Pramodini Roul 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 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.
Pramodini refused to give up and underwent five reconstructive surgeries (one of which restored partial vision in her left eye), and battled depression.
The silver lining to all these years of struggle came in the form of Saroj Kumar Sahoo.
Saroj and Pramodini met at a hospital when she was getting her legs treated, and Saroj was a friend of the nurse. “We met in March 2014 when he had come with his friends to visit the hospital. Initially we didn’t speak to each other, even though he had seen me. However, after around 15 days, he started to speak to me. He would often visit the hospital. I believe he saw my mother and observed her and then slowly started extending a helping hand. She would always come alone for my physiotherapy sessions. One day, he heard my mother ask about my improvement and how long would it take for me to recover as my lower body had by then deteriorated. I was not able to move without help, let alone stand on my feet,” Pramodini said.
She adds that her mother broke down when the doctor said it would take four years for her to start walking again. Saroj consoled her mother and said that he would do anything to help her walk again. Saroj’s visits to the hospital became regular. He cared about her and helped her get through the tough time. His support for her developed a strong bond between them, which eventually moved from friendship to love.
Pramodini and Saroj have now decided to get married. Their families have accepted their decision, and the two are waiting for the next round of reconstructive surgeries that have been scheduled for Pramodini to be carried out, so that they can finally tie the knot.
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.