Some stories are so inspiring that they leave you with a lot of hope and inspiration, even on your darkest days. And, one such story of inspiration is of Monica Singh. Monika Singh is one of those few souls, who exhibited extraordinary courage in unconventional circumstances.
How at age of 19, she became a victim of the male ego and paid a hefty price for pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
In 2005, Monika was studying fashion at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi. She had dreams of making name for herself and making her parents proud. So, when her friend proposed her to elope with him to marry, she refused, She wanted to study further.
During her college break, when she was in Lucknow as her family used to live there, the horrific incident happened that changed her life forever. The 19-year-old Monica was driving home when her friend, who was her neighbor as well, hired someone to throw acid on her after she rejected his proposal.
While sharing her painful yet story she mentioned to India Today:
“A friend of mine convinced me to roll the window of the car down, and a biker splashed acid on my face and rode away. He had hired someone to throw acid at me. If he couldn’t have me, no one could. I was 19.
Monica got out of the car and screamed for help because the burning was indescribable. She tried to drive herself to the hospital. But her legs gave way. But, thankfully, a passer-by came forward to help.
But the road to recovery was tough. While sharing her inspiring story with TBI, she mentioned:
“I saw my dad crying after watching me screaming when the nurses couldn’t give me injections. I had never seen my father cry before, and I could not bear it when he did”
It took her a year before she was able to move independently in a wheelchair. The damage was so extreme that she had to learn to talk again.
The whole of my next year was spent in a hospital bed, struggling, recuperating, coming to terms with it. My father used up his entire life’s savings for the treatment. I required close to 46 surgeries, spanning over 10 years of my life. It took me over a year to just start moving and to regain speech.
But this brave soul didn’t give up on her life. Even her 46 reconstructive surgeries couldn’t stop her from turning her dream into reality.
Our brave soul, Monica went back to college and finished her education between multiple surgeries. She scored the second-highest ever grade in her entrance exam. And soon enough, she was interning for renowned fashion designer Manish Arora!
But, the source of her extraordinary courage lies in her father, who spent his life-savings to heal his daughter.
The one thing that kept me going was my father’s support. He gave me the strength to get back on my feet; he never gave up on me. I had the option of sitting around and moping, but he didn’t let me be reduced to an anecdote, a story. Because it’s not that the lives of the perpetrators stopped. Mine shouldn’t either.
Would you believe if I told you that two of the accused had been acquitted after they paid a meagre sum of Rs 25,000? That’s the cost of my life, my identity.
She also mentioned:
“I want to share with every girl what my dad told me: ‘I am willing to take care of you for the rest of our lives together, or you can pick yourself up and walk the path that leads you wherever you want to go.'”
Today, Monica runs Mahendra Singh Foundation, which is named after her father’s name, to support acid attack survivors, besides using fashion to empower them.
Though it is heartbreaking how of the five perpetrators, one received a juvenile sentence, another received some punishment, and three others were left scot-free. Though the lives of her culprits even after this gruesome act have not stopped. But what is inspiring is how she also ensured hers didn’t stop, either.
At IFORHER, we are in awe of Monica’s courage and determination. If she isn’t a HERO, then who is? If this isn’t courage, then what is?