Book Review: Being Reshma by Reshma Qureshi with Tania Singh

Book Name: Being Reshma

Authors: Reshma Qureshi with Tania Singh

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 4.7/5

Book Blurb: On 19 May 2014, as seventeen-year-old Reshma Qureshi left home for the examination centre, everything happened in a flash. The men rushed towards her. Grabbed her. Tugged at her hair. Poured acid on her face. Soon she started to burn like a living corpse. The acid ate through her skin and aimed for her bones, but it could not quell the fire in her heart.

Rising from from tragedy and suffering, Reshma soon made global headlines by becoming the first acid-attack survivor to walk the runway at the New York Fashion Week. Now an international anti-acid-sale activist, vlogger, model, and the face of Make Love Not Scars, Reshma works tirelessly towards empowering other acid-attack survivors like herself and has become a beacon of hope for millions.

Inspiring and life-affirming, Being Reshma is the extraordinary story of this young girl from the slums of Mumbai, who overcame insurmountable odds in an unjust world and dared to change it.

Review: Being Reshma is an important story, one that needed to be told and has been shared with remarkable candidness and detail.

Reshma is like any other ordinary girl until her life is wrecked by an acid attack. Her ordeals in fighting a system that lacks in empathy (such as the doctors who refuse to treat her until a police report is filed) are well documented in this book.

However, she refuses to give up on life. Most victims of such attacks sort of give up on life but Reshma decides not to give up and do more with her life. With the help of Make Love Not scars, she takes her story to anybody who is willing to listen and in the process helps innumerable victims like her.

“The sound of my screams still sends shivers down my own spine. Similar to the flash of lightening we see before a storm, I witnessed my own doom before my screams shattered my surroundings.”

The culmination of her tale takes place when she walks the ramp at the New York Fashion Week.

The story lacks a coherent structure and has been told with detachment but it is an important story and the details are morbid and horrifying. The attack itself is well documented but it is the aftermath and the general lack of sympathy on part of various departments will annoy any reader. The lack of funds for treatment and lack of any support system is also written about in the book.

Nobody should go through such ordeals in an independent India but what is more worrying is that the perpetrators of such crimes often go unpunished in the absence of strict laws. This story sets the record straight and is therefore a very powerful account. A must read.

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