16-year-old Instagrammer Meethika Dwivedi | Photo: @the_sound_blaze | Instagram
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To call Meethika Dwivedi, 16-year-old Lucknow teenager, an Instagram influencer is a huge disservice. She is simultaneously the voice of ‘boomers’, millennials and Gen-Z rolled into one, and embodies raw, unadulterated ‘UP pride’. And she is followed by Arbaaz Khan, Anurag Kashyap and Priyanka Chopra to name just a few. She is a student of Loyola International school and knows all the gaalis that the entire Uttar Pradesh uses. She is like the Shakespearean ‘wise fool’ who spares no one.

Meethika has close to two million followers. You might think being an Instagram influencer is not a big deal anymore. What is, though, is how Meethika has revolutionised content creation, especially through her rustic language and a street-smart delivery style.

Her Instagram live with actor Aparshakti Khurana has over 2.5 million views. When Khurana asked her where she draws inspiration for her content, Meethika said, “Yeh bahaut normal daily life se pakadte hain. Aap relate karein aur jo meri gali mein ladka tehel raha hai, woh bhi relate kar le (I pick things up from the everyday life, so that both you and the guy going about in my neighbourhood can relate).” And that is precisely the appeal of her content – relatability. It offers the local flavour as well as the ‘family flavour’.

In one of her videos, Meethika roasts the nibba nibbi culture, riffing on girls doting on their boyfriends who are “at least seven years elder”, for whom they go ‘Mera baby, mera babu’. “‘Mere babu ne khana khaya?’ Tumhara babu maar ke insaan kha jaaye usko bhookh lage toh.”

She takes on ‘taus’ (elder uncles) for their sexist views. And on guys who ask girls to send “ul jalool photos”. You know what will happen if you do? “Maare khushand peethi pe aante nikal aayein, gale mein lapitwa ke hula-hoop khilwayein usi se.” Stalkers and creeps, you have been warned.

Meethika lives in Lucknow and currently holds more than 100 medals and trophies, which also include major events like UP Yuva awards and entry in Guinness World Records book.


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The appeal of Meethika’s ‘Sound Blaze’

I recently spoke to a friend who is also from Uttar Pradesh. He and I often forward each other Meethika’s latest videos or her Instagram stories. I asked him, what was her appeal for him as someone from the region? He said that the lingo Meethika uses is something he has grown up hearing around him. It is a ‘UP pride’ thing, according to him, where guys, no matter what their physical strength, would threaten to beat the other person to pulp.

But in the hands of Meethika, that patriarchal, male-dominated space of threats becomes both fun and funny – with the message being quite clear. Essentially, she manages to subvert a male way of speaking in UP into her own unique brand of comedy. The fact that she is a kid, and does it with a smile, takes away the intimidation aspect and puts it into a brand of comedy that, at least right now, is entirely her own.

The other appeal is probably that she seamlessly switches between Hindi and English, and how she doesn’t take herself seriously, often making use of herself as the butt of her own jokes, especially in Q&A sessions on her handle.

And her videos on romance and dating scene appear to be the most popular, be they the ones where she comments on types of lovers, or a unique sketch in which she recreates a comic version of a very Bollywood-style love story gone wrong.


Also read: How Instagram reels is a mirror to modern casteism in India


Dialoguebaazi/Gyanbaazi and social commentary

The song ‘Bajre da Sitta’ had once taken Instagram reels by storm, with users in droves putting up a ‘transformation’ reel of themselves, either in terms of everyday clothes and being dressed up, or the ‘then and now’ images highlighting the weight loss. At some point, it was almost impossible to escape the song the moment one opened reels. And Meethika gave her two cents on it.

She said, ‘Yeh auratein milke planning karti hain ke ek gaane ko tab tak milke jhilaenge jab tak yeh gaana rat ko aake pareshan na kar de (Women conspire to overuse a song till it starts haunting them at nights).” She also does not spare content creators and says, ‘Didi, aap har gaane mein same kam karti hai (you do the same thing in every reel)”, which is the ‘glow up’ transformation through clothes and makeup. I have to agree, they really do.

It is not like she spares men. On ‘Tarasti hai nigahe’ or ‘how I yearn for you’ and she asks the men, “andher nagri chaupat raja jaisi shakal hai tumhari, tumara dil kaun tod gaya? Aukaad mein raho.”

From commenting on how people often like to look at others’ phones, and feel no shame while doing so, to ‘gold-diggers’ and PDA/romance of couples, Meethika’s incisive takes spare no one, especially when it comes to romance.

She talks about Valentine’s Day and the culture of buying gifts, and says ‘Valentine ata aur ladke shehzaade ban jate. Jo ladke ghar se doodh ke do do rupaye gayab karte hai, woh bhi apne girlfriend ko chaar feet ka teddy bear gift karta hai” (Men on Valentine’s Day gift 4-feet-tall teddy bears to their girlfriends, while on other days, they scam two rupees buying milk for home).”

And to girlfriends – ‘Jab amma ko pata chalega tumhara babu tumhare ko aake galla nu touch karta hai, kya hoga bitiya rani?”, which is a take on Neha Kakkar’s song going viral with women making reels with their significant others’ about them touching their cheeks, and what their mothers would do if they found out about it.


Also read: New Dalit women autobiographies are opening up private, intimate spaces, rewriting history


Collaborations

‘DM/Email to collaborate’ is a very common sentence in the bio of every content creator. But for Meethika, the collaborations have been very significant. Her recent video, in which she responds to a sexist man, talks about how we need to do better to bring equality among genders. She ends it with the announcement of a collaboration with Zee.

Even Amazon has recently signed a contract with her to share her videos in 2021, and Swiggy too signed her on to promote their 7th birthday.

Meethika’s growth as a creator, both in terms of followers and the content itself, is remarkable. She is like a potent kamikaze of talent, and you will find something new to laugh at every time you watch and re-watch her videos. And I say – like, share and subscribe to this unique bundle of creativity.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Prashant Dixit)

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