Warning: Images may be found to be disturbing to some readers.
Her name was Sonali Mukheriee. A lively and lovely 17-year-old Indian student. She was president of her university’s student union, and also captain of the National Cadet Corps, which is a national army corps for students. Meanwhile she was pursuing a PhD in sociology. Indeed, the future looked very bright for Sonali.
Sadly, and suddenly, her future was crushed in a shocking few minutes of horror.
It would happen one night while home alone. Three men broke in. These men were the same who she had fended off everyday when they made sexual advances towards her while she went to school. She now was fighting back physically. Suddenly a burning sensation was felt, as if she was on fire. Then she couldn’t see. She then went unconscious, the pain being so incredibly intense.
She would wake up in the hospital, unable to talk or eat. She had been attacked with acid.
Doctors didn’t even know what to do as skin on her face was burned off, ears were gone and eyelids gone as well. Here’s what the doctor said about the challenge in front of them:
“The challenge was to give her kind of a normal face, close to what a normal human being would look like.”
She was in total pain for months. A nightmare that there seemed to be no waking up from.
It would be 10 years and 27 facial reconstruction surgeries. Her father sold everything to try to get his daughter back to some kind of normal. He even sold the family house. The money also went towards getting the attackers to court.
While they did go to court and were punished, the sentence was amazingly, only 9 years. And to add insult to injury, these men ended up being released after only 2 years. The decision was appealed, but no court date has been set.
Eventually, Sonali went ahead and petitioned the government to just allow her to die. Somehow, her spirit surfaced and rose strong as she felt she would not allow these men to completely destroy her life. She would get on TV and go public with what acid acid attack victims have to go through. She even got onto the Indian version of the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” She won $40,000!
Meanwhile, donations poured in. Both for her surgeries and for justice.
Chittaranjan Tiwari, a 29-year-old electronic engineer was one such supporter of Sonali, and he was very moved to meet her. They met, and then they fell in love. They would end up getting married!
Then now have a wonderful baby named Pari. The name actually means “face of an angel.”