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Nafisa & Parvez - Companionship conquers barriers of religion & disability

Today in our series on Inclusive Couples, we profile Nafisa and Parvez Buhariwala, who were neighbours, living down the same lane in Mumbai since childhood, but they met each other for the first time 13 years ago, when they were introduced by a mutual friend.

"He had seen me walking down the lane many times but we finally met when a common friend introduced us", says Nafisa. This was some months after Parvez, who is a retired Tata Power executive, had lost his wife of many years to leukemia. "He did not want to live alone and somehow he thought of me", she says.

Nafisa, who has low vision, was 49 years old at the time and at a senior position with the Central Bank of India. She had worked all her life and was an independent woman, looking after her own home, with an active social life. The idea of meeting a like-minded person with whom she could share a life was not top priority, but Parvez changed her mind.

"I was always open to marriage but somehow it never happened. When we met a few times and exchanged views, it felt right. I started feeling that he was the right person" - Nafisa Buhariwala

Nafisa wanted to be upfront about her disability and told him he would have to adjust to the challenges that come with it.

Parvez, in turn, told her that he did not consider this a disability. He told his daughters and relatives about his decision, including the fact that she was of a different religion and had low vision with no embarrassment or sympathy, which won Nafisa over.

"I saw this as a second chance to be happy and make someone else happy. I did not even think about the fact that she had low vision. She had always impressed me with her independence, the fact that she looked after her home, and had a busy professional life. I made my own decision and did not even ask my daughters' for permission." - Parvez Buhariwala

For both of them, the biggest strength is the companionship, that has come into their lives.

"I have someone to share things with now", says Nafisa. "I had decided I was going to lead my life alone. The loneliness did bother me and there was a vacuum. It is wonderful to be able to share your thoughts and to have someone to care of. These last 13 years have been wonderful."

Read about other such couples in our series on Inclusive Marriages:

Swarnalatha & Guruprasad - Sudden disability led them to find strength in positive thinking

Krishna & Stanzen - Love prevails over prejudices towards disability

Visakan & Shalini - A true partnership of equals

Raghavi & Senthil - Spreading the joy of companionship to people with disabilities

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