For Mahindra, the challenger spirit holds a special place. As we celebrate 75 years, we look back at the many inspiring stories of everyday heroes who go beyond convention, and in whose journeys, Mahindra has played a part. This is a story of one such person, Nakusha Prakash Masal.
When she was born, her parents named her Nakusha. Nakusha, or Nakushi, is a derogatory name meaning unwanted given by some parents in rural Maharashtra to an unwanted female child, following the belief that it’ll ensure they have a son next. After her husband passed away 20 years back, she started selling vegetables to earn a living.
She has been driving for the past 15 years. When her husband was around, he worked as a truck driver and transported construction material. Nakusha always hoped to pik-up driving as a skill and learnt the basics from her husband; although back then, she did not drive on the highway, and never once imaged that a time would come when this skill would prove handy.
Five years after the demise of her husband, Nakusha realised the need to own a pik-up vehicle, so she could get produce from the mandi (wholesale market) in Sangli, to sell in the retail markets around where she resided. She says that as she realised she’d have to travel on national highways and ghats, she decided to buy a sturdy vehicle by a trusted company. Her first Mahindra vehicle was a Bolero pik-up, which she purchased from an old car market in Kolhapur.
“Mahindra cars are fast and known to be good for long distance, they can handle the load. On the ghats, you need a car you can trust. Everyone around here prefers a Bolero when thinking of a pik-up vehicle.”
She recalls, hiring a driver who overcharged her, for her first long distance commute. Around midnight, he refused to drive down the ghats and left her stranded, with her children sleeping in the back. Feeling unsafe, she decided to use judgement and drove down nearly 16 kms. Ever since, she has crossed the Amba ghat all by herself (a stretch through the jungle with presence of wildlife), or passed the night parked on the side of a national highway.
“Courageous is the only way to be.”
But Nakusha’s strength and courage have seen the light of day. Today, through her business, she has been able to raise her three children, and get them all married – singlehandedly. A little over three years back, with financing options from Mahindra Finance, she managed to invest in a brand-new Mahindra Bolero. She commutes 200-350 km a day on the Kolhapur-Konkan route and is now known to cops, toll booth and patrolling personnel.
Nakusha has been invited to various events and is recognised for her courage and exemplary work in her field. She advises people to not give into naysayers and take the steering wheel of their lives in their hands.
“Especially for women, life can get tricky sometimes. But don’t collapse emotionally, instead make your problems your weapon – and most importantly, keep charging ahead.”
Mahindra salutes the challenger spirit and vision of people like Nakusha. These are the heroes amongst us who inspire people to Rise.