By Vinayana Khurana:
I was sitting in the wheelchair, watching my favorite romantic movie “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”. The idea of love seemed so fascinating to me. “Will I ever be in love?”, I asked myself, the answer, which horrified me, was a big ‘no’.
Some years later, that same emotion was beating in my chest, like a drum. Love can start with just a wave, a handshake, and a big cute smile. The effect was greater than I thought, because, my heart was lost. The intensity of my love was much more than I have ever felt for anyone else, ever as I was experiencing everything that happens in a romantic film!
I shared my feelings with an elder in the family, and she became horrified. “Why do you have these emotions?”, “How can somebody be in love with you?” she asked me. As a teenager, I wasn’t able to answer her question. Moreover, after that, I did not tell anyone about it because I wondered if the listener could accept my ‘love story’ in a non-judgemental way. Yes, I was in love. I was sure, but I wasn’t sure if he was in love with me.
In all my favorite Bollywood romances, love always seems to happen in slow motion. The girl runs towards the boy (in slow motion) and he receives her with his open arms. Since childhood, such scenes seemed funny to me – watching two grown-ups running, just for a hug. Yet, this time, watching such scenes invoked a different kind of pleasure in my heart. From there, I really started thinking about, is this the right feeling for me? Will this love take me somewhere? These were the questions, that were moving around inside my head.
I don’t know why, people find it, so hard to believe, that I have been in love. Love is a feeling and everybody is bound to fall in love, then why not me? For me, my wheelchair is just a part of me. It does not define me. In college, my classmates would visualise me, more as a cute baby. So, I sneakily took help of this ‘love story’, to make them perceive me as just another teenage girl, because, that way, we could connect to each other on a different plane.
Sadly people don’t perceive people with disabilities, falling in love. But in my experience, they surely can. I have always loved that person, unconditionally. But one problem with unconditional love is, that you forget to love yourself. A major emotional trauma happens right then. The person you love seems always right to you, yet, he doesn’t respond to text and then you keep second-guessing if you did the right thing by putting yourself out there. Sometimes, my friends would call me crazy, I would laugh and say, “Yes, man, I know.” For instance, it was stupid of me, to start grinning, when that person arrives. Sometimes I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself to stop smiling!
I don’t blame my first crush for not loving me back because everyone is entitled to their own feelings. I would always imagine, though, how it would be, just hanging out together, looking into his eyes, while sitting in my wheelchair. It would be impossible to hold hands while walking, like all those romantic couples I have seen in various public spaces. Mine would be an unconventional romance.
Till date, I have never confessed my feelings to a crush for fear of rejection and broken friendships. Even today, I fear that if I do share my feelings they won’t be reciprocated. However, what boosts up my confidence is that I can feel love and I am not afraid of acknowledging my feelings. Every time, I used to wonder why my love wasn’t able to find its way back to me, I realised that there are so many people like me who had one-sided love. Yet, they have a smile on their face. I am hopeful about finding love in my life, someone who would overlook my disabilities and be able to see my boundless abilities.