Jun 11, 2011

Beauty Lies Deep Within

This article is one among the winners for the 'Real Beauty' contest by Dove & Indiblogger.
Early morning I rush in to have the first glance of the newspaper. I don’t know why but there has always been a tug of war for the paper at my place right from my childhood days. So it’s like whoever takes the paper first gets to read the paper first. Today I was lucky to be the first one. As I flipped through pages of the newspaper, I went through this article with the headline “Acid Attack victim sets an example….” something on these lines. I first avoided reading the article because I thought its one of the many cases that happen in the city and which never see the light of justice. 

I thought to myself,” This story would also lose all its glam in the next few weeks and the face would get lost somewhere in the crowd.” Something in me told me to go through the story which was supported by a picture of a lady in her early thirties .Even though the picture wasn’t clearly visible, it was obvious that there was something wrong with her face.
Now let’s name this lady as Jennifer or rather Ms. Jennifer (name changed). Jennifer like any other girl wished to marry the prince of her dreams and live her life as the one’s we have in fairy tales. She did meet her prince and did get married to her charming prince. Little did she know that her life would crumple down soon! They started having irreconcilable differences and finally they parted ways. They stayed separately even though they weren’t divorced. Her prince I believe could never accept the fact that Jennifer had left him alone to fend for and the grudge he had for her just became worse day by day. Like everyday Jennnifer returned back from office and on the way back she was stopped by her ex-hubby on a bike. He was dressed unusually with gloves in his hand, a mask on his face which he removed when she came near him. The moment she came closer to him, he put his hand in a bag and took out something and then there was a Splash of something on her face. For a moment she didn’t understand what had happened , what was the substance thrown on her face .Her world had become dark, she could see nothing but just feel the burning sensation all over her face. She could see smoke rising from her face. The burning pain was too much to bear and she yelled out in agony and pain. No one came forward to help her or catch her hubby who by then had fled. Her face had been disfigured for life. The burnt marks on her face were a cruel reminder of their love story gone sour.
For months she locked her up at her place, people used to look at her with sympathy wherever she went. Their sympathy hurt her even more. Even though people were sympathetic they avoided sitting next to her in the buses, trains etc. She was disfigured. Her college friends don't visit anymore, and children are terrified of her. The beauty was lost. People would listen to her story, show sympathy and move on. But this sympathetic approach instigated her rather than leaving her paralyzed for life. She thought of doing something. Her anger still burnt inside her heart. She was a victim for no fault of hers. She knew this wasn’t the life for her definitely. She thought of changing the way people looked at her. She started with, going to police stations and tracked down her hubby and she saw to it justice was done. What I found amazing in this real life story was the self less work she did for the other burn victims.  She attended the World Burns Conference in Michigan; in 2008, she made it to the UK for a Masters in Development and Human Rights; she trekked north to Kashmir in 2007.Now, she’s on the long road to reformation. Aware only too well of the purgatory a burns victim in India lives through, Jennifer wanted a way out.
She then started a non-profit organization called Palash, after the flame colored flower called Flame of the Forest. This NGO wants to reach out to are usually inconspicuous. Through this NGO, Jennifer wanted to reach out to the Burns survivors, particularly those who suffer disfigurement, are to a greater degree than people with physical or even mental disabilities, a secluded lot. Jennifer researched about burns and came upon an online database of burns survivors in America. She got in touch with them because she wanted to start a similar forum in India. She was invited to the World Burns Conference where she presented a paper on burns and domestic violence in India, then lived in Detroit for 18 months, where she went to colleges and schools and spoke about the life of a burns survivor. In the US, She shed her mask which she usually used to cover her face and felt the wind on her face. It was a sign that things would change and the best was about to come.
With Palash, she aims to change the way people look at acid attack survivors. She wants to give them a new lease of life. She is also assembling profiles of burns patients and essential data such as the number of burns specialty units and hospitals in Mumbai, beds in government hospitals, post-operative facilities, counseling services, charitable trusts for funds and so on. Palash plans to form support groups and offer psycho-social rehab, empower survivors, restore their self-esteem and find them opportunities to earn a living.
I read this story and was touched. What I found amazing was the undaunted spirit that the acid could not burn. What I found beautiful was the strength that she had to gather the pieces of her life which had been torn away by the acid attack. I found Jennifer beautiful for her unparalleled courage and her thought of standing up for other burn victims when she herself had lost it all.I found her real beauty in the fact that she thought about others when she had no other way to go. I think her real beauty is visible through her thoughts, her actions even though the acid has left her scarred physically. This is where the saying goes true,”Beauty lies deep within”. 
What is more beautiful than using our lives to light up several other such lives? Nothing in this world is more beautiful than seeing some one smile through their pains when they find some solace in some one, somebody something just because of you. Nothing in this world is more beautiful than the feeling to know that there is someone who is there to help you start a new life all over again when the entire world turns their back to you. Nothing in this world is more beautiful than the hope that you give someone that this too shall pass and there is more to life. I found her as an epitome of everlasting beauty and this beauty can be seen through her organization Palash. Cosmetic surgeries and makeup can hide the scars on your face, turn you into a princess from an ugly duckling but nothing can change the way you are as a person. Nothing can hide Jennifer’s works for others; nothing can stop her from changing the outlook of the people towards such victims.


  1. Agreed. It doesn’t matter where it ultimately ends up, as long as it is towardz buildin the foundation for true acceptance and self-actualization for the victimz!!!

  2. I totally agree with you...lovely post....

  3. @sub-thankyu so much
    @patriot punter=--ur rite

  4. Yes there's nothing more beautiful than that inner strength and the passion to light of other people's lives:)..Lovely post!:)..My vote is for you:) All the best for the contest :)

    Here are my views about real beauty - http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=59346

    Hit the like button if you like it:)

    Take care:)

  5. @Amar- thanku so much...am gng to read yours too

  6. chitra very nice post...very well written...

  7. A very touching and inspirational story. People often times forget that life just isn't about the pain - it's about freedom. People think "If I can't do this, I don't deserve to live." But that's completely incorrect. These are just man-made limitations that go against the man.

    Nice post, loved it!

  8. @Manav Dhiman- I am so happy people are actually loving it..hope they are inspired by the same too..
    thanku for loving it :)

  9. @Shruti- thanku so much....

  10. Touching struggle of Jennifer the victim of brutality and aggressive behaviour. Thank god she has emerged triumphant

  11. @deguide - yup dats d best part f her

  12. very touching and informative post
    thanks for adding me
    I have food blog do visit and enjoy some dishes

  13. @santosh- thanku so much...i wud love to read your blog...could u please send me ur blog link as a comment over here//

  14. Nice read:) Your blog is quite lovely :) :)


  15. @Tanvi- thanku so much......

  16. awesome post..
    great narration..


  17. @ Strnger - thanku so much

  18. many thanks for sharing such a terrible incident yet then what she did ... hats off to her..

    we need to learn a lot out of this incident and the efforts she put...

    thanks again

  19. Hey there hi,

    Your post is nice, thanks for sharing such an informative data with us. Keep posting ahead in future.

    God Bless

    - Hospitals in Mumbai

  20. its a beautiful piece :) loved reading it... beautifully portrayed :)

    Take care and keep writing..........

  21. @Thousif: thanku ...am glad u liked it


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