Like many people her age, Bandana Rai didn’t want to spend a day in dust and smoke under the scorching sun of Kathmandu. But as a food delivery girl, she continued to roam the streets of Kathmandu, overcoming all her troubles.
She wants to realize her dream. She wants to be an athlete, more precisely a race car driver.
So far, though, she’s not happy with life. She feels that a person has to compromise somewhere in their life to achieve their dreams. “I still have a long way to go to achieve my dream. However, I am ready to do anything for my dream of being a racing driver.”
As a permanent resident of Ilam Deumai City 5, Rai can be seen walking around town on a motorcycle and her dreams are very close to her. However, the aspiring racer works as a delivery girl at Pathao Food today. She sets an example that food delivery is not just a “man’s job”, but she wants to demonstrate more that even a “small” job like food delivery can make a difference in fulfilling a man’s long-held dream .
a big leap
Rai is from the hilly area of Ilam and it was initially difficult to get acquainted with the way of the city. “In the village, I only knew chow mein, buns and noodles. But when I came here, I brought a lot of dishes, such as pizza, burgers and dishes that I had never heard the name or pronunciation of before,” she laughs shared.
Her day starts with an hour walk in the morning, and her college is about three or four hours. She works as a food delivery driver from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm. From Naxal, she goes to Chabahil, Thamel, Baneshwar, Gyaneshwar, New Road and Koteshwar or wherever she has to go. She delivers door-to-door.
But in Ilam, she hadn’t even ridden a bike. She came to Kathmandu from Ilam for high school. That’s when she started helping her aunt pay for her education at a restaurant. It has been four months since Ray started working as a food delivery man.
But when she started working with Pathao, who was riding a motorcycle for about 10 to 11 hours a day, “My arms, legs and body were sore. Food was delivered for one day, and I didn’t go to work for the next two days. . I am so tired.”
But, now, she’s used to cycling and enjoys her food delivery job. It has been four months since Ray started working as a food delivery man.
Rai is also in the second year of his bachelor’s degree at various campuses in Baneshwar. She knows that education is also important for her to achieve her dreams.
Rai earns Rs 30,000 to 35,000 per month as a food delivery girl and she wants to invest in pursuing her sports dreams.
Before joining Pathao, she asked her brother to help buy a motorcycle. She herself has saved some money for it. After this, her work options have multiplied exponentially. Then, she started working as a food delivery guy.
It has been four months since I started working with Pathao and Rai has not felt any discomfort at work. But since Kathmandu was deserted at 9pm, she felt uncomfortable traveling. So she doesn’t work after nine o’clock at night.
Traffic in Kathmandu can sometimes make it difficult to reach customers on time and food can get cold. When a customer is angry, she will shiver and say sorry. Some customers were even angrier. So things like this sometimes make her unhappy.
She does believe that there is no job, big or small, and one should not be ashamed of work. She said her job as a food delivery girl helped her achieve her dream and pay for her education.
However, even after all this time, she did not tell her parents that she was a delivery man. Aside from her close friends, her siblings know it. But those in the know are encouraging her to say she’s doing well.
According to Pathao Nepal, there are currently 10 women working in food delivery. Eight of them used scooters and two used motorcycles.
While attending school in the village, she participated in various school competitions.
“I’ve loved running since school. I want to be a race car driver when I grow up,” Rai said. “Even today, I’m trying to shape my passion for running.”
Work keeps her busy these days, but she says she hasn’t forgotten her dream. Rai arrives at Dasharath Stadium for a run in the morning.
But recently, her sick mother came to Kathmandu from the village. Since she was supposed to be taken to the hospital from time to time, she was diverted from training and college.
Lai, who returns to the village, has to go up the mountain for about an hour and a half almost every day. She always arrives at school very late in the morning, after gathering fodder for her cattle and eating. So no matter how tired or late, she would go to school.
“Because I had to run to school on time, but I started running,” she said.
Rai, despite being a food delivery girl, has competed in various competitions in and around Kathmandu. She has been on the podium in several such races.
Rai isn’t just interested in athletics; she’s also a black belt in kickboxing. After arriving in Kathmandu, she wanted to put on a white dress and practice karate at the Dasharat Stadium. But her family advised her to take up other sports because of the risks of kickboxing.
“They said girls shouldn’t play taekwondo, it’s not a good game. However, they don’t know the sport and want me to work in government. However, I can’t help but play taekwondo,” she said. And, if necessary, she can protect herself to a certain extent, and she is happy.
This story has been translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.