Nihari Mandali- a burn survivor turning tables upside down
The then 20, Nihari Mandali was just like any other ordinary girl, full of life, dreams, aspirations and hopes. She was a lively girl who enjoys making friends and being a person of desire. Full of hopes for the future, Nihari never hesitated opening her heart, meeting new friends and falling in love! And there she was, overwhelmed in love with a boy with whom she dreamed of marrying someday. Nihari, was just a teen then and the idea of being in love was more fascinating to her than actually being in love. But what changed her fate from being such a joyful girl to a burn survivor, her journey is full of ups and downs and highs and lows that will make you think twice and be thankful about the life you have been living! This is her story.
The journey of Nihari Mandali
Today, a 30 year old, Nihari Mandali when looks back at her journey, there’s not a tinge of regret or sorrows but eyes full of hopes and aspirations. She remembers her teen days when madly in love she went over to her parents to ask for marriage approval, who obviously like any typical Indian parents said no to her choice, a choice which according to her was right but a choice she shouldn’t had made. Against her parents will, Nihari married to that boy and her life suddenly turned into a fairytale love story. But this happiness didn’t lasted more than two weeks when she found out that her husband is physically abusive. The man of her dreams but more of her choice abused her verbally, physically and tortured her day and night like hell. This torture didn’t came out of nowhere but because of the ‘Dahej’- dowry greed! A so called Indian thing! Again like any other Indian lady, Nihari too did the compromise and stay silent even after such an abuse. But things didn’t remained this simple, and her husband turned out to be more abusive.
When she was no more able to handle such a torture, she turned towards her parents for help. But her parents instead of helping their daughter turned their back towards her and advised her to return back to her husband. Now this was the threshold point for her enduring and she decided to end this not by speaking up but through an unfortunate path. She doused herself with petroleum and within seconds she was in flames. Though life had a different plan for her, she was saved by her neighbors. Now, the more tragic part of this story is that, when she tried killing herself- Nihari was already 2 months pregnant! It took 9 different surgeries and a lifetime of hospitalization to recover from the burns. Despite being 90% burned, Nihari this time was able to see life more clearly than before. She recognized the importance of chances and didn’t wanted to waste this second chance at life god granted her.
A new start for Nihari Mandali
Taking pieces from her life, Nihari Mandali started restoring what she needs to cherish. Bit by bit she stood up again, filed a divorce and freed herself from her unfortunate marriage, along with this she enrolled herself in correspondence course of political science. She was extremely inspired by the thought of reshaping and dedicated her second chance to give more second chances to the tragic females across the country. A native of the Pulligudda village in Andhra Pradesh, she now stays in Hyderabad. She started a NGO named “Burn Survivor Mission Saviour Trust” where she is helping hundreds of burn survivor to start their lives all over again. Her NGO is all about bringing back the survivors to life by encouraging them and counselling them for a better future. The organization also curate many fashion shows for the survivors so that they can get rid of their fear of judgement.
“Winning a war doesn’t mean killing the enemy, but winning the enemy” Said Nihari Mandali.
Nihari Mandali had won many awards like Lady Legends Accolades for her initiative of saving burn survivors. Today she is a public spokesperson who is sharing her story not to inspire people but to let people understand the importance of second chance. Through her speeches she shares the idea of doing mistakes and be proud of them because she believes that through making mistakes, people can really see the beauty of life. And we couldn’t agree anymore!
Story like Mandali’s helps us understand that whatever circumstances we face in our lives can never shape the unfortunate future unless and until we are determined to fight back. Doing mistakes and learning from them is the only way towards changing life and improving it. Her story tells us that no matter what we choices we make, no matter what circumstances we face, no matter what people says and no matter what your appearance says, you are what you choose to become. The team of The Indianness salutes her courage for winning back at life!