Suganthi is a shining example of change in a new world where the walls of gender disparity are gradually crumbling. A "driver partner" with Uber, she braves the maddening traffic of Bengaluru from morning to evening every day but comes away with experiences that only serve to boost her confidence.
"I have been working as an Uber driver for 10 months now. I initially launched a business but suffered losses. That was when my husband asked if I was okay with driving an Uber taxi. He's the one who encouraged me to do this," Suganthi tells NDTV.
But like all professions, this one comes with its unique share of challenges too. Not all passengers are the same, and not every fellow-motorist on the road is courteous. "We have to handle passengers of every kind. Also, because of ego issues, people keep trying to overtake or abuse me. But I am facing it all because I want to achieve something in life. This is my dream," says Suganthi.
The woman driver claims that becoming a driver wouldn't have been possible without her family's wholehearted support. "I have three children - two boys and a little girl... They support my work, and so I have no tension. I have their support," she says, adding that her children pitch in to help in her absence.
"My elder son does some cooking. Although he goes to college, he also does a part-time job and helps fetch his siblings from school," she says.
This taxi driver sees the road ahead as challenging, but is confident of being rewarded in the end. "I would encourage other women to take up jobs like these too. We are no less than men," she says.
The job helps her family substantially in terms of financial security. "I earn 1,800 to 2,000 rupees a day. That's good money," she says. "I will continue driving until I have achieved everything I want in life."
That's when her phone beeps again, indicating that she has a new customer. The conversation's done, and it's time to hit the road again.
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