There was a time when Instagram was a non-entity and just a photo-sharing application. But the emergence of the social media as a tool to bring about a change has strengthened IG's presence as more than just a mobile utility.
Of late, Instagram has even cradled platforms that cater to the literary fondness of social media users.
One such poetry blog is that of Chhaya Dabas' 'Baatein' -- bass yun hi.
Baatein, Dabas tells India TV, is a confluence of poetry, stories, and conversations.
Founded by Dabas in 2014 as a poetry blog, it today functions as a robust and engaging platform where many contribute "conversations" to the ever-enhancing dais of stories.
Bass yun hi, we got in touch with the young lady who has been inspiring others with her story of recovering from a life threatening condition to becoming the founder of one of the most sought after IG platforms for poetry, story telling and podcasts.
A cancer survivour, Chhaya Dabas is no run-of-the-mill adolescent. She has taken her passion for conversations to notable platforms such as TEDx (Manipal), Under25 Summit, Aiesec, Indian Youth Festival, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Josh Talks to name a few.
"I have spoken about my cancer several times. People till date ask me why I did not remove the scar from my left leg [A lump in Chhaya's left foot, almost ten years ago, was detected to be malignant]. And I always reply that is my personal tattoo. And I will flaunt it. Because, why not?" Chhaya Dabas tells India TV.
She adds, "At that time [13 years of age], I blamed nature and God. But then my doctor asked me to look at the silver lining. So many people suffer a lot. At least my cancer was diagnosed at an early stage. So the removal and subsequent treatment became easier. That experience gave me stories; for I found my relief and refuge in stories. That gave me strength. And I am what I am -- emotional -- because of that experience.
"The experience also taught me to be a good listener. A good conversation demands you to be a good listener. And I wasn't that. I gradually became one."
Experiences refine emotions, they say. So, did she exalt in happiness when she was informed she would speak at TedX Manipal? Or was the news expected?
"I remember when I got the news, I was travelling by a car and was in the middle of a busy highway. They told me over the phone and I shrieked in joy. There was a car running parallel to ours. They actually asked us if everything was fine," Chhaya tells India TV.
But why Baatein? Bollywood much?
"When we began thinking of an appropriate name for the platform, there were many ideas. We zeroed in on Baatein because we found it unique. Conversations are very important. Chhoti ho ya badi, baatein ka silsila chalta rahta hai. And everybody contributes to the conversations some way or the other. Everyone can connect with the term," Dabas says.
She adds, "We began this journey in 2014 when I was in college and since then, our community has only grown by leaps and bounds.
"I am a writer at heart. At Baatein, I began sharing my poetry. We wanted to create an alternate platform where people could come and share their stories and poetry, irrespective of the demographics, and without any inhibitions."
But, in a country like India, where people's memory is so short-lived and the attention span is even shorter, does she believe a career on Instagram provides a lifetime guarantee?
"We need to understand that the social media is not platform driven. It is usage driven. If two people open their Facebook accounts at the same time, their respective feeds would be entirely different from one another. Because if you follow a gossip page, or a Science page, your feed will automatically adapt to the likes and dislikes," Chhaya says.
She adds: "We constantly need to innovate. If we stop doing it, if we don't change according to the changing demands, we will become redundant. The sustainability lies in innovation.
"Social media users also need to look at how they are contributing to the conversation. A 'Like' might not be that effective. The contribution has to be qualitative."
Sky seems to be the limit for this 24-year-old who is nothing but wisdom and poetry packed in one deadly combination. Isn't it?
"We don't have any big plans as such. But of course, we want Baatein to grow. Beyond Delhi. Maybe beyond the country. In five years from now, I wish everyone knows Baatein," Chhaya says.
She adds, "Baatein Cafe is something I have envisioned for -- where people can come and just have a conversation. And we have started working towards that too."
Baatein, as the constantly increasing number of its followers says, continues to explore and create routes for poetry and story telling -- and as, 'we are growing -- step by step, day by day and conversation by conversation', Chhaya Dabas rightly puts.