A Pandemic of Dwindling Hope

The Story of Priya Sharma, her ordeals as an acid-attack victim and how she continues to strive towards a better life in face of the pandemic.

The dreadfulness of COVID-19 has aggravated situations of people like Priya Sharma, who was already dealing with various life problems. As a consequence of the pandemic, a woman who was financially supporting her siblings, her mother, and a cancer affected father, is now left jobless. However, life has never been a cakewalk for her, as she had faced acid attack in 2014, at a very young stage in her life. Since then, she has constantly struggled to make a living amidst all her issues.

Horror’s of the past

Priya experienced this attack during her teenage days, when a 55-year-old man, who claimed to be her lover couldn’t accept her rejection. The man used to be a colleague of Priya in a clothing factory. He somehow acquired Priya’s number and used to send her obscene messages. Priya was in a state of shock and fear because of this new development in her life. She immediately acted for the same and found out that the man behind this indecent act was a 55-year-old colleague from her work. She reported the matter to the factory authorities, as a result, that man was abashed thoroughly.

However, after this incident, Priya left her previous work and joined a new job. She felt that through this, that man will stop bothering her. However, that indecent man had no limits. He stalked Priya and continued sending her obscene and indecent messages. After a long period of trauma because of this unwanted stalking, Priya decided to address the situation. She met the man and with a final slap, warned the person to never bother her again. However, instead of accepting the rejection, the man took this incident as his insult for which he desired revenge.

After three – fourth months of the last incident, he executed his inhumane plan of throwing acid on Priya on her way back home. This sudden incident left Priya in a state of shock and pain. She couldn’t realise what just happened to her. Furthermore, she rushed her way back home to avail some help. As she reached home, her mother immediately poured an abundant amount of water on her to get rid of the acid. However, her condition had worsened, therefore she was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Furthermore, her suffering continued as she had to wait for two to three hours before getting any medical treatment, because the hospital refused to admit her. However, Priya stopped taking any medical treatment after one week owing to her poor financial condition.

Later, Priya did file a case against that man, however, because of family pressure, she called it off. Owing to the sad reality of our country, she was forced to believe that she was the reason behind all her suffering. It was because of her urge to build a career and her desire of getting educated, that she faced all this. She was forced to believe that she had faced no acid attack, so that the reputation of the family remains intact. This concluded that the man who destroyed Priya’s life, is still living as a free man in this country.

Priya Sharma- Before and After the Acid-attack

A leap towards a better life

Furthermore, Priya got a compensation of three lakhs from the government. However, this amount was too small to improve Priya’s situation and overcome her life problems. Before the outbreak of coronavirus, Priya used to work in Sheroes café, a noble initiative by the Chhanv foundation to make acid attack survivors independent. The Chhanv foundation has always acted as a pillar of strength for Priya. The organisation has always aimed at providing maximum help to survivors like Priya.

Priya Sharma aims towards a better life

Today, Priya relentlessly works on making the situation better for herself and her family. Despite all her sufferings, she never loses hope. She believes that acid has only burned her face, not her strength. Therefore, with this thought in mind, she will always fight back all her issues and battles of life.

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About the author

Chhavi Vohra