**Bhubaneswar:** A 15-year-old girl of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha was attacked by means of acid by a 28-year-old paramilitary jawan for rejecting his marriage proposal. The girl was on her way back to home with her cousin after taking an examination in the school.
This attack had left her with indelible scars on face and mind. She lost her vision and lived a traumatic life until true love set in her life in the shape of Saroj Kumar Sahu of Cuttack in a hospital in which she was undergoing treatment.
Nine years later, now 24-year-old Pramodini Roul (fondly called as Rani) is all set to lead her queenly life this Valentine’s Day when she will exchange rings with 26-year-old Saroj in Lucknow and take the solemn pledge of leading a blissful conjugal life.
Rani’s life had become miserable as she spent seven long agonising months in SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack city after the attack. She remained bedridden for around five years and was looked after by her widow mother single-handedly.
Shockingly due to lack of evidence, her tormentor got acquitted and roamed scot-free, whereas she was undergoing treatment for a pus-filled infection that had ravaged her legs, in a private nursing home in Cuttack city.
The skin from her legs was used for grafting but it got infected due to her untimely discharge and the half treated wounds were filled will pus.
It was here Rani met her ‘Raja’ (Saroj) who had come to meet a nurse friend of his in that nursing home. He was greatly disturbed by seeing Rani. He observed the helplessness of Rani’s mother and decided to extend helping hands.
The doctors had clearly stated that Rani would be bed-ridden for about 4 years before she could stand up on her feet. Saroj consoled the broken mother and boosted the morale of Rani. He decided to quit his job to look after Rani properly and spent hours together with her.
Rani began to heal quickly with the support and encouragement of Saroj and underwent an eye surgery in September last year. She had found partial vision and saw herself for the first time after the attack.
“I felt scared of myself. So much so that I cried the whole night,” she recalls.
But her looks did not deter Saroj’s love for her. He stood as a pillar of strength for her. Their friendship got stronger and deeper, and both professed their feelings for each other, but Rani was a bit sceptical regarding her looks.
Rani now works with Chhanv Foundation, a support care for acid attack survivors which helps in arranging funds for their surgeries and rehabilitation. Rani and Saroj have been living together for about a year in New Delhi now.
She is now waiting for all the reconstructive surgeries soon before she takes the plunge of wedding, but both the families have accepted their relationship.
This truly loving couple will get engaged on Valentine’s Day this year in Lucknow amidst her friends (mostly acid attack survivors) to send a strong message of true love.