Gender bender: Women hit the road to freedom in top gear
As the clock struck nine on a bright Saturday morning, 78 women drivers pressed the accelerator and zipped pass the city roads to participate in the sixth-edition of India’s longest inter-state ‘Women’s Car Rally’ — breaking both gender and driving stereotypes. Leena Dhankhar reports.gurgaon Updated: Apr 08, 2012 00:58 IST
As the clock struck nine on a bright Saturday morning, 78 women drivers pressed the accelerator and zipped pass the city roads to participate in the sixth-edition of India’s longest inter-state ‘Women’s Car Rally’ — breaking both gender and driving stereotypes.
The rally was flagged off from Fortune Select Hotel on Sohna Road by last year’s winners Divya Aggarwal and Manisha Saini, both participants this year as well. “It is an experience of being an independent woman. It’s also a platform to show to the society that we are much better than men when it comes to driving,” said Aggarwal, visibly anxious to repeat last year’s feat.
Organised by city-based NGO Uthaan, the women’s car rally is one of the most eagerly-awaited events in the city.
Not judged only on speed, the rally tests the calculation, confidence, reversing and car parking techniques of a woman driver. Started in 2006 with just 28 participants, the rally has gained popularity over the years and gets participants from all over the country now.
“This time, I had to say no to 20 registrations as there were already 78 participants. We did not even advertise this time and got amazing response. All kinds of cars were seen in the rally and it was all a mind game and not just about speed. There was no age bar and women from all age groups and backgrounds participated,” NGO president Sanjay Kaushik said.
Participant Gauri Gupta said, “Adventure sports is my passion and I have come all the way from Bhopal.”
Based on the TSD (time, speed and distance) module, the rally tends to be more specific with reference to following rules and regulations.
The first break was around 1pm at Alwar, Rajasthan, for lunch.
By this time, tension started setting in among the drivers as they got to know about their competitors’ status.
The most interesting part of the journey was a tea break at Baswa where potters taught them a thing or two about pottery. The rally culminated at 5pm at Bhandrej Fort (near Jaipur) — at a distance of 286 km from Gurgaon.
The fort had organised the night-stay for participants. The idea was to give them a chance to bond with each other.