It is a real story appeared in the Times of India, Delhi Edition some time some time in early 1990
....relevant clipping is still preserved with me.....
CHANDIGARH - A pretty young woman came downs from the hills to see the man she has heard so much about.
After a friendship of three years they were married last month.
A common girl-meets-boy story, except for the fact that the boy, 17 years her senior, is crippled and bed ridden for 19 years, whose life could ebb out any moment leaving their union unconsummated.
Why would anyone, least of all a petite 22-years-old journalist, marry such a man, if not for sympathy ?
"It was simply love", insists Ritika Joseph of her April 25 marriage with Vineet Khanna, who has come to acquire the reputation of a leading social worker always ready to help people in distress despite his own handicap.
Known as "Baba Amte" of Chandigarh, Khanna lost use of both his lower limbs after he was put in plaster and fed strong drugs following a bus accident on an educational trip in his college final year.
But, Khanna did not gave up. Lying on a high stretcher-like bed that he can move with a handle, he paints, writes poetry and runs a project to train youth from backward classes in various trades.
Pen friends turning life partners is not a new, though for Ritika and Vineet this process took nearly four years and the proposed minutes before being wheeled into the operation theater at the All - India Institute of Medical Sciences.
As a collegian in Shimla, Ritika sent a poem of hers, in response to an advertisement, to Vineet's magazine in 1988 when a special poetry issue was being planned.
It was the effort of a lonely, shy and introvert girl, Ritika says adding that Vineet reply touched hear and they began corresponding regularly.
"He wrote every- thing about his condition though not even once did he sound helpless. In fact, with each letter his character grew in stature in my eyes as all his letter would counsel me to be happy and make others also happy", she says.
When she joined the degree course in journalism at the Punjab Univdrfsity here. she overcame her initial hesitation and decided to meet the person who had made such a positive influence on her life.
His constant battle with life without even a frown made me realize that though an ordinary person,here was a man who had extraordinary grit and this brought me closer to him, she says.
A serious kidney malfunctin resulted in Vineet being hospitalized with doctors expressing little hope on his chances of survival.
"It was this time that I decided to stay with him even though my parents and friends opposed it", she says.
For Vineet marriage means a union of two hearts and is a beautiful relationship.
Even a little movement is painful as years of lying on bed has made his bones so brittle "that they may turn to powder", he said adding that in spite of all this my desire to help remains undiminished.
The regular visitor's stream to his house include top bureaucrats,journalists and all those whom he has helped in their hour of distress. He has so far helped over 1000 youth who were trained under his "youth technical training society" .
With a grant from Delhi-based Indo-German social service society, Vineet has trained some youth who would otherwise have become militants like Gurvinder Singh, who now has a job as a driver in a fertilizer company.
His latest project titled "pustak", which provides literacy and numeracy programme for the poor slum children, is also a success. The project recently received grants from the World Literacy Fund of Canada.
This hectic activity helps him forget everything and when asked about his suffering, the 38-year-old poet just shrugs and says "pain is my best friend. It never leaves me".
Note: A brief of based on above was posted by me on Face Book on 20th March, 2011, under the title "A True Love Story" which attracted appropriate comments. In response to the following comments of my most respected friend on fb, Mr.Sampa Das, I traced the old clipping from my papers and reproduced the entire story as above:
It resembles the story of "Gujarish" where quadriplegic Ethan (Hrithik) was accompanied by Sofia (Aisharya) like a shadow for 12 years and shared a tacit silent love relationship.
Badrinath Vasandi: sampa ji, i have not seen Gujarish but it is a real story..decades have passed, but the clipping from the news paper is still with me....
Sampa Das :Gujarish is inspired by a Spanish film The Sea Inside (2004) based on the real life story of a sailor Ramdon Sampredo.