Source : The New Indian Express
The acid-attack survivor who has turned, vlogger, model and an anti-acid activist launches her book recounting her story.
Being Reshma is not easy, yet it is not the most difficult thing in the world. It’s a state of balance wherein tragedy meets good fortune, and defeat meets triumph. In her book, Being Reshma, acid-attack survivor, Reshma Qureshi speaks of rehabilitating and empowering the oppressed.
Qureshi has been waiting for her story to be made public for a long time and the moment has arrived. In it, she traverses through the explorative power of words to bring about a revolution in the barbaric way women are treated in modern India, turning a mirror on the ugly face of gender-based discrimination and gross violation of basic human dignities.
On a cold winter night, we met Qureshi for the first time. She was wearing the brightest shade of maroon on her lips, her eyes lined with dark kohl, and her hair pulled back revealing the magnificence of her chiselled face. She defies the conformist idea of beauty. “My looks aren’t a reflection of who I am. If society defines what amounts as belle, it can redefine it to incorporate other versions of beauty too,” she says in a soft, but determined tone.
On May 19, 2014, then 17-year-old Qureshi left home oblivious of the impending doom. She had stepped out to go to her examination centre when a group of men grabbed her savagely and threw acid on her face. “At first, I didn’t understand why they were pouring hot water on my face. They didn’t even lift my niqab. In a few minutes, I realised it was not hot water, but acid. My life changed in a matter of minutes,” she says.
The day also marked itself as metamorphic experience in terms of who she would emerge from it a few months later. Qureshi’s vicissitude turned her into a crusader for other women her shoes. As a model, vlogger and an anti-acid activist, she has used the same scarred face to become the face of an NGO called Make Love Not Scars, that works with acid-attack survivors. Today, Qureshi has reclaimed her life with a glowing spirit of unfettered strength.