One of our usual days in Delhi: we were watching the
traffic and trying to escape from the heat,
with one difference:
Between all the cars and buses with male-drivers,
there was one strong woman driving the bus number 345: Delhi’s one and only
female bus driver.
There she was, short hair, jeans and shirt, smiling at
us: Saritha. She was the pure coolness.
By attending her bus on her route, both ways, we saw
her in her calmness. She somehow seemed to be above the stressful and chaotic
atmosphere of the streets and crowded bus.
While she was taking her break, we asked her about her
own experiences as a female driver. It was an interesting and long talk. She
really let us know personal details about her life and wishes for the future.
She was born as a girl in quite poor conditions. Her father raised her as if
she was a boy, because he had no sons. That’s why she got used to wearing short
hair, even though it is unusual for a woman in India. When she was old enough
to go for it, she went to a training of Azad Foundation (now you might know,
how we connected) to become a bus driver. It was an enormous change for her
whole family, when she got the job as a driver. Saritha started making money to
support her family and steer her life, as she is steering the bus. “What is
your most important wish for the future?” , we asked her. “Getting a permanent
job as a bus driver!”, she told us happily.
Later on, after saying good bye to Saritha, we took
another mean of transport to get back to our friend`s home: the Delhi Metro.
Delhi’s first metro line opened in 2002 as a
consequence of heavy traffic and the huge air pollution, that was no longer
manageable, caused by that. 25% of daily 2.2 million metro passengers in Delhi
are women. That’s the reason why they built separate women coaches that are
reserved for them only. Sexual harassment decreased and women got the new
freedom of wearing whatever they want. Read more here:
Women coaches on Delhi Metro and the one and only
female bus driver on the streets of this city: Examples of ideas that pave the
way for more independence and safetyss for women in India.
We like! ;)