On 12 May 2004, two men threw acid on Soniya Chaudhary's face. The attack was planned by her neighbour, Anurag. He had sold her a stolen mobile phone, and when the police rang the number she then possesed, Soniya innocently let it be known that she got the phone from him. But that's not what ticked Anurag off. He arranged for 5 litres of acid to be thrown on the college student - because she didn't apologise for his arrest.
It took her nearly 3 years after the attack to get out of bed, and now she is rebuilding her life piece-by-piece. She was a part-time employee in an upscale salon before the attack, and now she runs her own beauty parlour out of her house in Ghaziabad.
By her side is her daughter Vanshika, who she unofficially adopted from her sister. Just like her mother, this 7-year-old loves make-up and mirrors.
The Quint talked to Soniya about what it has meant for a beautician and a self-confessed 'vain' person to look at her reflection - before the attack, right after the attack, after her first surgery, and now.
Illustrator: Susnata Paul
Producer: Esha Paul
UI/UX: Jaivardhan Channey
Camera: Siddharth Safaya, Sanjoy Deb
Editor: Punit Bhatia, Kunal Mehra, Hitesh Singh