Amidst many a grim situation in life, Sinu Abraham continues her stride as one and only woman private bus conductor in Kozhikode city.
The bus conductor job is not a new task for women since there are many working women conductors in the State Road Transport Corporation buses.
However, Sinu Abraham’s story is something different. This 26 year old bus conductor in Kozhikode is the one and only lady of its kind among one thousand plus male private bus conductors in the district.
She is the bread winner of her family.
Sinu has been in this male-dominated field for the last five years.
She has worked in different routes and various buses and now an expert with almost all aspects of a bus service except driving. For the women passengers and children she is much a comfortable person.
Unlike majority of the bus crew, she works cool and fast. Also, she is struggling to complete the construction of her dream home.
“My father also worked as a conductor long back in Calicut route and he knows the nature of the work.
So I get a good family support. As a conductor, I am comfortable because all of my co-workers are very supportive and friendly.”
She comes from a poor family with many commitments. Both parents are suffering from ailments. Her father, Abraham is undergoing medication for heart disease. Mother, Leelamma is also under treatment for some nerve disorders. The entire family burden falls upon this girl’s shoulders. Still, she works hard to meet both ends.
She has two elder siblings; both are married and settled.
Sinu is an accident survivor.
She just recovered from it and continuing her medication even today .The accident occurred while she was walking along a road in her native place, Kotancheri around five years back. An auto rickshaw hit her down and she was in critical condition for many days. She continued at the intensive care unit for ninety days. Her nerves were damaged. Two of her jaw bones critically wounded.
She says it has been a bouncing back to life.
At that time, she was working in another private bus Mokavooramma in Kozhikode Medical College-Badirur route.
She begins her working day from 7.30 am and leaves from the bus around 7.00 pm.
She is now working in a private bus running between Kozhikode and Chirakkuzhi, ‘Bhavana’
Baiju .C and Unni N.P, her colleagues in the bus are fully confident of their conductor and have one voice to say her efficiency and dedication at work.
“In the beginning, people started to look as they were seeing a wonderful sight. But gradually they have tuned to it become familiar.”-says Sinu.
“Actually, I don’t have any difficulty in working in the bus as women. I never felt any tough situation dealing with different types of passengers. Somehow, I manage the coin shortage, passengers are instead very co-operative.”
Realising thehardships of this girl, a philanthropist Purakkattiri, Thalappathil Ramankutty came forward to extend his support. Now, she is staying at the latter’s house as another member of the family.
Sinu says for them she is their ‘third’ child.
Sinu is also trying her luck to get a government job either in the same field or other. She attempted KSRTC bus conductor test.
“If her experience and expertise in this field is concerned, she must be hired, directly by the department.”-says Ranjith, driver and one of her former colleagues.
I got trained in some private buses, before starting my full time conductor job. In the initial days, I had some problems to ensure collecting cash before passengers are alighted.
“During those days, door checkers were more vigilant to re-check whether any passenger is left without tickets.”
“Now I am very much concerned to complete my house construction. It has reached nowhere. Then only I can think of my wedding and personal preference.”
“The job is connected with different types of passengers. As a bus conductor, we need confidence, patience and quick action.”
“As a woman conductor, one must be courageous.”-says Sinu.
It is the time when there is severe staff shortage in conductor job.
We are struggling to substitute one when we want to take an off.”-says Anil, one of the senior private bus conductors in Kozhikode.
Bus Operators Association office bearers also point out the difficulty for getting conductors.
“People earn good amount simply working for four or five hours while the conductors job prolongs for 12 hours some times.”-says P.L.John, general secretary, Kozhikode district private bus operators’ association.
He added that painting and similar jobs are more attractive among the youth and it is difficult to get youngsters in this field.
Whenever she gets a break, she takes her time for reading newspapers.
“I read whatever news papers and periodicals I get.”
After reaching home, she would watch sports channels because she is a cricket fan.
Studied until plus one, Sinu is preparing for P.S.C examinations by using self-study materials.