Felix Gaedtke

Living without legs

Source: ABC Radio here.

Bharti Sawant 2

In her tiny five metre by five metre block in a suburban Mumbai slum, Bharti Sawant is making flower garlands. “I think making garlands is an art. I want to take my art to people,” she says and falls silent for a moment. She looks down at herself and points towards where her ankles should have been. “I don’t have legs, so I can’t spend time walking on the streets looking for customers. I have to sit at the market,” Bharti says. When Bharti Sawant fell in love with an impoverished man with one leg, she became depressed. She couldn’t work out how to tell her middle class parents about her love, and so she tried to commit suicide on the train tracks. But she didn’t succeed – instead lost both her own legs.

 

She married Sudharka, the love of her life, but then he took another wife. He stopped working and accumulated lots of debts. Despite having two small children Bharti went out to work to support the family, getting around on her prosthetic legs. Today Bharti sells flower garlands at the local market and goes to tailoring lessons. She’s working at paying off her husband’s debts and is heartened that people respect her for making something beautiful.

If you’d like to help Bharti you can write to the Bhagwan Mahavir Vikalang Sahayta Samiti at bmvss@gmail.com

Bharti Sawant