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How Ameena and Arif battled height bias to find love

Think Change India
25th Oct 2017
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Ameena Ahmed Shaikh found love at the age of 20 in a mobile repair shop, of all places. It was love at first sight for her with Arif Ibrahim Tambe, then 32. However, it wasn't their age gap or even caste or religion that posed an obstacle to their union — it was his height. Ameena is five feet tall, the average height for an Indian woman. But Arif, at three feet, is two feet shorter than her.

In a society that expects the man to be taller than the woman he is marrying, Arif, with a particular kind of dwarfism, did not stand a chance. Marrying him meant Ameena would have to help him with his daily chores. Barring her parents and sister, everyone opposed the match, and at their wedding in 2012, none of her relatives was in attendance. While taking his hand, she told The Times of India,

"I am confident that he will take good care of me. He is self-employed and earns for himself and his family, which makes him very special."

Talking about her family's reaction, she further added,

"They were initially shocked, but I assured them that he would be the right choice. As my brother-in-law knows the Tambe family, he initiated the talks."

Five years later, the couple is happily married with an addition to the family — a son whom they have named Aseem Arif Tambe. However, even after all this time, the couple does not fail to surprise the common public. In an interview to Barcroft TV, Arif said,

"Their reaction is the same as before but now they look at us together with shock and say 'look at his wife.'"
Image: Barcroft TV

But with Ameena happy with the family they have built and Arif overjoyed at having found the acceptance he had always sought, they couldn't care less about what people think.

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