Walking the extra mile with a third leg

Shivashankari with her brother Balappa Yamanappa Maratageri and others. DH Photo

It’s her third leg that draws the crowds at fairs across North Karnataka. Shivashankari does a bit of glib talk and says she is ready to give a prize of Rs 5,000 to anyone who can disprove her case is not a miracle.

The woman is taking part in the Durgadevi fair that is on at the Gaddinakeri thanda near the city.

The collection at the ticket counter wherever she goes is her means for livelihood. Born to Yamanappa and Kariyamma of Konal S K village near Ilkal in Hungund taluk, she had three legs at birth.

Her parents, who were from a poor background, could not provide Shivashankari proper medical treatment. This resulted in the third leg, which was smaller in the beginning and grew with time.

To add to her misery, she lost her parents at a young age and grew up under her brother’s care.

However, the third leg is half the size of the other two normal legs and has nine toes.

Shivashankari moves about on her own with a slight difficulty and does her daily chores without assistance.

“I am getting Rs 400 from the government as pension for the disabled. But that’s not enough to lead a life of dignity,” she told Deccan Herald.

Her third leg is between the other two. A doctor from Hubli inserted a pipe into her navel when she was three to help her pass urine.

Shivashankari’s brother Balappa Yamanappa Maratageri and his son Hanumantha look after her.

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