Meet Bhanumati: The Ultimate Teacher

Who is she?

Bhanumati, (fondly called Bhanumati Teacher, by the women at Swara) has a story that begins in a small town in Kottayam, Kerala. This 55-year-old woman, exudes so much hope, positivity and oodles of enthusiasm, even over a phone call! While Bhanumati has formally studied till class 10th, she’s been a tailor for more than 40 years. She has been associated with the Kerala Welfare Tailor’s Fund, which ensures that she receives a pension after she turns 60.

How is she doing? 

While her son and husband both lost their jobs, Bhanumati began teaching children and supported her family by taking on tailoring work. The rations from the government through the pandemic have also enabled them to take care of their hunger, in addition to working from Swara. Despite COVID cases and job losses in her family, Bhanumati is confident that she and her family can get past this difficult time, as she places immense faith that good deeds will bring her “good karma.” She’s grateful that the pandemic didn’t affect her family as much as it could have, and that they were able to survive on their savings. A beaming Bhanumati is proud that her husband is finally back to work, making parts for auto rickshaws and couriering them to the state capital. 

Her non-work-side:

In her free time, Bhanumati Teacher loves to “simply” sit and listen to old, soulful melodies on the radio that take her back to fond memories. Many people ask her, how she has stuck to the art for more than 40 years and how she’s managed to stay motivated. Bhanumati’s candid response to this question is nothing short of delightful: She is motivated by the simple fact that her work makes her customers happy and that she has been able to reach more people via her work!

When asked about what would be her top 4 wishes in life, Bhanumati Teacher kindly shared that:

  1. She’d like her son to be married to a wonderful girl 
  2. To finish the construction work on her house (this got stalled because the funds were used in her daughter’s wedding)
  3. To own a car someday!
  4. She couldn’t tell us the last wish, as it is a secret she’s held onto for 28 years, and can share it only once it comes true!

Fun fact: Her daughter is her best friend, and confidante. 

Her take on Fashion:

When asked about her taste in fashion, the Teacher shares that she loves the peacock blue colour and likes adorning herself in sarees. She appreciates the styles and fashions of others but believes that youngsters look best in a pair of jeans and tops/T-shirts and that older women look great in salwar kameezes. 

What we love most about her:

Bhanumati Teacher’s candid demeanor, resilience, and never-give-up mentality, inspire the Swara team to work harder and navigate our way through the continuous lockdowns, and do her proud! We have much to learn from her, our lovely Teacher :)

Credits: Interviewed by Ammara Qaisar, The Blue Divide and edited by Lakshmi Hiranandani, Swara


Story recorded on February 5, 2021

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