In a heartwarming development, Chanchal Sharma a single mother from Noida is making buzz for driving an e-rickshaw with her baby strapped to her chest. Her inspiring story has left netizens applauding. While the sight of a female auto-rickshaw driver is a rarity in itself, Chanchal Sharma has been the talk of the town in Noida for making ends meet as she drives in the corners of Noida with her 1-year-old son strapped to her chest.

A year ago, or so, now 27-year-old Chanchal faced a challenge that hundreds of thousands of women face in India. Trying to make ends meet while making sure she takes care of a newborn. Not succumbing to her financial strains, she harnessed her will, and decided to ditch the idea of putting her newborn in an expensive creche, and took up the occupation of driving an e-rickshaw with her newborn son strapped to her.

Her inspiring story was recently covered in a TOI report where she was quoted saying, “Passengers who have taken a ride in my vehicle have all appreciated that I’m managing things on my own. Women passengers also prefer my e-rickshaw.”

A dropout from the National Institute of Open Schooling, Chanchal now carries her source of strength as she drives on the street of Noida. And for the baby’s strength and pangs of hunger, she carries a bottle of milk.

The Facts of the Matter

Ask any parent, and they would confirm that juggling job and parenthood can be tedious and a tough journey to take part in. This is more so true for women in a country like India, where societal norms and patriarchal-roots tie women into not thinking anything above and beyond her duties as a mother. A new-mother is a mother first, an earning hand second, and a woman last.


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Becoming Mother, Standing on Crossroads

27-year-old Chanchal Sharma is breaking all such norms, one auto-rickshaw ride at a time. A year ago, when Chanchal became a mother, she came to crossroads. One road would lead her to become a stay-at-home mom, who may not earn enough and may need to compromise on the child’s well being. Other would lead her to find a way to give her child the care he needs, while she earns.


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What’s Chanchal’s Day Like?

She chose the second route, and is now receiving applause from citizens of Noida where she drives an autorickshaw with her 1-year-old son strapped to her chest. Her workday starts at 6.30 am. She drives till noon, gets home to give her child his lunch and bath. And then gets started again.

When Chanchal got separated from her husband, and had her newborn, she realized that she had no place to leave her child behind. Expensive creches were not even considerable options. So, she became an e-rickshaw driver.

“Passengers have appreciated..”

Her inspiring journey was covered by a TOI report where she was quoted saying, “Passengers who have taken a ride in my vehicle have all appreciated that I’m managing things on my own. Women passengers also prefer my erickshaw.”

Summers were especially hard on Chanchal and her now 1-year-old son Ankush. Due to the intense Noida heat, Ankush cried and cried as Chanchal drove her e-rickshaw. While she did try to leave him with her mother on excruciatingly hot summer days.


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Learning the Ropes, Now Earning 600 a Day

Narrating her ordeal to TOI, she said, “I tried my best to leave him with my mother in those weeks… But at the end of the day, how long can a child live without his mother?”. Slowly and surely she learnt the ropes, and now earns Rs 600 a day driving the e-rickshaw.

 

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