Vanity is popular on Instagram. Scrolling through the app you see the world that seems too perfect to be true. Pictures that seem too lovely. And in this perfect world of beauty and luxury, it is easy to get lost and to wonder if reality is really a thing at all. But then there are writings, words that show you that life is more than the glam and the perfection. Behind these words are Instagram writers who have been wielding their pens, or in this case their letters on the screen and bringing magic to life. We caught up with 8 Instagram writers whom you need to follow if you don’t already. We ask them how they manage to stay sane through the cacophony of the world.
Writing: A form of liberation?
Kaushiki Saraswat/ Ibaarat (@kaushiki.saraswat_ibaarat) is a page and stage writer and poet. “On most days what makes me really happy is how that stranger on the footpath actually held eye contact for 2 seconds and smiled back as openly as I did, or what I hold close is the kindness of that cabin crew female who wrapped me in fleece on a cold flight while I was asleep.”
“Life inspires me to write. I feel that as humans we’ve been taught to run behind the big stuff- gold medals, fortune making companies, Olympics, prestigious positions in top league universities and this is brilliant. But in all this running we forget that all that we miss and crave for is home-made food, our pets waiting for us, our mom’s hands on our foreheads, our dad’s long drives, our partner’s snuggles.” - Kaushiki Saraswat
Kaushiki began writing after she knew that she wouldn’t be able to play the sport she had always wanted to professionally because she had hurt herself. Writing was a way of figuring out what she would be without that sport.
“I want to learn the small words, the words that escape our vocabulary because they barely fit our tongues. I don’t write while I am feeling something. I marvel at things and observe myself marvel at them. I write about things that matter to me because that’s where I’ll be my most honest self,” she says.
“I write about living alone, being an only child, being a female who has been living independently for 8 years, what I miss about home, how I create a home, how people who I loved turned out to be opposite of what I thought they were, how despite that; I have people who I love the most now, how every new place I visit greets me with rainbows. Simply put, I write about the small things. Because that is what I’ve needed on my most difficult days and best days. And if I don’t cherish them, who will?”
Is Instagram good for writers?
With the social media platform becoming a world in itself, there has always been a niche for artists, performers, and those who are engaged in visual works. It has always been a platform that was famous for its visuals but now has surprisingly turned into a cosy space for writers across the globe. Meera Vijayann (@meeravijayann) is a writer and essayist based in Seattle, USA. She writes essays that explore the intersection of mental health and womanhood. Speaking of how the process unfolded, she says she is inspired by the mundanity of life.
“In my twenties, I was focused a lot on my work and career. I was a freelance journalist for several years and spent a lot of time looking at how people are affected by issues. But eventually, I burned out. That forced me to step back and inspired me to do writing that is rooted in self-exploration and mental health.”
“People often think mental health is just about studying psychology or seeking therapy. Therapy is, of course, very important. But mental health is so much more than that.” - Meera Vijayann
Meera writes about how everyday life affects her and digs deep into the small moments that linger in her mind. “Relationships. Loneliness. Boredom. Guilt. Uncertainty. Traffic. Food,” she recounts the list of things she loves penning words on. “By writing essays that are anchored in daily life, I hope to break the deep stigma around mental health in our community.”
What do Instagram writers write about?
That is the best part about following writers on Instagram. You get a peek into a vast variety of worlds that intersect and digress, and you just never know which words will hit the right chord in you. Garima Bhatt (@sinfulxsouls) is a writer and poet based out of Mumbai. She enjoys reading books, sipping tea and making Spotify playlists whenever the mood strikes and started writing young. “Initially it was essays and short stories. Then I progressed to writing poems and microfiction, followed by a stint in novel writing.”
“I write about love, or at least my interpretation of it. Life and my experiences as an average individual who wants more from it. And living in general.” - Garima Bhatt
Writing is a great way of expressing and exploring yourself, she says.
Why are Instagram writers gaining popularity?
Are you a believer in the magic of words getting people through their day? If that is you, the Instagram writers will get you to believe in the brighter side of things. Prashant (@aliterarysoul) is one of them. He says words are the only wealth he possesses. “I had always felt a keen desire to write in my school days. I used to write silly poems back then. What intrigued me always was how something as light as a paper could hold the entire lives of people, their stories, their trauma. It was in college that I realised for the first time that writing is something I really want to pursue.”
“What inspires me to write is life, what it bequeaths, all the good and bad, big and small things.” - Prashant
“I like to write about loneliness,” he says. “The things that slip by, the unnoticed ones. The melancholy. The things that almost happened. I write for the old souls. For the kids. For the anxious and for the depressed. For hopeless romantics and for the philosophists. I write for hope and for colours and for all the things that evade us. Sometimes I write for my friends and sometimes for myself.”
Activism through writing?
When the system around us isn’t functioning as well as it should be and there are unanswered questions, the writers put things into perspective with their words. It does make you question whether the happenings around are justified and if not, whether you should play the part of a mere spectator or do something about it. Activism through writing is a powerful tool for change.
Kavya Lakhani is a student of literature and has been studying since fifth grade, upon being inspired by a teacher. “I usually write about things that bother me as an individual, as a student, as an adult in the society and once in a while, as a citizen.”
Do the writers only write about love?
Likhari (@likhari) is a poet based in New Delhi. He majorly writes verse in Hindi, Urdu Punjabi and Brajh. He works, writes and identifies only through his takhallus (pen name).
“I don’t look for inspiration to write. I write what I feel. I don’t sit to write. Thoughts naturally come to my mind and I don’t complicate them by adding difficult words. I just polish it and present it to my audience. My poetry is very easy to understand and articulate.”
“People think poets only write about love and heartbreak. But, that isn't true because my poetry is not limited to only some concepts or experiences. I write about anything and everything. Love, heartbreak, poverty, circumstances, social hierarchies, patriarchy and life.” - Likhari
He says everything around you is poetry and it is the way you articulate and understand all of it that is what writing is.
What is the inspiration that these Instagram writers have?
Aishwarya Roy (@aish_whereya_at) says that throughout history, poetry has been a tool of self-expression and communication. “Writing came to me when I was a child, the day my mind couldn't safe keep the myriad thoughts anymore. People inspire me to write. Historical events, scientific equations, and political possibilities are my muse.”
““I believe there is no difference between a poet and a freedom fighter. My poems speak a lot, about things my mouth cannot.” - Aishwarya Roy
Being political was never this writer’s choice because her poem has seen children playing with bricks, bones, guns. “It has grown out of red aluminous soil, the way poppies and widows grow, out of dead bodies. Desperation fuels my poetry, as the sky bleeds upon me and becomes the ink I write history with.”
How does poetry strike?
For Nilesh Mondal (@hungover.hamlet), an engineer-turned-MBA professional by choice and a poet by chance, poetry happened to him just when life seemed to be going all downhill. “My friend was studying poetry from the Beat generation and Hungryalist movement, and he thought it’d be something I’d find inspiration from. It took me a while to gather enough courage to take that leap from being a reader to an aspiring poet, but I have had the fortune of being helped and mentored by some wonderful people along the way.”
“The inspiration for my writing comes from a myriad number of sources; it can be from a newspaper headline, a conversation, or a book I’m reading.” - Nilesh Mondal
Nilesh has his focus on telling stories that are easy to miss, from communities that are marginalized and ignored. “The attempt is to bring a little bit of the real world into the view of readers, even if it is done through fiction. So, while my first book (Degrees of Separation, 2017) dealt mostly with anti-war and socio-political poetry, my last book (Invisible Cemeteries, 2019) was a collection of travel poetry from different cities/towns across the Indian geography.”