Words of worth: Instagram star Tuheena Raj on her journey as a poet on social media
For many of us, days begin and end with social media, be it memes, videos, or updates from friends. Tired of the same old recycled posts and routine, Tuheena Raj, a 24-year-old from New Delhi, decided to change things.
Tuheena grew up an avid reader, and was always on the lookout for new stories from books and people alike. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, she explored her interest for poetry and finally decided to share her work with the world in 2016 through Instagram, as an extension of a college project.
Going by the name WordsofWorth, Tuheena was initially apprehensive about disclosing her identity, but once she put a face to her work, recognition came quick. People found her poems relatable, and her audience started growing. Today, she has over 147,000 followers on Instagram, and the number steadily increases.
“I wanted to create content that went beyond the superficial surface level; to give social media users a moment to stop and introspect. Since Instagram is one of the most popular apps around the world, it gets people’s attention. I wanted to see literature and writing in the spotlight once again,” Tuheena explains.
The world is her canvas
For Tuheena, inspiration doesn’t come from specific places or people; it’s everywhere. On her creative process, she says:
“There is never a single source of creativity. It is either observed or perceived, or created through emotional experiences of the writer. I find my inspiration in everyday things. I weave poetry around things that need to be spoken about - body positivity, mental health awareness, the LGBTQI+ community, and the rights of minority groups.”
Through her art, Tuheena wants to start conversations around subjects that people usually brush under the carpet.
Less is more
Poetry, to Tuheena, is release of raw emotions layered with metaphors, and has a deep meaning that impacts both the poet and reader as they break it down.
“I believe depth can be achieved through brevity. I want to speak less but say the most powerful things at the same time. Poetry helps me find a way to bind my imagination with my sensitivity, and present a real picture. It also helps me empower others through words,” she says.
Tuheena is also a spoken-word poet, and has performed across various stages, including IMT Ghaziabad, IIFT Delhi, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Platform for Artists, Indian Taleways, and many colleges affiliated to Delhi University.
Overcoming dry spells
Like every creative person, Tuheena too faces roadblocks and dull days. On how she overcomes this, she says:
“Ideas and thoughts need replenishment, and our minds need to unwind to be able to create more content. Reading inspiring books and poems, and engaging in good conversations always help me churn out better work.”
Love and criticism
Tuheena often receives messages from readers who say her poetry soothes them when they’re having bad days, or are depressed. She says she still cannot fully comprehend the sheer size and value of the love she gets. “It’s a tsunami of warmth from people I don’t even know. It’s beautiful,” she adds.
Although Tuheena has not faced much criticism, she understands that it only helps enhance the creative process.
“Once you put your work out there for the world to see, there is no escaping judgment. I have received some criticism, and I have always taken it with a pinch of salt. If the critique is constructive and helpful, I have no qualms in learning from it and improving my work,” she says.
Words of worth and the future
Having spent most of her life writing and perfecting her technique, Tuheena has five tips for budding poets: “be original, decide your pace, don’t compare your work to others, be grateful for the little milestones, and take care of your creative health.”
She also says it’s important to take breaks when needed and give oneself time to understand the process, because creativity is not a race.
What does she see in the future?
“I want to go beyond poetry and be a thought leader to introduce people to habits like sustainable living and practising gratitude, so that they can start contributing towards the greater good."