When the Valentine’s Day is round the corner and you are a single writer with the mellow heart of a romantic person; all you can think of is about love and relationship, those epic Bollywood movies and all the guys you have had a crush on. As a woman with disability, I have never been in a relationship before but none of that matters to me. I have never stopped thinking about my impending epic love story that will be a reality sometime soon.
What would happen if I accepted to go on a date with someone on Valentine’s Day? The possibilities are endless and I think a lot could definitely happen. But, then, plenty of questions start swirling in my mind at the very thought of going out with someone. You would think why?
First up, travel! How would I travel and where would we go? These questions would be inconsequential for many, but that’s the first thought in my mind! I use a wheelchair and not many cars can handle my personal ride, aka the wheelchair. Too sad the car manufacturers are still living in a different non-inclusive world! I don’t really like travelling by metro trains as it is very far away from my home. Taking a differently-abled, wheelchair friendly cab or an auto rickshaw is the only available option for me. Finally, I can go!
Next, are there any accessible restaurants where I can go for a date? Looking for an accessible restaurant is another challenge that we would have to come across. Once these challenges are dealt with and my date would have survived all these obstacles, we can then start with the real romantic experience! I would be giddy just like the first level of a Mario game.
But, the biggest issue comes next. Mindless perceptions of people? When he would ask for a table for two, I wonder whether the waiter would ask him where his sister (that’s me in a wheelchair!) will sit? This is not a hypothetical scenario, as I have already endured these questions before! Such ill, preconceived prejudices about disability still exist in India.
Finally, we would get a table and get comfortable with each other. The waiter would pop up again and hand the menu card to my date. As if, I am not capable of selecting what I want to have! The date goes on at a steady mode and he shows his emotions by holding my hand. And thus once again, all eyeballs are on us as people discover that we are not two innocent siblings out grabbing a dinner on Valentine’s Day!
I am pretty sure, my date wouldn’t be able to handle such attention and would simply leave. And that would be the end of my love story all over again.
It’s not that people with disabilities are afraid of love, but they are afraid of acceptance not just by the person who loves us but also from everyone else. Even if someone accepts us as we are, the society keeps bringing the prejudices again and again leaving us unwanted.