“There is love after acid attack and there is life after acid attack.” Impaired beyond identification in an acid attack, the 29-year-old woman by the name of Laxmi has found unconditional love with a social activist who works to bring justice to victims of such brutal attacks.
It was only after stumbling upon the journalist-turned social activist Alok Dixit while protesting against the increase of acid attacks against women, Laxmi breathed a sigh of relief and believed that life would soon change. Much to her beliefs, life did change.
The couple, who have been happy about the live-in relationship said that they wanted some time to introduce their daughter Pihu to the world. “For the initial 6 to 7 months we needed time for the baby and also for us. We wanted to relax. Also, because of our busy schedule, we were not able to bring ‘Pihu’ in front of the world. But we finally thought of introducing her to others,” Dixit added.
Dixit says the plan to not get married was mutual and so also was the decision to not introduce their child in public soon after her birth. “Laxmi had also gone through a lot of tragedies. She had lost her father and her younger brother very recently. So we did not want people to bombard her with questions and that’s why we kept quiet,” says Dixit.
Hailing from Delhi, Laxmi underwent seven major surgeries to reduce the burns to her skin. She added, ‘After the attack, I never thought I would ever find a soulmate. I had lost hope. ‘But in Alok, I couldn’t have found anyone better. He understood the kind of pain I was in. He understood what I had been going through. I never felt that looks are important. Looks do not matter because I find Laxmi very beautiful. She is a beautiful person and her beauty lies in her heart.’
What happened to Laxmi & Why was she attacked?
When Laxmi was 15 years old, she was brutally attacked in 2005 by a man who was actually more than twice her age, who she denied to accept a marriage proposal.
The shocking incident took place in broad daylight in one of national capital busiest markets. The heart-breaking incident left her physically and emotionally disfigured.
Laxmi still couldn’t get over the nightmare that she encountered. She added, ‘I cannot forget how brutally I was attacked. I want to make sure that such things don’t happen to anyone else.
‘My father worked as a chef. I was friends with another girl in the neighbourhood and her brother soon started proposing to me. I was only 15. On April 18 (2005), he messaged me: ‘I love you.” I ignored it.’
But little did Laxmi knew that she would experience such a disaster.
‘I was waiting for a bus when he approached me with his brother’s girlfriend. They pushed me to the ground and threw acid over my face,’ Laxmi recalled.
‘I was crying for help, but no one came to my rescue. I tried waving at the passing cars. They did not stop, no one helped. I almost got run over three times. I could not even open my eyes properly.
‘I felt as if someone had set my whole body on fire. The skin was just coming off, it was like dripping, from my hands and from my face.’
In the nine years since the brutal acid attack, Laxmi has undergone seven face reconstruction surgeries, but now she doesn’t care about her looks and thanks to Alok who accepted her from his heart. She said: ‘Someone asked me the question of what if the attacker still offered to marry me? I said, he has changed my face, but he has failed to change my mind.’
‘Afterwards, I never wanted to find love. I mean there was no hope in any case because of the scars.’
But after meeting Dixit, everything changed and she says she started to love again.
‘I contacted Alok for a job. I was told later that he had been looking for me for over four years. Then when we met, he understood what I was going through,’ she said.
Thankfully, the families of the couple have also accepted the affair and are supporting them. ‘We have decided to live together until we die. But we are challenging the society by not getting married,’ Laxmi said.
Adding that he is not on the opinion of the institution of marriage, Dixit says that they do not wish to get married and would continue with their relationship like earlier.
“We do not intend to get married because I do not believe in the institution of marriage. I believe that two people do not need a certificate to remain together in society. So at the beginning itself, we had decided that we are not getting married and would stay together in a live-in relationship,” says Dixit.
Dixit stated, ‘We are not going to follow the norms that the society approves of. We will prove that our love does not need a name. Our love is about understanding and support.’
Pihu accompanies her mother to all places and spends most of her time at the NGO Chaanv, the office of the ‘Stop Acid Attack’.
“Pihu does not have a surname, neither would she have one. We encountered a few problems while making the birth certificate but ultimately it has the name of both the mother and father because both of us are together,” says Laxmi.
(Inputs from PTI & Daily Mail)