She was more surprised at the article that she read than what she encountered that fateful morning.
Jamuna was looking at her mobile while the vegetable stew was boiling on the stove. She was going through the Wikipedia on the topic Acid Throwing. She believed it was not common; yes, she had heard of domestic abuse, rape, dowry deaths etc. but acid throwing?
She had not known Acid throwing reports were common in neighboring countries, like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan. The Statics looked horrifying. even for a developed country like UK.
She was even mortified reading what motivates perpetrators to attack women. Jilted love, Jealousy, revenge, rivalry, racial issues, property disputes???
Her perpetrator did not even have such complex motives! He just wanted to pocket Rs.200/- for his evening’s arrack escapades.
She reminisced her part of story. She was born in a small village, an only child of her parents who worked hard in their small farm, growing vegetables. She had just finished her schooling and was anxiously looking forward to a career in Finance.
Their land was surrounded by the land of a Village big shot, a party worker expected to get a Ministerial ticket soon.
As expected the big shot wanted to occupy their land. He used all methods to do so. Finally, he made his hooligans throw acid on her mother and her. Her mother succumbed to injuries the same day. Jamuna was left writhing in pain. Her father and relatives rushed her to the hospital.
Her doctor was an expert and helped her reclaim her left eyesight after a series of 8 operations. He waived his surgery fees and reduced the bill footed by her father and other generous relatives.
The left cheek was however burnt completely and was a remainder of the attack all her life. The doctor helped her reach good psychiatrists who brought her out of the extreme depressive state she was in at first.
At least 10 months later, her father shifted to a house in the city by selling their meager belongings and started working in a cloth store.
Jamuna stayed back at home helping her father with house hold work. Since she was always stared at, she decided to stay back inside the house and complete her studies through correspondence. One day while reading the Wiki stats she realized she needed to do more than just sail in her life’s boat.
She approached her doctor to know if she could be of any help. He led her to an NGO actively providing acid victims with Medical, legal and financial support.
Till date, she has counseled 8 victims with her patience and experience. She has also held sessions in schools and village panchayats emphasizing the need to respect women and their views. Though poor money-wise, she was generous in providing emotional support to the highly traumatized victims, who the NGO supported, day and night.
Her own Trauma, she traversed. However, she was rather taken back when she heard about the fate of her perpetrators.
The one who threw acid on her died the same night as his arrack was brewed with the same acid that stung her face.
Her house and that of her neighbors in the village were devastated by the Latur Earthquake. The casualties included a promising ministerial candidate!!!