Mother's day special: 'I didn't know how will my daughter react to my face,' says acid attack victim
Mothers are God's gift, it is said that the Almighty created mothers because he could not be everywhere. On the occasion of Mother's Day, we bring to you a story of a fighter who dreams differently, battled all odds to write her own destiny and chose to be a single mother.
Soniya Choudhary suffered an acid attack in 2004. Before sharing with us her bond of love with her daughter, she explains the horrific incident that changed her life forever.
Soniya carries a beautiful smile on her face, with the same smile she went on to explain her plight, what all she went it through after having survived the attack.
Soniya used to work at a salon and stayed outdoors for most of the day. Her parents insisted on buying a cellphone to stay connected. A man from her neighbourhood got her a cellphone. Soniya paid for the cell phone but later found out that the device was stolen from a cop. She gave the cop the details of the man; the man was arrested but was soon released.
Soniya was forced to apologise by the man but she did not give in. He also tried to influence others to make her apologise. The man started threatening her, that is when Soniya's parents decided that her father will be dropping and picking her up from work. It was the day when Soniya decided to return home on her own, as she was just 15 steps from home, she was attacked by two men on a bike. They threw acid on her and fled.
"At first it felt like someone has thrown lukewarm water on me. But after few seconds, my skin started melting like plastic. It felt like several ants are crawling and scratching my skin. I started shouting but all in vain. As there were many people around me but no one helped. Thankfully my house was nearby", Soniya remembers the horrendous incidence.
Soniya's condition was critical. She was moved to Safdarjung Hospital overnight. She regained consciousness after spending over 45 days in ICU, doctors had given up as she weighed only 28 kgs and had 55% burns. She had very minimal chances of survival.
"I was treated roughly at the hospital. I used to bleed when they changed my dressing. They used to beat me if I protested. Everyone thought I would eventually die. I thought if I had to die then I would rather die at home", expresses Soniya in grief.
"All this happened because I did not apologise for something I didn’t do? His ego was more valuable than anyone’s life?" she questions.
Soniya does not call herself a survivour, she describes herself as a fighter. She now runs a salon but her dream project is 'Astitva', a salon that aims to bring victims and surviours of attacks and atrocities like acid attacks, domestic violence, rape.
At first, Soniya started the salon at her home before her sister gave birth to a baby girl. "I really wanted to set an example and I adopted her when she was just 15 days old. She added another purpose to my life. I became a single mother", shares Soniya.
"When Vanshika was a toddler I was afraid. I didn’t know how she will react to my situation. I thought I should get a surgery done. But nothing like that happened. In fact, she feels very proud that I am her mother. When her school teacher inquires about me, my daughter feels very proud," Soniya notes.
Soniya leaves a strong message for the society. She believes that every parent should educate their girls and make them strong enough to deal with any kind of a situation. She recounts incidents when she was looked down upon and was called worthless by her own relatives.
"The attack didn't make any difference to me. I empowered myself by unveiling the face. Now, nobody has the courage to say that I'm worthless because I have achieved something in life," Soniya affirms.