Published: 07th March 2020
Everyday Sheroes: Meet Sheena PM, a teacher-turned-metro ticketing executive from Kochi
In our run-up to International Women's Day, we have curated this series of stories of women who aren't extraordinary — but our world may just stop going around if they decided to call it a day
It's not just the trains that flit past in a millisecond, life itself moves fast on the metro. Sheena PM has seen them all: passengers who catch the first metro of the day to clock in on time at their workplace, people rushing past the security scans to reach the airport on time and faces that grow familiar each day with a knowing side glance from daily commuters. The 31-year-old handles Ticketing and Customer Care at the Kochi Metro Rail Limited. Here's a glimpse into the life of a woman you might have seen if you've ever caught a metro from Kochi's JLN Stadium Metro Station.
Sheena PM is a true blue daughter of Kochi. Born and raised in Kalamassery, she secured a BEd degree from St Xavier's College for Women, Aluva, and an MSc in Maths from St Paul's College, Kalamassery. For four years after completing her master's degree, she worked as a teacher in a school near her house. After getting married, she moved to Kolenchery, a small town in the Eastern corner of Kochi. Soon, she had two children and more responsibilities than her teacher's salary could take care of.
At the JLN Stadium Metro Station, people are always in a hurry. Sometimes, people rush in and start yelling at the customer care kiosk asking for the time urgently. In the beginning, I used to get nervous. They expect you to know all this information. We understand that their day depends on this train, but so do ours! But most people are kind. We try to be as fast as we can and the passengers cooperate with us
Sheena PM, Metro worker
"My mother-in-law was a Kudumbashree member. She told me about the KMRL accepting applications from members of the organisation and their family. I applied along with hundreds of others from different wards and Panchayats. They conducted an exam that was so hard that I was convinced I would not get the job. In fact, I remember whispering to another participant that whoever got this job would certainly deserve it!" says Sheena. A few days later, Sheena's name was one of the only two that were mentioned in the final list of selected employees.
In 2017, the Kochi Metro and a new chapter in Sheena's life were born. She works eight-hour shifts that rotate between day and night for the two departments that she works for. She wakes up at 3 am in the morning to cook breakfast for her two young girls and gets ready to catch the first bus from Kolenchery at 5 am so that she can reach her workplace in time for her shift at 5:30 am. She says, "The stadium is one of the busiest stations, I think it might become a hub in the near future. It's already very busy and the customers need our complete attention, so we have to be alert at all times."
Sheena believes that its association with the Kudumbashree makes the metro a safe place. She recounts countless experiences where women who are in urgent need are relieved to see female faces at every corner. She says, "A lot of women would not be allowed to work such early or late shifts if it wasn't for how much we all trust the Kudumbashree. Many women are too shy to ask for a sanitary napkin or the way to the feeding room. We notice all this and approach them ourselves and help out because we understand. It makes this a safe and comfortable space for the customers and for us."
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