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She was Driven to be with her Kids

By Vandana Gadia 

When a bus passes by on a bustling street, heads still turn at the sight of a woman behind the wheel. Despite our assertions of equality, certain male-dominated professions remain largely inaccessible to women.

However, this did not discourage Arnawaz from entering and excelling in a male- dominated profession almost 18 years ago. She is one of the pioneering Indian women who drove public transport buses in Mississauga.

“The journey I embarked on,” (pun intended), was far from smooth at the start. “We encountered numerous challenges. Even our male counterparts made things difficult for us,” recalls Arnawaz. She faced every obstacle with grace, with a touch of wit and plenty of humor. “I would jest with those who doubted my knowledge of the route or simply brushed off their sarcastic comments,” says Arnawaz.

Why did she choose to pursue a traditionally male-dominated career? The answer lies in her unwavering dedication as a mother who refused to be separated from her children. “Leaving them in daycare was never an option I considered. Instilling values in my kids was paramount to me.”

When her children were young, she discovered a profession that allowed her to bring her child along—driving! This marked the beginning of a career she embraced when her youngest was around 3 years old. “I could have my child with me while I worked. That was truly a game changer!”

Arnawaz took a hiatus and returned to the driving profession at 40, meticulously planning her shifts with her children in mind. “I opted for early morning shifts so I could be there to feed my kids when they returned from school.” “I would prepare warm meals, take them for lunch, grab an hour of rest, help with homework, and then engage in extracurricular activities. We set aside our own aspirations and dedicated ourselves to raising our children well,” she explains.

“Some opt to send their children to daycare. There’s nothing wrong with that choice. I personally could never leave my children in daycare, maybe because that’s not how I was raised by my parents. It was a conscious decision we made.”


 “We upheld many Indian values and ensured our kids stayed connected to our roots. Our only trips were to India because our parents were aging, and we wanted our children to spend time with them. Grandparents are invaluable.”


 “They need to understand their heritage, the struggles we faced. It took us years of hard work and perseverance.” “I see the results of my dedication—my three daughters have grown into remarkable women. They resonate with me deeply. Each one is pursuing their aspirations through purpose-driven career choices. That is my reward.”


“My husband supported me. He is a priest in my faith, inclined towards good values. When I worked night shifts, my husband would accompany me on the bus for moral support. Despite my petite stature, he stood by me like a rock, whether I was behind the wheel or not. My father was also incredibly supportive. “I’m not one to strictly adhere to rules. I create my own guidelines. When you’re on your bus, you’re the boss

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