#AllYouNeedIsLove – Deepak & Alphonse Ratna’s love story is straight out of a fairy tale
In our month long series #AllYouNeedIsLove, today we feature popular disability rights activist TMN Deepak and his wife Alphonse Ratna from Tamil Nadu. Deepak, who was affected by polio in early childhood, got married to Alphonse on 14 October 2012. Their marriage is going stronger with the couple finding love for each other as each day passes.
American writer Franklin P Jones had said, “Love doesn’t make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile”. TMN Deepak and Alphonse Ratna would agree with that. their journey as a married couple is all about bliss, beauty and understanding. Deepak, who was affected by polio during childhood, has found his soul mate in Alphonse. It has been nearly a decade since Deepak and Alphonse got together and their love grows stronger with each passing day.
Love at first sight
Deepak and Alphonse have been a part of the disability rights movement for many years. Both also work as lecturers in leading colleges in Chennai. It was during a disability rights protest that the couple first set eyes on each other. Deepak was Alphonse’ senior in college but they never spoke to each other as students.
I was working as a programme officer for the same NGO where Deepak was working. It was during the one week protest in Chennai that we actually came across each other. Both of us started having feelings for each other and it did not take much time to open up. Deepak used to come up to me and we used to talk quite often. I soon realised that he likes me. I felt the same way too but never told him that. – Alphonse Ratnam.
Deepak finally made the first move to propose. “One day he just called me up and said he wants to meet me and talk”, remembers Alphonse “I thought he might propose to me. When he expressed his feelings for me, I said I needed a few days to think it over”. Alphonse already knew the answer. She was convinced of her feelings for Deepak. “But I did not want him to think that I’am saying a yes out of sympathies for his disability”.
Alphonse belongs to an orthodox Christian family, which was opposed to the idea of the marriage. Alphonse did not let that worry her too much. Her family had some reservations too. “They wanted me to marry a person who would take care of the family and live a regular life. But I wanted someone who was committed to society. I had to first convince my mother. Everyone else in my family members understood the depth of my feelings”.
After much persuasion, Deepak’s family agreed. Over 300 people with disabilities from across Tamil Nadu attended the wedding.
Finding love each day
Deepak and Alphonse believe adjustment and understanding forms the core of a marriage. “I do not consider him as a person with disability. He is faster and smarter than I am . Deepak has given me all the freedom to follow my heart”, says Alphonse. “What sustains a relationship is the priorities we have in life. Nothing else matters. Both of us share many common things”, adds Deepak.
The couple share a passion for cooking and travel.“Both of us had a bad childhood. So now we are going back to those days together and doing things that we love”, says Alphonse.
Alphonse, while talking about Deepak, is clearly smitten and head over heels in love with her husband. “No matter what, I shall always stand by him. Nothing will stop me from supporting him”, she says.
Imayan in their lives
Imayan, their five-year-old Indie dog, first came to their lives during the 2015 Chennai floods. Deepak rescued him and he has been a part of the couple’s life since. “He was hardly a few days old. He had bruises all over his body. I wanted to take home Imayan and give him a new lease of life”, says Deepak.
Imayan is an integral part of the family now. ‘Imayan’ in Tamil means the Himalayas. Deepak named him after the mighty mountains for the strong boy that he is. “Both me and Alphonse are animal lovers. Imayan adds more colour and love to our relationship”, says Deepak.