Published: 05th August 2018
Friendship Day: She might be blind but Nandini's friends help her see the world
Blind from birth, Nandhini Devi had her own fears about studying in a mainstream college, but the friends she made changed her entire college experience
It's a beautiful day in Madras Christian College, Chennai. As the bell rings and echoes across the 365-acre campus, Nandhini Devi, a second-year English Literature student walks into her class, her hand held by her friend. Nandhini is blind in both eyes, but she's quick to recognise her friends' voices as they greet her. There's a wide smile on her face, as she greets them back.
When Nandhini first joined the college, her mind was full of doubts and fears about how well she would be able to cope up. Having studied her whole life in Little Flowers School, a school for the blind, Nandhini was afraid if she would have the same kind of help here. Moreover, she had always been conscious about talking to any man other than her father. So being in a co-ed college only added to her fears. For the first few months in the college, she wasn't even able to communicate properly with people. "While I was in Little Flower School, I had a lot of responsibilities and people would talk to me only when they needed something. I didn't have any friends. My biggest difficulty when I joined MCC was to communicate with people. But after a while, I started opening up and I found a lot of friends," says Nandhini.
"Sometimes, my friends take me on walks around the campus and tell me what's around me, the trees and the gutters, and what people are doing," says Nandini Devi.
Being a large campus, Nandhini's biggest fear was if she would be able to find her way around. "I didn't have the confidence to walk anywhere by myself," she says. But she soon found that her friends were always there to take her around. It took her about three months to understand what the campus was like. "Sometimes, my friends take me on walks around the campus and tell me what's around me, the trees and the gutters, and what people are doing," says the 19-year-old.
But her favorite memory so far is when she went to a restaurant with her friends. "We went to a restaurant called 'Rainforest'. It was a cave-themed restaurant. My friends described it for me and I could totally picture how beautiful it was. It was underground, there was artificial rain and statues of animals and it was almost like a real forest," she recalls.
Nandhini, who lives in one of the girl's halls at the campus says that her friends also played a big part in boosting her confidence. "My hallmates encouraged me to take part in literature and debating events. I used to be really conscious, but they boosted my self-confidence and helped me overcome my fears," she says and adds. "They have become like family. I didn't expect so much love when I joined the college."