Esquire Singapore : A Story Of Indian Girls Who Rose Past Their Scars After Being Defaced By Acid


"My attacker told the police that he still loved me and would marry me if I agreed. Why would I want to spend my life with someone who has cursed my will to live?"

On a sunny April afternoon, 28-year-old Archana Thakur shuffles her feet nervously while draping on a pink sari for a photoshoot. “I’m not really used to getting dolled up so much,” she mumbles, looking down at the ironed pleats. “My appearance has never really been my friend.” After a brief moment of hesitation, she turns around to look at herself in the mirror.  “It’s hard every day when you don’t know what you look like,” she says, touching her charred face gently. “But somewhere between the fear and the hatred, you learn to love yourself.”

Seven years ago, on a cold November day in her village in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Thakur was attacked in her own home by her neighbour. “He used to constantly harass me,” she says. “He kept asking me to marry him, but I kept refusing. I thought that he would stop eventually, but he didn’t. One day, he entered through the kitchen while I was working and threw acid all over me.” On hearing Thakur’s bloodcurdling screams, her father rushed to her aid, only to find her lying on the floor, writhing in agony. By the time she made it to the hospital, the attack had left her blind in one eye, partially deaf, with a melted face and skull, and arms that could only move slightly. “There was so much pus and blood everywhere,” she sighs. “I felt as if something was eating me alive.”

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