Hamid Reza Ahmadnejad and Mehri Alipanah (Maral)

Hamid Reza Ahmadnejad is 29 years old. He is from Shahr-e Rey, in south of Tehran. His parents and his grandparents have all been born in this district, too. Hamid Reza says that he has become a disabled person at the time of birth due to being afflicted with smallpox. He has received a computer diploma and is currently working as an operator.

Hamid Reza’s wife is Mehri Alipanah. However, her family members and relatives call her Maral. She has been born in east of Tehran in 1971. She has received a high school diploma of experimental sciences. Maral is the third child of her family and is currently working as an employee of the Rail Transportation Company. Maral became a disabled person when she was 6 years old. She became disabled because of the injection of penicillin. As a result of that injection, Maral’s left foot became shorter than her right foot. She argues that, at first, she had no interest in meeting other disabled people or mingling with them. This lack of interest was rooted in the fact that Maral was a disabled person herself. She says: “I was always endeavoring to refrain from meeting or encountering with other disabled people. If I saw a disabled person in the street or in a party, I used to change my direction and path in order to refrain from getting encountered with him. In fact, it was quite distressful for me when I saw a disabled person or when I encountered people who were suffering from physical disability. However, everything was changed and transformed when I logged on the website of the disabled people. Gradually, I got accustomed to meet and mingle with other disabled individuals. Currently, I am in contact with such people in a regular manner and there is no day in my life in which I am not getting in touch with them.

Elsewhere in this interview, Hamid Reza Ahmadnejad says that he, like his wife, had no interest in encountering other disabled people. "Whenever there was a reference to physical disability or whenever there was a discussion in this regard, I usually felt myself as much distressful as possible," he said. "However, all my distresses came to an end all of a sudden when one of my friends took me to the Association of the Protection of Disabled People and introduced me to that association. There, I was acquainted with other fellow disabled individuals and got familiar with the activities of that association's members," he continued.

Maral refers to her first encounter with her husband. She added: "The first time that we met each other was during a visit to one of our friends, who had recently returned from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq. Then, we, along with other colleagues travelled to other cities, i.e. Mashhad, Sari, etc. During these travels, we got more familiar with each other. These encounters and intermingling pushed us toward falling in love with each other."

Maral says that about seven months after their first meeting, they told their families about their interests in, and love for, each other. She adds that both families were quite surprised at hearing such unexpected news. The families were also concerned about the different ages of Hamid Reza and Maral. For a long time, there were extensive debates and arguments over this issue among the members of both families. "The first opponent of this marriage was my father. He expressed his opposition in a very logical manner," she says. Maral argues that such an opposition is rooted in the belief about marriage that is common among Iranians according to which the bride's age should not be more than that of the bridegroom's. she says: "However, Hamid Reza was still determined to marry me. Gradually, he managed to convince all the opponents, including my father, and removed all the obstacles one after another. Finally, we married with each other."

Referring to the love that had been created between them, Hamid Reza points out: "We had been engaged in such an affectionate and lovely relationship that we could not stand being far from each other. I remember one day in which Maral had gone to visit one of her relatives. She had to stay there at night. Upon realizing that Maral would not be back that night, I turned out to be so upset and disturbed that I became sick immediately. It was such an agonizing and awful night for me that I am never willing to experience it in my life once again."   

Elsewhere in this interview, Hamid Reza points out that each couple, after their marriage, should act in a way so that they contribute to the completion and enhancement of one another. He says: "We had many commonalities; however, we had some differences, too." "Before getting married, we talked about these differences and tried to settle them. Therefore, when we married each other, our differences had been reduced to the least possible levels."

"One of the positive features of Hamid Reza's personality is his patience in confrontation with problems and difficulties of life," Maral says. "This positive feature has given me comfort in life and has helped me to adopt my steps with more determination," she continues. Maral points out: "There is no trace of egoism and self-centeredness in Hamid Reza. He is a very kind and sensitive person."

Hamid Reza describes her wife as follows: "Maral's self-confidence is very high and she transfers this self-confidence to me and others very easily. There is a very suitable and appealing pride in her personality and she is full of warmness and happiness. If I want to describe Maral in one sentence, I should say that she is a real lady."

Maral and Hamid Reza believe that life is always difficult, both for ordinary individuals and for disabled ones. They say there is no doubt that the life of a disabled person is more difficult than that of an ordinary man. They argue that, through the blessings of the almighty God and the supports of our families, they have been able to tackle with the problems that walking stick, wheelchairs, and braces have created in their lives. "We should take life easy. That is it!" they say.



Thursday 2014/10/9
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Hamid Reza Ahmadnejad and Mehri Alipanah (Maral)

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