BIHAR, INDIA: An Indian known to villagers as the Elephant Man has been offered a life changing operation he hopes will find him a wife. Lalit Ram has such severe facial deformities he has been told by local priests he has almost no chance of persuading a woman to marry him. Horrific facial tumours caused by neurofibromatosis left the 26-year-old farmer's son a virtual recluse, rarely leaving his house due to taunts from neighbours. Some call him after the Hindu elephant god, Ganeshji, others are more cruel. But after learning of the traumatic case a leading plastic surgeon in India's capital Delhi has offered to operate for free. Lalit first noticed lumps on his face as a young child but his poor family were unable to afford treatment. As his features grew more extreme and Lalit's appearance drew more stares from villagers he befriended a buffalo that became his best friend and pet. After hearing of Lalit's condition one of India's most renowned plastic surgeons, Dr Vivek Kumar of the respected Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi, offered to treat him for free. The highly complex operation is fraught with danger but Dr Kumar believes it is possible to correct most features to enable him to lead a normal life. Admitting he had once tried to commit suicide by eating rat poison, Lalit said the thought of surgery had brightened his moods - and even led him to dream of the perfect wife.
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