Women who drive SUVs in Thiruvananthapuram form a group to explore new paths of adventure

The women want to go on offroading trips and on long-distance drives

March 23, 2024 12:52 pm | Updated 12:52 pm IST

Members of the ‘Jeeper Girls of Trivandrum’ 

Members of the ‘Jeeper Girls of Trivandrum’  | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

There is excitement in Dr. Awungshi Philamazan’s words as she talks about how she completed level one of a course for offroaders. The proud owner of a Force Gurkha, a four-wheel drive, she says she has been driving a 4x4 since she was 18.

Awungshi Philamazan

Awungshi Philamazan | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

On March 8, she joined nine other women in Thiruvananthapuram, all owners of 4WDs (four wheel drive) to go on a ride from the Thiruvananthapuram to Kovalam. Christening themselves the Jeeper Girls of Trivandrum,the women say what brings them together is obviously their love for the rugged four-wheel drive.

“All eyes were on our vehicles as we drove to Kovalam. Four of us are proud owners of Mahindra Thar. That is what made me think of a community like this,” says Dr. Asha Biju.

 Namitha Ramakrishnan

Namitha Ramakrishnan | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

For Dr. Namitha, it is the sense of adventure and the comfort of the vehicle that has made her a strong advocate of the SUV. In the case of Dr. Ambika Shetty, it is her new year resolution to step out of her comfort zone that made her join the ride in her Thar.

“Asha persuaded me to join the ride and I enjoyed it. I might choose to go off-roading as well,” she says.

Asha Biju

Asha Biju | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Three of the doctors are members of the same Inner Wheel Club (Blossoms) in Thiruvananthapuram and that is what gave Asha the idea of forming a group of drivers who own 4WDs.

Lekshmi VG

Lekshmi VG | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Lekshmi VG, an entrepreneur, has been a part of several off-roading trips in Kerala. She points out that the advantage of the 4X4 Thar is that one can drive on almost any kind of terrain. Entrepreneur Shincy Anand maintains it is the comfort and ease of driving that made her choose a 4x4. Vouching for their beasts, the women maintain that the narrow roads in Thiruvananthapuram are not difficult to negotiate. “On the contrary, it is one of the most comfortable and safe vehicles to drive. I feel safe when I am at the wheel as the height gives me a superb view of the road ahead,” says Dr. Namitha, the proud owner of a Thar.

Shincy Anand

Shincy Anand | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Not only are these motorheads excellent drivers, most of them are also quite handy with changing tyres and basic maintenance of their vehicle.

Awungshi makes it a point to do a basic check-up before every long trip, “including engine oil, gear oil, brake oil and coolant assessment. If I notice any major issue or variation then I take it to my service centre for a detailed check-up. And, yes, my father did train me how to change a puncture if the need ever arises!”

Asha is another person who feels that everyone who drives, irrespective of gender, should have an idea about the basic mechanics of the vehicle.

“For instance, they should know how to change a flat tyre, how to jump start in case of drained batteries. It is essential to check oil levels, change wiper blades etc if you plan to go on long drives. The realisation that help may not be always available, especially while driving alone has made me learn the basics,” explains Asha who has been driving a car the almost three decades now.

“Initially it was just driving for the sake of reaching a destination but now the thrill of driving with heavier vehicles has made me learn how to manage in case of trouble to a certain extent,” adds Asha.

Asha’s husband and son are also motorheads who enjoy tinkering with their vehicles.

The women are set to move into top gear with more trips and long-distance drives in their 4x4 travel companions.

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