Married for 25 years, Shalini Gulati found her soulmate in her husband Baldev, who is visually challenged.
This story is republished from Inclov’s blog page, which features the “I Am CapAble” series. Inclov strives to provide equal and inclusive opportunity to everyone looking for love.
I’ve always considered myself to be a fortunate woman to find love in an admirable man, Baldev Gulati. We’ve been married for 25 years now, and he is a strong pillar to me. He is my best friend, and my confidante. Baldev has been visually impaired since birth. A lot of people never understood why I, a perfectly abled woman, decided to marry him. They questioned our relationship, asked me often if I was sure of my choice, but I had never been more certain of someone, than I was of him.
I met Baldev at a Rehabilitation Counselling Course at the Tata Institution of Social Sciences. We had a lot of mutual friends. We met frequently and spent a lot of time getting to know each other. I did not have many apprehensions, for we worked together in the social sector and we were almost always on a similar wavelength. Somewhere, along a plateau of conversations and experiences together, our friendship turned to love and we decided to spend our lives together.
One of the hardest hurdles of our relationship was gaining the acceptance of my family. They refused to let me wed him, for they believed I could find someone with no physical challenges, who could look after me better. I’d been with Baldev for four years by then, and I was absolutely certain that he was the man I wanted to marry. He is a very principled and grounded man, and his sturdiness gave me the courage to fight with my family for him. It was only after a couple of intense conversations that I put my foot down and told my family that he was the only man I would marry. My married life would only be with him and nobody else. After understanding my absolute love towards Baldev, my family accepted him as part of their own.
The best part of our relationship is that we share everything with each other. He is a phenomenal advisor, the very best I can find. We have a very communicative relationship, and I believe that it is a crucial ingredient of a successful relationship. My journey with him has been very interesting and joyful with abundant highs and lows.
We have a beautiful daughter together who is perfectly able. She has a fashion technology degree from NIFT and has worked with Jabong. I am proud to say that she has now been accepted by MICA Ahmedabad for an MBA degree.
We are faced with difficulties almost every day, but we deal with it like any other couple would. We do argue, we do fight, but we never fail to reconcile for our love for each other is too strong to let go of. In a marriage, it is integral to accept each other for who we truly are.
His disability does not make him different than any of us. He deals with situations just as we do, he reacts just as we do, and he experiences things the way we do. I treat it as a normal relationship because that’s what it is. We hate being stereotyped any other way.
More often than not, I have seen him being shunned by people in our social circuit. That upsets me deeply, but I believe that people are becoming more accepting of differently-abled people, and this gradual shift in people’s attitude will take effect universally. They question our relationship and ask me, “You are so beautiful and intelligent. You earn so well. Why are you with him?” Well, he is an exceptional life partner and we have a very happy marriage. I rubbish their qualms for they are baseless and prejudiced, and Baldev has been nothing short of an ideal partner to me.
I am blessed to have found love and companionship in a fierce, independent man like Baldev. We support and balance each other well. I truly believe that as individuals, our primal concern must be to establish our careers. We must build ourselves and love ourselves, and true love will follow.
On an ending note, to people with disabilities, especially women, I advise you to never look down upon yourself. Your circumstance depends on your perspective towards life. Positivity can make life a rather enriching experience. All of us undergo a variety of hardships. All of us suffer. But if you lead your life with dignity and high self-esteem, happiness and love will follow. Never lose hope for your ideal partner will stumble upon you. Marriages are made in heaven, but are only successful with our constant efforts and inclinations for adjustments.
-An original story of Shalini Gulati
Written by Meghna Prakash
For everyone who has considered love an impossibility, there’s Inclov is the world’s first matchmaking app focusing on people with disability, and with health disorders to find love. Over the last few months, the team at Inclov has come across many who are afraid that they are incapable of being loved or accepted. That they are too different.
Inclov wants to break this stereotype with the “I Am CapAble” series. We now belong to a society of modernists, of socially accepting people. Everybody wants to settle down with an ideal partner who caters to their every need and understands them. Inclov is releasing a series of love stories of ten couples over the next ten Sundays, who are unique, both in their abilities and the intrinsic nature of their relationship with their companions. What they wish to demonstrate is different kinds of relationships exist, and against our preconceived notions and fears, all of us can find love. All of us can find a soulmate. All of us can be happy.
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