Aranya Johar, the 18 year old Humanities student at Lilavati Podar High School, whose latest spoken-word performance, A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender, has been the talk of the town since the day it was shared, has been a known name in the poetry circle for quite some time now. She started writing poetry when she was just 11, & delivered her first performance when she was 13! Her first performance was quite an interesting one- accompanied by her mother & brother, she faked her age to get into a bar at Bandra, and managed to leave the entire crowd stunned with her performance. Ever since then, there has been no looking back for Aranya.
Aranya, co-founder of More Than Mics- a curator of Blind Poetry Sessions & series of poetry nights, is passionate to talk about a number of subjects – those that we most often don’t talk about, one such being mental health, and feels that we ignore the importance of this topic. Poetry is her way of sparking a dialogue, to talk about things that people don’t discuss off stage, but should.
Here’s her extremely powerful and riveting piece called ‘Why Die Young’
I feel I’ve accomplished enough if at least one person discusses my piece once I’m done with it; either with me or with someone else, or even just by themselves. If someone changes their opinion about something, or listens to my piece about mental health, and they decide to get help for their anxiety or depression, I’ll feel like I’ve done my bit. Success, for me, is definitely being able to change someone’s life, even by a bit, she says.
While Aranya admires the work of poets like Lang Leav, Maggie Smith, Sarah & Phil Kay, W.H. Auden & Philip Larkin, her inspiration comes from Hip Hop. Rappers like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole & Big Sean, are the ones whose work lights a spark in her to write poetry.
This brilliant poet is all set to perform in Delhi, Bangalore and at various college festivals. She has a few contemporary pieces lined up like the Goddamn Millenials, which she feels will resonate much better with a younger audience, & is looking forward to the feedback that she will receive from them. Having not performed out of Mumbai before, Aranya is looking forward to the reactions she receives from people in the other cities through her performances.
Apart from that, she is working on a few videos, is curating a few more interesting events at More Than Mics related to poetry over the next couple of months. One of the events that she is super excited about is one that is extremely unique- a workshop cum performance open mic.
Striking a balance between studies and poetry, Aranya Johar is an inspiration for everybody out there, and we can’t wait to see more of her in the near future!
By the ATKT.in Editorial Team.