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Valentine’s Day Engagement: Nine year’s after tragedy, love blooms for acid attack survivor

Nine years after the tragic day when she was attacked with acid, Pramodini Roul is set to have her most memorable moment in life on Valentine’s Day when she’ll get engaged to the ‘love of her life’ in Lucknow amid much fanfare.

lucknow Updated: Feb 14, 2018 13:59 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Pramodini and Saroj share a lighter moment.
Pramodini and Saroj share a lighter moment.(Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo)

Nine years after the tragic day when she was attacked with acid, Pramodini Roul is set to have her most memorable moment in life on Valentine’s Day when she’ll get engaged to the ‘love of her life’ in Lucknow amid much fanfare.

The survivor is enjoying every moment of the pre-engagement preparations, including a couple dance with her beau Saroj wherein she’ll sport a Barbie Doll gown . Another group of 20 acid attack survivors are also preparing a dance recital for the big day.

This is the first time in the country when the acid attack survivors are celebrating engagement ceremony with such a pomp and show sending a message of meaningful love. The beautiful invites give a brief about the couple under the title, ‘ The Unbelievable Tale of Love.’

Pramodini, then 16, was attacked by a paramilitary force jawan with acid on April 18, 2009 at Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, her native place, after she rejected his marriage proposal. She suffered 80 per cent burn injuries and complete vision loss in the attack. She got 20 per cent vision back (left eye) after operation in July last year.

The assailant was finally arrested on November 17 last year after intervention of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Survivors rehearsing for the engagement day dance.
Survivors rehearsing for the engagement day dance. ( Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo )

The engagement to her beau and ‘support system’ Saroj Kumar Sahu, is taking place 13 months after he proposed her, says Pramodini, who likes to be called Rani. The ring ceremony will take place at Sheroes Hangout in Lucknow.

On her engagement eve, Pramodini was spotted rehearsing dance steps with Saroj on popular Hindi songs ‘Dil Diya Gallan’ for the Big Day.

“I love dancing and used to dance before the attack on me. After the couple dance, I will do a solo on ‘Chamma Chamma’. It will be a short dance as I can’t stand for too long,” said a beaming Pramodini.

Pramodini will also join a group dance by acid attack survivor friends on ‘Main Ghani Bawri’ and ‘Manohari’ mash-up. Lucknow-based choreographer Kristina is helping them to get the perfect moves.

Proudly showing her ‘Barbie Doll’ gown on her cellphone screen, Pramodini said: “I don’t have hair on my scalp and my ear has also melted, but see me tomorrow. I will wear a beautiful wig that I bought in Rs 15,000. The shopkeeper was asking Rs 20,000 but especially for me he gave a big discount. For the ring ceremony, I will wear a red-orange and light-yellow colour ‘lehnga’. I have never worn such good dresses before.”

Saroj said they bought everything from Delhi. “Rani works as helpdesk representative at Sheroes Home in Noida. She joined it in 2015 and has been in Delhi, Agra and Lucknow. We chose this city as she has worked here and the city has a lot of survivors too,” he said.

He said he left his job as medical representative and joined her cause — helping acid attack survivors.

Their love bloomed during the painful phase Pramodini was going through. “After the attack, I was in ICU for nine months. I went into coma for a day and when I woke up, my vision and power to move was gone. Five years, I was static at home in the care of my mother and two sisters.”

Rani met Saroj on April 8, 2014 when she was admitted to a hospital in Cuttack. “After three months of treatment, Babu (she fondly calls Saroj) came with a nurse after she mentioned to him about my fight. I was down with depression with no movement. It was then that Saroj vowed to help me stand on my feet,” she says.

Saroj took a four-month break from his company to help her out. “I built confidence in her, which brought back her smile. Then with the help of a physiotherapist and doctors she slowly stood on her feet. In four months she started moving,” he said.

Saroj realized her importance in life when she came to join Chhanv Foundation, which runs Sheroes Cafes. “I was in Agra when he called me up and proposed, saying ‘tumhara man bahut accha hai’. I too have feelings for him but without vision I did not want to take it forward,” Pramodini said.

Thereafter, she got her eyes operated in Chennai. “I was airborne when I saw first an object in the form of a shadow. I wanted to see my mom, Alok bhaiya (Chhanv founder) and him (Saroj) and with God’s grace ‘Babu’ was beside me.”

After engagement, the marriage won’t be soon. “First I want my elder and younger sisters to settle down in life. We have to establish a business platform in Orrisa so that we can support other survivors and help our foundation. There is lot to do,” says Rani.

But right now, she is enjoying every moment. She gave a broad smile before heading for a pre-engagement photo-shoot with ‘Her Man’.

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 13:59 IST

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