A woman’s journey from a cabin to a garage


Affunissa Chaudhary is often mistaken for a receptionist of an enterprise she owns and manages hands-on.

Many a first-time customer has asked her about the technician, and looked expectantly past her. When she would tell them she would go with them on a test drive to identify the issue, there would be a pronounced pause, suggestive of disbelief or awe.

Petite and forty, Affunissa is the owner of Motorheads, multi-brand car service outlet at Neelankarai in East Coast Road.

Ten years ago, Affunissa gave up a corporate career (in training, operations and quality control) to do what she does, and a decade into the automobile industry, she has co-founded an enterprise, and last year, just before the pandemic struck, she founded a company of her own: Motorheads.

Partly to explain her unusual career switch, Affunissa reveals automobiles were an avocation long before they became a vocation. “Even when I was growing up I would hang out at workshops to understand what was going on inside a car,” says Affunissa, who even has a small collection of two-wheelers, a Yamaha RX 135, a modified Honda Unicorn and “Bobby” (as the Rajdoot GTS 175 is better known).

The fact that “I get instant feedback and there is the thrill of solving a complex problem on your own” justifies the career change. Word-of-mouth publicity plays a big part in how Motorheads finds its business.

Pandemic challenges

Motorheads was barely out of the blocks when it had to be shuttered for three months as per the Government order to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Affunissa has however spotted a silver lining: Her small team is challenged to take up complex jobs as they have more time at their disposal.

“We also have school dropouts in our team who are trained by senior technicians,” says this resident of Injambakkam. “Motorheads has chalked up a model whereby they would take youngsters from underprivileged communities and train them and make they financially independent. The pandemic has also forced them to offer pick and drop service for multi-brand vehicles within a 10-km radius.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 5:22:49 PM |

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