“You should love your disability first, if you want others to love you. To find true love, you need to empower and be the best version of yourself. Being with a partner is essential, but first falling in love with yourself is a necessity; don’t be desperate for anyone.”

In conversation with Inclov, Varsha who faces epidermolysis bullosa (a genetic skin condition), talks about the need for women with disabilities to start loving themselves, the immediate need for disability-related awareness in rural India, and her disappointment at people with disabilities  ignoring other differently-abled people while choosing a life partner.

Why You Should Love Your Disability First?

“I wouldn’t say life has been a breeze, but with a supportive family and a great set of friends I am living life to the fullest. I was diagnosed with a disability rated amongst the top-10 most painful disabilities in the world, but my parents have provided the greatest care for me. Apart from the occasional teasing from students in my school, I have had an awesome childhood. After completing graduation, I went on to pursue Law and I have been working as a corporate lawyer ever since. Despite my condition, my parents never treated me differently and my friends who love me dearly are like my family. I may be differently-abled, but I love my disability and I am perfectly comfortable in my own skin.

India is a paradoxical country when it comes to dealing with people with disabilities. People living in metros may have a greater understanding of disability, but in rural India, it is considered a stigma and women with disabilities are literally cast off from their families and they spend a miserable life all on their own.

People with disabilities looking for disabled partner: Do they or do they not?

Finding love or life partner is the most difficult challenge of being a differently-abled person. Even people with disabilities don’t want a disabled partner or even date a disabled person. I have realized the futility in trying to be desperate in search for love; it does nothing but only brings despair. First, you should try and love yourself, love your disability first before expecting others to you. Instead, you should focus on loving yourself, empowering yourself and everything else with follow.

Men discriminating or mistreating women (especially with disabilities), irks me the most. Nobody should try and take advantage of emotionally vulnerable women. I am a strong person and I believe in giving back to such people. Don’t ever mistake my kindness for my weakness as I am kind to everyone but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what they are gonna see off me. Dating for disabled women in India is such a tryst with myths, misconceptions and confusions.

Accessible facilities for disabled people in India

Facilities and basic infrastructure for differently-abled people is pathetic all across the country. Having spent my entire life in South Bombay, I am still baffled by the lack of accessible facilities like ramps, washrooms, etc. Public transport is in a crumbling state and for people with disabilities it is a scary proposition to travel on a daily basis.

I have a pretty active social life and have some great friends who take good care of me. I love clubbing, partying, visiting malls, shopping, and generally having fun with my friends. I feel no different and importantly, no one makes me feel any different. Also, I love travelling and have explored several new places around the world.

The reaction of the society doesn’t bother me anymore, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Instead, I want to create awareness among the parents of the differently-abled women that they have limitless potential and are equally capable of achieving anything. I want to prove that a differently abled woman can be equally independent and successful, if she’s well educated, strong headed and confident.”

Varsha faces a genetic skin condition. But, that doesn’t define or deter her. She is different, yet the same as everyone else around her.

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Inclov is a matchmaking platform for people with disabilities to make friends and find love.