Published: 25th September 2019
Meet Janani Rao, a Hyderabadi poet who also delivers food for Swiggy!
Hyderabad-based Janani Rao, in a conversation, opens up about writing about sadness and being a Delivery Executive for Swiggy in a city
If there was ever an adage that applies to Janani Rao it is, 'Take your heart and make it into art'. Whether it is dealing with the death of a close one or dealing with an abusive father — she poured it all into poetry. "I cannot write about something I haven't been through. I need to genuinely feel so strongly about something that I need to let it out," says the 21-year-old, who recently started moonlighting as a 'Swiggy Girl'.
All smiles: For Janani Rao, poetry is her amour | (Pic: Janani Rao)
And then, in 2017, performance poetry happened. The first time was a disaster, "I forgot everything and had to whip out my phone and narrate from it," she recalls and laughs. The second time around a disaster was averted thanks to her masterstroke. "I had my three best friends seated in the first row and stared at them while I was performing," shares the youngster who has today, made quite a name for herself in the open mic circles of Hyderabad. Needless to say, she is a pro when it comes to performance now.
Her family and friends are extremely supportive of Janani
But if she is writing to vent and reliving those memories while performing, especially poems like Hush, Here Comes The Boogeyman, isn't it a traumatising experience for her personally?. "The more I talk about something, the more I know that I am comfortable with it. After all, acceptance is the only way to go with grief," says the alumnus of Villa Marie College. It means even more to her when people tell her that the poem really resonates with them. "It makes me realise how people just don't talk about taboo topics," she shares and explains how she has chosen poetry as her preferred medium of expression because it shows the depth of any emotion.
Listen up: Janani at an event | (Pic: Janani Rao)
It's clear that Janani has never written about anything happy, though she has tried. Because of which, she has been facing writer's block for two months now, as she is content with what is happening in her life. "I do occasionally find myself craving for sadness, but even if I don't find something, I will work around it and write eventually," she says with determination.
"Performance poetry is all about telling the audience a story in a poetic way," says Janani Rao
Meanwhile, she has been freelancing and now is a Delivery Executive with Swiggy. Wait, what? "Yeah, it was an impulsive decision. People are often surprised when they see me deliver, but so far so good," she says with a smile. "I did discover that people are much more polite with me when they find out that I am a woman," she shares and laughs, informing us that she delivers in the areas of Banjara Hills, Khairatabad and Somajiguda. More power to her!
On the mic: Janani performing at an event | (Pic: Janani Rao)
A few lines from the poem, Hush, Here Comes The Boogeyman
My poem is about the boogeyman, the man living inside my house
You see, colours to me were vibrant, but to my father colours only meant black and blue
My body was his canvas and he used the brush he wore around his waist to stroke me with blues and blacks and reds
To find out more about her, check out facebook.com/janani.rao.50