Bunt bird who soared from Manipal to Missouri

She was born without hands and legs. She was just a day old when she was relinquished to a hospital in Manipal by her poor parents, Kalavathi and Shankar Shetty. She was rescued by an NGO, who called her Swapna. She was adopted seven months later by an American woman, who called her Minda Cox.

In Missouri, which became her new home, Minda rose above her disability to become an artist. Holding the brushes between her arm and cheeks, she showed that what you need to imagine and create is not what she didn’t have.

Nineteen years later, using the earnings from the sale of her paintings and accompanied by her adoptive parent Catherine Cox, she came in search of her biological parents, a reunion documented magnificently by Divya Gandhi and K. Gopinathan of The Hindu here, here, and here.


YOGESH DEVARAJ in San Jose, California, forwards a slideshow from the Springfield News-Leader that catalogues not just Minda’s art but her grit that’s helped her soar over her handicap.

“I like to draw because it’s a slow process and I can do it at my leisure. And I just love how I can kind-of just get lost in a drawing. It kind of represents me. I am resolute and I am growing, and I am getting out of all these stresses and all these barriers. And coming out and succeeding in reaching the goal. I am getting at the stresses, and getting at the I-can’t-do-it and proving to the world I can do it.”

View the full slideshow here: Artist Minda Cox

Photograph: courtesy K. Gopinathan/ The Hindu

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11 Responses to “Bunt bird who soared from Manipal to Missouri”

  1. H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana Says:

    It is a heartwarming story and also inspiring that no ahndicap can hold up achievement if there is determinatiion. At the smae time thanks to the NGO which took the initiative and the American woman who adopted her. The Week magzine dated Feb 3 2008 in its Republic special gives the example of such inspiring people who achieved success against severe odds.

  2. Othla Boy Says:

    it’s truly inspiring … how people so challenged can overcome their constraints to let their light shine out in this world … it makes you realize that life is this continuous struggle that we need to keep fighting at … it gives you a perspective on life in a manner that alters your perception of reality … we are all so lost in cribbing about the shortcomings in our life … this is just the kind of story that shakes you off your slumber … and reminds you to keep fighting … as andy dufresne said in “the shawshank redemption” … it all comes down to a simple choice really … get busy living or get busy dying …

  3. MGRao Says:

    For all of us who crib despite how lucky we are, this is a truly humbling experience. Thanks to Catherine for not only adopting Mindy, but also imbibing in her the zeal to not give up. The slide show is marvelous and a testament to the triumph of grit over adversity. Mindy-Catherine not only stared adversity in the eye but beat it with a brush!

    We usually get our greeting cards by “The Mouth and Foot Painting” artists and many are equally awe-inspiring.

  4. Vijay Says:

    Very inspiring story… as MGRao says credit to Catherine…

  5. Rajesh Menon Says:

    You Had Done A very Great Job By Posting These Blog. It really opened the eyes of the viewer i will rate you 10/10 for these blog. good one keep it up.

  6. Narayana Says:

    Catherine God bless you.. Minda you are the best.

  7. Minda Cox Says:

    Thank you for these kind comments!
    I am very proud to be Indian, and proud to be the daughter of both my first parents, Shankar and Kalavathi Shetty who cherished me and kept me alive even thought they could not riase me, and akka to Pavitra, Pallavi, and Chaitra Shetty, by now-loved sisters, AND ALSO to be daughter of mt adoptive mother, Catherine Cox, and youngest sister to Rebecca, Deborah, Shanti, and Jayanthi – also adopted. I am so lucky to have two familes, to love, and who love me. God is good.

  8. Susan Easley Says:

    God is good, all the time. What a wonderful story.


  9. latha vidyaranya Says:

    minda cox says, “I am so lucky to have two familes, to love, and who love me. God is good.”

    it is amazing how minda holds no bitterness in her heart against any of the family members who gave her away in adoption. instead she feels pride in the fact that she now has two families to love and be loved !

    what a BIG heart she has! i see God in her………..

  10. Jyotsna Says:

    Minda & Catherina, what a story. May the Divine always guide and bless you in all your endeavors.

  11. Anil Says:

    Minda and Catherine,
    You are an inspiration to life and the true art of living

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