As the world completes a year of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the ravages of the crisis become even more apparent with each passing day. The trying times have rendered many helpless and snatched away many fruitful one-in-a-million opportunities. With the completion of one year since the inception of the virulent pandemic, the world pays homage to its unsung heroes who have been fighting the heavy hand dealt to them by the pandemic and its casualties. Even today, the stories of many remain unheard due to the lack of a willing ear that would listen and appreciate the struggles fought behind closed doors, away from the public eye. It is imperative to recognize and pay due respect to these personal battles of many helpless souls who have been meandering their way through the ravages of the challenging pandemic.
Shikha Malhotra’s story has inspired many in the recent weeks following the pandemic. Currently, an actress with a vibrant Instagram feed that focuses on her TV projects and film ventures, Shikha’s story is no ordinary one. It is no short of a modern fairytale that inspires those it meets on its path. A resident of Mumbai which was till recently one of the most severely affected COVID-prone regions with the 2nd highest caseload recorded worldwide, Shikha Malhotra possesses a nursing degree and expresses an avid knack for volunteering at one of the most densely populated hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donning a white nurse’s uniform along with a white cap sitting atop her ripples of black hair, Malhotra sat near a poster of a movie she recently starred in, at her home, and claimed humbly, “I am first a nursing officer, then an actress.” This speaks of the indispensable diligence of a personality who recognizes and acts upon the need of the hour. Through much struggle and dedication, Malhotra braved the virus, despite of falling prey to its fetters and staying in the hospital’s COVID ward for months on end, often in isolation. However, little did she know that good days were farther than it seemed. She soon succumbed to a stroke that effectively paralyzed the right half of her body. It was the next “big setback” for the teary-eyed 25-year-old who believed that she wouldn’t be capable of walking again in the future.
After much care and support, along with an indomitable mental spirit, Shikha Malhotra emerged victorious. She resumed her acting career with the promise to cater to the medical sector whenever needed. Sitting at her home with posters of her movies adorning the walls, Shikha asserted, “Seeing life and death in the hospital changed me.” She spoke of her experiences making her a better, more mature, and grounded individual, grateful for all that she has been blessed with. Her story evoked tacit emotions in the hearts of many around the world, with the likes of The Washington Post and ABC News featuring her tale of survival. In trying times like these when the world faces a scarcity of nurses and medical staff, Shikha Malhotra emerges as a resolution and a story to recount over the years.