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Nandita Chakraborty Goes Against All Odds

1 year ago / by Bindu Gopal Rao
Nandita Chakraborty

Nandita Chakraborty fell prey to a scammer in her search for love online. The Indian from Melbourne, Australia, was blackmailed and shamed but embarked on a journey to find herself again. Her experience found expression in her memoir, “Dirty Little Secrets.”

Looking Back

Since the time she began studying at a boarding school in Meghalaya at the age of 7, Chakraborty says displacement has always been with her. As an adult, she hoped to design clothes. She studied at the JD Institute of Fashion but became a visual merchandiser for big fashion stores in the 90s, when departmental stores were just beginning to happen.

In 2009 and 2010, while in Australia, Chakraborty subscribed to an Indian matrimonial site, chatting with many men in Australia and other places, one of whom was “Sam.” While things were hunky dory initially, she soon learned “Sam” was a scamster. He tried to blackmail her, and Chakraborty soon discovered she had become a victim of an organized crime syndicate.

“I chose to leave behind everything and go to India to be with my parents, to feel secure,” Chakraborty said. “A lot of people did not know what was happening to me, and those who did made me feel guilty. I tried to pick up the pieces and wrote a diary. When I came back to Melbourne, I started to recount them for a book for my friends and family, but I met with an accident, which resulted in an acquired brain injury (ABI). Now I have a cognitive impairment.”

Dirty Little Secrets

Love Actually

Bored with her bank job, Chakraborty was doing a creative writing course under author Rosalie Ham in 2007-2008. That was before the accident. After a decade she decided to write “Dirty Little Secrets,” as a little handbook on relationships and the many dark faces of finding love on the internet.

“Love to me now is not about falling in love with a man, it has a more profound meaning, it is more about finding that balance about myself and with the world. I write now and am happy with what I do. But we are so conditioned by society that we look for that elusive love. That is something we must stop selling young girls: the perfect Cinderella story. If my story can inspire even one [girl], then I think there is a change. Love makes the world go around, but that love should be for oneself. My life became like a movie, but when my world came spiraling downward then it hit me that there is someone important – and it is me. In my book I have mentioned that a cat has nine lives, I have lived five; four more to go.”


In 2011, Chakraborty was seriously injured in a rock-climbing accident. She fell 130 feet, sustaining head injuries that resulted in permanent disability.

“I write articles with my personal voice for Independent Australia Disability. In future, I hope to continue this. I want to write more stories and create more awareness of ABI through art, and to help people understand that the colors of the spectrum are the same for everybody. Let’s celebrate the abilities of all races and genders. Take a moment to understand us neurodiverse people. We may be just a little bit different, but we might love the same music and enjoy the same cup of coffee.”

It was during her rehabilitation that Chakraborty wrote “Meera Rising” (2017) and “Rosemary’s Retribution” (2018).

Making a Difference

Being a passionate public speaker and advocate of spreading awareness about disability in the community and promoting India, Chakraborty teaches women how to protect and safeguard themselves from online scams. Drawing from her own experiences, she works towards spreading awareness about women with disabilities and challenges people to accept that women with disabilities can do anything they put their minds to.

In her professional struggles to gain recognition, Chakraborty challenges people to see beyond skin color and cultural backgrounds. Her short film screenplay, “Brush Strokes,” was a semi-finalist at the New York International Screenplay International Awards and at the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards in 2018 and 2019.

“My dream is to make a documentary one day about acquired brain injury, because awareness is still lacking,” Chakraborty said, adding that as much as there is stigma about ABI, there is also ignorance.