Wednesday, February 8

Bike cabbie zooms past hurdles

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 Life runs on two wheels for a 30-year-old woman, who ferries pillion riders across the city, often late into the night.

Meet Rupa Chowdhury, who has made more than 120 rides since registering with Ola Bike more than a month ago. Chowdhury is already a social media star, with passengers saluting her grit and hard work through Facebook posts.

“Most passengers take a while to figure things out when they call me after booking the ride. `Apni chalaben (will you drive),’ is the most common query on the phone,” said Chowdhury, who lives in a rented home in Bagha Jatin.

Chowdhury leaves home in the morning and returns well after midnight. “I do extra hours, because I need money,” she told Metro near the Nager Bazar flyover on Wednesday afternoon.

Chowdhury has had a series of personal losses in the past few years. Her father’s house in Santoshpur had to be sold off to fund the treatment of her mother and sister. Both of them died a couple of years ago. Chowdhury then shifted to Bagha Jatin with her father, who took ill last year and had to be admitted to a private hospital after a cerebral stroke.

Chowdhury did odd jobs at the office of an astrologer, but had to quit after her father’s condition became critical and a job with fixed timings proved difficult.

Her father eventually passed away this January. But Chowdhury was by then working with a food-delivery app. She is still registered on their platform and tries to split her time. “I deliver food till the afternoon. I have kept the second half for the bike-cab service,” she said.

Chowdhury loves cycling and bought her first twowheeler in 2016. She now rides a new Maestro Scooty.

“I love riding and every- thing about it, including waiting in snarls and sneaking through narrow bylanes. This job gives me flexibility. The more I ride, the more I earn,” said Chowdhury.

So far, she has not faced any untoward incident on the road. “Will see, if and when it comes,” she said nonchalant- ly. But she has had her share of memorable experiences. “I drove one young woman from Jadavpur to Santragachhi. She was so moved that she took me inside her house. Her mother gave me tea and snacks,” said Chowdhury.

Arghya Ghoshal, a young aspiring musician, shared his experience of riding with Chowdhury on Facebook on Tuesday night. Ghoshal took a 15-minute ride from Jadavpur police station to Kalikapur. The post has had over 5,000 comments within 24 hours. “I gave her a roadies salute and took a selfie with her,” Ghoshal wrote in the post..

Source: Telegraph India

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