“I was married off at a very young age; around the time I was in my 7th standard to my mother’s brother. I gave birth to two kids – a girl and a boy. But right from the time we tied the knot, I was subject to extreme physical abuse. My husband used to suspect me for everything and tortured me everyday. Right about the time when my son turned three, things turned for the worse in the house. My husband picked up a fight with me and cut open my mangal sutra from my neck and fled the house. It’s been 13 years since he left and we haven’t heard a word from him. We have no idea about his existence!
Left to my own with two young kids, I turned to work in different places. I began my work as a factory worker which made Dhoop sticks. Here is where I met a friendly elder manager who helped me raise the kids by helping with rent and school fees etc. He was 84 at the time and he took great care of my family, like an affectionate grandad. With his passing 6 years later, I was once again untethered and fell into a deep abyss. I was finding it so difficult to make ends meet with my daily wages.
And that’s when I decided to learn auto driving. After approaching many people to learn, I rented an auto myself and met with a drastic accident a couple of times. With time, I got the hang of it and started driving an auto for my living. In the lockdown, it was quite difficult to manage but I have earned a reputation with my close circle of people and they approach me for rides often.
I also do transportation for heavy duty machinery and certain items like drums and paint cans so this helps me stay afloat. To anyone reading this, I would just like that, women should come out of the shell and stand to fight like equals. I get called on duty during the wee hours in the night but nothing can stop me. I have been on the receiving end of many abusive comments and intimidating behaviours from the opposite gender but nothing can stop me.
My sole aim is to make sure that I give my daughter the education she deserves and settle her into a comfortable position in life. I want my kids to have everything I was denied as a child and for that, I’ll keep striving till I meet my goal.”