Anjana Malik, a 38-year-old roadside artist, was born with no arms and a deformity in her left leg – but she doesn’t let her inabilities stop her. Due to the severity of her deformity, her left leg reduced to half the size of the right leg. This handless girl coming from a poverty-stricken family does not let her disability to let down her and decide to follow an unimaginable path. Her positive approach towards the life is a great inspiration for others who are ungrateful for what they have.
“Hard thing is put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength”
Early Life and Family background
Anjana’s family shifted to Rishikesh to start a new life after she was born in Nainital. Their shifting, however, does not yield any good result as being a poverty-stricken family. The condition got worst with a series of misfortunes. Anjana had to drop out of school when she was in Fifth as there was no one to support her education. After one year, a state of adversity prevailed in the family when her oldest brother committed suicide.
“Your success and happiness lie in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host of difficulties”- Helen Keller
With a guilt of being a burden on the family and to come out of all bad experiences happened so far, she decided to turn her deformity into her asset. She tried to write for the first time in 2014 by holding a pen between her toes.
Weakness turning into greatest strength
Anyone would not have imagined doing much by writing with the help of toes and Anjana believes the same. However, within a year she transformed her deformity into her greatest strength. She was helped by Stephanie Joyce, an American tourist visiting Rishikesh when Anjana used to write ‘Ram Naam’ on pieces of paper. Stephanie being herself an artist and yoga teacher encouraged her to start painting instead of writing. She also purchased all the drawing material in order to help he artistic pursuits.
She was soon able to make beautiful pictures by virtue of her strong determination. Her painting although seems to be very basic at first glance but on closer inspection, they were as good as a good painter. The detailing she had in her paintings were the reasons that every passerby was amazed at.
New Hurdles Everyday
Life had never been easy for Anjana and even after becoming a roadside artist, she is still suffering a lot. She has to travel six kilometers every day to reach Lakshman Jhula across the Ganges to sell her paintings at an insignificant corner. In her journey for six kilometers, she has to walk on congested roads and cross a bridge to board a ferry to secure that place.
The change in the season brings a lot of new hurdles as well. Rains during monsoon season destroy her paintings and hard work every time. The unbearable heat of summers makes her completely exhausted till she reaches her destination.
Only way is to move forward
Despite all the hurdles, Anjana is still motivated to gain something better of life. Today, Anjana’s profession is the only source of income for her family but her passion and talent is one of the main reasons for her painting. She herself appreciates this as it gives her opportunity to prove her worth and a sense of pride and honor.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become” -Steve Jobs
Anjana can hardly earn between Rs 2,500 and Rs 25,000 according to some reports. Only with this income, she is taking care of a family of five including her brother’s school going children. Her brother is paralyzed so her wife has to stay home to take care of him. All the basic needs such as food, clothing, medicines, school fees, and room rent have to be managed in Anjana’s unstable income. With the decline in foreign tourist population in Lakshman Jhula across the Ganges, it is becoming difficult for him to meet the monthly expenses
For fulfilling her dreams, she has started to raise funds through crowd funding. She dreams of a life without uncertainties, a better place to live for her family and a wheelchair or a stall to help her easy traveling.
Anjana is among those who are proving to the world that determination is what takes to achieve your goals. Her deep concentration and passion towards painting are what makes her happy. Anjana is really different as said for any disabled not because of her disability but due to her determination of living life to the fullest. She has proved to the world that disability can never come in the way of success.
“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work” -Colin Powell