Shanti Devi is believed to be the only woman truck mechanic in India. “I find it quite strange to see people looking at me with surprise when I am replacing truck tyres. But to me, there’s no such thing as a job for men or a job for women exclusively. I believe in following my heart. I do not adhere to parameters set by others,” Shanti told Gulf News.
“My husband, Ram Bahadur and I are a team and I can say with confidence that I juggle my job and my household duties with ease. I am as comfortable cooking for the family and working on the sewing machine as I am fixing a punctured tyre at our workshop – AW-7, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar (SGTN) in Delhi.”
SGTN is spread over an area of more than 75 acres and is reportedly the largest trucking stopover point in Asia. Over 70,000 trucks are parked here at any given time and around 20,000 trucks pass by every day. Here, the husband-wife duo started their business with a tea shop.
Shanti said, “Considering the tea shop’s success and its ideal location, opening a workshop made perfect sense. In the beginning, men would stare at me, probably wondering what I was doing in this stereotypically masculine profession, but things have changed. Nowadays, more women are starting to join their husbands by helping them run the family business.”
Shanti learnt all about automobiles and changing tyres by watching her husband and other mechanics while at work. Today, she knows that she is a better mechanic than most men and proves it through her work every day. “I believe a woman can do any job if she has a passion for it. Men still look at me with surprise and interest as I go about my job,” Shanti stated.