By Menka Pakhare:
What if I make a mistake in the delivery process?
Will I be able to perform?
What will customers think of me?
Will it be safe for me?
How will my colleagues and people in my neighbourhood react?
These were the thoughts going through my head just before I started working as a food delivery partner with Zomato.
I remember my first day on the job. I was very stressed and anxious, continuously questioning myself. Unlike many others, I had no prior work experience and had always stayed home looking after my family. I remember nervously calling my husband before making my first delivery. He motivated me, told me to follow the process step by step and just believe in myself. And, to my surprise, my first delivery went really well. The customer gave me a great tip and also congratulated me for taking up a job wherein she had majorly seen men. This incident boosted my confidence and today, I am proud of my decision to work as a delivery partner. It has transformed me into a strong independent woman.
Before taking up this job, I was a happy homemaker. However, as our family grew, we realised that only one person’s salary will not be sufficient to provide a quality life to our children. Hence I decided to financially support my family. It was my husband who gave me the idea to try becoming a delivery partner with Zomato, and I agreed. I was the only woman amongst 60 men who went for the interview and got selected. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
People are often amazed when they see me at their doorsteps. While Zomato provides my details to the customers, they seldom read those. They just never expect a woman to deliver their food. So the reaction is almost always of surprise–a happy surprise. They always encourage me, give me a good review on the app, and applaud me for my dedication and courage.
I feel the pride of being one of the women breaking societal barriers by working in a profession, society restricted only to men. I constantly encourage women to work in this field. I also understand their hesitation–since this role requires one to travel to different places to deliver food, a lot of women and their family members are sceptical about the safety aspect. Initially, even my in-laws were a little apprehensive. However, when they saw me happy and enjoying my job, they started supporting me. Moreover, Zomato is like a close-knit family that supports us and care about us.
The thinking of our society needs to mature and I am happy to be a ‘driver of this change’.
How many people in this city, or in the whole of India, ask women for directions on the road? I don’t think many do. Women are always stereotyped as ‘bad drivers’ or ‘bad riders’ with less road sense than men. I, today, know my city like the back of my hand, and can give directions better than anyone. I am confident, empowered, and, most importantly, contributing to the growth of my family.
Being able to travel across Mumbai, delivering food to people is a feeling that can’t be expressed in words. Every moment is memorable when you love your work. However, there are two incidents really close to my heart. Once, a customer referred to me as a role model to many other women. She also gave me her contact details and asked to call her if I ever face any issues. It was amazing to be recognised since not many people think so much about the person who delivers their food.
Another extremely special moment was when Zomato recognised and gave me a Prime Achiever award. Both of these incidents gave me my long lost confidence back.
Today, I can see pride and respect for me in my husband’s eyes. I earn well, can provide for my kids and husband and fulfil their desires.
Now, when my kids want something, they come to me, not just their father, and this gives me a sense of pride. My husband and I are working equally hard to provide a quality living and education for my kids. The profession has bought some wonderful friends in my life who are now my extended family. And I have transformed into a better individual.
Menka Pakhare, 35, is a food delivery partner with Zomato in Mumbai.