Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I see a monster: Purva

Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4 comments

"Only if her face could tell her story I thought and there it was — the conclusion to my suffering — I should burn her face. Yes, why not? Who would she invite in her house once that happens? Then i would see if she dares push away true love."

Pages from an acid attacker's diary

Having read about those magical moments in romantic novels, I identified this encounter as one of those. She wasn’t perfect in any sense. Her face didn’t glow, neither did her hair blow with the wind, but my eyes stayed glued to her face.

Was it that shadow of innocence on her dimpled cheeks or those shiny bangles on her thin wrists that kept me staring at her is something i couldn’t decide. Every time she smiled, an involuntary smile broke on my lips. Was i done with staring at her the moment she caught my eyes? No, i wished to keep looking at her, but wouldn’t it be rude? No, she should understand; it was her who was driving me to stare at her, after all.

The days passed by, but my habit of watching her didn’t, and by the end of the month I approached her. She was wearing a blue jeans and a long pink t-shirt today. I got aroused seeing her as she came closer to me. My breath got heavy and sweat rolled down my neck. For an instance, I even thought if she had possibly dressed up for me; could she have known?

Abruptly, i walked up to her and confronted my fears. My tongue felt stuck somewhere in the insides of my mouth for a while, until I almost spat out , “I love you, marry me”.
The colour on her face started to fade and no words came out of her mouth. My lips were curled into a smile now; her shyness made me move a bit closer and there it was, in her eyes, “disgust”. That was a rejection, which ran in my veins to my heart, till my brains, and sent a chill down my spine. My fingers dug deep in my skin as she walked away. I stood their like a joke. Yes, that's what she made of me and my love that day — a joke.
My throat felt the warmth of the alcohol as my mind ran into possibilities of this night, lovely and mesmerizing, if only her response would have been positive. I scanned myself in every way possible; there was nothing a girl would want which i couldn’t offer. My blood was boiling and my body radiated heat, i wanted only one thing now, more than ever, “her”.

It was not an option, it was a choice.

The next few days went in a rush; there was so much to know, what she does, how she does it, what she likes. In the process of knowing her surroundings, I came across a rather tempting opportunity; she was alone at home that very night. I gave in to the temptation and knocked at her door that evening. No response came out the first time, nothing from the second as well; I wondered if she was alone in there or was there a guy with her? Somebody who sensed the opportunity before me and with a screech the door opened, she was surprised to see me and retrieved her steps back. “Why are you here?”
“Of course for you darling” i raised my hand to stroke her cheeks but before i could reach my angel, she pushed me back.

Her lips moved very fast after that and the door was shut. After what seemed like a lifetime, there was just one question in my mind, why was she in such a hurry to throw me out? So there was someone with her in there.

Days must have passed since that night, the night when i last slept, my head ached with the efforts of staying awake but no sleep came to my eyes, whisky was my only friend now. The next time i saw her, the face wasn’t beautiful anymore; it was flawed, only pure lust was hidden in her crooked smiles. To everyone else, she was the same, but i saw her for who she was. An idea struck my mind then, sleepless and frustrated with failed love, if only others could know what I knew, if only they could make out just by looking at her, that she was not beautiful but just someone who craved to burn people in hell.

Only if her face could tell her story I thought and there it was — the conclusion to my suffering — I should burn her face. Yes, why not? Who would she invite in her house once that happens? Then i would see if she dares push away true love. A weird freshness filled my mind, as i waited for her with a bottle of acid in my hands; the adrenaline rush i felt was overwhelming. As she came in sight, time began to run faster and i could hear my own heartbeat. Next thing I knew she was on my feet yelling with her face covered in blood. The sense of accomplishment was uplifting.

Years later, her face tells a story. A story of the monster who saw “disgust” in her fears and “secrets” in her urgency. A monster who destroyed her life. I see in the mirror today, the same monster who still possesses that evil smile, whose color still changes at the break of dawn.

(Purva Dashottar is pursuing her chartered accountancy education from Indore. With an active involvement in issues concerned with women's rights, Purva takes forward the Stop Acid Attacks campaign while being based in central India. She can be reached at purva@stopacidattacks.org)


  1. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location. It occurs in many countries in South- East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East. Recently attacks have emerged in other regions including the United Kingdom and the United States. Acid attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In many countries acid attacks constitute a “hidden” form of violence against women and children that often goes unreported even
    though the visible signs of the crime are difficult to overlook.



    About Us

    SAA is a campaign against acid violence. We work as a bridge between survivors and the society, as most of the victims of this brutal crime, which is much more grave in its impact than a rape, have isolated themselves after losing their face. Due to ignorance of the government and civil society, most survivors find no hope and stay like an outcast, in solitude. SAA aims to research and track acid attack cases and compile a data to get the actual situation of survivors.

    Our Mission

    We work with partners and stakeholders towards elimination of acid and other forms of burn violence and protection of survivors' rights. The process of justice to an acid attack victim remains incomplete until she gets immediate medical, legal and economic help, along with the critical social acceptance. Our vision is to free India from this crime, which reflects the flaws of our patriarchal society and abusive attitudes. We want survivors to have access to fast justice and fight back the irreparable impact of this crime.

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    Any amount you can donate to us, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received and put to good use helping acid and burns violence survivors. Your help could help pay for dressings and medical supplies for recuperating patients. A small help could help survivors with vital physical rehabilitation after an attack, including physical therapy and nursing.

    Click this link to donate for a good cause.

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