Acid can make your skin melt like wax, but it can’t burn your soul. Reshma Qureshi proved this as she walked the ramp for New York Fashion Week in September 2016- two years after surviving a deadly acid attack. The Indian Feed had shared the iconic moment with its readers back then.
She had broken the glass ceiling and has been doing so till now. She has come up with her book- “Being Reshma“. She opens up about her life ever since the attack in an exclusive interview with The Indian Feed and this is the ultimate dose of inspiration to all the readers.
Here are the excerpts from the conversation we had with Reshma
Q) Hello, Reshma! Would you like to recapitulate the attack, if that doesn’t cause you any discomfort?
A) The attack took place on 19 May 2014 when I was a grade 12 student. The attacker was none else but my brother-in-law, my elder sister’s husband. He splashed acid at both sisters but my sister escaped narrowly.
Q) Why did your brother-in-law attack you?
Ans) He was constantly harassing my sister- both physically and mentally. I stood by my sister against domestic violence and brought her home. But my brother-in-law was in no mood to live and let us live in peace. He kidnapped my nephew from school who has not yet been found. And one day, when I was with my sister he targeted both of us. That’s how the man whom I had always regarded as ‘Bhai’ ended up burning my face.
Q) What followed next? Like medical treatment…
Ans) I was initially being treated in Allahabad and later in Mumbai. It took me two painful years to recover completely. I had shut myself off from the world for quite some time because the trauma had hit my soul. However, I recovered and thus, I evolved.
Q) That’s something to give us goosebumps! But what about the culprits? Did they meet Justice?
Ans) My brother-in-law has been jailed though it took us a lot of judicial battle to make it happen. There were three others with him during the attack who are still absconding.
Q) Undoubtedly those three are social terrorists and must be soon caught for the safety of the mass. What judicial battle were you talking about?
Ans) Well, to be quite honest I didn’t fight much. My father always shielded me and took all police station and courtroom works to his own shoulders. I remember having made a presence in the courtroom only once after walking down the ramp in New York Fashion Week. My brother-in-law’s advocate came up with a lame logic that now that I’d been a model and quite a renowned face in the media, his client shouldn’t be penalized anymore. The Honorable Judge was quite shocked to see me in the witness box. I was there to say, I became what I’m because of what I did and he should be punished the hardest for what he did. However, Justice arrived at me.
Q) So your family has been your support system all this while, isn’t it?
Ans) They’ve stood rock solid beside me, throughout.
Q) And the society… How tough was it to face a society who thinks it has to be the girl’s fault, no matter what?
Ans) I saw two faces of society. One that was all supportive. The other that didn’t like my disfigured face and was quite bothered who’ll marry me! Well, I’ve turned deaf ears to all the negativity and strongly believe that marriage isn’t necessary to make one’s life complete.
Q) How did you get to meet ‘Make Love Not Scars’?
Ans) It’s all because of my brother who mailed the organization. Then, Ria ma’am (Ria Sharma, founder of MLNS) paid me a visit when I was in one of the hospitals of Mumbai. She has helped me quite a lot during those tough hours.
Q) And how can we not ask about your book! How did you come up with a brilliant idea?
Ans) It was Tania’s (her Co-author whose interview would soon be uploaded on TIF, stay tuned!) idea, actually. She thought my story deserves to be heard by a lot of people and two years later, we came up with ‘Being Reshma’.
(The Indian Feed is planning to post a review of the book soon and urges its readers to get themselves a copy of the same for it’s worth a read!)
Q) Please let us know something more about your work with MLNS
Ans) Sure! We basically work towards bringing the acid attack survivors along the mainstream. Our work begins from visiting their homes, telling them that they’re no aliens but just another human being with scars- scars that one gets while fighting a battle. We help them get educated, run English classes for them and help them find jobs. Also, we assist their children’s education.
Q) That sounds really get! So, the girl who thinks so much about doing good to others, what does she have for herself in her mind?
Ans) I really want to work for other acid attack survivors. However, modeling is the best career option I currently have and definitely want to go a long way. Moreover, I’ve not resumed my education after the attack so I’m looking forward to completing it as well.
Well, that’s enough, we guess. All the best, Reshma! Thanks a ton for the interview and stay blessed always!
Haha… Thank you and same to you!
Reshma was answering the questions when she was heading towards home on the busy roads of Delhi. In a hot afternoon, her voice was all sort of jolly and soulful. She’s just become the girl she used to be before the attack- the one that loves shopping crazily but also a stronger one, who doesn’t bat an eye to those judgemental looks.
We hope she goes places, sets milestones and keeps inspiring!
You can get a copy of the book about grit and courage of Reshma here