Hyderabad: Yedalapally Adilaxmi of Telangana has managed to break the gender barrier to enter an area which is dominated by men.
The 31-year-old in a remote village in Bhadradri Kothagudem village has proved that women can do any work with willpower, determination and hard work.
At a small garage in Sujatha Nagar near Kothagudem town, she fixes flat tyres of not just motorcycles but also of cars, tractors and even trucks.
The mother of two helps her husband Bhadram in running the automobile repair shop and over the last five years has achieved expertise in repairing punctures and replacing tyres.
In her own words, people coming to the shop were initially reluctant as they did not believe that a woman can fix flat tyres. They were shocked to see a woman lifting the heavy tyres and doing the kind of work which is traditionally perceived to be the forte of men.
However, the expertise she has gained over the years with sheer hard work has today made her the go-to-woman for those looking for someone to fix a flat tyre.
It has not been an easy journey for Adilaxmi, the first woman mechanic of Telangana. She started helping her husband, who has experience in fixing punctures. She used to take care of the shop whenever her husband was out to attend offsite calls.
“I always felt helpless and disappointed when customers used to come to the shop in his absence as I was unable to repair the punctures. I used to feel depressed by not attending to the jobs coming to our doorstep as we were losing income,” said Adilaxmi.
The general perception that a woman can’t handle this hard work was what spurred her to give it a try. “I started thinking why can’t I do it. I made a beginning with small things like filling air in the tyres and as my interest grew and I gained confidence, there was no looking back.”
Keenly observing her husband fixing the flat tyres, she improved her skills. Initially she used to get tired after repairing four punctures a day. She is now confident of handling any number of jobs.
She believes that there is no work which women can’t do. “This only needs positive thinking and courage. One should take this up as a challenge. I feel that other women can do much better than me,” she said.
Impressed by Adilaxmi’s work, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and legislator K. Kavitha came forward to lend her a helping hand.
Kavitha, who is the daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, last year invited her to Hyderabad and applauded her determination and the amount of hard work she has put in to support her family. Kavitha also provided her a tyre changing machine.
A couple of other organizations also donated her machines to make her job easier. However, she is unable to use the machines as the shop only has a single-phase electricity connection.
Adilaxmi, who has two school-going daughters, has requested the state government to issue the family a ration card and give her a house under the two bedroom housing scheme for the poor.
“I don’t want my children to go through what I had to undergo. I want to give them a good education and make them police officers,” said Adilaxmi.
Educated only up to the fourth class, Adilaxmi was the second of four daughters. She recalled that it was a hand-to-mouth existence for the family. “My parents had no land and my husband too has no land. I remember as a child we were happy even if we got idli vada to eat,” she said.
Her husband used to be away doing petty work. He was also not present at the time of the birth of their second daughter. At that time Adilaxmi came up with the idea of setting up a shop as Bhadram had experience of repairing automobiles.
She thought this way they can be together and she can also help him in running the shop. She never thought one day she would be able to do all the work at par with him.