Pramodini Roul was just 15-years-old when a 28-year-old paramilitary soldier threw acid on her for rejecting his marriage proposal. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed in 2012 due to a lack of evidence, and the soldier now roams free.
The 25-year-old survivor, known as Rani or queen by her family, had been returning from an exam when the 28-year-old spurned lover doused her with the corrosive element.
Pramodini spent four months in the ICU after the incident and was bedridden for four years in her house in Odisha, where her widowed mother single-handedly took care of her.
The attack had left her with severe burns all over her face and blind in both eyes. In 2014, she developed an infection in her legs and doctors informed her that it would take four years for her to start walking again.
She suffered pain for almost a decade, refused to give up and underwent five reconstructive surgeries including one to correct vision in her left eye by some degree and battled depression.
But now Rani says she has finally found a reason to live happily – her boyfriend Saroj Kumar Sahoo.
The two met while Rani was in hospital and have been living together for a year in New Delhi – and are now planning to get married.
“Saroj really treats me like a queen. He loves me like the way I am. He always encourages me to live life happily. He has become a part of me. I would not have been able to see the world today if I did not have him in my life. It always feels good to be loved and be assured of having a partner who loves and recognises the goodness in you,” Says Rani.
The skin from her legs was used for grafting but untimely discharge from the hospital caused infection in her half treated wounds that began secreting puss. Doctors had told her mother that Rani would need at least four years before she can walk again.
Saroj, 26, started visiting Rani everyday to boost her morale, eventually quitting his job and spending eight hours a day to look after her.
She said: “I had already lost my eyesight and the thought of being bedridden was an added woe.
“But Saroj did not lose hope. He would encourage me everyday, motivating me to be positive and have hopes.”
Their financial situation is tight, but Pramodini is positive she can move forward and start her life again with the help of Saroj. However, she still waits for the day her attacker will be arrested.