Fighting the odds: The incredible story of Vizag’s “Mehendi woman”

Mehendi woman in Vizag

Jyotheswari is a charming lady who managed to convert her passion for mehendi into a profession, thereby enabling her to be a contributor to her family. And all this, while being differently abled which restricted her mobility. Here is the story of this incredible woman from Vizag, in her words.

“I was born in Vizag and have lived here all my life. My home is in Daba Gardens, where I live with my husband, mother, three sisters and two brothers. Ours is a big family, and so the expenses are quite high. My life changed after I was afflicted by polio, but that did not prevent me from trying to add to the family’s income. I initially tried working at STD booths, but not only were my earnings too meagre, I faced a lot of taunts and criticism from co-workers. Disheartened, I left that job. As I was exploring other avenues, I took up a few requests to draw mehendi designs and realised that I had finally found my calling. That is how I started this business.

I am happy that my hobby of applying mehendi has now become my source of income. I make the henna cones myself, for which I procure tubed henna from Vijayawada every month. I come to the Beach Road every day at 5 PM and work till 10 PM. Generally, I earn up to Rs.200-300 in a day, and on a good day, I earn up to Rs.500. My husband, who works as a security guard in a shopping mall, is a big pillar of support in my life.

I was always dependent on auto-rickshaws until MP Shri Hari Babu gifted me a battery-operated tricycle. But unfortunately, its battery is presently in need of repair, and that will cost me around Rs.5000. I have saved Rs.2000, and need to earn Rs.3000 more. I hope I’ll be able to earn that amount soon so that I can get back to using my handy battery-operated wheelchair once more.”
An inspiring instance of self-reliance in the face of adversity. Team Yo! Vizag salutes her commitment towards her work and wishes her the very best for the future.

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