One Girl Proves You Don’t Need Hands to Earn Applause


Malvika Iyer never expected her home-cooked meal to turn into a Twitter sensation. The Millennial from India tweeted a photo of some scrumptious looking curry last week. But it wasn’t just her food that caused the post to go viral; it was the fact that she had no hands.

Nearly 15 years ago, Malvika was a victim of a grenade explosion in Bikaner where she lived. The trauma left her with severely fractured legs, nerve paralysis, and forced doctors to amputate both of her hands. Malvika spent the next 18 months travelling from hospital to hospital to undergo countless surgeries. But the 13-year-old refused to be broken by the life-altering tragedy.

Just two years after the incident, Malvika was walking again. She was also learning to use her new prosthetic hands. She never saw herself as a victim, and went on to study economics, earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and is currently working on her Ph.D. Her tenacity and positive outlook eventually led to a career as a motivational speaker. She is also a veracious disability rights activist.

But last week, Malvika was just an average twenty-something woman who wanted to make herself something to eat. She was having a bad day, but instead of wallowing, she decided to do something positive. It was also something challenging. Malvika had never actually cooked for herself before. But that didn’t stop her from getting her mother’s curry recipe and getting busy in the kitchen. A half hour later, Malvika had made herself a delicious meal by herself and without the advantage of hands. She was empowered and excited, and took to Twitter to share the triumphant moment.

@MalvikaIyer, Twitter

As her photo and story were shared across the web, they eventually landed in front of renowned chef Vikas Khanna. Malvika was shocked and delighted when the chef praised her efforts and said that his dream is to cook with her. One that he promises will come true.

Malvika’s refusal to be a victim, unstoppable will, and determination led her to do something daring on a day when it would have been easy to let negativities overtake her. Because of that, countless people around the world – whether disabled or not – have been inspired by her home-cooked meal.

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