December 2nd, 2016
“Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by business men. I would throw questions at every small business owner in my hometown in an attempt to understand what made their businesses tick. Business for me is so much more than a means of living. The more business owners I interacted with, the more I realized how much our nation depends on such entrepreneurs.
As I grew older, I dedicated my time to my father’s business, only to move on to work in the insurance industry. I also worked as a team leader in a couple of corporations. This allowed me to gain vast experience and skills in fields completely unrelated to each other. Having acquired these skills, I always dreamed of leaving my sheltered hometown and going to a big city to pursue my career.
One day, I was overseeing operations at my father’s factory in Meerut. That’s when I noticed a man sitting outside the factory, whistling and catcalling women walking by. I questioned the man angrily and asked him to stop, only to hear him laugh mockingly. He told me he was Chintu, the Landlord’s son. He also warned me that my misconduct would cost me dearly. I recited the whole incident to his father and said that I was going to file a complaint against Chintu. His father pleaded me to let it go and assured me that Chintu will cause no trouble in the future.
The very same day, as I was closing the factory, Chintu ambushed me with four men and told me that I had invited trouble. I ignored it and started walking towards my house. When I reached home, I noticed that Chintu was at my doorstep with four men. Fearing trouble, I ran away from there. I heard Chintu’s laughter, he yelled out “How far will you run?”
I managed to escape and reached home a little later. I called my family for advice, they told me to wait till they were back in town. Two days later, I realised I was being followed while I was on my bike. I halted after taking a turn. I noticed Chintu standing some distance away. He had a bucket full of concentrated acid in his hand. Before I could react, Chintu threw the contents of the bucket at my face. Within seconds, my hands, thighs, ears and chest felt as though they were on fire. I’ve never screamed like I screamed that day. Luckily, my brother was able to rush to my rescue. He quickly took me home before Chintu could cause more damage. Later we discovered that Chintu had planned to throw another bucket of acid on me.
After the attack I was depressed for months. But I knew that my dreams were still out there to be conquered. I pressed on and finished my MBA through correspondence from Amity University in Delhi and worked as a team leader at Amar Ujaala. I kept myself involved with my father’s business and negotiated decisive tender contracts in the insurance and steel industry. I continued to break barriers with a belief that I could accomplish anything I set my sights on. I got married to a beautiful woman who loves me and embraces who I am. She never lets me hide my scars because she believes that they are a tribute to my strength. She’s given me a beautiful baby daughter that I love more than anything in the world.
With the love showered on me by Make Love Not Scars, I am now looking to find employment in a big city through their #SkillsNotScars campaign.
Not only is my attacker still roaming freely in my hometown, but he continues to threaten my family. By moving to a different place, I can make sure that my daughter grows up in a safe environment where she can play, dance, study, sing and achieve whatever she wants in life.
Make Love Not Scars in association with The Logical Indian, Meer Foundation, Humans Of Bombay and Hyper has launched a campaign #SkillsNotScars to provide jobs to acid attack survivors. You can help Chandrahaas and many like her to get a job, by visiting the website here: http://makelovenotscars.org/skills/