Vaishali A. Patel
My burn story
Updated: May 3, 2021
"All I remember is the bubbly brown skin all over my right side of the face and arm..."
I have a special connection with my “Mosaad” (mom’s side of the family). I loved going to visit my Dahya dada and Mani ba (My mom’s parents)in their small town of Kandari, near Baroda, Gujarat.
When I was in 2nd grade one summer, my Ba along with one of my Masis(mom’s sister)was visiting us in Baroda. Back then there were no water heaters and so the bathrooms didn’t have running hot water. My mom would heat up the water on the kitchen stove and carry it in to the bathroom for our baths.
It was a Sunday morning and I asked my Ba if I can go with her to her place and she said sure if your mom says its ok. I was so excited, I ran to the kitchen to ask my mom. The next thing I remember is screaming in agony.
My mom was carrying the hot water pot with some towels and I ran straight into her. The pot hit my forehead and the boiling hot water spilled all over my face and right arm. I was wearing a nylon dress with puffy sleeves so the water was trapped in the right arm.
My parents were young too and they didn’t know how to handle something like this, by the time we got in the car (my pappa had a company car from Sandoz), I had brown bubbles on my face and skin was hanging on the right arm. Sundays small doctors were closed and hospitals were far, we found someone and they put ointment and bandaged things they could.
My mom had to cover up the mirrors in the house because I would look at myself and cry and the tears would burn even more.
The nylon fabric stuck on to my upper right arm. Slowly with all the treatments and praying on my mom’s part, the scars from my face went away. The right arm scar remained and I have it till this day.
My mom made it her mission to make sure there would be no remnants of the burn or scars on my face. Growing up my mom did DIY facials for my sister and I at home, we would all gather around and she would massage our faces and then we would go over to the stove and steam our faces with the towel over our head and then she would put on Multani Mati Mask on our faces.
I was never embarrassed of my scar on my right arm. It didn’t even occur to me it was anything until I got married and I would wear sleeveless and there would be aunties at social gatherings who would say “Taare haathe shu thayu?” (what happened to your arm?)I would just say, oh I got burned when I was little and walk away.
There are things that happen to us in life that are beyond our control and how we deal with it is truly what matters. Yes you can say its easier for me to say this as I have no scaring on my face and you would be right but the reality is no matter what happens to us we always have a choice.