She has become a successful artisan though her bones are weak
Osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile, is not a handicap for this 61-year-old K.Rajammal, who has displayed nerves of steel and determination to emerge as an artisan.
In an amazing display of will and determination, Rajammal, hailing from a traditional pottery family here, has silently turned a debilitating physical condition into a great opportunity of hope by being a relentless doll maker for the past 45 years.
Unmindful of the precarious disease, she had been making a variety of dolls right from the age of 15 years and emerged as an artisan, the only doll maker in this region. Her expertise in painting make her dolls special in the market.
“I realised my deformity at the age of 10 years and started learning the art of making dolls from my father, who was making fancy pottery items,” says Rajammal.
She started making piggy bank ‘hundiyals’ before switching over to dolls making for ‘Navaratri Kolu.’
Then there were demands for dolls of gods and goddesses and she became too busy to worry about her immobility. She works for about six hours a day and earns a monthly income of Rs. 5,000. “I am happy with my creations,” she told ‘The Hindu,’ sharing her lifestyle.
She is under the care of her elder brother K.Veluchamy, president, Pottery Workers’ Cooperative Society.
The ‘veranda’ in the house is Rajammal’s workspot and she is busy making mouldings and paintings every day from 8 a.m. assisted by a helper.
With the help of Nehru Yuva Kendra, she had trained about 40 women in the village but they showed no interest in making dolls, she laments. Now she was training her nephew. “The family members take care of me well, but I do not want to be a burden for them,” she says.
She earns money to fulfil her needs, she says and shows the long gold chain and “jimikki’ (ear drops) she had recently bought with her earnings, with a brittle smile.
Till five years ago, she could move around in sitting posture but now she has to be lifted to her bed room and rest room, says Veluchamy. Rajammal was like any other child till she was four years old when she fractured her hand, he says. Before she could recover, she broke her leg.
She was treated by the local Indian medical practitioner and it was too late when it was realised that she was hit by the disease. Rajammal listens to music and reads Tamil magazines.