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Odisha: Acid attack survivor to get engaged on Valentine’s Day

An acid attack survivor from Odisha, who suffered horrific burns to her face and lost her vision when she was doused in acid by a scorned admirer has revealed how she found the love of her life while recovering in her hospital bed.

Acid burnt her body but love strengthened her soul, mused Pramodini Roul of Jagatsinghpur, who is all set to begin new innings of her life this Valentine’s Day. The 24-year-old will get engaged to her beau – 26-year-old Saroj Sahu of Cuttack – in Lucknow on February 14.

She was 15 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.

Pramodini spent seven agonising months in SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack after the attack. She was bedridden for around five years in her house in Tirtol. In 2014, when her condition deteriorated, she was admitted in a private nursing home in Cuttack. It was while she was battling for life that she met Saroj.

“I had gone to the nursing home to meet a nurse friend of mine. I saw Pramodini lying on a bed there and could not sleep the entire night. I kept going back the nursing home to visit her. We eventually became friends. I wanted to help her lead a better life. I left my job as a medical representative and began taking care of her,” Saroj recalled.

Pramodini said her friendship with Saroj brought about much-needed change and positivity during the difficult days. “In one minute I was writhing with pain, in the second, I was laughing at his stories. He was cracking jokes near my bed and I would laugh out loud. I would cry after he left the nursing home for the day,” she added.

Saroj, a history graduate, said he did not realize when his friendship had turned into love. He proposed to Pramodini on January 14, 2016. Her reaction? Tears. “I was also in love with Saroj but could not express that to him. I feared that I would never live like a normal woman due to my scarred body. I thought that I can’t even enter the bathroom without help, how would I lead a family life,” said reminisced.

After a surgery in Chennai in September last year, Pramodini regained partial vision in her left eye. “I wanted to see the love of my life. Thank goodness, I got my vision back. I saw Saroj on the flight and I cried. I felt so happy for him,” said the woman who now works in an NGO in Delhi.

The couple chose to organize the ring ceremony in Lucknow as most of her friends, also acid attack survivors, are based in the city. “I wanted my engagement to be an occasion of hope for my friends. Hence we are holding the ceremony there,” Pramodini said. “When others will see her at the ceremony, they will get inspiration from her,” Saroj added.

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