Diya Joseph obtained her driving licence on the day she turned 19 on September 20. However, she obtained a licence to fix Bullets from her father Joseph Dominic a few years ago. In fact, this youngest woman Bullet mechanic in Kerala learned how to repair Bullets before learning to ride them.
It was in 1987 that Kottayam Pulikkaparambil Joseph Dominic began his job repairing Bullets at Maraykaril. Two decades later, he opened his own workshop at his home. There were more Bullets than family members around her right from the time she started running around. Initially, the workshop was behind the house but when the number of Bullets that started arriving for repair increased the workshop was shifted to the front. The thumping sound of Bullets that woke her up in the mornings slowly became part of her dreams too.
Joseph Dominic's workshop close to the Kottayam railway station is always abuzz with work. During a summer break after Class 10, Diya, after getting bored spending time of mobile phone, asked her dad if she could join him in the work. Joseph Dominic agreed and that led to the birth of Bullet mechanic Diya. Along with her love for Bullets, it was her affection for her hardworking dad that encouraged Diya to pick up the tools.
Her mother Shine Mathew too was happy as long as she was away from her mobile phone. However, when Diya continued her work even after summer break, the mother got worried. Her mother was concerned whether her girl's continuation in the workshop will affect her Plus-Two studies. But whenever she was free, Diya used to spend time in the workshop and when the results came, she scored 98% marks too.
In the workshop, she started off with writing down the complaints of customers. Gradually, she started doing air filter cleaning, oil and cable changes and moved to all the work related to a normal service. She learned the ropes from her father and his workshop assistant Gireesh.
Grease and grime
Diya is now capable of doing full service work of two to three Bullets a day. The 19-year-old can easily pocket Rs 2,000 a day. Though she doesn't demand any pocket money, Diya says that she gets her father to buy her favourite food.
Her association with the workshop that began during the summer break after Class 10 picked up speed during Plus-2 holidays. Now she has got admission in Amal Jyothi College of Engineering too. She will be learning her favourite trade -- mechanical engineering -- here. When girls of her age spend a lot of time on nail polish and facials, Diya has no grouse after being left with the grease and grime from the workshop. "No dirt will stick," says Diya.
Though she had been around these machines since childhood, Diya never got an opportunity to ride a Bullet. Besides, it is good to learn some tricks and tips if you own a Bullet. Joseph presented her a Thunderbird after her Plus-2 result was out. Now, after getting her driving licence on her 19th birthday, she has started taking the motorcycle out on the roads.
Though she doesn't harbour big dreams, Diya wants to enjoy her rides. At present her biggest wish is to take her sister Maria as pillion to their mother's native place Mundakayam on the Bullet. And there is no fear of getting stranded midway, since she doesn't need anybody's help to fix the bike, says Diya.