“People in villages and the housewives are so creative. The slums are full of stars. But they don't get recognition. I do this to inspire people who are like me.”
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On 1 September 2019, when Mamta Verma was watching the show Dance Plus, she was inspired by Amardeep Singh Natt’s robotic dance moves. The next day she tried this style on a famous Punjabi number, Lamborghini and posted it on TikTok – the video-sharing social networking app.
Little did she know that this was going to make her a star. Within an hour the video had gained 6,000 likes and around 3 lakh followers by the next morning. Today, just within seven months of posting her first Robotic dance video, Mamta has more than 1 million followers on TikTok.
“This has changed my life completely. Not that I am earning money from it. The usual struggle to survive is the same, but this has given me confidence and happiness that I never had,” says Mamta, while speaking to The Better India (TBI).
Not An Easy Journey
For a living, Mamta cooks at wedding parties and social gatherings for which she earns Rs. 300 per day. The dancing star has been honing her culinary skills since she was a young girl.
Mamta was just four years old when she lost her father. Her mother became the sole earner of the family and would wash dishes and cook at social events to feed her six children. Being the youngest of all her siblings, Mamta would always accompany her mother to work. Responsibilities and maturity wrapped around the young shoulders early in life.
“I can recall nothing happy about my childhood. My mother has worked hard to support us. She did odd jobs to get food on our table. But never revealed her pain and exhaustion to us. She just wanted all of us to be educated,” shares Mamta.
Born and brought up in Manpur, a small town in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Mamta always wanted to become a policewoman and dreamed of pursuing a career in singing too. But she had no idea how to go about it. She opted to do BHSc (Bachelor of Health Sciences) and would travel 20-22 KM every day to reach her college in Mhow (Dr Ambedkar Nagar).
“There are still no colleges in Manpur. Hence, I had to opt for this college in Mhow. I would go by bus and to earn money for the travel, I started working as a labourer,” says Mamta. Soon Mamta had a degree and wanted to go for her postgraduation too, but it was too difficult for her mother to sustain another degree. Thus, Mamta decided to stop her education and start working.
“I tried for jobs but had to leave my town for it. People in my town are conservative, and my mother was worried that I would not be able to get married if I leave the town for a job,” she informs.
A New Beginning – The Rise of a TitkTok Star
Five years ago, Mamta got married to Suraj Verma, a security guard in a private company. Two years later, the couple welcomed a daughter.
Mamta continued to cook at weddings to support her husband and the struggle to earn better, continued. But, one day Mamta’s neighbour showed a funny TikTok video to her daughter. She was so happy watching it that she asked Mamta to show the video to her every day. Even Mamta liked the videos so much that she finally downloaded the app in March last year.
Initially, she just watched the videos, but later, curious, she tried to make one herself too.
According to Mamta, Vishnupriya’s videos on TikTok inspired her. She made a few lip sync videos initially and earned a few likes. But then she tried Robot dance which became an instant hit.
Mamta continues to work hard and makes these videos to inspire more people like her who have the potential but are too shy to show their talents to the world.
“India has so much talent. People in villages and the housewives are so creative, and the slums are full of stars. But these people do not get the recognition they deserve. I make my videos without doing any makeup or changing the background. I do this to inspire people who are like me,” she says.
So what has changed after a million Tiktok followers?
“My house. It was well-maintained before. Now it is a mess! All because I am busy either in making videos or checking the comments and views,” she laughs.
“But honestly, my perspective towards life has completely changed. Once you get to do things you like and get your share of appreciation too, you hardly think about the less important things in life. I am more confident now. Happier now. All thanks to this one app and my viewers,” she says.
Nowadays, Mamta is at home all the time. The lockdown struck in the middle of wedding season, and she has no work. But Mamta is not complaining. She is utilising her free time to be with her family and making videos.
Once the lockdown is over, she says she will get back to her work and earn for her family. She wishes to get dancing lessons but does not have enough money to spend for the classes.
If you know someone who can teach Mamta for free, then do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish her the fame she truly deserves. You can follow her on TikTok at mamtaverma000210290
Also Read: ‘I Choose To Be Me’: Meet Eshan Hilal, A Belly Dancer Unlike Any Other You’ve Seen
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)