When Saudi Arabia finally lifted the regressive ban that had kept women from taking charge of the wheel in June, little did Saramma Thomas know that she would become the first Indian female to receive a driving license in the Middle Eastern country.
Who is Saramma Thomas?
- Thomas, a native of Pathanamthitta district's Angamoozhy in Kerala, has been living in Saudi Arabia for the past nine years.
- She is a nurse by profession and works at the King Abdulaziz Naval Base Military Hospital.
"I have been working for 12 years in all now, three years back home in Kerala before my wedding, and nine years in Saudi after it," The News Minute quoted her as saying.
- Thomas lives in Saudi Arabia with her husband, who is a native of Kumbazha, and their four-year-old son Aaidan.
- She used to drive in Kerala and had always hoped that driving would be legalised in Saudi Arabia.
How Thomas reacted when she became first Indian woman to get a license
For Thomas, who had been waiting for years for Saudi Arabia to lift the driving ban on women the relaxation of the norm was a great news. However, she was even more elated when she learnt that she has become the first Indian woman to get a driving license in the Middle Eastern nation.
When she and her husband got the news on June 24 that Saudi Arabia had done away with the ban on women driving, she immediately applied for the license. Her appointment for the driving test was scheduled for June 27. Thomas passed the driving test and got her license on the same day.
"Friends and relatives started calling, seeing reports. Congratulatory messages kept pouring in on Facebook and WhatsApp. Phone calls became too many!" Thomas told TNM.
After receiving her license, Thomas drove her husband and her son to the Dammam Highway. She feels that driving in Saudi Arabia is quite easy.
"It is the same rules as in our land. Only the steering wheel is on the left side. But otherwise, it is much easier here. The roads are fine. And it is auto gear. Women would find it a lot easier to drive," Thomas said.
Ever since she made the headlines, she has become an inspiration to other women.
"I hope this becomes an inspiration for more women to drive here in Saudi. Many women called to tell me they felt motivated after watching me drive," Thomas said.