Kanmoni, a beautiful and effervescent 12-year-old from Mavelikara in Kerala, has been winning friends and hearts with her music and zest for life. She was born without arms and with deformed legs, but you would scarcely know that as she plays 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' on the keyboard. With her feet.
Kanmoni also paints and writes with her feet and is independent in everyday life. "She doesn't like to depend on anyone. From having her bath, to brushing her teeth, to applying eye liner, to eating her food, she does everything by herself using her feet," says her mother Rekha Shashikumar.
Mrs Shashikumar says the future had looked dark when she was born, but they had not reckoned with Kanmoni's fierce desire to live life on her terms.
The journey was not easy. She was refused admission by several schools, before VVHSS school in Thamarakulam took her in.
Now in class 8, school is where she most loves to be. Apart from her family, it is her classmates and her teachers who have been her biggest strength, the pre-teen says.
Like Bindu, a teacher at the school who learnt how to drive so that Kanmoni would not have to commute the 10 km to her school by public transport.
Another teacher, Lolamma, "placed a pen in my feet as a child, and had given me a parrot's picture to colour. From that day onward there has been no turning back," says Kanmoni.
Kanmoni's class teacher Vividha describes her as a very bright student, loved by her classmates. "We just have to give her a little bit more time in comparison to others to be able to write, since she uses her feet and alter seating arrangements in class to seat her comfortably," she said.