Breaking the stereotype, a 30-year-old woman has become the only woman autorickshaw driver in Noida and Ghaziabad, a profession that is still considered a man’s domain.
Mother of three, Ruby Singhal took to driving almost six years ago when her family had suffered huge financial losses. She said apart from other expenditures, she uses her earnings to pay the school fees of her children.
“I know people get surprised when they see me driving an autorickshaw. This is considered a man’s job,” Ruby said.
“My father and husband were against my decision to drive an autorickshaw, but I went ahead with my plan. Angry with me, my father said I should not enter his house again. But I did not give in and stood by my decision to support my family. My brother extended help and lent me the money to buy a new autorickshaw. I won the confidence of my husband once I started earning and supporting him financially,” she said.
Ruby’s husband Ajay Singhal runs a small transport business. Her three children — 12-year-old son, eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son — study in a private school in Ghaziabad.
“I live in Bhim Nagar area of Ghaziabad and not many people in the locality send their children to good schools. I have studied till Class 8 and I know the importance of education,” she said.
When asked if the rising incidents of crime on roads in the two cities scare her, Ruby said she is fearless.
Recalling an untoward incident, Ruby said a couple of years ago, some hooligans hired her autorickshaw and refused to pay the fare. She said they even abused her.
Ruby said she refused to take it lying down and beat the accused in public.
“In these six years, I have learnt one survival technique — one should be a ‘dabang’ (brave). I never think twice before beating hooligans. I am happy with who I am. I think every woman who is going through a financial crisis should start working,” she said.
Ruby’s brother Pawan Jain, who also drives an autorickshaw, said his sister is quite fearless and he is not worried about her.
“I am always here to support her but she hardly needs help. She deals with all situations on her own,” Jain said.