Is Love Only for the Able Bodied?

Asks Niharika Gopal Krishnan, who narrates her experiences in the arranged marriage meet-ups and the inherent prejudices therein…

Prerna Shah | Posted on 01 Aug 2016
Physical Disabilities A Hurdle For Finding Love? | Bonobology

I was reading the stories on your portal and some of them were about happy couples and happy marriages. I came to you because I wanted to tell my story. I believe my story needs to be heard, it deserves an audience.

I am 29, from Mumbai and I suffer from a condition called Hemiplegia. I had a difficult childhood, but my parents tell me that it was difficult getting me into this world as well. I was born at three in the morning, and something happened. Something not quite right. Either, I was dropped as a new born or it was the surgical tongs by which they pulled me out. These are assumptions but some damage had been done. I cried for eight hours, and no doctors or nurses attended to me, despite my family frantically asking them to. When they finally did, my mother was just told that I might have been hungry and thus the endless crying.

But it was only when I turned two that my grandmother who was giving me a bath realised that my right leg was an inch shorter than my left. My parents consulted orthopaedic doctors and specialists; my mother juggled the endless appointments with her work. When I turned eight, I was operated for hip joint dislocation and for a year, I was bed ridden. All through these years, my parents supported, motivated and challenged me to do my best. They are doing so even now. I remember them facing taunts from people who said that I was a fruit of their past misdeeds.

I am not telling you this story so that you feel sorry for me. That is not my purpose. I want to be understood. I have had my struggles, but what I am looking for at the moment, is a life partner.

And ever since we started this search, I have faced outright rejection. That is, without understanding what my condition is, what are the limitations it places on me as an individual, people reject me. I am not disabled, but yes, I do have limitations. I have challenges. I would have loved it if I were to meet someone who took the time out to just understand me as a person and wanted to know what my condition is all about.

But I don’t even get to that stage. Which makes me think, why is finding companionship so difficult if an individual has a medical condition? But then, I see one of my friends. He used to stammer a lot. Now he is with an IT company, has a family of his own. It gives me hope.

Sometimes, the people who approach me via the matrimony sites are people who have a lot of disabilities. That also makes me think – should a matrimonial alliance with a person who has a medical condition only be considered if you have one yourself or are physically disabled? Can’t those whom we call ‘normal’ think of an alliance with someone who has a medical condition?

I don’t have many answers. My mother would like to see me settled. I am still getting the “you don’t match our expectations” answer from a lot of families who are on the lookout for a bride. Meanwhile, I have got a job – I teach at a school for special children. I am happy about that but the other struggles continue. I am nearing my thirties now. I would love to meet someone who motivates me, and accepts me the way I am.

Perhaps in telling my story, I may have raised awareness and some important points.

(Hemiplegia is a condition where one side of the body is paralysed. It can affect either side of the body. It is caused by damage to the brain, such as a stroke. This can happen before, during or after birth. The condition can be congenital or acquired.)

(As Told To Prerna Shah)

 

Prerna Shah

Prerna Shah is a former journalist and now works with Bonobology as an editor. She holds degrees in English Literature, Mass Communication and Journalism and also in Creative and Life Writing. She loves the written word, and would read just about anything, even labels on shampoo bottles!

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Comments : 1

Thot Striking: Hi, All that has happened is bad and the way ppl talk i can imagine! But wat kept me thinking thru out ur write up is.. u know how difficult it is to a person with disability or medical condition in this society and then you mention about others condition in the matrimony sites.. they also are people who hav gone thru many such criticism knw? there is nothing wrong in having a companion having some other disability is what i felt as you can very much understand how it feels. Sorry if my thots are wrong in any sense. Good luck for you, may you find the best right match and hav good days ahead!

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