#DisabilityInfluencers – Aspiring doctor Chandni Nair loves the power of TikTok
Through January, our campaign #DisabilityInfluencers highlights disabled people who are talking about disability and trying to change attitudes using the power of social media. Today, we feature TikTok star Chandni Nair. A wheelchair user, Chandni is a firm believer in the power of social media in changing attitudes towards disability.
Grit, determination and confidence- 23 year old Chandni Nair is the epitome of all this. Nothing comes in her path to chasing her dreams. Not even her disability. Chandni was diagnosed with Myopathy when she was hardly one and half years old. But this youngster completed her schooling to join the Doctor of Pharmacy course. She is currently pursuing her final year. For social media users, Chandni must be a known face. Her videos on video streaming TikTok app are quite popular. A wheelchair user, Chandni has over 2000 fans on her Instagram and Facebook pages.
Chandni and her family lived in Tirpur where she completed her schooling. But this youngster says that she was denied education in many schools owing to her disability and then accessibility problems.
I had to shift three schools. In spite of being qualified, it was hard for me to get admissions. I used to feel sad about it. But now when I turn back, I do not feel unhappy or disheartened. All that is what made me what I’am today. I got the fire to become more powerful after all that. I always wanted to become a doctor since childhood. In spite of getting a 96% for my class 12 exams, getting admission into a medical college was tough. Most of the colleges only tried to de-motivate me.
New beginnings in Bengaluru
Chandni recollects that she had applied to many colleges in Tamil Nadu. But did not get good responses. That is when she expanded her search to medical colleges in Bengaluru. “Most of the colleges in Bengaluru gave me a good response. They all were very welcoming”, she says. That is how her search for a good college ended at Oxford College of Pharmacy. That was a start to newer beginnings.
The college had all facilities for wheelchair users including ramps and lifts. The staffs, teachers, management officials and students are always ready to lend her a helping hand. “College was great for me. Everyone is very supportive. I’am currently pursuing my final year”, she says.
Tryst with TikTok
Chandni is an all-rounder. She has won music competitions in Tamil Nadu state and district levels. From childhood, she loved to try her luck with acting as well. “I wouldn’t mind doing it even today if I get a chance”, she says.
A few years back, she started making videos of the app Dubsmash to which her friends and relatives gave her a good response. She compiled her videos and sent it to a Facebook group called Variety Media which has a huge fan following. Her video got noticed and there has been no turning back for Chandni. Most of her videos are done in Tamil and Malayalam.
“I make videos when I get free time. These days, I’am busy with academics. But making TikTok videos are a great stress buster for me”, says.
Chandni is gearing up to become a doctor in a few months, a childhood dream she always pursued. While doing her TikTok videos, Chandni never wanted people to know that she is a wheelchair user. She has a reason for it. “I do not want sympathies from anyone because I’am a disabled person. So I only show my face. I believe we all have equal opportunities. Only recently did my followers realise that I’am a wheelchair user”, she says.
Renowned Malayalam actors like Vineeth Sreenivasan, Shaji and Thesni Khan has shared her videos. “I’am blessed that they have appreciated me”, says Chandni.
To the many disabled people who are reluctant to come out to chase their dreams, Chandni has a message. “Never give up in life owing to your disability. If you consider yourself disabled and refuse to come out, then the world can’t help you. The struggle is not easy. Keep working hard for what you want to achieve. Nothing comes easy in life. Our efforts and determination matters”, she signs off.
“Keep going ahead with this determination. You can chase all your dreams. Stay happy”, says Vineeth Sreenivasan in a video shared on Chandni’s Instagram account.