In 2002 when Thresia had decided to become an auto driver, there were 5 more women auto drivers in Thrissur. However, all of them had quit gradually except Thresia who claims that she enjoys her job very much.
In the beginning she used to drive around Muthuvara, Chittilapally, Puranattukara and Adattu. Now Thresia confidently drives her auto on the busy roads of Thrissur town.
Thresia who can't imagine sitting idle at home says that women are not seen much in this field as they can't drive around during late evenings or night. Besides most of them would have kids at home to look after, says Thresia. However, she too doesn’t go for rides at night. “I am not scared to drive at night. In fact I am ready to drive till morning. I have decided not to go for night rides as I love being at home at night. I usually work from 10 am to 5 pm. I am happy and satisfied with the money that I earn. The most important factor is that I enjoy my job so much,” clarifies Thresia.
Thresia who has been driving auto for the last 16 years proudly says that except for once she had never been involved in an accident. Once her auto met with an accident and the vehicle turned upside down. Thankfully she didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
Though some people are surprised to see a woman auto driver, Thresia says that most of the travellers are cordial with her. She however says that even if someone tries to misbehave she would definitely react.
It indeed is not a small thing that Thresia has successfully been an auto driver for so long, especially since those who drive auto rickshaws are mostly men. “Many were sceptical whether I would be able to do this job for so long. They knew that most of us would quit after some time. That was true to some extent. However, I still manage to hold on,” says Thresia.
Besides Thresia, there is another woman auto driver in Thrissur town named Maina, who drives around Medical College in Mulankunnathukavu.
It was at Wayanad that Thresia learned to drive an auto rickshaw. Until then she only knew to ride a bicycle. When she appeared for her driving test, the officials asked what her dream was. Thresia had replied that she wished to earn her livelihood by driving auto in the busy city streets. Her husband had worked at Wayanad for some time before the family moved to Adattu in Thrissur.
Though she had been driving an auto since 2002, it took her some while to secure a license to drive in Thrissur town. Her application for a town permit was rejected many times. “I wouldn’t have continued as an auto driver had I stayed at the place where people didn’t hire rides much. Finally I submitted a request at Oommen Chandy’s Jana Samparka Paripadi (mass contact program). He directed that the next town permit should be given to me, and I did get it. From 2014 onwards I have been driving my auto at the Thrissur town,” smiles Thresia.