Pongam N. Konyak and W. Nginlei Konyak repairing a bike at a garage in Kohima.

Two girls from Nagaland’s Mon district have come together in an unusual way to make a living for themselves.

They have proved there is no job that is unusual to women when it comes to earn a living and make a change.

18-year-old Pongam N Konyak of Wangti village and W. Nginlei Konyak, 17, of Phuktong village from Mon district of Nagaland chose to be two-wheeler bike mechanic, shattering the gender divide.

Both the girls had initially started their career as Taekwondo players in 2011. Pongam has a black belt and Nginlei a green belt in Taekwondo.

“There are many works available. We want to be an example and show the society that gender is not an issue when it comes to work. Any type of work to feed oneself is good enough. We are just an example,” Pongam and Nginlei said with their greased and soiled hands.

The two young girls are presently learning the trade of motor bike repairing and working as trainees to enhance their skill at Gear Heads Motor Workshop in Kohima.

Being childhood friends, the duo shared the same passion for bikes.

Their passion for bike repairing grew when they first saw a bike being repaired in a garage in Mon over a year ago.

They followed it up by repairing a Discovery bike all by themselves.

They began their training in the garage on July 18, thanks to Nagaland Motorcycle Club (NMC), a bikers’ club formed nine years back. Until July 18, they were self-taught mechanics.

Adviser of the club Peter Rutsa said he came to know about the two girls from social media and contacted a fellow biker Hongmaw Konyak to see if the club could assist them in any way.

It was later arranged that the girls be brought to Kohima and trained at Gear Heads Motor Workshop under the guidance of Daniel Metha, who is the owner of the garage.

Pongam said so far, they have not been taught on the engine.

She said she was so excited to learn the intricacies of the bikes, she so adores.

They said two to three mechanics supervise their work daily.

Their daily routine begins at about 8.30 am and ends usually at 6 pm.

“It all depends on the work. Sometimes, you end early, other times, it stretches on till late into the night. But we like it. We are learning a lot,” Nginglei said.

Pongam and Nginlei expressed their sincere thanks to the NMC for their support.

“We were able to reach here and are learning so much. It’s all because of them (NMC),” they said.

“Once we learn the tricks of the trade, we hope to run our own garage in future,” they said

Rutsa maintained that the girls have shown significant improvement in just few days.

He is hopeful that they will learn enough skills to take with them back to their place where they can make a living from their works.

The girls are presently residing in the garage itself and all the basic amenities are provided to them by NMC.

But they took it upon themselves to manage their own food from the money they make from the repairing works.

At present, they are earning Rs 100 per day or little more from bike repairing.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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