Published: 06th March 2021
I want to fight, I want to win: Acid attack survivor Zakira Sheikh, the 'Tigress' of Mumbai
She was attacked by her husband in 2017. But she did not let that rule her life. She got out and built a good life for her daughters
Zakira Sheikh, an acid attack survivor and the single mother of two little girls from Mumbai, joined the International Kindness Festival 2021 in a conversation with Mahima Poddar, founder, The Kindness Foundation talking about her life and how she finds happiness in every little bit of life. The three-day festival will have a plethora of talks and workshops featuring eminent personalities from across the world including, actor and producer Abhishek Bachchan, former tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi and the longest-held Al-Qaeda captive Stephen McGowan.
She was attacked by her husband in 2017. "My childhood was amazing. I was so close to my siblings that I did not want to go out and make other friends. I got married at 17 and the problems started with the dowry. After 10 years, I was tired of this and I wanted a divorce. We already had two kids. He could not digest the fact that I, being a woman, could ask him for a divorce," said Zakira. "I needed love to recuperate from the incident. I needed friends but there was no one. I felt like everything had ended. My daughters could not recognise me. They were scared to even come near me. But things changed slowly. He wanted to end my life but now I want to live a fulfilling life and show him that he did not win," said a very positive Zakira.
Zakira was ostracised by society but she did not bow down. "I went and got trained as a make-up artist. People value a good looking face more than anything. Now, I can't change everyone's perspective. To me I am beautiful," said Zakira. "There were many people who had come up to help me. But most of them had vested interest — be it politics or material gains. Our faces are used for their own gains. There were people like Anushree (Kulkarni) as well who have shown me love. She was the one who helped me get trained and then she was also my first client — I did her make-up for her wedding. The other person is Vijaylakshmi (Harish) who has helped me a lot," she added.
The biggest lesson she received from the entire incident, Zakira said is that she has got the zeal to win. "I have to stay strong for my daughters. You need to stay positive and aim to win," she said. "People have come up to me and tried to discourage me but I did not sit back at home and brood. I went out to fight and make a life of my own. Today, my husband is the one who is disturbed, not me. People in my locality now call me a Tigress because I fought," laughed Zakira. She is also raising funds for her daughters' education.