Earlier this year, a heartwarming picture of an Andhra Pradesh cop saluting his daughter, who is now appointed at an officer’s rank in the same department, went viral on social media. Now, Jessy Prasanthi, who also saluted her father, has opened up about the viral moment in an interview with Hello Vizag.
“Dad’s always been my hero,” says Ms Prasanthi, who is currently posted as the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Guntur district. Her father is Circle Inspector Y Shyam Sundar. As a young child, Ms Prasanthi says she once accompanied her father for patrolling and saw people saluting him. Since that day, she began saluting him every morning too – but it was only when she grew older that she realised the risks her father took on a daily basis.
“He’s had countless sleepless nights and missed hundreds of meals for his duty,” she says, adding that her father never complained despite working from remote locations and dealing with erratic work hours. He’d always smile and say–‘Yeh vardi bahut mahengi hai, iski izzat rakhni padhti hai!’ The feeling of doing right by others meant everything to him. He was the senior who always prioritised his team and made sure everyone got home safe before he did. “The feeling of doing right by others meant everything to him,” says Ms Prasanthi of her father. “Over the years, his driving force became mine,” says the daughter.
Jessy Prasanthi began preparing for the civil services exam and was selected in 2018. She joined as a DSP and, she says, the sight of her in a police uniform brought tears to her father’s eyes. For Ms Prasanthi, however, the moment of true validation came when she was on duty with her father.
“I was the officer-in-charge. When he reached the location, I was already there, police-ing my way through the patrolling. I don’t know what it was; perhaps it was seeing me in action for the first time, but mid duty, he stood up and saluted me!” she says. “And even though I’d been a police officer since a year by then, that was the day I actually believed it.”
“It’s been 2 years since I joined the force, and it’s not easy. Earlier it was Dad, but now it’s me who’s staying away from family. I can’t plan my days, because I never know what the next minute will bring. I barely get to sleep and every other day I walk into a pool of blood and witness dead bodies, says Ms Prasanthi. “Still, I wake up everyday wanting to go into work and serve the country. I wake up everyday wanting to be a good cop and doing right by my vardi.”
But I think my moment of validation came when we were on duty together and I was the officer-in-charge. When he reached the location, I was already there, police-ing my way through the patrolling. I don’t know what it was; perhaps it was seeing me in action for the first time, but mid duty, he stood up and saluted me! And even though I’d been a police officer since a year by then, that was the day I actually believed it.
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