Chennai: Several couples took to the ramp in Chennai promoting the cause of inclusive marriages as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Shalini, a fashion designer, is married to differently abled entrepreneur Visakan Rajendiran.
Dressed in her glittering best for the occasion, she moved Mr Rajendiran's wheelchair as both waved at the audience in style and posed for clicks.
Championing the cause of inclusive weddings, Mr Rajendiran says, "We give 400 per cent of what others give to achieve the same thing. We are as eligible bachelors like anybody. Any disabled person deserves a good-looking husband or a beautiful wife and I was clear about not compromising on this due to my disability."
His wife says it was Mr Rajendiran who "made me a fashion designer".
Another participant, Poongothai, fell in love with differently abled MBA and motivational speaker Venkat KM. Blessed with two children, Venkat says it was Poongothai who proposed him. "Don't think you are handicapped person. You are a handpicked person," he says.
The event also showcased a young IT engineer couple married only six months ago. Rajesh Kumar found his soul mate in wheelchair-bound Divya who has fought spinal issues. "It's all about how you want to lead your life with a good partner. Apart from challenges we are very happy," he says. His wife Divya, who earlier did not want to marry at all, says, "He's my confidence and support now."
The event organised by the Headway Foundation as part of its first year anniversary also brought together 12 differently abled achievers and 12 aspirants from various fields so they could draw inspiration.
Achievers include Justin Vijay Jesudas, national Paralympic swimming champion; Sathyamoorthy, international wheelchair tennis player; Meenakshi, a rights activist, and Shams Alaam, Mr India Wheelchair 2017 and paraplegic world record holder in open sea swimming.
The NGO also launched a calendar showcasing the dozen heroes. K Raghavi Senthilkumar, its founder, says, "We are working for the professional development of all these aspirants and we'd be seeking mentorship from all these achievers in different fields."
Arun Mohan, a wellness coach, says, "It's obviously an inspiration. When I hear how much efforts they've put in I push myself."