“I was born with Strabismus (crossed eye), a condition where my eyes don’t always look in the same direction simultaneously. Imagine being in a class of 30, where 29 students share the same gaze, and then there’s me, navigating the world with eyes that choose their own path – it’s like a unique journey for my eyes. Living with this, particularly with Alternating Squint, had its challenges in school. Self-confidence took a hit, and making eye contact turned into a tricky task. Ever felt like the odd one out? That was my constant state – yearning for personal space, always feeling a bit lost. Strabismus isn’t all gloom and doom, but society has this habit of reminding you that you stand out. Yet, acceptance became my superpower over the years. Embracing my uniqueness, I realized perfection is overrated, and I give my best to every task, seeking positive results. My education journey hit a roadblock at class 8 due to family circumstances. Life, however, had a creative twist for me – crafting and selling stone bracelets and chains for almost 13 years. Starting before my sister’s wedding, taking a break, and then diving back in gave my life a purpose beyond household chores. Once in six months, we travel to different cities like Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Mumbai collecting stones turning them into beautiful pieces to sell by the beaches in our hometown, Gokarna. A warm smile, genuine and convincing, became my best sales strategy. Sure, there are tough days, but I’ve learned to roll with the punches. Interacting with different people daily feels natural, thanks to growing up with five siblings. Life’s a roller coaster, with more downs than ups sometimes, but giving up is not my style. We’re all here for a purpose, and I’m sailing towards mine with hope and perseverance.”
- Maria, your friendly street vendor
One can reach out to me at @saakimariya on Instagram to buy these stoned chains and bracelets.