Scooter Classes, Anyone?

Meet ‘Gretta Aunty’, the wonder-woman of Andheri who trains women who can’t even ride a cycle, to ride the scooter like Activa confidently in just 10 classes!

If you fancy being able to ride a bike for your next solo adventure trip, find yourself here — in a quiet lane, of a quiet neighborhood with a group of enthusiastic women seated by the road waiting patiently for their turn. Nervous and excited, they take their scooter training lessons seriously, for they know, this is their ticket to independence.

As I sat there, watching them take their first plunge – there were many giggles and awkward moments, even terrified yelps. But the lady who trains these women remains unfazed.

It all started 16 years ago, when she used to run a tiffin service lugging 40 tiffins on a rickety scooter and was asked to start taking scooter training classes for women at random. Since then, a diverse group of women from all walks of life have come and learnt with her. Sharing their stories, some women said their husbands have always belittled their ability to learn a 2-wheeler, while some others have had families that do not support their daughter to ride a scooter out in the open and the scooter training transcended into a haven for these women to rebuild their broken self-confidence. Among the other students were a couple of young college girls, an air-hostess and a few home-makers who have plans to start their independent ventures, traveling on a scooter, liberated from public transport.

Her oldest student is a 63 year old who managed to learn the scooter within 10 days. And she has even trained a physically challenged lady to ride the scooter confidently. This gives hope to some of us who have never managed to comprehend the art of balance even on a cycle!

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Gretta aunty’s fun and lively persona keeps her students in chuckles; carefully concealing a difficult personal life. Her husband has been in and out of jobs and recently started working as a bus driver. She has been the pillar of support for her 2 daughters who are both working today and one of them is married and settled in Dubai.Yet, with a sparkle in her eyes she talks about how she fell in love with her husband in her teens and chased him on her bicycle till he married her! Her de-stress mantra in life is “to roam”. She loves to go to different places and travel and hopes that one day she has enough money saved up to be able to go see her daughter living in Dubai.

Where there are lots of women- there has to be food. Every once in a while the class breaks for an impromptu food party and the women sit together sharing food and stories about their life. There is fun, laughter, gossip, husband and in-law tales, kids in school, living-on-their-own-terms-with-a-new-scooter-stories that thrill and excite. These women are ready for their adventure!

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