Rapid Metro Gurgaon: The female train operators who are breaking gender barriers
Gurgaon Rapid Metro’s young female train operators narrate the experiences at their ordinary yet extraordinary profession.gurgaon Updated: Jul 12, 2017 13:25 IST
Next time when you board Rapid Metro Gurgaon, don’t be surprised to find a female train operator in the driver’s cabin. Meet 22-year-old Gayatri Singh and 25-year-old Priya Sachan, who have been working as train operators for Rapid Metro. These women of steel work hard to match up to the expectations of the passengers on board, and feel happy when their parents feel proud of them.
‘It feels wonderful when I take my parents for a ride’
As a child, Gayatri Singh never travelled by Indian Railways but little did she know that after growing up she will take up the profession of being a train operator. “Ek train operator ko train operate karni hai toh apni responsibility pe karni hoti hai,” says Gayatri, who is from Meerut. She underwent a six-month training and joined Rapid Metro Gurgaon a year back, immediately after she completed her education at DN Polytechnic, Meerut.
Back home, her choice of profession surprised many of her friends and relatives. “There has always been a curiosity about my job among people in my home town. My family knew about metro trains operational in Delhi-NCR but they had never travelled in it till I took up this job. My extended family was also happy with my choice of profession since they always wanted me to become a successful, independent woman. Today, it feels wonderful when I take my parents for a ride, whenever they visit me from Meerut,” says Gayatri.
When asked about the kind of reactions she gets from the commuters, her face brightens up and she says, “Achcha, ladki chala rahi hai! (Oh, it’s a woman driving the train) — this is a very common reaction that I get from passengers.” And there are many other incidents that have stayed with her. “Once a group of friends took turns to cross-check if I was the one driving the train. It was as if they couldn’t believe their eyes... Hum apni job kar rahe hain, ladke bhi toh drive karte hain (We are just doing our job. Men drive too). It will take some time to change perceptions.”
So, what keeps her going? “When I drive a train, it’s not just my life that’s at stake but also the lives of thousands who ride with me. And that is my main motivation. Safety and coordination is immensely important in my job. I also ensure that my focus is on point, at all times. We have to drive keeping the passengers’ safety in mind, and also other aspects such as departing timely. A smooth functioning of a train requires coordination from station staff and operation control as well,” adds Gayatri, who is loving her independent life.
‘Whatever I have experienced has been an emotional journey’
For 25-year-old Priya Sachan from Kanpur, her profile of a train operator, in Rapid Metro Gurgaon, is like any other job that requires dedication, focus and confidence.
“It’s been five years now,” says Sachan, who joined Delhi Metro as a trainee train operator in 2012, “I never planned it but whatever I have experienced has been an emotional journey. It’s very difficult, you need to concentrate for more than six hours. I grew up on the job. It has taught me to be patient, and has made me grow mentally strong and confident. We are working at a very crucial public system of transportation, and safety is of utmost importance here,” adds Sachan, an alumna of Delhi University’s Rajdhani College.
She to cleared the required exams and medical tests post her training, which reminds her of her disciplined school days. “We were given first-aid training along with fire and safety trainings. We also got trained in simulators and signalling systems,” she recalls.
What was her family’s reaction? “My family is quite cool but it has always been education-first in my home. They [My parents] said it was up to me to either pursue masters or take up a job. I chose a field that was new and different, and my parents feel proud because of the [kind of] attention I receive,” says Sachan, who is happy to work in shift timings of 7am to 3pm: “It gives me time to pursue my hobbies in the evening, and I can fuel my passion for dance.”
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