Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Talented Bangalore Student!!

21-year-old Gayathri, a computer science student who wants to join the IAS, drives an auto and does part-time modelling for a living. Knowing how to handle bigots and boorish men comes with the turf, someone Bangalore’s much-pestered women could take a leaf from…

Gayathri S, a Computer Science student who wants to join the IAS, drives an auto and does part-time modelling for a living

Gayathri S is petite, but behind the demure exterior is a strong-willed woman. This 21-year-old computer science student from Sri Revana Siddeshwara Institute of Technology, Chikkajala had to put aside her dreams of a career in the administrative service and drive an autorickshaw to support her family. Everyday, her work takes her through the lanes of Malleshwaram, Palace Gutthalli, Vyalikaval, and MG Road, and she has learnt to ignore unpleasant situations or, if it so warrants, to confront them.

Considering the fact that her work is male dominated, she is often singled out by her co-workers. “The younger auto drivers do make unflattering comments sometimes. I don’t have time to react to them and frankly I don’t care. The older men are kinder. They keep asking me why I had to do this, it’s not nice and all that,” said Gayathri. “See, I don’t park in the stands anyway. Since the auto is my family’s own, we park it next to my house. That way I get to keep my interaction with my fellow drivers minimal,” she added.

She, however, knows how to protect herself from lecherous men. “Most of the time I take female passengers and college girls. I try not to take men, especially younger ones, some of whom seem to assume I am fair game,” she said.

Gayathri with mother Rajeshwari


Gayathri’s father left the family when she was in class 10, but as an innately proud person she refuses to paint herself a victim. Her father used to be an auto driver himself and she first learnt to drive an auto from him when she was still under-age. “When I was in class nine and 10, just for fun I would drive the auto, and I am glad I did it so that now it helps me put food on the table,” said Gayathri.

This young woman started driving for a living only eleven months ago and the decision was propelled by the falling heath of her mother, Rajeshwari. “After my father left, my mother would somehow manage to make both ends meet by making incense sticks, but then her health started failing and she had to stop,” Gayathri said.

It was then that she decided to take things into her own capable hands. “We already had the auto and I knew how to drive it, so it was a natural choice. Initially, there were some hiccups. While attaining my licence the inspector told me that I cannot drive in my auto because he thought that I would have modified some parts to my benefit. He gave me another auto for the test drive and I cleared the test. That’s when I got my licence,” she added.

Besides driving, she manages to attend college three days a week.


Gayathri has big dreams but her immediate plan is the education of her younger brother, Purushottam who is studying in class 10, and her sister, Usha who is in sixth standard. “I have to take care of their education, and after my education I want to pursue IAS,” said Gayathri. There are also debts to repay
“We have a Maruthi van that we bought on loan. In the morning I leave home by 6:15 and pick up school children from Malleshwaram, Kavalbyrasandra, R T Nagar and Hebbal and drop them off at St Joseph’s school,” said Gayathri. She also has a driver who brings the children back from school. But doesn’t she miss her own classes? “Yes I do. I am barely able to attend three days a week. But there is an accountant called Ramesh in my college who helps me a lot. He knows my problems and helps me with finances whenever I have to pay money for attendance shortage,” said Gayathri.

On an average, Gayathri gets to earn about Rs 15,000. “But out of that, Rs 2,500 goes for rent, Rs 2000 is given to the driver. My mother’s doctors bills and medicines cost about Rs 2, 500 to Rs 3,000 and my fuel costs about Rs 4000.

Whatever I do the money never seems to be enough,” she said.

This IAS aspirant also takes up a number of promotional jobs apart from part-time modelling. “In fact a Tamil TV serial director, Ramesh wants to make a serial on my life and wants me to act in it too. I only have to work during the weekends for the serial, which will appear in Vijaya TV,” said Gayathri. This young brave heart goes on to add that, “Sometimes I don’t get sleep at night. I keep thinking I do so much but still money is never enough. But then I console myself because I know problems are never permanent.”

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