Lalita and Ravi Shankar, (a CCTV operator, also owns a petrol pump in Ranchi, Jharkhand), fell for each other’s voices after she dialled a wrong number. ‘It was love at first sound’. And he called her back, and they ended up talking on the phone every day. Lalita told him that she was an acid attack survivor. That didn’t matter to him, as Ravi fell in love with her inner beauty. Love blossomed between the two and they decided to get married.
“I had lost hope. I never thought of falling in love with someone, while just talking over the phone. And getting married. He is a nice man. He became my ray of hope. He said, come what may, he will be always there for me. I credit him, for teaching me to love, laugh and live again! He convinced his mother. And then, we got married on May 23 and we now live in Kalwa, Thane. My life has completely changed after marriage, and I am happy and enjoying every bit of it. I fought my fear and now I am comfortable in my own skin. I am optimistic and I have learnt to beat the odds. I am truly blessed to have Ravi Shankar as my life partner.
A joyous Ravi Shankar’s says, “I liked her from the beginning. I had to make Lalita believe that she too had the right to a better life. I am not concerned about her face. She is a sweet person with a golden heart. Looks are a matter of time. I have seen good-looking people part ways, after years of marriage. We are happily married now and she completes me. Lalita’s glowing face after marriage delineates her happiness. We both equally take care of each other and spend quality time. My family is also happy. We have asked Lalita to not to cover her face and live freely. So I love her for who she is. And wish we have a blessed life.”
The wedding of the couple, which was organised by Acid attack Survivors Saahas Foundation; of which, Lalita is the member, found many sponsors. President Daulat B. Khan (who is an acid attack survivor) explicates, “We work for acid attack survivor’s welfare. They can also carve a niche for themselves. Moreover, Lalita and Ravi share a strong bond. I wish both of them a happy married life.
The wedding outfits of the couple were sponsored by designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Actor Vivek Oberoi attended the wedding ceremony and gifted them a flat in Thane. Vivek tweeted “Amazing love story of my little sister Lalita Bansi, an acid attack survivor, got married today to an amazing man Ravi Shankar who loves her for who she is! Lalita is a true hero because she proved to 1000’s of acid attack survivors nationwide that this isn’t a full stop, just a comma, life has many possibilities.”
In 2012, Lalita Ben Bansi’s cousin threw acid on her after a minor argument, when she visited her hometown in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. The attack took place, just few days before her wedding. It’s been five years since a gruesome acid attack leaved her face disfigured and scarred for life. “After the attack, the physical and mental trauma I have gone through is something nightmares are made of. The pain of the burns, as well as the vulnerable state of mind, made each day a task to live through. I found difficulty in consuming food, and had to cover my face all the time. After regular hospital visits and consultations with the doctors, I underwent 17 surgeries. I still have to undergo hair, ear, nose and eye surgeries”, explains Lalita.
Despite the government’s efforts to restrict sale of acid and introduce stricter laws, there has been no let-up in the number of attacks. “Over-the-counter sale of acid should be prohibited. Or there should be a strict licensing policy on its sale. Those guilty, should be severely punished”, says Lalita.
My message to the other acid attack survivors is not to get bogged down. Don’t stress! Just be happy and enjoy your life! Have faith in yourself and you will surely accomplish your goal”.