A Surrealist Poet – Megha Rao

Swapna Narayanan

Poetry has always been a medium of expression that brings to the fore our innermost thoughts, feelings, angst, disappointments, happy moments, ecstatic moments et al.

April is celebrated as the World Poetry Month!

And this month, we bring to you a wonderful poet – Megha Rao – who prefers to call herself a surrealist artist! The young confessional poet, armed with her words, has been creating some great pieces of poetry and written art that connects, resonates, and calms the reader’s mind. Not surprisingly she has a massive 27K followers on Instagram!

Here are a few snippets from our conversation!

Swapna: Words from your pen touch the hearts of many, making you such a well-known name in the world of poetry in India. Specifically with the younger generation. Yet poetry is an unusual choice for someone who is so young.

Why poetry? And how did performing poetry happen?

Megha: I used to hate poetry. I had the Romantic Age and the Neoclassical Age in my textbooks when I was studying Literature, so I had assumed that was the extent of it. And then one day, a friend of mine introduced me to Sylvia Plath, and that is when I fell head over heels in love with confessional poetry. I thought it was brilliant.

You could tell everyone you were hurt and they couldn’t call you crazy.

I had to go through a very dark phase in my second and third years of college life, and that left me severely traumatised. That is when I started writing poetry obsessively. I was fighting back. I needed my abusers to know that even though I could not stand up for myself in front of them, I was going to, at least on paper. It started as a rebellion. I was saying ‘go to hell’ in a very beautiful, lyrical way – and it made me feel brave.Megha 2

Performing poetry happened after Roshan Abbas from Kommune suggested I should try it. My initial reaction was, ‘Who? Me? I suck at stages. Put me in a library, please. I’m a nerd, not a performer!’ But he recognized the fear and told me he could record me without an audience. I did not like the sound of that because it made me feel like a coward. So I lied and made excuses, told him that I was in Kerala and he was in Mumbai, so it would not work out. He said he would come down to Kerala if I thought this was the problem.

I was moved by his passion for discovering new voices. I thought, ‘Look, here is someone who’s more passionate about my poems than I am!’ So I packed my bags and moved to Mumbai and started performing at curated events.

Swapna: Your poems carry a lot of angst and pain. How important is the element of anger to you in your poetry, and why? How did you start writing?

Megha: Anger? No, no. I would go further and call it RAGE. I was attacked by mobs. I was character assassinated and left on the ground to die. My poems were raised by me. And I raised them to heal good people and to destroy the bad ones. Which means, my audience is split into two. The ones who are as angry as me for what people have done to them, and the ones who feel guilty as hell after reading the poems.

Anger is very important to my poetry because that is where it was born. It was the first emotion I felt after I revived myself.

I started writing and painting when I was six. I started poetry later, specifically after the bullying. It’s my safe space. It’s my weapon.

Swapna: Such a deep thought.  Per your definition, what is poetry? Is it the words? Is it the performance? Is it the feeling induced in the reader?

Megha: It is honesty. Pure, raw honesty. Poems are wounds with names. It’s as simple as that.

Swapna: A lot of times, creative people need to tread a fine balance between their needs and their audience’s needs. What about you? Do you write for yourself or for your readers? How important is your identity to your poetry?

Megha: My poetry is my identity. That’s how honest I have got in front of my readers. If they read the poems, they read my mind.Megha 3

I started writing to save myself. It created a beautiful community of readers who related to my work and wrote to me, saying I saved them during their worst times. I think that’s gorgeous. I love it when people open up to me. Vulnerability is so human, but underrated. Now I write for them. I have found peace, I have found balance, I have found strength. I do not really need my poems anymore like I used to three years ago. But someone else needs them. So I write. Even if it is one person. Stranger or familiar friend. I want to be there for them.

Swapna: What next? How do you envision this journey of yours? Will we see a book in the near future?

Megha: Yes! A novel. Very, very soon!

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