‘My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me’, was said by Winston Churchill and perhaps, later by our very own hero Nishant Khade. For Nishant, life was a series of unexpected circumstances which left him with a lifelong challenge. But instead of becoming despondent, blaming God and destiny, and living with a sense of helplessness, he chose to transform his own life and that of others.
In conversation with India Pages, he speaks on restarting life from scratch after an accident led to him being paralyzed neck downwards when he was in his early 20’s. He then met his soul mate Sheetal, and life changed for him, forever. The fairy tale begins… in Sheetal and Nishant’s own words.
Your Marriage: Tell us how it happened? Were you both anxious about how you would cope?
Nishant: When I started working again and leading an independent life, a lot of my well-meaning friends asked me to get married. I was, of course, reluctant because I wasn’t sure if my to-be-wife and I would be able to lead a normal life like other couples. However, with support from my friends, I convinced myself to look for a girl who will marry me, not out of sympathy but because she loves me for the person I am. I saw Sheetal’s profile on a matrimonial website and was quite smitten by her personality. When I sent a proposal for family, her family was understandably reluctant to get her married to me. Disappointed, I deleted the profile.
On persistent pressure from everyone, I rejoined the matrimonial site after 4 years, I was pleasantly surprised to see the same Sheetal’s profile still active. My happiness knew no boundaries, and there was that spark in my eyes and heart. Convinced that she’s the one for me, I sent her a request again, but this time on Facebook.
Millions of thoughts crossed my mind. Will she accept my request? What if she doesn’t? What if she blocks me? I kept checking if she has accepted the request. To my surprise, she accepted my friend request and I could hear the violins playing.
We started chatting on Facebook and exchanged our numbers. The more I spoke to her, the more convinced I was about spending the rest of my life with her. We started dating when one day Sheetal told me that my mentions were being made at her home. This gave me the confidence to propose to Sheetal directly. Imagine my happiness when she accepted my proposal!
We had a long discussion on how our life would be after marriage, and once we were convinced of leading a happy life together, we announced our decision to our respective families, though it took a year for us to take this decision. I am glad I found a woman who understands me so well.
Sheetal: Marriage is an important commitment, and it becomes even more significant when you know you are marrying a person with a disability. It is crucial to understand the person completely before committing to a life-long relationship. However, once you fall in love with the person, the other things fall into place automatically.
In Hindutva, women are called the ‘ardhangini’ of men, which means a man’s life is incomplete without a woman. She makes up 50% of the man’s life. However, in our case, I make up 80% of his life. When I was getting married, I was, of course, anxious about the changes that I have to adapt to in the new chapter of my life. But, the decision was well-planned, and I prepared myself for the new beginning with my husband.
How did you approach her and how did she react?
Nishant: As stated above, when the initial route of approaching her through matrimonial website did not work well, I took the alternate approach of befriending her through Facebook. Once she understood my nature, she agreed to meet me and thus we became good friends and eventually life partners.
Sheetal: We took over a year to decide about getting married. We discussed the pros and cons of the relationship before committing to it. So, we did not hurry the process. One of the common concerns that everyone had was about our married life. There is a major misconception that people with disabilities cannot satisfy their partner.
A bit of research told us that even people who are completely quadriplegic are having a normal married life like others. All that is needed is understanding and some creativity to lead a life just like others. These things did not matter as much as the fact that Nishant exudes positivity and has an amazing attitude towards life. For me, that’s what mattered the most.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Nishant: Sheetal is an energetic, compassionate woman who will stand by her loved one in every situation. I love her vibrant and individualistic persona.
Sheetal: Nishant and I are complete opposites. He is the most kind, thoughtful and positive person I have ever met. Every time there is a challenge that upsets me, he assures me that this too shall pass and things will return to normalcy at its own time. His assurance helps me face challenges with more rigour and confidence.
Nishant: I don’t regret anything. We cannot meet a lot of expectations and the more we think, the more stagnant we become in life. I wouldn’t have come this far if I was left regretting about my past. One has to always fall, dust themselves, learn from the experiences and move ahead.
Sheetal: I don’t regret anything! Once you understand the meaning of life, even the biggest obstacle becomes insignificant.
What is on your bucket list to do together?
Nishant: From raising a family, going on long drives, to holidaying in offbeat places around the world, there is a lot that I want to do together with my beloved wife and family. We are working towards ticking them off one by one from our bucket list.
Sheetal: There are a lot of things that I would love to do with my husband. I love dancing, so every time a DJ DJ or a Nashik Dhol play music near my residence, I start dancing automatically. I encourage Nishant to dance with me, which he does after initial reluctance. But once he starts dancing, there is no stopping until the music stops.
Apart from these small, beautiful moments; having two babies with him is on our bucket list. I remember during our first meeting, Nishant told me that he wants to be a good son, a good husband, good father, and a good human being. He is already a good son, husband, and a fantastic human being. I would now like to complete his desire of becoming a father too. The other crazy plan in my bucket list is to take him on a long bike ride with a sidecar just the way Jai Veeru rode in Sholay. Nishant never got an opportunity to sit on a bike after his accident. I would like him to enjoy this liberating moment through our bike ride.
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