When Paloma Dutta and Ved decided to get married, they were determined to make a difference by having a meaningful union instead of a big fat Indian wedding.
Presents are inevitable in most Indian marriages, so Paloma did not want to hurt people's sentiments by saying no to presents. At the same time, both of them were financially independent and Paloma did not see any point in people pooling in to set up a house and basic amenities for them. An editor with Penguin Random House, New Delhi, Paloma said in a Facebook post,
"We are in our mid-thirties and have been financially independent for a while, so the social gesture of setting up the newlyweds did not apply to us, we thought."
So, while giving out invitations, the couple attached a letter to it asking the guests to gift children with special needs instead of gifting the couple. The gift, Paloma said, could be anything from stationary items to specialised learning tools.
Along with the plenty of gifts she received, Paloma also donated the money she received for the wedding - Rs. 86,500 in total, to a Guwahati-based Sishu Sarothi, an NGO working for the rights of disabled people. Talking about this decision to Guwahati Plus, she said,
“My husband, Ved and I, like to help people whenever we can, however we can. As middle-class people, it is very difficult to help people as our money is used up for everyday concerns. Doing greater good is difficult. But we thought, with the wedding, it would be easier to bring people together. We are lucky to be surrounded by people who want to do good things and help.”
Paloma did not believe her responsibility ended with handing over the money to the NGO. She is also working closely with the organisation to figure out a way to use the money to bring a difference in the lives of kids in the NGO.