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What You Did Not Know about Women with Disabilities and their Sexuality

Kalki Koechlin recently played ‘Laila’ in the film ‘Margarita with a Straw’. Laila is a young middle-class Indian girl with Cerebral Palsy, but this is a story that shows you never before insights into the identity and sexuality of a girl living with a disability. And there are so many such Lailas amongst us in India. Take Deepa Narasimhan, for example. She has a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy which has left her with severely restricted mobility. Yet, with the aid of computers and her motorised wheelchair Deepa is a successful working professional who travels the world. Yes, amazing!

So, how about if I showed you Deepa’s life? What if I got Kalki talking about playing the role of a girl with Cerebral Palsy and living in a wheel chair for a few days? What if these two young women – the same age – asked each other questions? What if I changed the way you look at people with disabilities? What if I shared with you whether today’s youth are willing to date people with disabilities? Yes, I do all of this and more in the first episode of The Lakshmi Rebecca Show. And this video will tell you things you never knew before about people with disabilities and their sexuality.

This is a never-before candid conversation between an abled star and a differently-abled heroine. Watch it and it will either hit you like a bolt or leave you staring in the mirror. And when you are done watching this, tell me what you thought of it, tell me what else you would have liked to hear and share it for a reason that you believe in.

Click below, watch now.

    Comments ( 46 )

  • rashmi

    fantastic….Deepa is my friend and i really love the way she has expressed her self…

    • Vidya Chandrashekar

      Fantastic Deepa!
      Lakshmi I liked the innovative way you’re making people understand the abilities of the “differently abled” through this interview.
      Deepa is an inspiration to hunderes n more and proves to be too good in everything she does than an abled person from what I’ve known her and interacted as a friend and collegue.She is an example of the change that she wanted to see!

      Deepa,You rock! Good to see you being open, honest and sincere in your opinions! Your questions to Kalki was also very pragmatic. I really liked the 3 things you mentioned.
      Kalki I’m definitely looking forward to watch this movie and wish you the best for living this role and making it reach the audience.
      Hopefully the Indian society takes it in the right way!

      • Lakshmi Rebecca

        I’m sure Deepa will be proud to read your comment. Thanks Vidya!

        • K N Chandrashekar

          It is really great to know about people like Lakshmi,Deepa,Pradeep and so many others who really need lot of support from the society-particularly from the Indian leadership !Our people have to OPEN THEIR EYES to do the needful.
          I wish you all the very best in future.


    its a wonderful documentary you have made..with two very different was a pleasure to listen to beautiful and intelligent Kalki..and inspiring to hear about what Deepa has achieved…I feel in India..a woman is treated a bit like a disabled person..a woman india is limited in many ways compared to her western counterparts..same as what Deepa,taught about her disabled peers in the west..the subject of sexuality among the disabled people is well handled by Laxmi Rebecca..
    how I treat disabled people..i meet them in the compartment for disabled people in the local trains..and there is usually not much to talk about..but I think I treat disabled people with more care and compassion..

  • Navya

    Admirable, brave, moving! Lakshmi….Great start to some inspiring episodes ahead!!!

  • Divya Balraj

    As someone with a disability and who have thought through this a lot, Could really really relate to every aspect of this documentary! Great job Laxmi! Love the way you navigated through this topic! Kudos to Deepa!

  • Satyam

    Fantastic Work.
    But I would like to mentioned that as I working on livelihood of People with Disability in Maharashtra & Gujarat, I came across so many couples of People with Disability living happily. Also I know a couple where the woman is a disabled person & the man in a completely normal and the chemistry between then is really very well.

    Thank you very much for making such subject people’s talk.

    All the Best for more amazing work.

  • Shubha

    Such a great show with a very good strong message. @Deeps, kudos gal.
    May all your dreams come true.

