Delhi nightlife: City’s first ever app-enabled date night party for the disabled
The people behind Inclov, a mobile application for matchmaking among the disabled, are hosting the first meet-up for the disabled at a Delhi nightclub. This event also wants to be inclusive and is open to all.delhi Updated: Jun 28, 2017 17:27 IST
Planning a fun night-out next weekend? It’s what everyone does, but not something the disabled get to do very often, as public spaces and entertainment spots in this country are not very disabled-friendly. But June 25 is going to be different. In a novel initiative, the people behind Inclov, a dating app for the disabled, have organised a meet-up for them at a Delhi nightclub.
The event is open to all, but mainly aims to bring people with disabilities together, giving them a chance to find like-minded people and, perhaps, even life partners. The meet-up is at Kitty Su, on Barakhamba Road, central Delhi, from 7pm.
So far, about 30 disabled people, including those with spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and polio, have registered for this event. Everyone who plans to attend is excited — for many of them, this is their first opportunity to properly experience Delhi’s buzzing nightlife.
“After coming home from the office, the only means of recreation that I have are the Internet and television. Going to a nightclub with my friends has been a distant dream,” says Manish Raj, 34, an infotech associate with a multinational company, who is wheelchair-bound.
Raj says that once he went to a popular club in Kolkata with his college classmates and was refused entry. “The guards and management said that their ‘normal’ guests would feel conscious. Their reply made me feel both bad and awkward,” he recalls.
Some of those who’re coming to the June 25 meet-up had earlier attempted to organise a party for the disabled at nightclubs, but were refused. “My New Year’s Eve is mostly spent alone at home,” says Ankur Bhir, 40, who is self-employed and wheelchair-bound. “Last year, I thought of organising a get-together at a nightclub for my friends and colleagues. But when I rang a few places to check about their availability, they said they could allow one or two wheelchair-bound persons but no more; or else their other guests would feel uncomfortable.”
The evening will begin with some fun introductions, so that people can get to know each other and socialise. We’ll have sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired and necessary ramps and a lower dance floor for the people in wheelchair s — Shankar Srinivasan, co-organiser
Well, none of that is going to be a problem at the June 25 meet-up. Shankar Srinivasan, co-organiser of the event, says, “The evening will begin with some fun introductions, so that people can get to know each other and socialise. We’ll have sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired and necessary ramps and a lower dance floor for the people in wheelchairs. Anyone can wheel up to the bar and get a drink.”
Some say that initially the disabled people used to feel, “Hum wheelchair pe jayenge to log kya kahenge.” But now they have overcome that inhibition and are looking forward to indulging in the evening’s fun and getting to meet new people. “I have been to restaurants with my family, but never been with friends to a nightclub. I’ve signed up for this event, but I don’t know what to expect... I’m thinking of wearing a dress. Let’s see what happens and how,” says Gonika Luthra, 32, a human resource professional, who also has limited mobility.
Ask Luthra if her parents are okay with this event, and like any other girl, she confesses, “I haven’t told them yet! My father is so over-protective…When we’re nearer the event date, I’ll inform them. I’m sure they’ll be convinced now that my tickets are booked.”
At the party, there’s going to be a stand-up comedy act by Krishnendu Paul. But the highlight of the event will be a performance by Varun Khullar aka DJ Aamish, who is also wheelchair-bound from a spinal cord injury. “I’m very excited because this is the first time we’ll not be seen as ‘different’. I have played in Delhi earlier but this will be another experience, because I’ll have to play in front of people who won’t judge you because of your disability, but on the basis of your talent. It’s something that makes you feel respected,” says DJ Aamish.
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