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Bindi Bottoms
Kavita Paper Jewelry Designer, Lucknow

"I’m in love with my scars. These are beauty marks for me.

You know how you worry about going out when you have a pimple. I used to be like that too. I would worry about small blemishes and how they affected my appearance. All of that changed one day, six years ago.

That day someone threw acid at my face. Who did it and why they did it is history. But, in that one instant, my world changed. Where I was once a ‘normal’ girl, worried only about small marks on my face, now I had permanent scars. Suddenly, everything had become different.

I became withdrawn. I felt ashamed of my appearance and didn’t want to go out. I felt scarred, not only on the outside but on the inside as well. My family didn’t help matters either. My father would constantly taunt me and say that now I was burned. I shouldn’t be allowed to go out because everyone would see the marks, and I would bring shame on my family.

Slowly, however, I changed. I realised that the scars were here to stay. I could either lock myself away or I could accept them as part of me. I could give in to my attacker or I could fight back. I decided to step out and fight back. This was not a popular decision. My family gave me an ultimatum. I could either stay at home, hidden away from the eyes of the world or I could leave. I chose to leave.

I am still fighting for justice. I am 22, beautiful and confident, most importantly, a fighter. I don’t want sympathy for the scars on my face. I have made them my strength and live my life on my own terms.

I work for ‘Sheroes Hangout’, a restaurant run by some other brave girls like me. I also design paper jewelry and have exhibited my work on several renowned platforms.

Recently, all of us at ‘Sheroes’ went on a trip to Mumbai for a seminar on acid attack. We met Rangoli Ranaut, actress Kangna Ranaut’s sister and an acid attack survivor herself. We had a lot of fun, clicked selfies and posted them on Facebook, as most people do. My friends and I do not want to be treated differently, as though we are physically or mentally challenged. We can go to clubs, hangout with our friends, fall in love and get married just as everyone else does.

Now when I see others with marks on their person, I don’t pity them. Instead, I wonder what there story is and what battles they are fighting. ”


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