When Ritu giggles, she gives no indication of the ordeal she’s gone through in the last year. One look at her face, though, tells the horror story. An acid attack last year changed Ritu’s life overnight. She dropped out of school, left state-level volleyball practice, and has confined herself to her Rohtak home. A year on, in heavily patriarchal Rohtak, where women continue to be attacked every other day, Ritu’s life is slowly getting back on track.
How I see myself
I used to be a state-level volleyball player and a happy-go-lucky teenager. Last year, as I walked home one day, my cousin sent two goons on a bike to throw acid on my face. My eye, face and neck got burned beyond recognition. But this summer, the state government compensated me by offering Rs 20 lakh for plastic surgery at Apollo hospital in Delhi. Now I can at last think of a future again.
My idea of India
We live in a country with many complexities. Society is never fair, especially to women. Every wronged person should get justice.
What makes me angry
The wound is still fresh so I think to myself everyday: what did I ever do wrong to deserve this?
Playing volleyball had been my identity for seven years, and I’ll do anything to be able to get back on the court. I have got one reconstructive surgery done already, on my neck, which is healing well. It will take another year-and-a-half to get the other six surgeries I require, and maybe then I can think about playing again.
How I am coping
Though I don’t go out much, I try to keep busy at home. I watch a lot of television. I also love stitching designer clothes, and making mehndi designs.
Friends, family, idols
My three brothers have been so supportive. Ravi, my big brother, has been running from pillar to post handling my case. My friend Sangeeta comes to meet me after attending college. I wish I could go to college too. But whenever I feel down, I watch a Salman Khan movie and I know things will get better!
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