Pramodini Rual was a fifteen year old girl when a paramilitary officer threw acid on her, melting-off her skin and blinding her in both eyes simply because she turned down his marriage proposal.
Rani as she is fondly called was returning home with her cousin after an exam when the 28-year-old ‘suitor’ drove past on a bike, dousing her with the chemical. In an instant her life was changed forever.
She spent four months in intensive care and had to remain in bed for four long years being tended to by her widowed mother. In the course of her treatment, she went through five reconstructive surgeries, one of which restored partial vision to her left eye.
Rani has been in physical and mental pain for almost a decade. Compounding her problems was the fact that she couldn’t pursue a case against her attacker. The police were bribed when the attack occurred and proceeded to offer marrying her after causing her injuries.
“I am still waiting for the day when the attacker would be arrested and put behind the bars,’ says Rani. ‘The police had come to record my statement after the attack and I had to lodge the FIR’s for more than once. But the police did not seem to take the case seriously. They did not even arrest the attacker despite me detailing his identity,” she said in her interview later.
All this was happening while Rani lay on her hospital bed and the last thing she expected at the time was to find love.
Saroj was a friend to one of the nurses taking care of Rani and during a visit to the hospital he met her mother crying. He later made friends with them and offered to help in any way he could.
Before long, Saroj became an integral part of the little family even going as far as quitting his job to spend his days taking care of Rani.
“He even quit his job to meet me everyday. From 8 to 12am in the morning and 4 to 8pm in the evening, he was there with me. It had become a routine. Just as medication was required for the physical recovery I needed dire support and encouragement at the mental level. ‘Gradually, the wounds started healing and with treatment and exercise and with his help and support I regained my confidence and now I am standing back on my feet.”
Despite being unable to see Saroj, Rani began to fall in love. Saroj did too. In January 2016, Saroj expressed his feelings, but Rani wasn’t ready yet to commit to a relationship. There was still a long journey to recovery for Rani and she didn’t think she could put Saroj through that.
Fortunately, her confidence grew as they spent more time together, living together for almost a year before deciding it was best if Rani had further reconstructive surgeries before a big celebration.
Their love story has since hit the internet and many have been moved by the unexpected happy ending to a rather tragic story.