K.Nagalakshmi, a differently-abled woman in her mid-twenties, says she believed she would never get married. However, finally she was able to find her life partner, thanks to a ‘swayamvaram’ organised by the Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations Service Federation.

On Sunday, around 350 differently-abled men and women registered their names to take part in the swayamvaram in the presence of their family members.

“I witnessed the swayamvaram last year and took part in it this year. I had no expectations before being a part of the swayamvaram, but I am happy that I found my life partner here,” says V.Maharajan, a differently-abled man, who is Ms.Nagalakshmi’s fiancé now.

Mr.Maharajan owns a mobile showroom at M.Vadipatti.

The couple met at the counselling session organised recently at a private school as part of the swayamvaram. The swayamvaram includes a counselling session for the prospective couples by legal experts, psychologists, psychiatrists and gynaecologists, says T.M.N.Deepak, State vice-president of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Association.

P.Shanthi, a B.Ed. graduate who has no disabilities, says, “I always wanted to marry a differently-abled person. When I came to know about the swayamvaram I participated in it.”

She is now engaged to M.Xavier, an electrician with walking disabilities. “Our families met and they liked each other,” says Mr.Xavier, with a choked voice.

According to Mr.Deepak, several women, who have no disabilities, are eager to marry the differently-abled men.

“Sadly not many normal men come forward to enter wedlock with differently-abled women,” he told The Hindu.

K.Muthiah, a differently-abled man, is now engaged to A.Muthammal, a woman with no disabilities.

“Muthammal and I are relatives. Both of us were working as insurance agents and we liked each other. The swayamvaram helped us decide our future,” Mr.Muthiah says.

According to the organisers, around 25 couples from Madurai will be selected to be part of the grand wedding celebration in Chennai on October 27.

“Around 60 to 100 differently-abled couples from all over the State will be selected to be part of the wedding celebration in Chennai. Last year, 24 couples participated from Madurai and this year we expect 25 couples to be part of the grand wedding,” says S.Boopathy, general secretary (south zone) of the Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations Service Federation.

Mayor V.V.Rajan Chellappa and Collector L.Subramanian blessed the couples and offered felicitations.