International Day of Persons with Disabilities: A differently-abled Delhi girl’s cosplay prowess
For Delhi-based Tanya Kaushik, being differently-abled isn’t a limitation when it comes to her passion for cosplaying.delhi Updated: Dec 02, 2017 18:21 IST
Delhiites look forward to participate in the annual event Comic Con. And, one girl who is all set to showcase her abilites, yet again is cosplayer Tanya Kaushik aka NyaNya. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed every year on December 3, meet Delhi-based Kaushik — a girl who is determined to not to let her disability get in the way of her passion.
The 23-year-old suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 (a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement), but despite being limited to her wheelchair, she has chosen to be a cosplayer, and one who is like no other!
Here’s Kaushik talking about her challenges, love for cosplay and the journey behind it:
THE COSPLAY JOURNEY:
“I’d say what got me into cosplay was Anime. I am part of the Delhi Anime circuit and that is where I got the inspiration to cosplay. Another important person in this journey has been my friend and fellow cosplayer Saumya Singh who goes by the name Junkless Sam. She was the one to initially push me. Saumya told me that she’s help me with the props and costumes and all I had to do was show up in the costumes,” says Kaushik. “My first cosplay was as Oracle (a character from Batman and Birds of Prey series) at a pre-comic con bash, but my first comic con appearance was as Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Mom and I worked on the costume, Saumya made the Iron Throne that was fit to my wheelchair. I’ve cosplayed twice after that, as Death and Red Queen. And, this year at Comic Con, I’m cosplaying again as two characters — Ursula from Little Mermaid and Thanosa (a gender flipped version of Thanos from Avengers).
COMICS AND POP CULTURE
“I love DC, and my favourite superhero is Batman. Even when it comes to movies, I like Ben Affleck’s version of The Dark Knight. He fits the character beautifully, and looks a lot like the Batman we’ve seen in animated series while growing up. I also love Doctor Who, and it’s my dream to cosplay as the 12th Doctor (who was played by Peter Capaldi) and recreate the scene where he was in Davros’ Chair. The entire scene was really cool and it would be great to execute it,” she says adding, “ I don’t follow any idols in cosplay. I believe that it limits you as a cosplayer and somewhere brings in comparisons, insecurities and shyness. I do have some favourite cosplayers from the Indian and International scene- Sameer Bundela, Junkless Sam and Japanese cosplayer Reika being some of them. I had interviewed Reika once and she was just lovely, very polite.”
WHAT GOES BEHIND COSPLAYING
“I am picky when it comes to selecting the characters that I want to cosplay. My condition does influence my choices, and another factor is my body type. But if a character is badass and cool, and is someone I really love, I go ahead with it anyway. I try to do most of the prep myself and with things that are readily available at home, so my cosplay doesn’t cost as much as that of professional cosplayers,” says Kaushik. “I save money myself and my mother helps me if I need more. Important thing to remember when cosplaying for the first time is to start small, keep your concepts clear and let your passion do the work for you.”
“My mother is the biggest support, and is as excited as me when it comes to cosplay. I showed her some cosplay once and she loved it, and suggested I should do it too. She helps me with whatever I need, my costumes, my makeup, everything. My brother has no real interest in it, but helps me with whatever I need anyway since he understands my passion for it. Dad doesn’t understand much about it, but I’m sure he’ll come around. I had a cosplay themed birthday party once, just to prove to my dad that cosplay is actually something, and now he kind of gets it.”
“Since I move in a wheelchair, most of the places are inaccessible for me. Delhi’s infrastructure is really bad for anyone who uses a wheelchair. And, I mostly have to use the metro to travel, and my motorised wheelchair which makes things just a tad bit easier. I face something or the other every now and then, and have a ton of challenges that come my way, but I’ve kept myself firmly above them,” says Kaushik.
“I wanted coaching for an upcoming exam once, and I couldn’t find a single place that was wheelchair friendly. One place in Netaji Subhash Place did have lifts but there were steps before the lift too, and I found that out only after reaching the place. I felt really bad and helpless at that moment and decided to do something about it. That is when I reached out to the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. But, that was disappointing, too. He talked to me for just a bit and kept claiming that change will come soon. When I pushed, he said that he’ll fast track it and then left, assigning another person for me, who in turn assigned someone else. They seemed more interested in getting me to join AAP, and kept giving me examples of how they gave a ticket to some disabled girl in a city and she won. They even went on to make a WhatsApp group dedicated to me, but that’s the farthest it got. The first thought I had then, something that I’d suggest to anyone else in my place, is to leave the country. But if there is an iota of hope to be introduced, I’d ask them to seek better help. I clearly didn’t make the right choice.”
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