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Woman Trucker Drives Past Conventions to Spend More Time With Husband

Kaur’s journey began when she realised that the only way she could spend adequate time with her husband, who is also a truck driver, was to accompany him on his long trips.

Pradeep Thakur | News18

Updated:June 9, 2018, 8:49 PM IST
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Woman Trucker Drives Past Conventions to Spend More Time With Husband
The couple’s story came to light during the recent water crisis in Shimla.
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Chandigarh: The pangs of separation from her husband made Jasbir Kaur get behind the wheel of a truck last year and since then, there has been no looking back for the 28-year-old.

Kaur and her husband Lakha Singh, 33, from Sangrur’s Chatha Nakta, have been married for the past 11 years and are parents to an eight-year-old boy.

Kaur’s journey began when she realised that the only way she could spend adequate time with her husband, who is also a truck driver, was to accompany him on his long trips.

The couple’s story came to light during the recent water crisis in Shimla.

The two were part of the 27-tanker fleet deployed by a trust named Sai Engineering Foundation that helped add Sutlej water at the Gumma source.

The trucks, which doubled up as tankers, carried 10 lakh MLD water per day.

For her contribution during the crisis, Kaur was honoured by Himachal Pradesh governor Acharya Dev Vrat on Saturday.

Vrat handed over a letter of appreciation to Kaur and said, “Jasbir and her husband worked 12-18 hours per day to help us during this crisis. The couple’s role has been outstanding.”

Recalling her conversation with her husband when she expressed her desire to learn driving, Kaur said, “One-and-a-half-years ago, we had gone to Rajasthan for a holiday and I expressed my desire to learn driving. I used to feel lonely whenever he was away for a couple of months so I thought that by becoming a helping hand to him, I can spend more time with him. Initially he thought I wasn’t serious, but eventually he taught me.”

Singh said, “She took six months to master it. From the past three months, she has been driving even overloaded trucks with ease. After she has started accompanying me, I manage to earn Rs 25,000 per month compared to the Rs 18,000 I got earlier.”

The couple’s son studies in a hostel and they don’t return home for days. Shuttling between cities across the country, they take turns to drive the truck.

Speaking to News18 over the phone about her experiences in a profession dominated by men, Kaur said, “Nobody appreciates what I do — especially my in-laws. They feel it is bringing insult to their name. This often makes me upset but he [Singh] tries to lighten my mood, saying if he doesn’t mind my driving, nothing else matters.”

Singh, who has been a support system for his wife, doesn’t understand what the fuss about women drivers is.

“Why is it such a big deal in our nation for a woman to ride a truck? Haven’t you seen female truck drivers in foreign countries? In other countries, driving a truck is just a job, irrespective of who the driver is. In fact, generally our profession is looked down upon. Even though she is my wife, we get lewd stares and her company is often questioned.”

From getting Kaur’s licence made to unnecessary harassment at the hands of factory staff, the couple has faced it all.

“A famous factory based in Barnala harassed us every time she accompanied me. Despite having a licence, she is not allowed to come inside the factory for unloading or loading the truck. She has to wait outside till I get free. I have often noticed that many male truck drivers enter the factory with a fake licence. However, just because she is a women, she isn’t allowed in despite valid documents,” said Singh.

Kaur, who can drive for 12 hours at a stretch, has a message for women everywhere.

“A man should never feel that his wife is dependent on him. Every woman should become independent and earn for herself,” she said.

Her husband added, “She has studied till Class 6 whereas I went to school till Class 4. Just because she is a woman, it doesn’t make her less in any way. She shouldn’t feel any different from other truck drivers.”

The dedicated couple hopes to buy their own truck someday. “If we don’t manage to, we’ll move to Saudi as one gets better money there,” they said.

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