It’s not February – the month that celebrates love, yet but this love story of Bhairappa and Roopa, employees at Bengaluru’s Mitti Café, will leave you feeling all warm and mushy. It’s just what the doctor ordered with the pandemic engulfing us all.
They met each other about a year ago while they were working at an outdoor catering event, and for Bhairappa it was love at first sight. Roopa, on the other hand, says that it took her a while to warm up to Bhairappa and his love.
What’s unique about their love story is that both Bhairappa and Roopa have dwarfism and deal with motor challenges.
Alina Alam, owner of Mitti café, where the love story began says, “Bhairappa has been here for long and he has been wanting to find love and get married for many years now but was unsuccessful. He was ridiculed many times for his disability and some even told him no girl will ever want to marry him.”
“Last year Roopa, who also suffers from motor disability, joined the café.”
“Even though the two were at different café locations, a catering event placed them together, which helped their love blossom,” Alina says and adds that since they found each the two have been inseparable, and, for them, getting married was the only next step.
The Better India caught up with newlyweds Bhairappa and Roopa, for this freewheeling chat. “I knew I wanted to get married and have also mentioned it to Alina madam a few times. People would make fun of my desire to get married, but I did not give up on it,” says Bhairappa. “I fell in love with Roopa the moment I saw her,” he tells me with a smile. For Roopa though, it took a while to make up her mind.
“Honestly, I was scared in the beginning when I heard that Bhairappa was interested in me,” she says.
When asked what her apprehensions were, she says, “I hadn’t really thought I would find love or even get married, so when I found out about Bhairappa’s intentions, it threw me off my guard a little.”
When Bhairappa’s father found out about the relationship he had demanded for dowry from Roopa’s family and it was Bhairappa who stood his ground and said no to the demand.
“The biggest gift of my life is Roopa and I was terribly upset when my father asked for dowry. I cannot think of anything more precious in my life. In fact, I did not invite him for my wedding,” he says.
Roopa whose kanyadaan was conducted by Alina says, “Alina [madam] and everyone at the cafe means the world to me. After she performed my kanyadaan she told Bhairappa that he must always look out for me and ensure that I stay happy.”
Even though it was a marriage that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Roopa says, “Everyone who mattered to us was there.It was a small but very happy celebration.”
Speaking about how this job changed his life for the better in more ways than one, Bhairappa says, “Forget marriage, for the longest time I wasn’t even confident of finding any employment. In my village, Koppal, people had written me off saying all I could do in life was eat. To change this reality, I left my village and made my way to the city to find myself.” Adding to this Alina says, “When Bhairappa came to the café looking for employment, he did not know anything. Even wearing footwear and brushing his teeth were things he was not familiar with.”
“I was rejected at seven job fairs for persons with disability, have attended more than 80 interviews with no success, and all that took a toll on me.
But there’s always a silver lining, and for me landing a job at Mitti café was that moment,” Bhairappa says.
It’s been a week to the wedding and Bhairappa and Roopa couldn’t be happier at this decision. “We are very happy with each other. This was meant to be,” Bhairappa says.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)