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A Women’s Day Tribute

by Vidya Sury March 9, 2013 14 comments
International Women's Day

Did you celebrate International Women’s Day? I do it every day.  I see and hear about incidents of how women survived through sheer strength, grit and will power. We live in times when any special day is simply turned into a marketing gimmick or promo to push sales higher – so it is heart-warming to know that real time heroes are recognized and rewarded for their actions.

A Women’s Day heroine

So when I read the story of woman auto rickshaw driver Ratna in the newspaper this morning, I was thrilled and wanted to share it with you.  What an inspiring story!

She is a resident of Mathikere, Bangalore and drives her auto in the area where I live, so I was doubly excited. She who was awarded the prestigious ‘Veera Mahile Kittur Rani Chennamma Award‘ for her bravery.   The award is named after the brave Kitturu Rani Chennamma.

Kitturu Rani Chennamma (October 23, 1778 – February 21, 1829) was the Queen of Kittur, India. She is best known for leading an armed rebellion against the British East India Company in 1824. The resistance ended with her arrest and she became a symbol of the movement for independence in India. (Wikipedia)

Here is what happened:

On September 28, 2012, a 25- year old man snatched a woman’s chain on a train and jumped off  just before it could stop at Yeshwantpur ready to make off with the jewelry. 34-year old Ratna, who was nearby,  heard the cries of train passengers and swung into action.

She took off after the guy. She chased him for about thirty minutes through lanes and streets. She followed him over a seven-foot wall in Mathikere (an area nearby) before she nabbed him, head-butted him when he tried to escape and handed him over to the police.

Ratna could have well been in a James Bond movie, considering her high voltage stunts in her quest to catch the thief before he made off with the loot!

“I ran behind him and caught hold of him after jumping over a high wall. He was too exhausted to run any further. I head-butted him once and when he saw no escape, he offered me half the jewellery and cash if I let him go,” smiled Ratna, as she recalled the incident.

Women's Day Tribute

Ratna bound the thief with the rope she keeps in her auto!

After she received the award, Ratna said, “I am ecstatic after receiving the award today. Such recognition keeps you going even after many problems life throws at you every day”.

Ratna’s life is not easy. Her day begins at 3 am and ends only after 9 pm. She has an 18-year-old son who is physically disabled and prone to epileptic attacks. He needs constant care.  She leaves her house at 3am and reaches Yeshwantpur station to pick up passengers.

She has to plan her schedule around her son’s needs and sleep patterns. She returns home at  9.30 am around the time her son wakes up. She bathes him,  cooks and feeds him, catches up on household chores and gets back to work at 3 pm, finishing around 9 pm.  Most of what she earns goes towards medical expenditure and she barely has savings at the end of the day – definitely not enough for her future and her son’s.

According to Ratna, her son is her greatest support system and says that he is the brave one, as he encourages her to go out and work. He assures her he will manage without her. If  he didn’t do that, she would never be able to earn a living.

She has been  felicitated by many organizations, including the auto rickshaw drivers’ union, and feels that women should help themselves first and only then will there be change.

Ratna Women's Day

Ratna at the Awards function

We’re proud of Ratna. When she was asked how she felt about the award, she said, “I’ve lost today’s earnings as I had to attend the awards function!” She said, though it feels great to have an award on Women’s Day, it is nothing extra-ordinary. In her words, “These award functions are all the same – they give you a garland, talk about you, and then give you the award. The government should instead concentrate on doing something for poor people.”

A woman after my own heart!

Among others honored at the Awards function, 92-year old Chinnamma from Raichur, who is a midwife  and has assisted in the delivery of 1,500 babies without charging a fee, was also conferred the Kittur Rani Chennamma Award to mark International Women’s Day.

My life is full of inspiring women who motivate me.

No.1 will always be my Mother.

Love, Vidya

To all the awesome women I know

 Happy Women’s Day!


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My Inner Chick March 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Ratna ROCKkkkks. I LOooooooVE.

And you, my dear Vidya, YOU have inspired me greatly with your message of “HOPE.”

I love that your mama is your greatest inspiration.

I love you more than 7 white rabbits in the front garden eating bird seed.

My Inner Chick recently posted…A Few Of My Distractions & Favorite Things

Vidya Sury March 10, 2013 at 3:14 am

Dearest Kim, yes, Ratna rocks. She looks like a very fun person, in person. And I love her attitude that seems to say, “Everything is possible”. It is always heartening when we see real life incidents like that. I am so glad she got the recognition.

I love you more than the thirty beautiful green parrots chirping on the wall! Hugs!

Harleena Singh March 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I loved that Vidya 🙂

Yes, such are women – truly inspiring, and just like your Mom, my Mom too always remains my woman of substance. 🙂

Thanks for sharing, and Happy Women’s Day 🙂
Harleena Singh recently posted…30 Top Women Bloggers of Aha!NOW

Vidya Sury March 10, 2013 at 3:11 am

Hugs, Harleena. We are lucky, aren’t we? Thank you for your comment! And thanks for the mention among those fantastic 30 bloggers!

Elle March 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Amazing woman Vidya. An inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing her story…doesn’t it put life into perspective.

Love Elle
Elle recently posted…In Celebration Of You.

Vidya Sury March 10, 2013 at 3:11 am

Indeed it does, dear Elle. We walk among amazing women! Love, Vidya

Donna Merrill March 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm


What an amazing story you have shared. It shows how strong a woman can be no matter what! Reading this I could just imagine Ratna doing those stunts!

Thank you for sharing,
Donna Merrill recently posted…Why I’m Reviewing The Empower Network Again

Vidya Sury March 10, 2013 at 3:10 am

Ratna is so very dynamic in person, Donna. Her cool attitude is very inspiring 🙂 They call her “Auto Madam” with fond respect.
Thanks for your comment – I particularly loved that we see her frequently and know she’s fearless!

Happy Sunday to you!

Cathy Taughinbaugh March 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Wonderful to hear the story of Ratna. What an inspiration she is to all women. Thanks for sharing her story, as it reminds us of the dedication that many women have to their families and to making life better for everyone.

Jodi @ Heal Now March 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

It is a shame, they could give her her earnings! She is amazing! But cant afford a loss of pay one day. Love to her and all the beauty she shows in the world!. Women do rock for sure!
Jodi @ Heal Now recently posted…What If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong?

Unknown Mami March 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Thank you for sharing her story with me. I love it. She is inspirational.
Unknown Mami recently posted…Sisters (Sundays In My City)

Ameena March 11, 2013 at 3:23 am

Thank you for bringing this inspiring story to so many of us who wouldn’t otherwise hear it!

Fran Sorin March 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

Vidya –

Talk about an inspirational woman – Ratna is extraordinary on several levels. I know I’ll keep her story with me as a reminder of being the person I want and am meant to be.xxoo-Fran

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