February 12, 2021 2:10:50 pm
Niraj Gera, a well-known social documentary photographer, chanced upon Deepak and Arti at Delhi’s Connaught Place last year, when the visually-challenged couple was walking towards the Metro station. “They were lovingly supporting each other and I could make out from their presence they were much more than friends. I couldn’t resist my eagerness to strike a friendly conversation with the love birds. As they were sharing their fascinating love story, I was getting inspired to do a photo story on them, depicting their sacred love, which was beyond looks and appearance,” the photographer tells indianxpress.com.
What followed was a photoshoot titled ‘Sacred Love‘, for which the couple was called to the studio where they dressed up before posing for the camera. “Arti and Deepak, who are active on social media, were really excited and it brought a beautiful sense of self-love in them,” Gera shares.
The photoshoot has been quite well-received, not just in the country but internationally, too. “But if you ask me about the best response that I have received, then I think it was from Deepak and Arti, which gave me an inner satisfaction,” Gera expresses.
Deepak, 22 from Hisar Haryana is a clerk at a secondary school. Arti, 24, is undergoing training in home science in Faridabad. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, know how the young lovers met and fell in love, in their own words.
When and how did you meet?
Deepak: We met on Facebook in 2018. Mobile phones are equipped with a special feature for the visually challenged. It is called TalkBack which enables you to access any website or application. So that is how I could access it.
Arti: We fell in love gradually, all while online chatting, as we got to know each other. That was the time I was in desperate need of a friend who would really understood me. And that is what I found in Deepak.
What made you fall in love with each other?
Deepak: Honestly, it will be difficult to pinpoint a reason. When we met on Facebook, we would chat with one another a lot. Gradually we got to know about each other’s thoughts and ideologies and social situation; I found a lot of similarities between us. Arti is talented, she has great knowledge of technology. She is also a wonderful singer. Not to mention I was quite inspired by her way of learning new things. It is because of her that I learned how to use a mobile phone and laptop.
Arti: He has always stood by me, and motivated and supported me during any crisis. Deepak also sings really well. I love his voice. Actually, his voice was the first thing that attracted me.
How did your family and friends react?
Deepak: My family is yet to know about our relationship. But I am hopeful they will be supportive. We are aware of caste divisions that are valued a lot in places like my home state, so it does scare me when I think about it, but to be honest, at the same time, I believe I will be able to protect my relationship against all challenges. My friends have been encouraging and supportive.
Arti: While my friends liked him, my family was not very pleased. They wanted me to be with someone ‘normal’ — they did not want my partner to be blind because they thought how would two blind people manage to live together? But I explained to them how things can work out and they gradually started understanding. Those who still have not understood will come to terms with time.
The one special thing your partner did to express love…
Deepak: When you are in love with someone, you will find everything about them to be special.
What made you agree to do the photoshoot?
Arti: Through the photoshoot, we wanted our parents to know about our relationship and understand us.
Deepak: We really liked Niraj when he met us, and so we could not refuse when he approached us for the photoshoot. Personally, there was another reason for which I agreed. I wanted people to witness our love for each other, to understand us. I wanted this to set an example for all visually-challenged people to never let any obstacle come in the way of love. Through this photoshoot, I wanted to urge people to support the disabled because they are no less capable. They, too, have the ability to achieve success in every field.
I also wanted to spread the message that there is nothing wrong with love marriage. Love is not just physical, it is a spiritual experience. To all those who are still not well-versed with love marriage, I would like to request them to think about their children’s happiness. And to those who do not value relationships, love someone genuinely, there should be integrity. I am really thankful to Niraj and everybody else who has made it possible for me to share my thoughts with others.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines