We become the stories we tell ourselves
Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World
At Porter, we make it a point to salute our remarkable employees, partners, and customers who constitute our three primary pillars. Today we would like to share the story of Shakti Waghela a Customer Care Executive with our Porter Mumbai team. Shakti has been with us for over a year and we could not be more proud of sharing her story, to inspire others the way she inspires us every day.
In a world where it is difficult to be oneself and people often take on superficial personas, you do not meet someone who is outspoken, exceptional and unabashedly herself. Shakti is a force of nature and the epitome of her name. She is a 23-year-old transgender who has accepted herself for who she truly is irrespective of her background and despite everything she has been through since she was a mere child.
Shakti was born into a typical traditional Gujarati family. She was assigned male by birth. She was never comfortable in her body and around the age of 13, realized that her mind and body were not in sync. After deep introspection, Shakti ‘came out’ to her family who did not take it well. It took a while but her mother accepted her after realizing that her daughter’s happiness lied solely on her acceptance. She remembers her mother saying “only daughters truly belong to their families and I am glad I have one who loves me so unconditionally”.
“Life is hard for people who do not fit into society’s norms. Shakti adds “I was afraid of being myself, walking alone. I was always looked at with rude stares or outright confusion. Other times I would be asked extremely personal questions. It was scary and hurtful so I surrounded myself with positive people who supported and comforted me. I have been taking hormone therapy since I was 18. My transition is almost complete. I am now comfortable in my skin, but it took time, finances and an immense amount of patience.
Life got easier after I landed a job at Porter. At that time I had 3 opportunities, but the one offered by Porter was the best from the work environment, location, and most importantly salary perspective. Most companies upon realizing that I was a transgender would give me lousy excuses or terrible packages to dissuade me from joining, despite my abundant work experience.
“At Porter, things are so normal that I often wondered if the people around knew that I was a transgender or not! I never felt any targeting, discrimination and everyone treats me like a woman. I feel happy and like myself here. I like working with this educated pool of people who only care about my professional skill set. I make an earnest living here.
I have 6 months maternity leave in Porter! That is the level of acceptance that Porter has for transgender women. This company is my second home. I will be delighted to work here until I retire.”
I asked her to share her dreams and expectations from society. Shakti added with a smile “We form a large part of society. Keeping us unemployed is simply uneconomical! We have always existed. We just need acceptance. Gender is more an inner feeling than a biological/social construct. As a transgender, I believe that we are not looking for any particular quota or reservation. Treat us like normal people. That is all we want.”
Shakti’s future plans are simple. She believes in living life to the fullest. She is an avid cosplayer and a self-taught sitar and piano player. She plans to also learn Kathak in the future and grow both personally and professionally. She adds “I plan to continue my job and grow my career at Porter. Like all women, I also want to get married and have a secure and happy future with my partner Avantika and take care of our parents together. I want my mother and Avantika to be proud of me. Most importantly I want to have the ability to make all our dreams come true and a stalwart career to help me master everything because after all you only live once!”
Porter is India’s market leader in tech-enabled logistics for mini-truck booking with around 30,000 driver partners, across 7 cities with close to 6 lakh customers. Established in 2014, Porter plans to set golden standards not only for Indian logistics but also for employee centrality and 100% partner and customer compliance & satisfaction. We want our three pillars which are our customers, employees, and partners to find happiness and meaning in what they/we do together!
(Of the People, by the People, for the People is part of a continuing series in the Porter Blog where we will be sharing employee stories, engagement techniques, experiences, and practices. We strongly believe in being the change we want to see! Be a part of this change. To know more visit https://porter.in/ ).