Truck driving is said to be a rough profession, with long, unearthly hours and uncomfortable working conditions. There are very few women truck drivers in the profession, which remains a hugely male dominated one. Bucking the trend is Yogita Raghuvanshi, a truck driver from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The 47-year-old mother of two took to the trucking business after her husband’s untimely demise in 2003.
Left with three trucks and two young children, Ms. Raghuvanshi took over her’s husband’s business and learnt truck driving. She later started driving trucks to initially fill in for a driver who fled after crashing one of her trucks. She hasn’t looked back ever since. The lady drives 10 wheeled trucks, mainly transporting perishables. Here’s what she has to say about her profession,
It was necessity that drew me to this profession. My daughter was eight and son only four when my husband died in a road accident. I realised I must work to fund their education. My husband was an advocate who, alongside, ran a transport business. He owned three trucks. I decided to hire a driver and a helper to keep the business going. My driver fled within six months of being hired. He drove the truck into a field near Hyderabad and I went there with a mechanic and a helper, got the vehicle repaired in four days and returned to Bhopal. My kids were alone at home during those four days. I was determined to learn driving. I had a helper accompany me on trips at first, but soon gained the confidence to travel alone. I know almost every nook and cranny of some places down south. Sometimes, I have to drive all night, especially if I am carrying perishables. If I feel sleepy, I park the truck near a fuel pump and steal a power nap. I walk like a confident man, wearing a turban and keeping my shirt collar up. (After being attacked by 3 men beside the highway while cooking) I fought them off. I was injured by the time help arrived, but I did give it back to them.
Driving trucks is by no means an easy job on India’s chaotic roads. It’s inspiring to see a woman like Yogita Raghuvanshi brave the odds and take up such a tough profession.