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Mansi Khandelwal

JWB Blogger

JWB Hangs Out At SHEROES Café In Agra & Sips The Positivity

  • JWB Post
  •  November 3, 2016


While entering Sheroes Hangout on my recent visit back home, I felt the sense of positivity in the air which is really special and close to my heart. I guess this is what keeps bringing me back to this cafe time and again. 

I feel really proud when people talk about this place since its the one-of-its-kind cafe run by acid attack survivors. While the city is not really equipped with cafe culture, this hangout joint maintains its charm and not only attracts tourists but both Hollywood and Bollywood actors.

Also, what I find interesting about Sheroes is that it’s different from the way cafes in other cities operate. In a time when cafe owners are putting all their brains and energy in making their menu, cutlery, and ambiance as quirky and different as it can, this cafe pulls the crowd with its simplicity.

And let me tell you, this is the only cafe I have come across, which has ‘Pay as you wish’ tradition. Right from their service to the ambiance and warmth, Sheroes makes everybody feel like home.

I remember how I have spent hours reading books and sipping coffee at this beautiful place. Okay, so enough of what I have done!

Let’s talk about the beautiful SHEROES and their remarkable stories.

So, while most of them were on Diwali break, I was lucky to catch up with Dolly, Madhu, and Rukiaya.

Dolly’s only 17-years-old, but her confidence and attitude towards life left me spellbound.

She told me, “I was only 13 when a boy threw acid on me. My fault was that I refused his proposal and told my mother that he stalked me. I don’t know if his ego was hurt for he couldn’t take a no for an answer. And, one day while I was going to school he threw acid on me.”

“I used to be the naughtiest among all my brothers and sisters at home, but after that incident, I did not step out of my house for over a year. In fact, I was so troubled inside that I didn’t even attend my sisters’ weddings. But I’m really glad that two years back I joined Sheroes, and my life has taken a 360 turn since then. I have stopped covering my face because I have understood that it’s not me who is at fault and I don’t need to shut away from the world – and it is him, the person who attacked me who should feel ashamed,” Dolly added, firmly.

I was at loss of words, and so I just hugged her and tried my best to lighten her mood.

So I asked, “What is the best compliment you have received in the last two years?”

Dolly: Everyone who comes here and meets me compliments me for my smile. And I couldn’t have agreed more. Also, since I like dancing, on Sundays, when we are free, I make everyone dance. People have also praised me for my dancing skills. *smiles broadly*

Me: What’s freedom for you?

Dolly: Freedom for me is the love and support I have got from my family to do anything and everything I wish and love to do in life. This constant support and their belief in me is ‘freedom’ for me. 

After the delightful and heartwarming convo with the little dancer, Dolly, I wanted to know more about Madhu and Rukaiya.

Both Madhu and Rukaiya joined Sheroes three months back.

At the age of 30, both these women feel their lives have got a new direction and the much-needed positivity they had been craving for all these years.

Madhu who had always been interested in starting her own garments label, told me, “I was always fond of designing and stitching but never had the money to start something of my own. Since the time I have joined Sheroes and I received my first salary, I have started feeling  independent.”

She further added “On our recent trip to Delhi, a designer even offered me help and that was the sweetest gesture ever. I used to be scared to leave the house and face the world but now I am really confident about myself, and I know I am capable enough to manage my home and raise my child too.”

Me: How will you define beauty?

Madhu: Anybody who is loyal, compassionate and sweet at heart is beautiful to me. Everybody is beautiful by face, but that is not the real person. That is just a mask we all have. What we are at heart is what makes us beautiful.

Wow, in such simple words, Madhu explained the true meaning of beauty!

Me: So many celebrities come here at Sheroes. Whom do you wish to greet, next?

Madhu: *blushing* Amitabh Bachchan. I hope he visits us, here.

Rukaiya who was a little shy than the other two took some time to open up.

She said, “I am glad that I can now provide with my son’s education and give him a decent upbringing. My husband is not really bothered about my son’s education and other things, and so, I have to take care of everything. 

Hesitantly, she told me how she wished she could have died after she was attacked in 2002. 

But then life has to go on and “You are a real fighter,” I assured her.

Looking at their smiling faces, I reciprocated the love and warmth and confidence. I left with a promise to return soon.

P.S. If you are in Agra, do visit Sheroes Hangout and sink in the positivity that these lovely girls serve you with.

Until next time!

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