Because Our Matchmakers Don’t Discriminate

January 2, 2012 8:11 am by

Photo: Vikas Munipalle.

As many Mumbai residents will attest, finding true love is never easy. Throw in hearing impairments, cerebral palsy or polio and the quest becomes that much more elusive. Which is where 84-year-old Prabha Panse comes in. The former teacher of the hearing impaired is a matchmaker for the disabled, who has been running her JeevanSathi Marriage Bureau from her Shivaji Park home for the last 20 years. “I have many registers where I keep a record of all of them along with a photograph,” says Panse, who stumbled into the business after she realised that few of her former students were getting married. By sifting through her handwritten bios, Panse is deftly able to match someone with say a cleft palate to someone with polio. She guides families through the process, matching not only the disability, if so desired, but also backgrounds and attitudes. Take the case of 39-year-old Shailesh Kulkarni, born with cerebral palsy, and now happily married to his wife of two years after just one meeting. “Her mother told me she (Vinita) has a speech problem,” Kulkarni says. “But it’s okay, na? I mean, I’m also handicapped.” Panse, who still sees couples but doesn’t actively advertise anymore, has thus far successfully closed the files on more than 500 couples, bringing some Mumbaikars at least, that much closer to finding their true love.

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