It was the moment of ecstasy when my desire of sitting in a car’s driving seat came true, that too on my 28th birthday: 8 October 2009. Most of us remember those jiffs when everything seems impossible to acquire but for anyone changing the gear with a standard clutch is hard to forget.
It was the life-changing dream accomplished with the support of my family. Not everyone is fortunate to have a mother who knows driving, but I’m. She is the one who taught me to drive!
I remember how emancipated and proud I felt driving on my own. It sounds like a normal thing because anyone can do it. Yes! Anyone. But mere a thought of car driving is laborious for someone who has reduced mobility like me.
I was affected by polio when I was hardly six months old. Ever since then, I have a disability in my legs.
But it was never a hindrance for me. The notion of driving comes from my love of man-oeuvre, the barriers that I have faced while travelling and the inspirations I saw around the globe.
During my university years back in 2009, I purchased the car, retrofitted it with hand control. Driving a car was certainly important for my self-confidence. It made me independent and happy. Away from home, a new place to stay, all alone, My Laal pari (my first car-Maruti Alto) was my lifeline in those 4 years at IIM Indore situated on a hill, as all my distant tasks were just a drive away. Not a day goes by that I am not indebted for the opportunity that driving has given me.
After heeding my driving skills, a lot of people with or without reduced mobility approached me if I could help them learn car driving. I would causally reply them to find a good driving school. But unfortunately, they never found one because it doesn’t exist. A thought just crossed my mind, a professor who teaches entrepreneurship to students, why can’t she be the one to teach driving and make a disabled person independent and happy. There are over billions of people having a disability, & most of them are dependent. Many can afford a car, a driver, but have to be dependent on others to go somewhere. That’s how I commenced my journey.
I geared up to take driving classes. My aunt also wanted me to teach her driving; she shared her experience of driving instructors who usually get irritated while teaching. Apart from helping differently-able, I also started focusing on elderly women.
With the support of my family, I started my journey from a two-wheeler to ‘on my own’.