Reena woke up with a start, panting heavily. Her mom came running to her bedroom and looked at her gloomily and a tear trickled down her cheek unabated. The nightmares were still hounding her daughter. It had become a ritual of sorts. It had been five years since the day her world had come crashing down. But it seemed like yesterday. Every day she wished that no other mother should have to see her daughter go through such trauma, misery and pain like her daughter.
The only thing that kept Reena’s mom going each day in the journey called life was the indomitable spirit of her daughter. Reena chose not to be defeated by the scars that life had imposed upon her. She was an epitome of resilience. Reena had always wanted to be a fashion designer. She had a way with fabrics and colours and designs. She was transported in to another world whenever she sketched.
When her life was brought to a standstill on that fateful day, for days together, she was in a daze. And yes, she was in pain, excruciating pain, which transcended beyond anything she had felt before. But, when she saw the listless eyes of her mother, she resolved to be strong, piece by piece she gathered the shreds of what was remaining of her life.
Hospital visits were far too many and every time she hoped and wished for a miracle to happen. But all she needed to see was a look at her mother, who however hard she tried, could not put up a mask of mirth and even if she did, Reena could make out that it was just a veil behind which lay a dam full of tears which were struggling to break free.
Today, five years later, as Reena checked her mailbox, little did she know, that a surprise was waiting for her. She had received a mail from The ‘Princeton School of Design’ in the US, stating that she had got through their masters programme and was to join in the coming Fall. Reena’s happiness knew no bounds and for a moment she was in a state of trance. Is this for real, she thought. But ‘seeing is believing’ and with her meager eyesight too Reena could read it correctly.
She shrieked in excitement and her mom came rushing towards her. After hearing the good news her mom looked at her lovingly and yes the far away look of listlessness which Reena saw everyday, vanished. It actually did. Tears dripped down her eyes as she hugged her daughter.
It was the happiest day of Reena’s life and she looked at herself in the mirror. But today, she did not see the half burned, ugly face of a scarred woman but of a woman who could dream, a woman who could live the life she always wanted to live.
And yes, the nightmares never came, from then on. She was happy as normal was something she could never take for granted again.
This post is lovingly dedicated to all the acid attack survivors, who have had the courage to go on with their lives despite such acts of brutality.