Woman – A journey of life in an auto rickshaw
On 24th Feb 2012, Me and my Wife were waiting for an auto rickshaw at Banaswadi to go towards the Utility Building in Bangalore. Many auto rickshaws passed by and none were available empty and were pre-occupied by other local citizens.
Finally a fast moving auto rickshaw approached our way and to my and my wife’s surprise the driver of the auto rickshaw was a lady with a long hair just below her shoulders neatly platted. The normal and regular dress code of auto is the Khaki shirt and pants that one would and is advised to wear as an auto rickshaw driver. She was indeed in the same uniform of male auto rickshaw drivers. Many a times I have noticed that few male auto rickshaw drivers do not follow the local rules applied of wearing the uniform for auto drivers.
With a smile on her face she asked my wife, “Where do you want to go?” to that my wife replied in the local language which is Kannada in Bangalore saying, “to the Utility building” She asked back “You want me to drive slowly, right?” This question was answered with a little grin as “YES”. The positive answer had been for a reason because my wife was carrying (a child with in her) and that would make us a little comfortable with the drive.
As usual, the Lady driver turned her meter or the other way to say it is put down the meter which initiates its countdown at the cost or fare that it would charge by the time we reach our destination. It was an electronic meter which started off with the minimum rate or charge of Rs. 17. The auto took off smoothly and the Lady driver was very keen that she does not bump here and there as the roads in Bangalore are tough to have a smoother ride, well we all know that.
Slowly but, steadily we reached near Ulsoor lake or the RBNMS ground road. Then I could not hold back to ask her which was running back in my mind to ask, “Since when are you driving auto rickshaw?” To this she immediately answered, “13 years sir” my next question was to ask her “How many lady drivers are driving auto rickshaws in Bangalore?” to which without hesitating she answered “12 Lady drivers in Bangalore” I had many questions to ask but, as we were almost reaching our destination I could not afford to waste our time or to divert her (Lady driver) concentration. I would honestly say that I, was a bit scared about the driving credentials of an auto rickshaw by a woman. After I reached the destination and we (me and my wife) got down from the auto rickshaw that is when I realized nothing was wrong in a woman driving an auto rickshaw and the most important thing was that the commuters in this auto in few minutes had reached their destination and were safe enough, as safe enough as it would have been with the other male auto rickshaw drivers. We paid the charges as per the meter and to be honest a little more than the meter as a tip for the smooth ride to our destination.
The Lady Driver of this auto rickshaw was about 35 years. I am not good at guessing ages just by looking at anybody. There was no difference in the ‘Woman auto rickshaw driver’ to all the attention she was receiving throughout our journey en-route to our destination. She would just wave her hands at all turns and signals as per the road rules established. Shows overtake signals to other fellow auto rickshaw drivers (as she had to drive the auto rickshaw a little slow for us). All hand signals and road rules followed exactly that were taught in the RTO office when we approach for a ‘Learner’s License’ or ‘Driving License’
I am glad that there are 12 Woman auto rickshaw drivers in Bangalore, India, who have or would have opted for this profession. However, What I understand here is that nothing is different for Men and Women. They just need to make choices in their lives. 13 years of her experience could also make much better auto rickshaw drivers than the new men auto rickshaw drivers that are taking in this profession.
This was the first time both of us (Me and my wife) had experienced a smooth, safe and surprising journey by an auto rickshaw driven by a Woman. And, we are happy that we did travel in a ‘Woman driving an auto rickshaw’.
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He lives in Bangalore, India & works for a service industry.
He is an aspirant. He likes blogging, reading, photography & learning new stuffs.
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