The moment Surjeet Singh (55) and his wife Sukhwinder Kaur (51) step out of their home, they are laughed at by the young and the old, literate or illiterate and everyone, because God has made them dwarfs, being just 3 foot and few inches tall. At the same time, life has not been kind to them as they have to face poverty and many other odds.
They know that are their appearance is very funny and unusual for the world and wherever they will go, people will constantly stare at them and laugh. Children even follow them, especially in villages, and at times tease them. They are used to all such behaviour of people and when asked about their experience, they reply with a ‘smile’.
Dwarfism of Singh kept his parents worried for years, especially because they thought that finding a right match for him would be an arduous task. However, in the first week of April in 1984, a distant relative traced a girl from a far-off village who also suffered from dwarfism. Within few days, Singh and his family went to see the girl and by April end, they tied the knot.
The couple, both dropouts from primary school, is an example for all and they do take good care of each other.
After dropping out of school, Singh took training for few years from a village tailor and soon started working as a tailor in a rented shop at Khasa, a nearby village. He ran the shop with high enthusiasm for 20 years but due to high rent and little income from the shop, he and his wife, who also supported him in his work, decided to take all orders at home.
The decision did not work out well for them as at home they did not get as many orders as they used to get at the shop, which made them financially weak. They also had to spend their hard-earned money on their only disabled son, Kishan Singh, who is now 22 and unemployed. The couple has to shell out a lot on his upbringing as he faced many health problems. He may be a 22, but looks like a 12-year-old boy.
Two years ago, someone from a cultural dance group in Punjab contacted them and somehow convinced them for cultural dance performances as a couple. They were trained and finally tuned well as per the requirements of the group’s director.
Every wedding season, at venues in the state, they are the cynosure of all eyes. They don’t get paid much and whether they will get work or not, it all depends on bookings received by the group.
Sometimes there are also very few or no bookings at all.
“Ever since we joined the cultural group for earning our livelihood in a better manner, villagers have made our life tough.
Rather than appreciating the hard work we put in despite our age and the odds we suffer, they laugh at our job and shockingly, no one comes forward to help us,” says the couple, as emotions run high. “We will go on and face the life the way it comes to us and yes, everyone is free to laugh at us!”