03 March, 2021

Latte At Sheroes

A cafe lends agency to acid-attack victims

Latte At Sheroes

Go down the meandering streets, past the shops selling leather goods, marble handicrafts and the culinary icon, Panchi Petha, and you arrive at Agra’s new monument of love, that too right at the periphery of Taj Mahal. It’s not a marble mausoleum, but a Lilliputian book cafe-cum-bouti­que called Sheroes Hangout.

It is home to five acid attack survivors from the Stop Acid Attack (SAA) campa­ign, who manage accounts, take orders, even mop the place. Love, according to Sheroes, is about rehabilitating and providing job opportunities to those at the rec­eiving end of society’s violence.

An air of unhurried informality hangs in the air at Sheroes, aided by bamboo furniture and Bollywood music. Green-and-indigo graffiti depicts a dreamy-eyed young woman. A large pin board is decorated with objects like chowmein, mak­eup and mobiles—all excuses for crimes against women, including rape, by individuals and bodies like khap panchayats. The library stocks books like I am Malala to The Devil Wears Prada. A mini boutique...

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