“The 18yr. old dreamer in me wanted to live life to the fullest, see the big apple, fulfill a career in the fashion world but life had other plans. A boy in my neighbourhood in Lucknow who was merely an acquaintance grew a liking towards me which became a dangerous obsession. On not being able to accept rejection he threw a bucket full of acid on me to destroy those dreams in just a moment. For 9 long years life had become about finding the will to live, self acceptance and where do I go from here along with 46 reconstructive plastic surgeries. I have always been a jovial and a positive person so giving up on life was never an option. This could not have been my life story! With a new found fire in my soul, I would spend a lot of time in front of the mirror to accept my situation and ask myself where do we go from here? My parents who have been my biggest pillars were nearly bankrupt and had given their life up to help mend my body, face and soul.
The whole idea was to get back on my feet. There was always a ray of hope and a surreal strength in mind. I kept wondering ok this has happened to me so now where do i go from here? How do I pick myself up because I have to! This wasn’t just an attack towards me it was also an attack towards my family! Someone inside of me kept saying that this is NOT your story! You cannot die this way! When I was trying to get my life pieces back together, getting job in Fashion was extremely hard and people told me it was because of my face that it was this difficult. Ever since then I had made up my mind that I will break this norm. One day my face won’t matter but my knowledge will. For me education is the strongest weapon. After getting myself together and alive from inside and out. I applied to 8 universities around the globe and I chose my dream college being Parsons the New School of Design. It was a dream come true for a 7yr. old Monica. New York turned out to be the one place where I felt like I could truly find myself again which is still in progress currently.
I never gave anybody the power to decide how i should feel about my appearance. I gave myself the notion that if people are staring at you it must be because you look amazing today! Even today while I walk the streets I know I look different from the rest but then this is how I’ve programmed my brain and have not been happier! I manage my own mind and don’t need anybody to make me feel good! I might be flawed to you but I am Beautiful! I am a Parson’s graduate currently living in New York. I run a non-profit organisation called the Mahendra Singh Foundation which stands improvement in Acid Attack Survivors, Rape Survivors, Domestic Abuse & Physical Violence Victims Lifestyle and Living condition by providing them skills and help them to gain confidence to stand as strong individuals. I am a Fashion Designer by profession but I am also an International Social Activist and a UN Women Youth Global Champion.”