Lakshmi Agarwal, a survivor of acid attack has been listed among 13 brave Indian women, whose fight changed the system. She continues to be an inspiration for everyone, who requires mental strength and agility.
She loved music and dance, but her first day of music lesson, in April 2005, is marked as ‘doom’s day’ because it has changed the course of her life. A stalker, double her age, bathed her in acid, because she refused his advances, and that not only deformed her appearance, but also her existential situations.
She has had seven operations so far and needs many more. But she never laid back for a day. She has been a part of several campaigns, since then, starting with one, that was for regulations on the sale of acid (she had to take 27000 signatures for the petition). But music has laid back for her.
Eight months back, a beautiful child is born to her, and 10 years after the incident, she is reconsidering music. Her child is her solace today. But it has been a difficult journey.
“My incident had taken a toll on my family’s life, but they had never complained. My father was my biggest strength. He was the one who told me to file the PIL in the Supreme Court in 2006 (which resulted in a change in the law governing the sale of acid). Without him, I felt bereft,” she says.
She also unfolds, how each day in the hospital would be a moment of apprehension, and how she would try hard to get a glimpse of herself in the bowl of water which the nurse brought for her.
“Laxmi was quite apprehensive in the beginning about how Pihu would react to her. But I tell her she’s such a brave person and has done so much to bring attention to the cause and to help other survivors that Pihu will be proud to have her as her mother. Pihu is growing up among brave women. Hopefully, she will not need to be taught about empathy. She will imbibe it on her own,” says her husband, Alok Dixit declares proudly.
Laxmi was bothered that her looks would scare her child, but when she takes her in arms, her fears disappear, and a new strength emerges.
She’s the director of Chhanv Foundation that helps other survivors of acid attacks and is also a TV show host. Laxmi received a 2014 International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also chosen as the NDTV Indian of the Year. Her achievements do not end here. Her determination has saved many acid attack survivors and helped them get justice.
Recently Viva N Diva apparel brand has chosen Laxmi, as the brand ambassador, for their #FaceOfCourage campaign, which is a revolutionary step in the fashion world. Maybe its true, that “what does not break you, makes you stronger”.
Mental strength is a habitual development, which one nurtures and grows within the self. Sometimes, survival from a bad incident develops this strength within you, sometimes you have to create it as a survival strategy for yourself.
– A strong person stands bravely in the face of adversity. Controlling your emotions is the main criteria. It is a process, a habit that you develop, not to be vulnerable to situations that can hurt you.
– A person with mental strength learns from his mistakes, never mourns on the after-effects of a wrong decision or misfortune, but takes it as a lesson and experience for future actions.
– It is important to set your expectations right. Do not expect much with soaring dreams and high hopes in the mind. Life can bring you surprises, which can give you joy suddenly, but if you expect too much and unrealistically, then unfulfilled dreams can leave you shattered.
– Find a motivation for self-development. It can be a good book, music, goal for achievement or maybe just a cup of coffee on a lazy evening. You should know what you are living for.
– Be thankful for what you have rather than brood over what you don’t, or cannot have.
– Yoga and meditation increase concentration and mental stability, and a strong person, always practice them for self-improvement, so that he turns into a more rational and sensible person.
– Mental toughness comes with small physical wins, like giving up your lust for chocolates and fatty foods or keeping your self-promise from not smoking for 3 consecutive days or continues workouts for a month and alike. When you can forgo some relaxations, you build up a tough body, but what automatically comes in, is a tough mind.
Mental toughness makes a person more consistent, determined, and firm. It gives him/her integrity and strength to complete what proposed. A mentally strong person has a clear vision and firm opinion. And the positive qualities gradually add up to build a mind which is stronger than any #Fevicol adhesive pasting. This strength of mind is within you, and you don’t need to find or derive it from elsewhere, and it always supports you in distress and tough times.