Haryana Based Former Engineer Develops A Matrimonial Website For People With Skin Conditions
- IWB Post
- April 11, 2019
Our society is obsessed with beauty and that beauty has a very narrow definition with absolutely no room for deviation. Anybody who doesn’t fit those standards is considered ugly, and somehow ugliness isn’t worth even basic human decency.
Ours is a system where our insecurities earn corporations their profits and it comes as no surprise that this sort of mindset persists even today, despite the conversation around dismantling traditional beauty standards increasing with each passing day.
One man who’s tried to shift the focus from an individual’s outward appearance to their personality is Haryana-based former engineer Ashish Agarwal. Ashish has been dealing with Psoriasis for the past 13 years and the trials and tribulations he faced while dealing with his skin condition inspired him to develop a matrimonial website call DermaMatrimony.com for people with skin diseases such as vitiligo, psoriasis, albinism, scleroderma, eczema, burns, scars etc. “I have seen many people in similar situations as me, make unwanted compromises for their spouses or they even try to hide it from them, and these things complicate matters after marriage and occasionally result in separation.
The fear of rejection, lack of self-esteem, body image issues are things that almost everyone dealing with skin conditions feels and so I thought it would be great if we had a platform where we could find people with similar life experiences, people who can understand our state of mind, who can understand what we feel when we have to go to social gatherings and people pass comments or ask us intrusive questions. And that’s why I think a platform like this is the need of the hour,” he says.
He was in his final year of college when he first got Psoriasis and that left him dejected and struggling. For the next seven years, he tried everything he possibly could to cure his skin condition but wasn’t able to and understood that there isn’t a permanent cure for Psoriasis, one can only manage it.
He spent all his time trying to learn how to better manage his situation. He read books about Psoriasis and read articles online and it was then that he discovered that his condition can be managed with a holistic approach the included diet changes, stress management, and leading a positive lifestyle. He started noticing significant changes in himself after implementing these methods in his life and that gave him the courage to start his own blog on this issue, called Psoriasis Self Management. Ashish quit his engineering job a few months ago because managing the website, his blog and his job all at once became too stressful.
He explains, “After the day I started my blog, my whole life changed. Before starting my blog, I had this sort of victim mentality, but after I started writing about my own strategies, what I’m working on, and finding out about other people’s struggles and stories, my focus changed from my victim mindset to a survivor one. I was inspired to write more, read more and communicate more. And during that journey, I understood that even though we have a skin condition we can do everything else, like having a job or studying, all the things that someone not suffering from the condition can. But when it came to marriage, that was still a very big challenge.”
Dealing with discrimination and judgment all his life, Ashish has learnt this, “You have to embrace and accept everything about yourself because if you don’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect others to do so.”
Saying this is hard, but implementing is even harder for some. Ashish says that in such a situation the step towards self-acceptance is logic. He explains, “In my case, I knew that there wasn’t any ointment or syrup that would help me so there was no sense in running away from it, no sense in hating myself for something I had no choice in.
So one has to be wise and intelligent and instead of denying it, invest your focus, money, and efforts on self-improvement rather than chasing after some magical cure. Don’t let your skin condition overpower your personality and don’t let it dictate your life. We have a lot more to offer as humans than just our appearance.”
His matrimonial website doesn’t give importance to an individual’s skin tone or weight or horoscope details and other such things and neither do his customers. In fact, most of the 13 successful matches the site has produced in its year-long run have been inter-caste marriages and two of them were inter-religion ones as well. Ashish says that people are already struggling to find compatible partners, superficial things like that do not matter at all.