Times of India
29 April 2011
By Vijay Chavan
City–based NGO helped Sushma and Sachin have a traditional Maharashtrian wedding at a hall in Warje–Malwadi
Sushma and Sachin might not have gone through the typical kande–pohe phase for their marriage, but it’s truly a match made in heaven. The HIV–positive couple found each other through a city–based NGO and took the plunge into matrimony on Thursday. The wedding ceremony according to Vedic rites was organised in the presence of hundreds of HIV–positive children at the hall in Suryoday Ashram, Bhagirathi Complex, near Warje–Malwadi.
NMP+, a Mumbai–based NGO took care of the match–making aspect and Suryoday AIDS Foundation, which is based in Pune, helped them tie the knot. Both of them had submitted their matrimonial requirements to NMP+.
Punit Balan, president of Shree Sadguru Datta Dharmik Evam Parmarthik Trust in Indore, did the kanyadaan. Over 150 guests – including Sachin’s parents and friends – participated in the ceremony. Even the ‘haldi’ and ‘sakharpuda’ ceremonies were performed by the couple according to Maharashtrian tradition.
Sachin, 29, a resident of Junnar, works as a supervisor for a construction company. He says an indiscretion on his part led to him contracting HIV. “I contracted HIV after visiting a place with my friends. I came to know about the infection some two years back. I could have married a normal girl. But I did not want to ruin anybody’s life. I told this reality to m family and they were very supportive. I had told them I’ll never marry,” Sachin said.
He added, “But then I saw Sushma at NMP+ and fell in love with her. The NGO had shown me pictures of three other girls. But she was the one for me. When I came to know that she was an orphan, my resolve to marry her became stronger. I saw this marriage as a great opportunity to repair my mistake.”
New bride Sushma told Pune Mirror, “We wanted to set an example to people like us. So we decided to get married. I had lost all hope for life, until I met Sachin.”
Sushma, who was diagnosed as HIV+ in 2009, is a victim of sexual exploitation. She has been working with Suryoday AIDS Foundation as an attendant for the past two years. “Marriage has given me a new life. I had left my parents’ house at the age of 16 after a petty quarrel.
But my life was a downward spiral after that. I was sexually exploited and one of the exploiters passed on the infection to me. My family members refused to take me back. I somehow managed to contact Suryoday foundation. I opted to marry because I don’t want to lead a lonely life and most importantly, Sachin accepted me as I am,” she said.
Tejaswini Thite, project in–charge, Suryoday AIDS Foundation, said, “The HIV infection isolates people from the society. Marriage will hopefully bring this couple into the mainstream. If proper medical precautions are taken, they could have a child that’s HIV negative.”
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