"Everyone sympathises, but only a few come forward to actually help do something for the cause."
This statement by the 30-year-old acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal made me see the other side of our society. We see her happy pictures on the internet almost every day but when you talk to her you realise that all these pictures and story are just an illusion and her life is far away from the happy pictures of her.
Laxmi became the voice of acid attack victims after an incident changed her own life. She wanted to help as many women as possible. She garnered lots of love and received the International Women of Courage Award by Michelle Obama. Everyone praised her and appreciated her courage but they changed faces in real life.
Indian society has two sides one which we see on internet or the social media platforms and other which is the reality. Many people liked her pictures, shared her story on their Facebook profiles but when it came back to reality no one was ready to help her out.
Some time back Laxmi separated from her partner because of the differences that were taking place between them. She left the NGO which they both started together. Now she is the one who single-handedly needs to take care of her 3-year-old daughter and her mother.
Things started falling apart. She was living in Laxmi Nagar in a rented apartment, her landlord all of a sudden decided to increase her rent. With no helping hand and absolutely zero sources of income she started falling in a hole and couldn’t see any way to get out of it.
While talking to a leading daily she said,
“I have been searching for a house for the past one month but everyone turned me down. While some are scared of my disfigured face, others don't like it that I'm an activist. I approached many companies for a job, but none of them was ready to give me work because of my face.”
When she was asked about the money she used to get from the interviews and events she attended, she said,
“People call me to various events and functions but they only pay for the commute and nothing else. Some even tell me that 'you're an activist, why should we pay you?”
Laxmi shared her story on Facebook through Live video. The first person who stepped forward to help her was Akshay Kumar, who promised to give her 5 Lakhs next time he comes to Delhi. Now after she shared her story many people are coming forward to help her. They are donating money and many companies are offering her job as well.
But Laxmi is clear this time, she said she won’t settle for anything but a government job because she needs to secure her and her daughter’s future.
“I fel grateful that people are taking money out from their salaries to help me I don't want a job that isn't permanent. I want to get a government job that can promise a secure future for me and my daughter.”