Marriage or Charity? – Part III
Hello again, Athenas! Hope you had time to think about the 1st and 2nd part of the “Marriage or Charity?” series. Let’s conclude our discussion on this issue today, shall we? I hope this series gives you some food for thought. We’ve discussed about individuals who genuinely do not care whether or not their spouses are Specially Abled. And we have also discussed about the people who wish to give “life” to persons with special needs and behave like martyrs for the rest of their lives. There’s another dimension to this issue I would like to explore here. Many Differently Abled people are not born with special needs. Sometimes, due to a twist of fate, they end up ACQUIRING special needs. What happens in such cases?
Kaushik was working in a leading MNC and was engaged to the girl he loved. A week before the wedding, he met with an accident which left both his legs paralyzed. The girl who had professed undying love for him till then suddenly withdrew and called off the wedding claiming she couldn’t marry a man who was not in a position to take care of himself, leave alone take care of her. My question, if I ever meet this young lady would be: what if tables had been reversed and it was you in a wheelchair and not him? If HE had been the one to call off the wedding, would it have been okay with you?
Snehalatha, a young schoolteacher, was engaged to a civil engineer in his late twenties. It was an arranged match and the wedding was supposed to take place about 6 months after the engagement ceremony. Her fiance’ used to shower her with gifts and countless hours were spent whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. A few weeks before the wedding, she was returning home from an errand in an autorickshaw. A head-on collision with a car driven by a person under the influence of alcohol happened and the autorickshaw was overturned. As a result of the accident, one of Snehalatha’s legs was completely crushed below the knee and she also suffered a serious skull fracture along with a few broken ribs and other cuts and bruises. The other injuries healed in due course, but her left leg had to be amputated. Doctors made it possible for her walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Meanwhile, the bridegroom’s family contacted her parents and told them to call off the wedding. When asked for the reason, they callously replied that getting their son married to a cripple was not part of their plans. When her parents tried to reason with them, they started abusing them using unparliamentary language. Let me ask you this. How did a girl, whom the bridegroom’s family found to be the ideal match for their son suddenly become unsuitable because she had lost one of her legs in an accident which was not her fault? What sort of narrow-minded prejudice is this?
Well, it takes all kinds to make the world I guess. People like Raj, the architect who considers his wife Swapna, the blind professor, to be the biggest blessing in his life, inhabit the same planet as Kaushik’s and Snehalatha’s former fiance’s. Unfortunately, people like Raj are too few and far between. The minds of the majority of people are clouded by prejudice and preconceived notions. Why don’t we all try, really try, to look beyond the special ability and respect persons with special needs for what they are?