Debolina Chowdhury, a quiet soft spoken 17-year-old girl stays at Sreerampore with her father Tapas Chowdhury, a middle-aged sober gentleman. He earns a very paltry sum in the month, being in-charge of a promoter’s building materials in his locality. When there is work he is employed else his means of living is strained and uncertain.
But Debolina, whose mother probably left them at a very tender age, is just happy with her father. When she was 1½ month old she had her first surgery for her cleft and palate correction in a nearby centre and a follow-up surgery at the age of 1 and a ½ years but a small gap remained on her palate as the stitch was sloppy and this she carried all through her childhood till her teenage because a corrective plastic surgery was recommended only after 16 years interval from her second surgery.
She lived a life of irritation as the food or liquid she had, spilled out through her nose. Her classmates taunted her for the cleft she carried. Her otherwise pretty face has no dent or marks to make her look different from any other girl of her age. When the local club let them know of free surgery being conducted at Kolkata, she was elated. Her financially constrained father’s eyes lit up because here was her daughter whom she parented single-handedly and who would have to marry off sooner or later. The surgery would definitely give her a normal clean look and he would face less trouble to find a groom for her. Debolina has got a new look after her successful surgery. She is very confident now and is going back home. God knows, now she will smile all the way….
Tandra Mohanty – Volunteer from India Power Corporation Ltd.
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