Designs that speak volumes

Designs that speak volumes

Confident offering

Designs that speak volumes
When the spotlight falls on her, this 23-year-old lifts her chin  and walks the ramp with immense confidence. Be it the flowing gowns or fancy sarees, she carries them all with panache.Yet when asked to introduce herself on the stage, she gestures and is able to make a few sounds only. Mahima is someone who can't speak but is capable of expressing far more when it comes to designing garments and sashaying in them on the ramp!

“She was born eight years after me and I was extremely happy that day. In fact, everyone in the family was joyous,” recalls Vineet, her brother, while speaking to Metrolife. The happiness of this lower middle-class clan received a jolt when they realised that their new family member would never be able to lead a normal life. Mahima was born mute.

This harsh reality did not dampen the courage of Mahima's family who recognised her fondness for creative fields and encouraged her. “As a child I used to sketch models wearing designer garments.

On TV I used to watch fashion shows and analyse how a particular model’s dress could have been designed better,” says Vineet, deciphering Mahima's expressions and signs.“Nobody in the family uses sign language to communicate with her unless it’s absolutely necessary, because she is able to lip-read what we say and comprehend the same,” shares Vineet as an excited Mahima smiles.

Her personality makes it difficult for anyone to believe her physical shortcomings. “This is why I like to be on the stage, because when I am on the ramp under bright lights, nobody gets to know that I can’t speak or hear and therefore they don’t judge my capability!”

She was crowned the fourth runner-up at an all-India fashion show for deaf and dumb before bagging the Best Female Model prize at the Deccan Herald Metrolife Fashion Show held in Delhi recently. “I was even given a chance to go to London to represent India, at the world level fashion show competition for deaf and dumb, after I performed confidently at the first competition.

My family guided me to lose weight and look fit for which I joined a weight-training programme, but took the diet so seriously that a few days before I had to leave India, I fell ill.” A distinct shadow of disappointment appears on her face as she thinks back about the lost opportunity.

Having completed her graduation in commerce from correspondence, she tried to pursue her interest in fine arts and fashion designing. But the journey wasn’t as easy till she got admission in International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD).

Her brother says, “We tried to get her admitted in the best of the fashion schools in the city but they refused since Mahima required special attention and support from others. Also, we are not financially sound, yet none of the colleges offered to help. They don’t realise that even if one student like her gets trained due to them, how many lives will be changed thereafter!”

Eager to learn, she is unaware of what the future has in store for her since, “there is no Government support,” laments Vineet. His innocent sister keeps smiling and is quick to comment, “You know when I become a fashion designer in future, I would want to design clothes for Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. They are my favourite.

And I want to meet Manish Malhotra, he is my inspiration!”  Hope the Government and society join hands to make her dreams come true, some day.  

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