Aarti Thakur and Prashant Pingale had something deeply life-altering in common before they even met. Both had survived acid attacks. In 2012, Aarti Thakur was waiting for the train in Mumbai when a man threw acid on her. It was the third time in two months that Thakur had been targeted, according to CNN. She had rejected a man's proposal, and he hired someone to disfigure her. The attacks left her with huge medical bills, as well as a sense of fear and lingering depression. But Thakur has spoken out against the practice and governmental support for victims.
Pingale saw Thakur talking about her experiences at a Human Rights Law Network event in November 2015, and described it to CNN as "love at first sight." But he first approached Thakur as a friend. Pingale had also been injured in an acid attack, for which his sister had been the target. Pingale jumped in front of her in a protective gesture that left him with burns over 50% of his body.