Blazing a trail

Blazing a trail

International Women's Day

Blazing a trail

These are no ordinary women, for they have carved a niche for themselves in what are essentially male bastions.

They work as loco pilots of metro trains, in petrol pumps, as traffic constables, bus conductors and cab drivers. Though they work in tough circumstances, they have overcome the challenges and are shining in their respective professions.

On the occasion of ‘International Women’s Day’, Metrolife takes a look at their professional lives and what keeps them strong and competitive.

BMRCL has 36 women loco pilots. Of this, Line 1 of Metro Rail has 24 women and Line 2 has 12, working in different shifts.

A native of Shivamogga, 24-year-old Sindhu N, was thrilled when she got selected as a loco pilot. “My parents were more thrilled than I was when I got the job. It is a very challenging profession because you have to be alert at all times, to be able to take right decisions at the right time. You can’t afford to falter and make a wrong move,” says Sindhu.

Her colleague Radha H G, a native of Tumakaru, chose to be a loco pilot because she thought it was a “cool job.”

 “This profession gives me the opportunity to serve the public. The job also does well to sharpen one’s mind,” says Radha. She points out that the toughest part as a loco pilot
is to constantly keep the eye on the track and move at the set speed. “When the train enters the station, there maybe some people who may accidently cross the yellow line, especially during peak hours. So we have to be careful. This job comes with a lot of accountability and responsibility,” she says.

Sindhu and Radha have plenty of admirers. “People wave at us and our friends are always curious about our profession,” says Radha.

Rukshar working at the Shell petrol pump has to stand for long hours but she says it is a chance to meet different people. 

“The biggest lesson that I’ve learnt on the job is to be patient. There’s never a day when I don’t run into an argument with customers. They argue over small things but I’ve learnt to answer in a polite manner because we are trained never to lose our cool,” she says.

Lalitha, an accountant, was affected with polio in her right leg when she was five years old. However, that hasn’t deterred her from chasing her dreams. She has been an accountant with Shell for the last 12 years and manages three pumps.

“I joined this place after completing my graduation and did my MBA while working here. I never wanted my handicap to get in the way of leading an independent life. My family has been my biggest support,” she says with a smile.

It is the security that comes with a government job that prompted Geethanjali to join as a bus conductor with the BMTC five years  ago. She regularly travels on the Yelahanka-Shivajinagar route and works eight hours a day. She says, “The need for a secure job is what made me choose this profession. Sometimes, the days can get longer and it is tough to move around, especially in a crowded bus. The passengers can get nasty and they pass lewd remarks but I’ve learnt to become tough and manage tough situations,” she says.

It’s a different ball game for women traffic police personnel who say that they have to slog it out.

Tanya H N, a police constable, has to manage the traffic flow across different locations in the city. The toughest part of her job is to manage people’s temper. “Whenever a motorist is caught violating the rule and is fined, they begin to abuse us. We can’t afford to shout back because we have been trained to be calm at all times. The challenge is to get people to follow traffic rules,” she says.

Cabs have become an indispensable part of the city and being a cab driver is a 24-hour job, says Priyadarshini, a woman cab driver working with ‘Women’s Cab’.

“I have no fixed timings. I go for trips whenever there is a booking and that includes night shifts as well,” shares Priyadarshini.

She adds that it is safe to drive at night, thanks to GPS tracking system in the