Saalumarada Thimmakka lives in the Hulikal village of Karnataka. At 103, she still lives on to tell the story of her life which was filled with hardship but bore fruit in a different kind of way.
a young girl, she was married off to a farmer who made a meagre income and was looked down upon by his fellow villagers for not fathering a child with his new wife. Instead of following social protocol, they decided to plant tree saplings and tend to them as their own children.
Nurturing the 10 grafted saplings on a bare stretch of land four kilometres from their village (between the villages of Hulikal and Kudoor, about 80 km away of Bangalore) they endured the hardships of tending to the plants despite their limited economic resources. The following years, they planted more saplings, in the hope that they would grow and beautify the land.
Today, the fully grown banyan trees are at an economic value of Rs. 15 Lakh and are managed by the Government of Karnataka.Despite being felicitated and awarded by several state and national organisations, Thimmakka still lives below the poverty line. Her home cannot accommodate the certificates and medals while her bills still remain unpaid. Her only means of income is a government pension of Rs. 500.She is still a staunch supporter of afforestation and does all she can to spread awareness. Her belief is that every person should leave behind an asset that benefits all humanity.
After adopting a son, whom she inspired to be passionate about the environment, Thimmakka still dreams of starting a hospital. She hasn’t given up on her hopes and aspirations yet.