Happy endings for all

Aug 27, 2012, 07:46 IST | Soma Das

Thirty-year-old marketing executive Preeti Ail is a voracious reader but in the past one month, the only reading material that she has been carrying on her commute from Thane to Malad has been application forms, to distribute for Happily Ever After.

Ail and six of her friends launched this initiative a month back — to find perfect matches for the differently abled. Since then, they have been spreading the word wherever they go.

“Our friend circle consists of people between 28 to 32 years. We discuss the hardships we face to find the right partner, and get married. Being working professionals, we realised that we might be comfortable, professionally, yet we face a hard time. That’s when we thought of how tough it might be for the differently abled. Happily Ever After was conceptualised from this challenge. We wanted them to enjoy a hassle-free experience of meeting and getting married to someone they choose,” says Ail.

Then onwards, these seven friends have been juggling their day jobs while reaching out to people on commutes and over Facebook. They have also approached NGOs and organisations including the National Association for the Blind (NAB), for consultation and database sharing.

Since then, the group has been registering applicants who are keen to be part of this initiative and have also set a deadline of October 6, to arrange a mass marriage of the applicants. The costs for the events are presently being borne by the group members though they are on the lookout for sponsors.

“We have received an overwhelming response from all quarters. Within a few days, we managed to receive a dozen applications and hopefully, more confirmations will happen, soon. We plan to organise get-togethers where participants and their families can get to know each other better,” adds Ail.

While there are matrimonial sites that cater to the differently abled, Ail feels that these lack a personal touch. “We are very involved with each of the applicants. We communicate with them, regularly, and understand their issues. We have become like family to each other; they open up to us, share jokes and voice their concerns to us,” she reveals.

In the process, the team has also learned a lot about the differently abled, and had many memorable anecdotes to share: “The applicants were excited that we were doing something so important for them. We have also had great support from the NGOs who are reaching out and encouraging people to register.

An incident that stuck with me is when I spoke with Hemant Patil from the NAB, about how he was able to realise that he had found his soul mate. When Patil was 26, he lost his vision in an accident. He shared that he realised he had found the right person, simply from the sense of touch. That left a deep impression on us.”

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