Aranya Johar: My poetry may not change things per se, but it can influence someone to bring about change

When Aranya Johar is on stage, hitting out at the hypocritical, patriarchal society, you cannot miss the poignant, wistful quality about her face. "When I am writing or performing, I tend to get a lot more serious than I actually am. People often forget that I am 18 and still a child," asserts the slam poet. She laughs — and often — during our 15-minute chat ahead of her first spoken-word performance in Hyderabad. A packed house at Ravindra Bharathi greeted the online sensation as she spoke, in her inimitable style, about women empowerment, menstruation taboos, rape culture and issues that make up a misogynistic society . Cheering her on from amidst the crowd was social activist Sunitha Krishnan , a Padma Shri awardee noted for her long-time activism to rescue sex trafficking victims and organising citizen-state collaboration on anti-trafficking measures. By the end of her performance, Aranya left the audience to contemplate about the world they live in. A thick veneer of seriousness notwithstanding, Aranya gives us a peek into her ‘I am 18 and still a child’ side in this pre-performance chat. Excerpts: First impressions of the city? It’s very vibrant. There’s a lot of stuff happening […]

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