WOW moment for acid attack survivors

‘I love my face’, said Laxmi and none in the audience could disagree. Minutes before that, Laxmi and other acid attack survivors had literally mesmerised the audience with their poise and resolve. As they walked the ramp flaunting their looks and style, awe-struck people couldn’t help but stand up in admiration. It was a poignant moment when sympathies had been overtaken by sheer respect and determination to join their crusade.

The occasion was the fourth edition of HT Woman Awards 2014 in Lucknow, an annual event in which awards are given to women who have gone beyond their personal and professional obligations to serve the society in any form.

This year somehow was special as we decided to add a cause to the event- an idea that germinated during informal discussions with acid attack survivors. I still remember little Sapna nonchalantly saying, ‘ I dance like Madhuri Dixit.’ And despite her surgery, she did dance like Madhuri that day on popular Mujhpe Yeh Kisne Hara Rang Dala….

Perhaps this was the first time when acid attack survivors took to the stage in the jam-packed crystal hall of Taj. And they did it with aplomb. Laxmi, who has no formal training and despite her frail self after surgeries, sang beautifully – she even went down the makeshift stage to the front row where Kailash Kher was listening to her quietly, forcing him to join her.

I remember the excitement among girls for their first ramp walk. On the D-Day, their never-say-die spirit and sparkling eyes gave others a reason to smile away their own problems – so small compared to theirs. All these girls were victims of acid attacks that changed their life forever. But that day, all the seven girls had their head held high, brimming with confidence and ready to face the world.

For us at HT, the idea was to stoke the emotions and win support of the people to ensure the survivors get justice and to ensure others don’t fall prey to such mindless acts of some maniacs. Couldn’t agree more when one of them, Shonali Mukherjee, said, ‘We are also one of you and can do everything that you can do . Just give us the inspiration, support and encouragement.’

Make sure her voice does not get lost in the din of elections. I want all of you to join our campaign and write to us ( what should be done to save girls from acid attacks.

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