Being Reshma: The Extraordinary Story of an Acid-Attack Survivor Who Took the World by a Storm

With Chhapaak released this year, I am so glad acid attacks have been highlighted and talked about even more than the usual. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrific this must feel let alone the pain they go through all because someone had an evil heart.
Acid attacks have grown rapidly in India, with a mere punishment of only ten years for the attacker while the victim lives with it for life.
After watching Chapaak, I was intrigued to learn more about such victims and stumbled upon – Being Reshma. I am so glad I did!


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On 19 May 2014, as seventeen-year-old Reshma Qureshi left home for the examination centre, wearing her sister’s niqab, 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. It lifted Reshma from tragedy and suffering and propelled her to New York, where she made global headlines by becoming the first acid-attack survivor to walk the ramp at the New York Fashion Week.

Inspiring and life-affirming, Being Reshma is the extraordinary story of a young girl from the slums of Mumbai who overcame insurmountable odds in a world ruled by men and dared to change it


The constant discomfort I had while reading this book was acknowledging the fact that this is someone’s life now. The power of non- fiction probably lies here. You can’t read this book and not feel inspired with this symbol of strength that Reshma possesses.

“Finding the right shade of lipstick is harder than finding concentrated acid.”

“Why is a litre of concentrated acid sold cheaper than a 9 ml eyeliner?”

“It takes 2 minutes to put on blush but only 3 seconds to scar a face.”

Reshma Qureshi

A seventeen year old girl’s life changed forever, after being attacked by her brother in law, who mistook her for his wife. In a world, where outer beauty is assurance of finding a good partner. Reshma had to face the atrocities of a society that attributes a beauty of a woman equal to living a happy life.

“Acid is a corrosive substance, one that can even burn through metal.And I am only made of flesh and bones.”

Reshma Qureshi

However, it is more than just a personal memoir, she brings awareness to the first aid that needs to be give to an acid attack survivor.
She talks about the domestic violence that women in an Indian society have to endure in the name of honor.

She talks about the apathy of police officers while filing a complaint, government hospitals lacking the essential facilities and standards of cleanliness. She talks about how hospitals refuse to treat you without a police inquiry. The never ending court trials to get justice. These are real issues India faces on a daily basis.
Which makes you wonder – How many such women? How many such victims that succumbed due to lack of this country’s priorities.

Acid is still available in the market, and the law that asks the seller to note down identity information of the buyer is yet to be widely implemented. It is hard to understand, why is a product that endangers women safety not under surveillance or banned as much as beef.

RATING: ★★★★★

Overall, This book a story of a survivor, a candid account of a hero that faced the cruelty of the world for no mistake of her own.


Published: December 14th, 2018
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography
Pages: 248
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India

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