'Motherhood Challenging Yet Beautiful': Meet This 44-Year-Old India’s First Woman Firefighter

'Motherhood Challenging Yet Beautiful': Meet This 44-Year-Old India’s First Woman Firefighter

Motherhood is a beautiful journey wherein right from family, friends and colleagues, play an important role in a woman's life.

Raina AssainarUpdated: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 12:45 AM IST
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For Harshini Kanhekar, India’s first woman firefighter, it was her dream come true when she finally got into Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) through campus selection as fire officer in 2006. For the love of uniform, Kanhekar had joined the National Fire Service College in Nagpur, where she had the distinction of being the only woman student.

Currently serving as a deputy general manager in fire services at ONGC, she recounted her long journey filled with several challenges; some of them beautiful like motherhood. Hailing from Nagpur, Kanhekar had her first posting in Gujarat and then after four years, she was transferred to offshore drilling services at Sion.

In 2016, a biker by passion, she got married to a fellow biker Pranish Urankar. Two year later, they were blessed with a baby boy, Prahar, who is now in senior kg. “While motherhood is the best thing that could happen to me, it was also the most challenging phase,” Kanhekar said. Without the “unconditional support” of her husband and in-laws, it would have been immensely difficult for her to pursue her dreams.

When she resumed job after 10 months of maternity leave, her workplace was at the BKC. While there was a creche available at the office, travelling from the Panvel residence all the way to the BKC, that too with the child, was a daunting task, said Kanhekar. “There were two hours of bus travel and carrying the child in the bus was really tedious. He used to cry during the journey,” she recounted. After four months, Kanhekar heaved a sigh of relief when she got a transfer to Panvel. However, things had begun to fall in place, but then Covid struck.

After the pandemic abated, the office resumed and she had to often attend meetings, while also juggling to care for Prahar. “That is when my in-laws pitched in, assuring that I should focus on work, while they will take care of my son,” she exclaimed, adding that even her peers extended immense support. “During emergencies, I had to report to the office even on holidays. In such scenarios, I used to take my son along and he would sit on my chair. My colleagues have taken care of him like a superstar, helped him in studies, played with him and kept him entertained,” she underlined.

Motherhood is a beautiful journey wherein right from family, friends and colleagues, play an important role in a woman's life. Especially for a mother who works, a helpful family and supportive office culture plays a great role, said Kanhekar.

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