies. After her Masters in history, she decided to teach at the very institute that schooled her, and in a 32-year career, became one of Anjuman’s favourite teachers.
“I wanted to become a doctor, but my grandmother was against it. Switching to the Arts stream after six months in Science was a very big compromise,” said Ansari, who taught Urdu, History, English and math at the school.
Some of her well-known students include actor Tabassum and city-based Urdu poet Rafia Shabnam Abidi.