zzzz…. The water droplets sizzled on the hot pan and I winced. It’s been 5 years now yet…

“Maya, were you trying to burn your hand?” Badima breached my reverie.

“Badima, I was just checking if the pan is ready to make dosa. You be seated, I will bring piping hot dosas for everyone.”

Badima gave me a look but she didnt prod further. I started making dosas one after the other, and each time it sizzled, I felt querulous.

A cacophony of clinking and clanking of the cutlery brought me back to the present; it was none other than Samir and Ahana. 

“Samir, you are not a kid anymore,” I chided my darling husband.

Both of them just rolled their eyes and gobbled up the dosas, the minute I served them.

“Mumma, tomorrow I have to do a science activity and show it to the teacher. You have to help me.” 

“Ahana, what activity is it? Do we have all the required materials to do that?”

“Mumma, we have everything. It is an activity on acids and their reaction.”

I felt 2 pairs of eyes looking at me worriedly. My past swayed right in front of my eyes and I felt queasy. Soon, I felt familiar arms wrapping me up, instantly soothing me. It was Samir.

“Ahana, go to your room. It’s time to sleep and tomorrow you have to do the activity and online classes.”

“Goodnight, Mumma, Papa & Badi Dadi.” Ahana hopped towards her room.

And I unleashed myself again after a long time. Badima hugged me and said, “Don’t hoard the past. You lost some flesh but not your spirit. Just like the phoenix, you did rise from your own ashes.”

“Maya, it’s just an experiment, nothing else. I can cancel my meeting and help Ahana, if you want. However, I know you can do it.” Samir quipped.

“I am going to rest now. Take care.” Badima retired to her room.

As I entered the bedroom, Samir brought my antique hand mirror that I had abandoned long ago. “Samir, please just throw this junk right now.” 

He held it firmly and made me look at it. My hands brushed through those scars like a deadpan; the anguish had transformed me completely.

“You are not the same Maya anymore; the Maya I knew. I am amazed how you have become an iron lady and helped several young acid attack victims. You opened new doors for them.” Samir stirred up those memories.

I was lost. I would have won the beauty pageant if not for that acid attack. The acid attack shattered my life and dreams. I underwent several issues from anxiety to depression and had suicidal tendencies. That chapter redefined beauty for me and I tried to levitate that in the society. 

Samir continued, “you lost one pageant but garnered many for your stupendous work for the welfare of acid attack survivors..nah..warriors. You have been an inspiration to all of us.” 

Tragedy is like a strong acid.
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