iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sumedha Deo, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 18, 2012
Women drivers unjustly get a bad rep and hold a special place in the average stand-up comedian’s heart. We talk to two girl-powered teams who’re out to prove everyone wrong and are gearing up for the Red Bull Soapbox Race.

The Swast Mast Mummies
SoapboxInvestment banker Ashish Pankhania must be an intimidated man. After all, the 28-year-old is the only guy in this team of feisty mothers, who’re homemakers over 40. “They wanted to enjoy life and not waste it away waiting for better days ahead,” says Ashish. “And the mummies found a way to do just that in a whacky way, when they first saw the Red Bull Soapbox Race ad on the History channel.” The three mummy team members — Hemlata, Mayura and Hema Pankhania — had the zest to participate, but lacked technical knowledge. That’s when they roped in Ashish, who is Hemlata’s eldest son and nephew to Mayura and Hema. He is in charge of the technical aspects while the women will put the pre-race performance and costumes together.

Enthusiasm levels in the team are definitely high — when asked for pictures for this story, the team posed as Uncle Scrooge and his three grand-nephews, Louie, Dewey and Huey. The team is building a Donald Duck cart, as it’s a character that the mummies have seen their children grow up with. “All of us are Gujarati and we naturally love garba, but we’re also big fans of the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance,” says Ashish. “You can definitely expect a ‘garba in Gangnam Style’ or something like that. But, for our final performance, you’ll have to wait till December 2.”

Don’t Call Me Cute
These girls from Mumbai are giving a new twist to Pamela Anderson’s line ‘Don’t call me babe’ from her 1996 action movie, Barbwire — their team is called Don’t Call Me Cute. “We’re a group of enthusiastic girls who like trying new things,” says Miloni Patel, the driver of the team. “I read about the race on Facebook while at work, and just bounced the idea off my colleagues. Within five minutes we had our first draft ready and registered for the event.”

The girls — Aditi Patkar, Prerna Malhotra, Anu Sachdev and Miloni — are in their 20s and work in media planning. As the only all-girls team in the race they’re determined to give it their best.

The team is still working on their car design and Miloni is a bit apprehensive about giving out details.

“All I’ll say is that our car design is in keeping with our team’s name and it’s ironic. It’s a concept that will make you go ‘aww cute’ as it comes out of its shell,” Miloni says.