The 30-year-old Sushama Midde is Uber’s only female driver companion in Bengal circle. The self-confident Sushama, the resident of Belur in Bengal’s Howrah region, is channelizing a novel episode for commercial drivers in Kolkata where female commercial drivers are too rare.
In the momentous area of Belur, rental cars, tourist buses, and rickshaws jostle with one another to move the thousands of followers from all over the world.
Getting across the stream of traffic, Midde attempts to make her way to the key gate of Belur Math for her first passenger.
“That’s the one-way road, right? The one which is on the GT Road?” asks Midde over the handset to her first traveler of the day.
With around 15 rides on a daily basis, Midde’s profession as a cab driver has been smooth thus far.
Midde chooses to disregard the insults and frowns that she meets across now and then.
“When I started learning driving at a Uttarpara driving school it did not surprise anyone. But when I asked the instructor to help me get a commercial license, it left him stunned,” she added.
However, it all altered when they realized she was thinking about getting a better living to back up her family.
“I had to fight a lot to even get the driving test to clear my license. I was quite shocked the way offices made you go round and round. One day I was so angry that I asked them if a woman can govern a state, can’t she drive a car?” Midde decided to change paths when she came to know the salary from offering salon services to females was not sufficient.
“I was generally complaining to my uncle how I didn’t like any of the odd jobs I did. He got a little annoyed and quipped: ‘Go! drive a taxi. That’s all is left to do’.”
Though destined as a joke, Midde accepted it as stern guidance.
Behind Midde has a very supportive husband and a 13-year-old son, who couldn’t be more delighted of his mom.
“‘My mother drives a car, she’s a driver,’ my son keeps telling all his friends at boarding school. It was he who first told me, ‘You’re a woman, who is driving, you’ll see everyone will be proud of you’,” said Midde, her eyes gleaming in pride.
However, she is also fast to admire her hubby, who is differently-abled and drives an e-rickshaw.
“He always had faith in me and still thinks that whatever I do will be for the betterment of this family,” she said. “There is no hierarchy between us, we divide all the chores in the household. In fact, even if I’m home and might have dozed off, he cooks for me and wakes me up in time for the meal.”