Women have begun flying jets, driving taxis and even trucks. But have you ever met a mechanic, who’s a woman? Well, that’s one male dominated bastion that has finally been challenged. Meet Shanti Devi, believed to be India’s first lady truck mechanic. Yes, this 55 year old grandmother fixes big trucks for a living. And she’s been doing this for 20 years now. How cool is that?
There’s a back story to this…
More than 20 years ago, Shanti Devi, along with her husband Ram Bahadur migrated to Delhi from Madhya Pradesh, in search of greener pastures. After doing a few odd jobs, the couple decided to open a tea shop at Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, a sprawling, 75 acre truck terminus that sees about 20,000 trucks passing through daily.
Business flourished, and the couple soon had to engage helping hands to run the tea shop. They soon decided to diversify. The couple set up a truck repair shop, and Shanti Devi began assisting her husband. After observing her husband and other mechanics for a while, Shanti Devi began working on trucks, initially taking up minor jobs.
Truck drivers, who were initially hesitant to let a woman handle heavy duty jobs such as fixing punctures, eventually warmed up to her skill and strength. It isn’t uncommon to now see Shanti Devi fixing punctures on 50 kilogram truck tyres. In fact, the lady claims that she’s better than many men at fixing trucks.
All this grit and determination helped the couple buy a house of their own, five years ago. Along the way, the couple managed to raise 8 kids, and Shanti Devi is said to have also helped her 6 siblings find their feet. The couple now take time off now and then, to visit their 8 kids, all settled in different states of India. Inspirational stuff this!