On her wedding night, Gita Paul felt doomed. Her parents had arranged her marriage to a man she had never seen who lived in Kolsur, an impoverished village kilometers from her own home in this landscape of rice paddies and cattle paddocks and clusters of homes, near the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. Arranged marriages to strangers are common in the region. But when Gita laid eyes on her husband, she was horrified to find him covered in open lesions and scabs. Then she met his family. An elder brother had lost a foot to rot, a sister was sickly and another brother had died in his 30s. Many people in the village were ill. “I'd never seen anything like it,” Gita says, years later, during an interview, sitting on the rough steps of her family's tiny brick-and-mortar home. “I thought it was a contagious disease.”