Liberation on wheels
Want to hold the car door open for a lady? Forget it. The new woman wants to do her own driving, writes K. JESHI
THERE WAS a time when only men drove cars. As for the women, they walked in daintily, only to have someone opening the door and driving them to their destinations.
Today, all that has changed. With women opting for a career and a life of their own, mobility has become paramount. A car is not just a means of transportation anymore.
It reflects attitude, freedom and a very strong style statement.
Noticed the recent commercials for brands like Bolero, Scorpio, Santro or Alto? They portray women behind the wheel, a trend expected to continue, as more and more members of the "fairer sex" are getting to play a bigger role as decision-makers.
Says Rajeswari, who is doing her post-graduation in ophthalmology at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital: "In our profession, it's undoubtedly a status symbol. A car is one of the `must haves'."
A woman wanting to learn driving is the first sign of empowerment.
"Driving has boosted my confidence and left me believing that I can stand on my own legs. Also, commuting in a car saves a lot of time," Rajeswari adds.
"We are a liberated lot now. What do you say?" asks V Shayana, a medical transcriptionist. "You can shop for your car like you'd for your everyday jewellery. A glamorous car, which is more comfortable, functional and funkier with groovy gadgets, definitely reflects your personality. People tend to think you are well informed," she adds.
Anita Rajkumar, like many of her contemporaries who have reached top jobs through a mix of education and determination, drives long distance regularly and finds it immensely relaxing and fulfilling.
"It's probably the cheapest therapy I can think of. You can be really stressed from a hard day at work, and a long drive with your favourite music filtering into the ears, is a morale booster."
A confident smile blooms up on Preethi Chinnasamy's face when she talks about her car. This Master of International Business student says: "Driving makes you a member of the unique `Can do it' family. I experience an immeasurable feeling of satisfaction from driving my own car. It motivates me to explore my priorities in life."
For Cicily Paul, a housewife, driving a four-wheeler is a childhood ambition. "When you are at the driver's seat, you feel you can never go wrong in anything," she adds.
Strengths that women drivers possess are patience and self-control. They tend to abide by traffic rules and avoid hazardous stunts. Also, you would rarely find a woman driver zipping past a red signal or zooming around, setting the road on fire.
Natural feminine instincts combined with their being in command in office, make for great women drivers.
According to C.Viswanathan, a car-driving instructor: "Women learn car driving out of necessity. When they get a new job or set up a family, they realise the inevitable need for mobility. Also, these days most of them are looking to go abroad, for which knowledge of car driving is essential."
Ever since they took to the wheel, women drivers have been an object of curiosity and the target of many unkind jokes. What do they feel about this?
"We don't bother about cheap thrill for a rush of adrenalin. When we get behind the steering, we mean business. We're not living for the moment, we're just driving to our destinations," chorus the new generation women.
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