I am Pooja Chopra. I am a model, actress and a survivor.
I think my story has been told many times. How my father decided that he doesn’t want to have another daughter. How he asked my mother to choose between me and her marriage. How my mother was devastated that she was being forced to make such a choice and how she stood her ground. How my mother chose me, and independently moulded me into the woman I am today.
Yes, my story has been told many times before. And yet, I never tire of telling this story again and again. I never tire of reminding the world, what a remarkable woman my mother continues to be. How her strength, made me stronger. How she reminds me every day, of how lucky I am to be HER daughter.
I could have been a statistic. Many girls don’t get that chance. Many families don't make that choice. But I was given a chance. I moved onto bigger things. I worked hard, and earned fame and recognition. I am successful today. I have everything that I need. Almost.
And yet, I am still surviving. I think it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that from fighting the battle to stay alive, I now am fighting a different battle – to remain safe. I won’t be exaggerating when I say that me, ‘a celebrity’, also fears that I will be a target of rape. That my NO, will be taken as a YES. That my retaliation will be punished. That my rejection of a proposal will be rewarded with an acid attack. I am not exaggerating, because these fears are being replayed in every corner of the country. I have every reason to be scared. I have every reason to even be dramatic about it. Just because it is not happening to me right now, doesn’t mean I can rest easy.
Just because I am that girl child that survived, doesn't mean that the woman I have grown up to be is secure and happy.
I escaped being a statistic, just to fight to not become another one.
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