Changing the old-school convention that usually places a male behind the wheel, 31-year-old Uber driver Sushama Midde is revolutionising the role of a woman in today’s world. She joined Uber a year back with a dream to live independently. She has received the unconditional support of her closely knit family. Her passion for driving made her switch from the job of a beautician. Today her vehicle is her proud possession, and one day she wishes to own a small house, every corner of which will echo with joy and emotions. Excerpts:
Q What kind of problems do you face at work and how do you overcome them?
To tell you the truth, I have not faced any such problem at work since I have been fortunate enough to get cooperative and supportive riders so far. In fact, their words of encouragement and appreciation have always motivated and pushed me every day to work even better. On certain occasions, it is quite difficult for me to navigate through certain areas but the assistance of GPS is a blessing.
Q How do you balance your work and personal life?
My work-life balance should be completely attributed to the unfailing support I have been receiving from my family. It’s a very close knit, small family comprising of my husband, son and me. My son studies in the eighth standard at Barrackpore Ramakrishna Mission and stays in the school hostel. With tremendous help from my husband when it comes to daily chores, I am able to kick start my day right since early morning. I drive six days a week and take one day off — usually on Sundays — and have never pressurised myself at any given point to strike a balance between work and family. This one day is entirely dedicated to my family and I specially look forward to visiting my son and spending a quality time with him.
Q How does your family support you?
The relentless support from my family cannot be described in mere words. Through a lot of turbulences and hardships, their support has remained the only constant. Being a woman, I was never imposed to take up the onus of all the household chores of the family.
My husband has always come forward to divide the household tasks and run errands just to ensure that I could venture out there and earn a name and living for myself. After a long and tedious day, I have always returned home to discover to my utter delight that instead of waiting for me, my husband ends up finishing the chores all by himself.
A support system like this uplifts me to carve a niche for myself professionally and I could not have been happier. My son, on the other hand, takes immense pride in me and joyfully narrates my tale to all his friends and teachers. I, as a mother, feel accomplished to have created such fond moments for him.
Q What made you switch your profession from beautician to driver?
The urge to do the unconventional has always bugged me. I always wanted to earn a name for myself as a trend setter. While working as a beautician, I always dreamt about doing something better and diverse. The aversion towards my job of a beautician started growing stronger by the day and I gradually made up my mind to follow my passion for driving. In a casual discussion with an uncle of mine on what can be pursued, he suggested in a funny passing remark that I could become a cab driver. It was a life altering statement for me as I took this seriously and haven’t looked back ever since. I took up all the challenges in my stride and began to put in all the effort to learn driving and obtain a license. I enrolled myself at a driving coaching centre in Uttarpara and in due course of time, grasped the skill and came out with flying colours.
Q How did your association with Uber happen?
When I had secured my driving license, I voluntarily walked up to Uber’s office with an application and requested them to provide me with a vehicle and on-board me as a driver partner on their platform. Initially I was driving someone else’s vehicle; however, I eventually managed to buy my own and today, the vehicle that I drive is my proud possession.
Q Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Like any other individual, I also nurture a precious dream which is, owning a small house; every corner of which will echo with joy, hard work, emotions, stories and achievement. With little savings every day, I want to be successful enough in next couple of years to have my own house where I can invite my family and friends with my head held high. I believe with my sheer perseverance and blessings of the closed ones, my dream will turn into a reality one day. Besides, I also desire to raise my son into a generous and respectable human being.
Q As an inspiration for many, what will be your advice to all women out there?
Dare to dream, dare to wish. Don’t let any societal forces hold you back. We are all born with unique qualities and instead of killing them by playing our conventionally defined roles, let’s explore them to the fullest and re-invent ourselves. Women should not be consumed by inhibitions, apprehensions and prejudice to try their hands at unconventional roles. It’s only when you leave your reservations behind and take those baby steps, you discover that there’s a whole wide world waiting for you there to spread your wings and fly high.
My request to all the husbands, in-laws and family is to unconditionally support their wives, daughters and daughters-in-law by not restricting their roles as housewives and binding their talent to daily household chores. My husband’s contribution here is worthy of mention and I want all women as well to receive such unparalleled support from their husbands. Running a family is an equal responsibility of both men and women, and this need to be the mindset and rule of the society. We should be as ambitious as a man and should not bow down to any hindrance ever.