Gangtok: If we were to look for heroes among us in the COVID-19 pandemic, then doctors would be the first that would come to our mind.
On National Doctor’s Day, let us meet one such corona warrior — a doctor, a defender and now the second woman from Sikkim to become a captain in the Indian Army.
Deepshika Chettri was commissioned into the Indian Army on October 21, 2020. As a doctor, she has volunteered, freelanced and worked in several rural parts of south India. An alumna of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, she did her internship at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in Delhi.
“Since childhood, I moulded my life in a way to be able to join the forces someday. I took up mathematics after Class 10 along with biology with a motive to join the National Defence Academy. Only later, I learnt that girls weren’t allowed there,” said Chettri.
So, Chettri took up biology in a bid to become a doctor in the armed forces. “In transit, I fell in love with medicine and I love being a doctor as much as I love being a soldier. I am deeply grateful that I get to live the best of both the worlds as a combat medic,” she added.
However, getting selected for the Indian Army was not an easy task for the 26-year-old doctor. “It’s not an easy process, especially for girls. There are thousands of smart, able and motivated doctors who apply and there are merely 15-30 seats for women every couple of years,” she said.
Then, the medical exam is another hurdle. “However, I am deeply grateful because I remember my last interview went really well. When I walked out of the hall, I had the subtle confidence that I was selected,” she said.
At school, Chettri was part of Bharat Scouts & Guides in Tashi Namgyal Academy. She was also the school head girl at St Joseph’s Convent. She went on to join NCC at Birla Balika Vidyapeeth in Pilani till 2013.
Chettri credits her father for the motivation to become an Army doctor. “My father, Rajendra Kumar Chettri, is a well known name in Sikkim football and now in badminton. Being a sportsman, he ensured that I stayed fit and disciplined all throughout my life. He saw that spark in me before I saw it in myself. He has always trusted me more than society,” she said.
While travelling in South India as part of her medical journey, Deepshika also volunteered for Isha Ashram in Coimbatore.