My scars are part of me, they tell my story. However, they do not define me,' she says that is Reshma Qureshi for you. When I decided to meet up with her, I did not know what to expect. Of course, while I was aware of her screen presence and confidence, I wanted to meet her like a blank canvas and colour it with her, together. I can never forget my first look of her. She came in with her face half covered with a dupatta. It was more for me as well for her. Only when she felt the comfort with me, she revealed her self to me. Innocently remarking that when she was in the US no one judged her by her looks. She would walk the streets free, with pride, dignity and honour as opposed to here in her own country where she was stared and cringed at.
A life changing experience on May 19, 2014, when enroute for an important exam when her sis-ter’s estranged husband and friends pinned her down in the street and poured acid all over her face. I could see her visibly shaken even now after years of the incident that changed her life forever. The more time I spent with her, I realised how many dreams these innocent eyes held. The dream of once being a teacher shattered as she picked up the pieces of her life again. The physical pain she endured, the confidence she lost, the physical appearance marred with scars for life. What she has gone on to achieve is not a normal feat. It was a pleasure shooting with her, the shoot was revelation of self. I chose her favourite colour gown for the shoot, ashes of roses. I tried my best to showcase two stark personalities this ex-traordinary person holds. It was possibly the most overwhelming shoot of my life.
Here we are, seemingly normal in terms of physical appearance constantly wondering and worry-ing about being judged. On the other hand, this child who bears scars on her entire face walk the ramp in New York making a bold statement that we are way beyond our physical appearances. Coming form an orthodox and conservative Muslim family where burqa was not just a garment but a way of life to go on and walk the ramp in the state of New York Fashion Show was a statement that shows the resilience, the strength and power source she is. I am indeed privileged and honoured to have been a miniscule part of her story, where she al-lowed me to share with you all what being beautiful means in totality.
Her co-authored book ‘Being Reshma’ is the actual recount of what her life was and where she stands today. A huge round of applause to Deepika’s ‘Chhapaak’ an ode to all victims of such inhumane act of violation and to be able to take on such a bold role which I have no doubt she will deliver to perfection.
These I truly believe to be our real-life heroes!