LIFE

Swayamvara for handicapped

A bachelor introducing himself at `swayamvara'.

A bachelor introducing himself at `swayamvara'.  

MANY MAY shun disability but only a few go that extra mile and make dreams come true for those who dare to seek a world of equal opportunities. Chennai Thunai Matrimonials held its second `swayamvaram' for the physically challenged on Sunday. Volunteers were at the venue at 8 a.m. and participants filled out forms "exclusively for the disabled and those who wish to marry them." The participants were given cards and registered as members of the organisation.

About 100 persons in search of lifetime companions registered with the organisation. Some of them came in person, assisted by their parents or siblings. Their family represented others.

In this age of Internet, families still prefer face-to-face interaction. In a daylong programme at the Karnataka Sanga School auditorium in T. Nagar, some disabled men and women and their families introduced the eligible men and women to prospective companions and their families.

Film stars S.Ve. Sekar and Kathadi Ramamoorthi inaugurated the programme. The guests at the inauguration included H. Ramakrishnan, former Director, Doordarshan News, and T.A.P. Varadakutti, President, Tamil Nadu Association for the Welfare of the Handicapped.

The first participant was Mohana, an employee of Andhra Mahila Sabha. She said, "I am looking for somebody who will help me, has a good job and understands me."

Mr. Sekar asked her to explain what she meant by help. "Every married man has to help his wife," he remarked. The audience had a good laugh at that. Mohana elaborated, "Thanni kudam thooka mudiyathu ennal (My disability does not permit me to lift water pots)."

Mr. Sekar `suggested' that water be offered as dowry and bridegrooms could be imprisoned for dowry harassment. His remarks lightened the mood and participants relaxed.

T.S. Ananthakrishnan, who is wheelchair bound, is a clerk in a Government organisation. "By being single, you have saved half your earnings," Mr. Sekar told him. "I don't see why a woman should reject you. Your boss must have a great regard for you because unlike other Government employees, you would be in your seat all day."

When the artiste asked Uma what she looked for in a husband, she said, "He should be someone like you." Mr. Sekar's light-hearted conversation with the participants encouraged them to talk about their expectations.

He told the participants to consider marriage an event in their life. "Marriage should not be the ultimate goal in life." He urged them to develop skills that would make them part of mainstream society.

N. Panchapakesan, founder of the organisation says, "The idea is to create awareness about the needs of the disabled. We are promoting a cause." People who have had heart by-pass surgeries and borrowed kidneys have approached him.

"The handicap could be minor. It could be a slight limp or the skin could have been singed in an accident." They all matter to Mr. Panchapakesan because they are disadvantaged.

By Sujatha R.

Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

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