The Day I Became a Burn Survivor

By: Monica Sethi

It was a very normal day but I never knew that it would be the last day of my life when I would what I was and after that my life would change so much to an extend that I would have to leave my family, friends, culture and go far from them!


It was 19th January 2002, and being a Saturday I was suppose to go late to NIIT (my office), where I worked as Front Office Manager. Since morning there was something disturbing me within. I even had a talk to my mother and told her that I was feeling a bit worried but can’t understand what it is? Actually I was applying for a H1 for America on the following Monday and y mother said since the day of my interview at embassy is very close, may be that is affecting me. I couldn't understand what it was but I carried on. I reached at about 10.30 a.m., had a normal day of work but something was disturbing me within.

Well I was scheduled to leave office at 7.00 p.m. and as everyday, My dad had started from home to pick me up. He usually called me before he started so as minimise his wait outside my office. I was making my last call of the Day to my boss, informing him my leave for Monday and Tuesday that to my surprise I saw a man, all wrapped with cardigans and gloves and scarf around his face and with sun glasses on! I couldn’t understand who he was but the moment I turned around him and asked ... "Yes Sir, How may I help you? and SPppppllllaaaassssshhhh. I earlier thought that some student of mines has done some seconds I realized it was something else because my face and neck was burning ..................... I pulled the scarf of the boy and asked ... Jolly what the hell did you do ?????. He just ran away and I started shouting ..... and my boss who was still over the phone heard me shouting. His house was not far away from office, so he within seconds came back to office. Mean time I left my shawl there and rushed towards the toilet where I tried my best to pour as much as possible water over me. I was crying and seeing my skin burning and blooming. I could see my cardigan and then my shirt getting burnt and the skin on my left arm getting burnt.


Meanwhile my dad was also there. He could see my shawl left on the floor and was shocked for it. He came in the office and shouted for me. My boss hurriedly told him nothing and asked to be in car and wrapped in a cloth and took me to hospital. My father is physically handicapped, (because of a rod in his leg) . My dad just kept driving the car, anxious enough to see what had happened to me.

My boss took me out of the car in the hospital and immediately hurried me to ICU. the doctors and nurses in the hospital were very known to my father and my boss. My boss's wife was a permanent staff member of the hospital and my dad being in pharmaceutical business had very close and friendly relations with the doctors of the hospital.

I was hospitalized in two different hospitals for over a period of 7 months. Where I had three surgeries. I was completely burnt on the left side of my face, the upper part of my left hand, my left side of back and my left arm. Those seven months were the greatest trouble of me and especially the day when I saw mirror, I was torn apart. I could not believe myself.

The boy who did all this was actually a student of NIIT, who claimed to be in love with me. HE did decently approach me for marriage. Because of difference in cultures and religion, I calmly explained him that it was not possible, but he still insisted. In end, I told him that I have no problems only if my parents approach to this. He told his family and then the boy’s father came over to my house for this to which my dad didn’t agree upon. But still since the boy wanted to be in touch, we decided to end up being good friends so that he could at least know how was I doing in life?. But when he came to know that I had applied for job overseas, he could possibly not take this thought and decided that he would do something to me that would make me live for him for always. But he never realized that his obsessions would ruin my life. He was put behind bars.

Life goes on and I had to fight for my parents and my younger brother. I decided to study further. I joined a Post Graduate course in Hotel Management in Switzerland and went there. I still needed doctors and thanks to the wonderful help and guidance of my school authorities. I underwent another two surgeries in Switzerland. I am now living in UK, since I believe I have a long battle to win. I am still undergoing steroid injections on my face, which is pain in themselves. I decided to fight for my parents. I just couldn’t be in India and could have ever fought for myself against the society. So the best I could thin, I have done. My face still reflects of what I have gone through but with each passing day, my determination is getting more and more and the will to fight is increasing.