Say Hello To The ICON, Megha Rao

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How does one make every piece created- a masterpiece? Powerful. Soulful. And Didactic are some of the words we feel attempt to describe Megha and her unique style of confessional poetry, yet these words still do not do justice.

She inspires us with how authentically she lives her truth, and speaks ‘the’ truth. Megha, through her works inspires us to romanticize life, and calls us to true vulnerability.

Join us on this special annual issue –
As Megha shares a truckload of inspiration on how poetry has changed her life, how she stays boundles and glimpses of her journey as a creative.

You’re one stunning poet we still cannot find the best words to describe. But we sure love it. All of it. How you do what you do. The grace that comes with each piece by you. Powerful. Soulful. Didactic. Each, a masterpiece. Can you please share a glimpse of how you began your creative journey?

Thank you so much for your kind words! I started writing at a very early age. As a child, I was very frustrated and creative, and writing became a sort of outlet to express myself. Poetry was something I discovered when I was in college. I think at a point, everyone experiences some sort of tragedy, and the grief that is born out of that pushes you to turn to many things for catharsis: new religions, spirituality, music, art. For me, it was confessional poetry.


Your voice has stayed golden through the years, as you speak for the seaming voiceless and you share some of the most relatable words to introverts. How comforting to see someone who can relate to a large number of people even with their diversity. In your own words, how would you best describe your style of writing and what inspires it?

I don’t think I could possibly imagine speaking for the voiceless, I just don’t believe it’s in my place to! I can be an ally, I’m learning to be a good ally. That’s what’s important. And as far as the poetry is concerned, I try my best to write from the heart centre. The root of my work is in the personal. And from there, it branches out and sometimes even merges with the political and the universal. I write so much about trauma, but it’s very scary for me to be limited to or defined by that. So I’d say my style of writing is mostly raw and delirious and fiercely vulnerable. Poetry is my way of daring the world to be fiercely, recklessly vulnerable with me. I think every poem is a riot, a wild dance, a sweet kiss. A beautiful, delicious thing.


Can you remember the first poem you wrote and what led to its creation?

I remember writing something very clichéd the first time I attempted it! Something about rising from the ashes like a phoenix, something of that sort. I don’t even have it with me anymore! But while it wasn’t something I really liked, it set the tone for my art. This poem laid the foundation for my voice, and made me realise I wanted to write from a place of courage and personal power.

What does Art mean to you?

Everything. It’s the love of my life.

We are grateful to have you onboard this most timely ISSUE with the theme- Boundless. Have you ever held back your gifts at some point, perhaps through self doubt or stage fright? Have you ever felt it ‘boxed’ by someone else or an experience? If so, how were you able to scale through this phase?

It happens once in a while. When I get really vulnerable with my art, I have a tendency to feel extremely exposed. More than self-doubt or stage fright, my biggest enemy as far as creating is concerned – has always been peeling off a new layer, scaling into the deeper worlds that I possess. Becoming a mirror to myself, and not hiding. Being real, being me, something I’ve spent years trying to love. I get over it by remembering this woman I met a few years back: it was 2015. She was writing all these dark, bleeding poems and throwing them at the world like they were explosives. She was feral and unashamed and definitely not uncomfortable with her grief. In fact, she sat on it like it was a palanquin, and she plundered through the forest of fears like she had nothing left to lose. I remember this version of me. Writing poetry was birthed from this very real place. This girl, I don’t ever want to stop being her. She was brave. Still is.

Creatives have been described as ones with the ability to feel things deeply. Living in a world full of so much chaos and uncertainties can no doubt be ‘a lot.’

I’m very often overwhelmed. I tend to have oversized emotions, meaning I feel joy and rage and grief uncontrollably. It gets so unbearable, and while it’s pretty on paper, it’s stressful to navigate life with. I make sure I protect my energy at all costs. The world is as cruel as it is beautiful, and while I love it, I also draw my boundaries with it.


In between all, we are grateful for creatives like you whose words shine a light in dark places (in the lives of people) Do you have quick tips for other creatives out there afraid to use their Art for just purposes. Perhaps unsure of what people may think. Or probably struggling with self doubt?

I get so awkward when I’m asked for advice. But here’s something I’m always reminding myself as a writer: write what you know, and write honestly, and write from a place of joy and love and compassion.

We have seen you speak on various societal issues. This is no doubt one of the bigger responsibilites that comes with being a creative with purpose. What would you consider most fulflling right now in your journey as a poet/writer?

I think what I really love about this writing journey is its healing and transformative power. Writing saved my life, that’s why I still write. I’m paying off a big debt to writing, because of what it did for me. I remember being nineteen and crying to Plath and Forough Farrokhzad. I felt so heard. When I write, I write for myself always: but knowing there’s a nineteen-year-old child out there (like me when I was in college), stumbling upon my work and feeling heard and sleeping peacefully after that…it makes me believe in miracles. That angels are real and poetry is one. That we are being guarded, that there are wombs we can hide in when it gets difficult.


How was growing up like?

Adventurous and a bit untamed. We bathed in canals. Chased each other barefoot, had thorns stuck to us all the time. I had some very special friends: lightning bugs, flowers, snakes. My grandfather was a storyteller and a teacher, and I spent most power cuts on his lap, tuned in to ghost myths and animal tales. And then there was the other half of it, which I spent in a city. It was quiet and fast and I must say, I had the best of both worlds. It’s one of the reasons why I can’t decide where I want to live, and always end up dividing my time between Kerala and Bombay.

Do you feel creatives in developed countries are at advantages than those in developing countries?

India has been colonised, robbed (if you look at the history of many other developing countries, you’ll see this pattern there as well). Tipu Sultan’s belongings were literally being auctioned. The West thinks we’re this land of belly dancers and snake charmers. When I went to England for Uni, I had this classmate say, ‘you speak English so well for an Indian.’ I was reading Said’s post colonial masterpiece, Orientalism, and I love it because it’s so on point about many things, especially about how representations are exploited. I often think about how even language plays into this propaganda: I love watching sports tournaments, but why does it have to be called The Commonwealth Games? Doesn’t ‘common wealth’ sound problematic? Whose common wealth are they talking about? It makes me so uncomfortable to even hear it. Anyway, what I’m getting at is…developed countries are far more privileged than developing countries in every way, not just with respect to the creative industry. Financially, opportunity-wise, standards of living wise, even academically (I’m talking about resources, classrooms, just everything)…it would be wrong of me to talk about my personal limitations as a creative person when there are so many bigger things to talk about, when it’s a conversation about privilege, you know?


Balancing work time and rest time is a struggle for many creatives. Please share a few tips on how you try to balance work time with rest time?

Writing is actually play time for me! I don’t think of it as work. But of course, even in a career like this, you find work that’s not as enjoyable as you want it to be. When that happens, I make myself a nice timetable. I take meditation breaks in between, there’s this really nice app I use called Insight Timer. I love spacing out of work to indulge in a moment of mindfulness. It’s my thing.

What does success mean to you?

Learning to do the right thing, even when it’s really hard. Being a good person.


Please briefy tell us something we do not know about Megha.

I love stamps. I have a stamp collection I’m very proud of.

Let’s go a little poetic: If poetry is a rainbow and you have a choice of one color in that palette, what would that be and why?

I’m going to be very rebellious here and say, the colour I’m looking for is not in that palette. To me, poetry is golden. Nothing else comes close.


Massive love Megha!

The ICONIC Team.

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