  • Raja Mishra

    Brilliant Documentary Lakshmi, I never thought that this topic would be taken up by anyone, hats off
    From where I stand at times its even more challenging for men with disability. thanks to the generous gender ratio in India, and also because men are expected to do the heavy lifting in our society, so even if you have achieved things, it does not matter to the society.
    I have an invisible developmental multiple disability (tongue twister :p) and whenever the topic of marriage comes up, those people who have been regarding my invisible disability as exaggerated pretence turn up to dismiss me as a lesser being of inefficiencies destined for lesser things.
    Another thing invisible disabled have to face is the prejudice, the lack of understanding, constant comparison with people with visible disability and unnatural expectation cause no one cares to spend 10 minutes googling a syndrome.
    Most of the time we are considered as those who will invariably lie in the first place. Some of them also perceive that most people with deformity have a homosexual inclination too, there are others who think that touching them or having them in a auspicious ceremonies are either really lucky or extremely unlucky.
    I myself have been rewarded with some interesting suggestions to marry someone without disclosing my invisible disability, or marrying someone who is really poor or without an educational background, because they say, there is no choice for them or for us, I have refused to such treacheries, all I need is a suitable bride someone who can understand and complement in my life.
    Even our census has only a fifth with disability, registered as disabled. That leaves us with an interesting challenge: can we talk about this? how then shall we start the talk that grabs the attention, this video is just the right thing at the right time.

    • Lakshmi Rebecca

      Thank you Raja. Really happy to hear from you and thank you for sharing your own life experience. I’m sure it is not easy. And yes, you are making a valid point there about the census. So, let us talk some more, and some more openly. And hopefully we will head in the right direction… towards acceptance, acknowledgement and change.

    • sapna

      You sir, is what courage looks like. Differently abled are just that, differently abled – that’s it. It does not change anything else. Among the so-called normal people : some people can drive, some can’t; some can climb trees, some can’t; some can sing/paint/whatever else, others can’t. it is just that, their abilities are different. It doesn’t change ANYTHING.

      Not all but most “normal” people lie about something or the other when it comes to marriage. Your decision to do the right thing is commendable. I wish you success, happiness and love in your life.

      • Raja Mishra

        Thank You Sapna, your words of encouragement means a lot me, it gives me hope that we can take a cue and build our society around sensibilities.
        Thank you Lakshmi for giving us this brilliant platform for expression

  • Shivangi

    Remarkable work!!! Inspiring, Wonderful start, congratulations :)

  • O really wonderful documentary.
    Can you give me one chance for any project.

  • Chinmayee

    I saw Deepa at a NASSCOM D&I conference. She’s a really cool person.

  • Rocky Pavan

    This is exactly what makes you unique in making chat shows Ms. Awesome.
    Bold and beautiful are the only words which are coming to my ahead after watching this show.
    Well I would like to share a universal fact with you after watching this interview.
    Normally (Obviously) the sharp looks and physique of a person will only a gate pass to him to let others feel that, oh he is looking good and we might have a chat with him.
    But later it all depends upon his/her behavior and mindset of the person which decides to continue the conversation and simply we could greet a farewell to the person.
    Just like this it actually depends on both the abled and disabled’s personality and mindset is the main key for others to decide whether they could become friends or maintain any other relation.
    All the best Ms. Awesome Keep up the good work :)

  • Yeah, My Answer is YES, YES, YES..because treat the girls by their pure hearts, not looking their body and face… :)

  • Rajshekar

    Awesome documentary….Used to always feel pity for the disabled person and now I am seeing there are many bigger dreams and emotions been build up inside of them.
    This documentary will be a pat on back for one whose is inside of four walls..

    Really a brave concept ……

  • Jolly Mishra

    Loved the way this was done.Brilliant Documentary . I know Deepa but not very close. Now I can correlate more for people with a disability that I know of. In few cases Parents don’t want to open up about their kid’s disability and talk freely. We really need to change to bring in more openness. Building a good school with all sorts of curriculum activities and good basic education would really be very helpful. In cities there are schools and physiotherapist to help to certain extent and make ones life little better, but rural villages in India it’s a curse. The movie and the this documentary both would help the society in India to help a person with disability. Great idea and great implementation. Hats off to the team work.

