“Stories, poetry, and writing have played a pivotal role in my life while growing up. So, I felt that if that allowed me to express and communicate better, then why not share that with others around me,” says Chhaya Dabas (26). Her initiative, Baatein—a confluence of poetry, stories, and conversations—was founded virtually in 2014. An avid writer, Dabas aimed at using poetic communication to build a community of like-minded creative people.
An alumnus of Delhi University, Dabas launched Baatein in her second year of college inspired by the activities she indulged in as part of the Hindi Dramatic Society. She says, “I was amazed at the impact that communications had on people in theatre. We used to perform street plays; it is very dynamic since it requires scripts, poetry, as well as jingles to keep people entertained,” says Dabas. She enjoyed being part of something that allowed discourse on serious topics, “I realised there are different ways to communicate ideas. Baatein began with that idea; we could write poetry, tell stories, and even engage with people through the art of conversation,” she adds. Initially, the community included other students from Delhi University who shared stories and experiences at weekly or even bi-monthly meetings.
The power of words
The venture was branded as a creative communications boutique in 2016. With an office space at Chhatarpur, Baatein is now helmed by Manasi Prabhakaran—she is the content and community lead—with Dabas as an advisor, along with a core team of five. They use storytelling and poetry to help brands connect with their audiences by conducting open mics, poetry events, and communication skills development workshops. Baatein also has a podcast; personalities such as singer-songwriter Dhruv Vishvanath, Young India Foundation founder Sudhanshu Kaushik, among others, have shared their stories through this medium.
Baatein also works with schools and colleges, across the country as well as brands. “Our workshops are subjective, customised and tailor-made to the requirement at hand,” mentions Dabas. Baatein has also collaborated with a number of people from the creative circuit in the country. Earlier, they would organise a monthly open mic and bi-quarterly workshop where they invite many personalities.