When Protima Poddar backs out of the garage every morning, she is aware that her husband Shibeshwar will make sure she maneuvers her way out of the spot with ease. Protima drives bus number 1458, popularly called Dada-Boudi’s (brother and sister-in-law) bus that plys on the Nimta-Howrah route near Kolkata.
42-year-old Protima became an expert bus driver under Shibeshwar’s careful tutelage, who pushed her to learn driving in 2008. Shibeshwar, a driver by profession, drove an ambulance till an unfortunate accident in 2006 left him shaken and forced him to stay away from driving.
Although Shibeshwar pushed her to try driving bus, Protima was unsure of whether she could handle such a large vehicle. Therefore, she got behind the wheel of a secondhand taxi first and became the sole breadwinner of her family. Once they had gathered enough money and confidence, the couple bought a minibus that Protima started driving.
From battling misogynistic taunts from passengers to obnoxious comments from neighbours and relatives, Protima and Shibeshwar stuck together through thick and thin against the gender stereotyping.
This is the couple’s story. Check out the video to learn more about them.