“I distinctly remember that day, there was a function at my in-law’s place and I was sent to the first floor to light the lamp. There was no one there, which was strange because usually the house is crowded if there’s a puja happening. I was cleaning up the place and noticed some smoke, which was odd as I was yet to light the lamp. That’s when I saw my dupatta catching fire and as I was trying to get the flames off my dupatta and face, my hand started burning. It was too late, and I had burnt a significant portion of my neck, face, and hands by then. What made it difficult for me to run away from the flames was the fact that I have mild Cerebral palsy, which affects my lower limbs.
I saw flames engulf me and my voice barely escaped my throat. Taking off my dupatta and running to the closest place away from the fire for rescue, I stood speechless as my in-laws came rushing into the room. It was an event that was hard to wipe from my mind and brush off as a mere accident. It was a clear case of domestic violence as my in-laws had made my life miserable even in the past owing to my disabilities. The burns left scars on my face and hand and I had to undergo numerous treatments to get over them. While the physical scars have healed off my face, the mental scars remain.
I had multiple disabilities, but I never let that hinder me, a lesson I learnt from my principal when I was integrated from Vidhya Sagar School for the Special to Vidhya Mandir School. Poonam Natrajan ma’am has been my mentor, guide and inspiration to this day. I have a master’s in Social Work and Psychology and was running a counseling center for a few years before getting married. Currently, a single mother of a daughter, I am getting back to my work and helping my fellow beings sort their life back in shape too. I have won the Young Achiever and Young Entrepreneur awards in recognition of my work. I currently live with my parents, and my world revolves around my daughter. She’s two-years-old now and is surprisingly mature for her age. She never asks questions about her father or his whereabouts as she understands something isn’t normal and has come to terms with it.”
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