On the night of 26/11, Anjali Kulthe had charge of 20 women, all due to deliver babies, a couple of them already going into labour. So when the staff nurse at Cama and Albless Hospital saw two guards being shot dead at the entrance to the hospital, she raced to close the heavy double doors of the ante-natal care ward, slamming them shut just as two gunmen sprinted up to the first floor landing.
From 8 pm until 8 am, Kulthe kept the 20 women and some of their family members calm in a tiny pantry space at the far end of the ward. For nearly an hour, the terrorists exchanged fire from the terrace landing with a poorly equipped police team below, the building shuddering with every grenade explosion.
Anjali emerged once from their hiding place, to escort a hypertensive woman in labour to the delivery room, one floor up. “Holding the patient’s hand, I walked up along the stairway wall, my mind only on the unborn baby’s safety,” she says. Now 50, she has a deep pride in having saved lives. Her son wants to join the armed forces, a decision she wholeheartedly supports.