A Conversation with Nayab Midha
The color pink is generally associated with women. Yellow and purple are associated with creativity, imagination, and optimism; red is for love and courage. But what color would you choose to represent a poetess of 25 who is creative, optimistic, and courageous enough to question the social norms? Meet the person who made millions of Indians believe “Tum Khubsurat Ho”. Nayab Midha is not only one of the brightest Indian poets of our time, she is a social media influencer, and mental health activist as well.
Q. Nowadays social media sites are overloaded with self-proclaimed poets, so there is a high chance of getting lost amidst the crowd. How to be Nayab Midha and stand apart from the crowd?
If you want to be someone else be it “Nayab Midha” that’s really not a good start to stand apart from the crowd. Haha! We are all leading different lives no matter how similar our patterns are. We are all unique, we need to embrace that more. In crisp terms I’d say, look inside more than outside. Talk to yourself more than you talk to others. Be in touch with who you are and you’ll always stand apart.
Q. Tell us how your journey as a poet started. When did you discover that you can write a true piece of poetry?
As a child, I loved having a lot of stationery. I bought beautiful diaries & pens and sketches and whatnot. One day in 6th grade I attempted to write a song. I still cannot believe my guts. Well, post then I participated in a creative writing contest in grade 9 and wrote an English poem which sounds really funny & I’d say I wrote a true piece of the poem back in 2010, I was 14 years old and then, there was no turning back from writing.
Q. Your poem, ‘Tum Khubsurat Ho’ became viral on Facebook. What, do you think, is the reason behind it?
Just a simple fact that we don’t tell ourselves or the people around us that “they are beautiful”, “tum khoobsurat ho”. We are so much about our flaws that every time we pass by a mirror we see horrible things about ourselves.
I read this quote somewhere back in 2015, “you are so used to your features, you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger”. We are so used to putting ourselves down that we will never see how pretty we are. I wanted to see it and show it to the people. I am glad I was able to spread a drop of positivity.
Q. We often judge the success of a writer by the award he/she has won, or by the number of people who have read or listened to his/her poems. Is this the right process to judge the success of a poet?
Numbers would never be the right way, no matter what the field is. In fact, we should stop judging people for success or failure. These shouldn’t be such big things. Living a journey is true success. A human is already successful if he attempts something good.
Q. Poetry is going through a process of changing. YouTube platforms are giving tough competition to printed books. Whom do you vote for between these two? Why?
I’d never sell the magic of reading for anything. However, both have different flavors. Listening to a poem or watching a video of it gives you an exact interpretation of what the poet wants to express whereas reading makes you build your own world of imagination.
Q. Social media sites leave a deep impact on our daily lives. People who share poems of liberation are the same people who use filters to look more whitish. What can be the psychology behind it and how can it be stopped?
See we are all taught a few things in the process of growing up. However, I am proud of this generation that chose to take a stand and unlearn. Sometimes, society standards are so deeply rooted in our brains that they will take time to go. I think we should give everyone their time and space to unlearn and get unfiltered truly!
Q. Do you think poets have the responsibility to protest or talk about the wrong norms of our society?
Definitely, “Jahan Na Pahunchey Ravi, Wahan Pahunchey Kavi”
Kavi nahin pahunchega toh kaun pahunchega!
The power of poetry is not unknown to the universe, it has the capability of changing thoughts in no time, with just words. No violence, no dictatorship, no rules. Just words that choose to rhyme, imagine.
Q. What is the message that you want to share with the youth of India?
Rather than saying something harsh, stay quiet.
“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history”, says Plato, the famous Greek philosopher. That is why we should listen to the poets to know our state. They have the fearless spark to speak the truth that we are willing to avoid, they have the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind to awaken our souls. Read poetry, live poetry… For the sake of time, for the sake of your true self!