A facial surgery took an unfortunate turn leaving her face permanently paralysed. Her father died of shock hearing the ill-fated news of her paralysis which left her family bereaved and also in a financial crunch. Ms. Fatima had all the reasons to curl into the corner of her room and slowly turn into a recluse. But she decided to be brave instead and stand tall as an inspiration. With support pouring in from her mother and her brothers she made sure she leaves no stone unturned or let any situation deter her aspirations.
Though schooled in a Hindi medium government school, Fatima developed a niche for the language of English. She discovered writing to be her forte and started penning poems, stories and articles. Within a year, her creative pieces found a place in more than thirty national and international anthologies, various journals and websites of great repute. She wrote a novella named ‘An Untold Story’ based on her own life. This novella was nominated for the International Reuel Prize for Fiction Award 2016. Four of her poems became a part of English textbooks of Global Classrooms Pvt. Ltd. She has also won the Yuva Pratibha Samman 2016 by Aagaman group of literature and The Young Achievers Award 2016 by Sanmati Literary Awards.
Fatima believes her work has just begun. She lives in Lucknow and aspires to bring awareness and a positive change in the society through her writings. We leave you with our dauntless pathbreaker of the week, Ms. Afshan Fathima and her interview to #SheLeads.
1.You have faced so many struggles in your life which you have gracefully hurdled over. How and where did you find that inner strength to press on?
I cannot deny that the struggles of my life made me stronger. The more the hurdles tried to pull me down, the more my inner strength urged me to keep moving. I totally ignored how awkwardly people tried to focus on my physical deformities. They were the same people who were left amazed at my success. Thankfully God has blessed me with determination as my all-time companion which never let my inner strength die.
2.Hats off to your undying determination, so, who is your inspiration and why?
My mother is my inspiration. I am constantly encouraged by my mother because she is very patient and bearing and helps me steer away from all my negatives and keeps me humming a positive chant. Also, she has never discriminated me based on my gender. I grew up with three brothers and not once she has compared or shown partiality in any way. She has always urged me to reach for the stars.
3.Talking of gender discrimination, have you felt the pricks of it in the outside world?
Of course, I had to face this outside the four walls of my abode. I faced it bravely and raised my voice wherever required. I never thought of what people would think of me. I did what I considered right for me.
4.In your opinion is gender equality achievable?
It is achievable. It needs to start from our very homes and it needs our genuine efforts. We are human beings and there is no difference. Hence, we should have equal opportunities.
5.Where do you see yourself a year from now?
I would like to start an ‘Art House’ a year from now because I really want to give back to the society. It has always been one of my dreams. The main objective of this art house would be to train women from below the poverty line in a life skill such as arts and crafts, calligraphy, painting, origami or even writing etc, which can bring them some form of income.
6.That is a wonderful goal to pursue. Would you like to give that ambitious girl who is maybe at a low point in her career or life an uplifting word!?
The morning sun comes after the darkest of night. The bright morning rays are awaiting to welcome you. You only need to trust the beautiful self that you are blessed with and leap out in faith because you know your potential and I encourage you not to give in.
7.According to you what are some of the steps an aspiring entrepreneur needs to proactively take?
Keep learning and keep networking. I, for instance, watch a lot of videos and keep learning new things. Since writing is my passion I have networked with Writers Bureau for creative writing etc. So, if you plan to start something, the best thing would be to learn the subject and every nuance of it and closely analyse the pros and cons of it. I love to update myself on books so much that I even have a degree in Library Science.
8- How do you define failure?
Failure is yet another opportunity to realise there is much more talent hidden in us that craves to be polished and come out before the world in a perfect manner. I believe satisfaction kills a talent. If I am perfect in my eyes, then I won’t try to improve myself and that would be an end to my success. So, we should always beautify and strengthen our wings for our never ending flights in the sky of accomplishments.
9.What is success to you?
Success is embedded in our own selves. We only have to apply the proportionate amount of our efforts and qualities. God has blessed men and women with unlimited potentials. Success accompanies those who make use of that potential with their will power, determination, endless toil and a positive approach to life.