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“I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” – Leo Tolstoy
Twenty-six-year-old Lalita Ben Bansi got ready for her grand wedding reception in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“Miracles do happen,” were the first words uttered by Lalita, an acid attack survivor, who never thought that she would find love.
In 2012, Lalita’ cousin threw acid on her face over a minor argument.
The attack happened when she was visiting her hometown Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh for her cousin’s wedding. A tiff broke out between her younger brother and cousin Sham Babu. To stop them from fighting, Lalita slapped them both. She continued to stay in Azamgarh after her cousin’s wedding as her marriage was scheduled after five months.
But fifteen days prior to her marriage, Babu threw acid on her face, as revenge for the slap.
She was admitted to Bombay Hospital where she underwent 17 surgeries and will be undergoing 12 more in the coming months.
“I received a missed call from a wrong number, and it changed my life,” said Ravishankar Singh, as reported by The Indian Express.
The missed call was from Lalita.
When Ravi called back on the number after 15 days, the two began talking and eventually fell in love.
Lalita was sceptical at first as the attack her changed the way she looked. She felt Ravi deserved better than her scars, but even without seeing her, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
To him, looks didn’t matter. In three months time, the two decided to tie the knot.
A hundred and fifty guests attended the wedding of Lalita and Ravi at the D’silva Technical College in Dadar, where the beautiful bride wore an ornate crimson lehenga.
Actor Vivek Oberoi, Congress MLA Nitish Rane and former sheriff of Mumbai Dr Jagannathrao Hegde, attended the ceremony to congratulate the newly wed couple.
The wedding was organised by the Acid Survivors Saahas Foundation, of which Lalita is also a member and many other sponsors. One of them, Rushikesk Kadam, founder of Udyami Maharashtra, an entrepreneurs group, decided to help Lalita when he found that she was financially weak.
Kadam and his friends made arrangements for the food, décor, banquet hall, honeymoon package, and will also be gifting the bride several Paithani sarees.
Rotary Club of Shivaji Park is gifting the couple an amount of ₹25,000.
The wedding dresses worn by the bride and the groom, their jewellery and a pandit were funded by fashion designers Abu Jaani and Sandeep Khosla. Vivek Oberoi gifted the couple a flat in Mumbai.
Billions of women have fallen prey to brutal patriarchy in their lives, which sometimes takes the form of violence. Not just acid-attack, but rape, domestic violence and physical abuse, increases the male-female divide as a section of the society believes men to be the superior sex.
In a community where women are perceived to not have a voice, Lalita raised her hand on a man, shattering his ego.
As she slapped his face, he decided to scar hers forever.
But men like Ravishankar Singh keep the hope alive in us that goodness still exists in the world. There are some men who do not view women as mere objects but view them as beings more than their body.
The wedding of Lalita and Ravi is an example of true love and we hope that more people like Ravi help remove the stigma surrounding acid attack survivors.
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