Acid attack victim Mabiya Mandal (21), who has been lying at Nerul’s DY Patil Hospital in Navi Mumbai for the past one-and-a-half years, celebrated her five-year-old daughter Anisha’s birthday on December 10.
While she has been dealing with her disfigurement since the attack, her fervent wish for her daughter is that she be educated. Yet, that seems a challenge now – unlike other five-year-olds in kindergarten, Anisha stays beside her mother’s hospital bed all day. Her grandparents have neither the time nor money to get her educated.
Mabiya is a Grade 4 burn patient. Her husband flung acid at her face after a quarrel on September 23 last year, when she was asleep. She was rushed to Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Hospital (NMMC) and later transferred to DY Patil. Lying on bed no 20 of the orthopaedic ward, she said, “My little daughter is the one who is suffering along with me. When my husband threw acid at me in my very own home, I was planning to enroll Anisha into a school.
But after the accident, my parents and I were left with neither any time nor money to attend to her educational needs. Since Anisha started talking, she keeps saying that she wants to become a police officer. But in my present condition, attending to her is difficult.” At five, Anisha still does not attend school, as there’s no one to take her to the school or bring her back. Both her grandparents are tied up while her grandfather is looking after Mabiya, her grandmother is the one who earns by cooking at several homes in Nerul.
Mabiya is preparing to undergo plastic surgery, which will be performed on her face next week, for reconstruction of her lost eye lids. Her father Surabuddin added that she was the youngest of his three daughters, and it was difficult for them to see their daughter in so much pain. Meanwhile, doctors at the hospital have ‘adopted’ Mabiya, and are bearing all the expenses for her treatment, as it becomes increasingly difficult for her family to fund it.
“The patient has lost her right eye completely, but the left eye does have slight vision. By utilising the tissues of her body we are trying to reconstruct her eyelids for the protection of her eyeballs, in the next plastic surgery. For her eyes, we will soon be referring her to another hospital in the city,” said Dr Shyam More, deputy medical superintendent of the hospital.
Her five-year-old daughter, on the other hand, says that she wants to go to school, but only after her mother is healed completely. “I want my mother to get well soon and take me to school like other parents do,” says Anisha, who turned five yesterday. Mandal said that the attack, and the painful treatment that followed, had made her strong, but she does not want her daughter to experience the same kind of agony.
“Since my parents managed to educate me up to Std X, I wish that my daughter’s education does not suffer because of me. Last year, I was not even aware when my daughter’s birthday passed by, because of the entire incident. This year I am happy I am conscious and able to interact with her at least. Life is not easy for acid attack victims like us, but then our children should not suffer with us,” she said.