  • Harsh D

    It is an eye-opener for most of us….I think, we should be working towards making India ABLE to help differently-abled people around us…. I totally agree with Deepa and Kalki, also would like to thank EMC for giving Deepa the opportunity she well deserved…. Good luck Deepa, Kalki and Lakshmi.. :)

  • Powerful! Thank you so much for sharing this documentary. I especially appreciated Kalki sharing how challenging the physical aspects were to portray. Deepa’s vulnerability was humbling for me. Two dynamic women!

  • Binu

    Wonderful Deepa

  • Meghana

    This is great work, Lakshmi! Keep on inspiring us with such fine videos. So impressed to see two young women give such a wonderful message. Being a matured person, i am really impressed with such fine thoughts with the gen next for me


  • Muthuraj

    Yes I have dated women with disability & living with her :)
    I as person didn’t wanted to be a price tag (in the name of dowry) All I wanted is to an human, A REAL MAN!!!
    I met my wife (who is totally blind person since her childhood )in my current organisation, Initially our relationship started as teacher & student. Then into a friendship & our friendship bloomed into Love, We are married and our marriage is 6 Years + growing stronger with 4.5 years sighted toddler boy. I don’t see any difference living with an wife who has disability. Of-course I am an typical Indian husband who expects his wife to be a second mother & care taker & do all house hold chores cooking etc, When she proposed me I set this condition saying I am too lazy, you cannot expect me to take care of you, But you need to take care of me. But yes I will provide & enable you with right solution for your daily living & also the necessary Assistive technology for performing your role as WIFE & Mother, to me as well as my kid. (Ex: I provided her an electrical induction stove that talks, talking thermometer, talking clock with room temperature reading, visually impaired friendly semi automatic washing machine with knobs instead of touch /buttons, recipe on her talking phone, braille on grocery, masala containers .& so on …) Mind you she never cooked in her life & after marriage she only have cook. Till date I have no regrets of marrying her, I would have regretted only if I hadn’t dated or turned down her proposal :) As I feel she is far better than any sighted (non disabled women) out there !!!!

    • Lakshmi Rebecca

      Wow! That is awesome Muthuraj! Congratulations to your wife for signing up to a full life and being bold enough to propose to you! And thanks to you for aiding in enabling her in her roles as a mother and wife. :)

  • Muthuraj

    In-fact It is really an awesome and amazing documentary which could demystify the minds of men out there, Good job Rebecca/Deepa/Kalki. Need more of advocay on this topic: Disability & Dating :) You have my full votes !!!

  • Junnu

    as a man, I can’t speak anything pointing here as it may hurt them, but I believe that if their beauty facial and mental can overshadow their physical weakness definitely they hold an advantage .
    I want a daughter like Carolina Marin , if that’s possible with the girl with disability. The weakness doesn’t matter much.

  • […] And her latest interview features Kalki Koechlin, discussing about her latest movie Margarita With A Straw and Difficulties and Sexuality of Women with Disabilities. {Read here} […]

  • I remember, few months ago Kalki said that in film industry most of people (she was in contact with theme) are homo..
    is that true?

  • One of the great article i ever read. I like that you are working on women lifestyle. Please keep going on.
    God bless you
    Thank you

  • […] Lakshmi’s blog to stay updated on social, mercantile and domestic issues in India, especially women’s issues, and get […]

  • Deepshikha SenSarma

    Thank you Lakshmi for this wonderful talk show with two amazing women explorers, Deepa and Kalki. Their journey so far is incredible to be inspired. In middle of the discussion I came to a point where I realized how difficult it may have been for Deepa to face the people who never believed her abilities on the other hand Kalki clarified they don’t look at their ability but think about their disabilities. It is also good to know there are Companies in India where they are hiring people on the basis of their abilities and not on their physical disability. Thanks once again and good luck on your upcoming stories.

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