#Love Possible - The many things Senthil loves about Raghavi
Raghavi and Senthil's story dates back to the time when they hung out in the same group of friends in school. Ties that endured through college and culminated in something even more special later. We will let them tell you what happened, in our series #LovePossible.
Ask anyone to describe Raghavi Shankar in one word and you are most likely to hear this one - 'go getter'.
An HR consultant, Raghavi has a locomotor impairment, the result of a polio attack in childhood. That did not come in the way of doing an MBA, pursuing a Ph.D. and launching Headway Foundation, the Chennai-based organization that is creating awareness among India's disabled community.
It is exactly this positivity, grit and determination that most attracted Senthil Kumar, who met Raghavi in school. They are childhood friends, who were part of the same group. The closeness endured even when they went their separate ways in college.
"When I started working, my parents started looking for a partner for me so I would settle down. I was not deeply into it, but I was thinking about it in a way. That's when Senthil proposed to me. I was 24 years old at the time. He was firm and that made me feel strong. - Raghavi Shankar, Co-founder, Headway Foundation
The resolve persisted in the face of some initial opposition from Senthil's family. Even those melted away when Raghavi became pregnant with their first child."I love her for the way she is!!", says Senthil. "Come what may, she bounces back in a calm and composed way with abundant self-confidence."
What else does he love about Raghavi? The answer is a heart-warming one. "She drives and motivates the family and indeed guides me as well as our sons. She is a repository of love and I should say, she is mad about me!"
In Senthil, Raghavi says she has found the ideal companion. "My view is that it's about companionship, because this is a companion who is going to share everything with you. This should exist in all marriages".
However, Raghavi is also aware that she is among the lucky few to experience this magic, given the many barriers people with disabilities face when it comes to finding a companion.
"Today's generation is open to bringing about change, but their families are not giving them the freedom to choose. There are questions like - 'How will you cope', 'Will you be able to have children', etc., from elders. Disabled people also have expectations of finding a partner but are unable to voice it openly".
These are barriers that her organisation, Headway Foundation, is working to address. Senthil, who shares her vision and plays a fundamental role as co-founder, is equally firm that inclusive marriages are important and sensitive.
"Marrying out of sympathy or pity won't last long. I have never in my life seen my wife that way and she also doesn't like it. We are bringing awareness about this through our NGO", says Senthil.
Read the other stories in our #LovePossible series: