Ladies 'First', Truly!
a. Shail Mishra of Bihariganj, Ajmer was the first woman to drive a metro. The little girl, who used to be fascinated to see the trains running near her place today, has earned the honour of being the first woman loco pilot from the state of Delhi. Having driven the metro first on tracks when she was 23, currently she is working as a station controller and train operator. She has not only fulfilled her dream and made her parents proud of her, but she has also set a novel example in the area of women empowerment by breaking new grounds in a male-domain.
b. Gobi desert is the largest desert in Asia and the fifth largest in the world. On account of its dreadful expanse, who could have thought that a woman can cross it? However, 33 year old Sucheta Kadethankar from Pune has attained the unbelievable! She became the first woman to cross the arduous 1000 mile of the vast desert, as a part of the 13-member team, led by Ripley Davenport. In the expedition in which many members opted out due to adverse weather conditions, injuries or other difficulties, she chose to persevere. Her endurance and motivation finally paid off when she made the record of being the first Indian woman to have crossed the great desert.
c. Sapper Shanti Tigga has made women in particular and all Indians in general, proud by being the first woman jawan. Having performed exceptionally well in the physical tests, she made a way for herself in the 1.3 million strong defence forces, where normally women are allowed to join only as officers in the non-combat units. The mother of two, at 35, she has given a concrete shape to her dream, she has proven that women are not behind in anything! She volunteered for the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of Terrorial Army (TA) a couple of years back, and is currently employed with the Indian Railways in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.
d. Talk of space and one of the names to spring up in one’s lips is surely that of Kalpana Chawla. An Indian-American astronaut, she unfortunately was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster. After she completed STS-87 post-flight activities, she was assigned to technical positions in the astronaut office. Amongst her responsibilities were microgravity experiments, advanced technology development, astronaut health and safety. She has received several awards for her bravery and contribution to space research, during her lifetime & posthumously.
e. MC Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal for boxing in the 2012 London Olympics. She created history by winning the bronze medal in boxing, in her 51kg semi-final bout against Nicola Adams. The 29 year old Manipuri became the second Indian, after Vijender Singh, to win an Olympic medal in boxing. Happy and satisfied with her hard-earned achievement, her tough journey was never duly acknowledged before the Olympic medal. However, she has proven her mettle to one and all and has recently been awarded with laurels and awards alike.
The age-old saying ‘ladies first’ indeed holds true, not only as an etiquette but also in the lives of these and many other ladies who have achieved tremendous feats!