As we always say, a strong desire is the key to making a person reach different heights, and all the odds look small if one has an indomitable will power. The living testimony of such qualities is 27-year-old Anjana Malli from Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. There was a time when Anjana used to beg on the ghats of Ganga. The daughter of a contractual labourer who was, Anjana was born with no hands and a deformed back and legs. Begging was her only option to sustain, and she wouldn’t return home until she had some money to give to her family.
However, everything changed for her on a particular day last year. Anjana was sitting in the corner of a road with a pen held between her toes, trying to write something on a paper. Her efforts drew the attention of one Stephanie Joyce, an artist and yoga teacher from Virginia, the US. Stephanie was very intrigued seeing Anjana Malli deftly writing “Ram” with her leg. It is when Stephanie decided to help Anjana Malli learn painting with legs. And only after a few months of rigorous efforts, she could paint quite well.
“Stephanie was the first person who took my art seriously and taught me how to draw with my toes. I’ll always be thankful to her,” said Anjana to The Logical Indian.
Anjana started to paint figures of lord Ganesha, Shiva, birds like peacock as she wielded the pen with her toes. Initially, the money she collected from begging, was entirely used to buy paper and colours. As she painted, sitting beside the Ganga ghats, it drew the attention of many who gathered around to see the work Anjana was doing. She started to sell her paintings. Each painting even started fetching her somewhere between Rs 2,500 to Rs 25,000, which were mainly bought by foreigners.
“I gave all my efforts in painting so that I could support my parents and my disabled brother. There’s no one to help them apart from me,” said Anjana.
Anjana wants to learn more about painting so that she can earn her livelihood through it. She even wants to gift one of her paintings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. You can see her painting with her toes on the Parmarth Niketan path of Rishikesh.
The Logical Indian urges our community members to witness Anjana’s paintings if you are visiting Rishikesh anytime soon. We request everyone to help her by buying her paintings.
This story was sent to us by on of our community members who also admin a Facebook page Inrishikesh.