Speaker: Aarti Kuber

Healing through Acceptance and Forgiveness

Mumbai-based 22-year-old Aarti Kuber likes to call herself a Planeteer and believes her life’s mission is to help our planet and its people heal. Having experienced child sexual abuse, she went on to peacefully confront the person who violated her, ten years after the incident took place.

In 2016, Aarti went up to her teacher’s house with her friends and read out a letter she had written to him. Firmly but compassionately, she said to him, “Although your actions have had a very negative impact on my life, I forgave you in that very moment. I hope you’re able to forgive yourself. I’m glad to know that you have taken an oath never to harm anyone again. I’m proud of you, because it takes a lot of courage to own up to your actions and move on from there. I have and will continue to work with survivors of sexual abuse and work towards empowering them till they're as strong as I feel now, standing in front of you. Today, I am letting you go. From my mind, my thoughts”. Her teacher’s wife gave Aarti a hug and assured her that he is a changed man, after which he apologized to her. The psychosomatic back ache Aarti had had for ten years magically disappeared. She became a new person, broke her pattern of abuse, victim identity and self-blame.

It was during college, that she had begun spiraling downwards. She survived several instances of abuse and harassment from people she trusted, as well as strangers, but had not still acknowledged the damage those incidents had done. All the anger, fear and pain that she had unknowingly bottled up inside her began to suddenly surface. She numbed the negative thoughts in her head with alcohol and binge eating. She put on a lot of weight, was out of touch with her inner voice and had isolated herself from her friends and family. This is when she was diagnosed with manic depression.

Her transformation began in her last year of college, when she joined “The Circle”, a support group that was started by her friends, to spread awareness about violence and mental health, gender and sexuality through communication and art. Along with her classmates, she led discussions and facilitated sharing circles, for people to express their thoughts and experiences, just listen or ask questions. The community now continues to grow in Mumbai and Bangalore, holding circles and workshops in homes, schools and colleges in the spirit of gift economy.

After college, Aarti set off on an exploratory adventure around South India for over a year, to discover her passion, engage in volunteer service, and heal herself. She was introduced to holistic well-being, veganism and began changing her lifestyle – learning Yoga, Reiki, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Tarot Card reading as tools for self-care. Aarti is currently training to be an Art-Based Therapy Practitioner. She is in the process of starting an initiative called Chandrakala (“moonbeam” in Sanskrit), through which she plans to host healing and art circles every new moon and full moon to help people flow with nature’s rhythm, connect with their inner selves and make peace with the demons that live inside all of us. 

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