How Selvi Left Behind Her Abusive Marriage and Became Karnataka’s First Woman Cabbie

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Selvi was married at an early age of 14. She thought her life will be the same like several other girls who are victims of abuse. But then she decided to change it all. This is how she transformed her life. 

We have heard of young girls getting married at an early age, facing domestic abuse and adjusting with the sad life that has been forced upon them.

And Selvi’s story also looks way too familiar in the start. But neither is Selvi a regular woman, nor is her story like the ones we have heard before.

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Selvi was married off at a tender age of 14 in exchange of a pair of earrings and some household utensils. After years of physical and mental abuse by her husband, and even her own mother and brother, Selvi decided to run away.

She initially wanted to commit suicide by coming under a moving bus. But when she reached the highway, she raised her hand and got on bus instead.

“I thought if I die, I won’t be able to prove myself,” she says in a documentary.

And then started her journey of change. She was taken in by the Odanadi women’s refuge in Mysore and was given driving lessons.

Within a few months, Selvi transformed her life. She went on to become Karnakata’s first female taxi driver, and also a truck and bus driver.

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Selvi gradually started gaining confidence and spoke at various gatherings about women empowerment. She spoke at various meetings, working as an educator on public health issues.

She also gathered enough courage to break old traditions by getting remarried to a person she loves. She has two young children and has big plans for them. She wants her daughter to become a pilot one day.

Selvi’s thrilling story has been beautifully captured by a Canadian filmmaker Elisa Paloschi in her documentary, Driving with Selvi, which took over a decade to make.

The documentary takes you through the life of Selvi and how she has finally emerged a winner. It was premiered at the Raindance Festival in London.

Selvi now goes to different places to talk about the film and her life. Paloschi plans to take the film on the road and have a million people see it. She also wants various organisations in India to use the documentary as an educational tool.

Here’s the trailer of the movie-

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