Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
Eleven differently-abled and underprivileged couples tied the wedding knot at a mass wedding ceremony in Rajasthan's Udaipur city. The ceremony was conducted taking the hygiene and safety guidelines into consideration.
The celebrations were part of the initiatives undertaken by Narayan Seva Sansthan (NSS), an organisation that works to empower the specially-abled people and the less advantaged. The couples vowed to say no to the 'marriage gifts' under its No Dowry Campaign.
Meanwhile, they also took an oath to wear masks and follow all other COVID-19 guidelines diligently, and urged people to do the same. It was mostly a personal affair as only a few relatives of the couples and NSS members attended the ceremony due to coronavirus.
"Disability is just a physical disorder, it's not an illness. I have always been emotionally very strong and have strived with challenges which have made me stronger. I began my own business with a grocery store and later on secured a job as a Panchayat Assistant," said Kamlesh who married Pooja at the ceremony.
Kamlesh was affected with polio at the age of three and was restricted to crutches for mobility after an operation. This, however, did not deter him from pursuing his dreams.
Pooja, who lost one of her legs in an accident and had to go undergo a costly surgery, said, "I am very happy to meet my life partner Kamlesh."
"I lost my leg in an accident. I was treated free of cost at the NSS through a surgery that would have cost me and my family a lot. I am happy that I can now lead a good life because of this surgery," she said.
Shambhulal and Jina Kumari who too exchanged wedding vows had a tough childhood.
Shambhulal had a hearing and speaking impairment and belonged to an economically weaker family. Jina Kumari on the other hand is autistic and did not have a very normal childhood. Both of them had braved the odds and were looking for a life partner who would support them emotionally and would understand their inabilities.
NSS president Prashant Agarwal, " Our No Dowry Campaign is a flagship campaign which has been organised for 18 years. We are very happy to have 2098 couples settled in their lives till date."
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