Student Leader Interview - Navya Kumar from Miranda House





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1) Tell us more about your role & responsibilities at your college.

Miranda House has a very vibrant cultural heritage. As President of The Ariels, the English Theatre Society of Miranda House, my principal responsibility is to engage with differential concerns for a common goal; that of realising the society’s collective artistic vision. This process consists of several stages, encompassing various departments like Lights, Sounds, Production, Directors and Actors. The scary (but equal parts fun) aspect of this role is that every practice, every performance reveals to you some new responsibility associated with the job; sometimes it’s prompt action to fix broken/misplaced props right before a performance, a lot more times it’s the discussion (read: scolding) session afterwards, trying to figure out how and why we found ourselves in that position in the first place. 

Every so often, it is making the tough trade-off between staying true to our extravagant production aesthetics, against practical considerations like budgetary restraints. On the worst days, it is sitting through harsh feedback and formulating a subsequent game plan. On other better ones, it is receiving praise for your team’s win. The job, like the art form, is dynamic and ever changing.


2) What is it like to juggle between a leadership role and normal college life?

At this point, the society comprises and defines my college life. The definition of ‘normal’ has effectively transformed itself to see college from ‘Ariels-coloured glasses’; after all, who’s to say whether asking your class friends for potential sponsor contacts for your society’s annual festival first thing on seeing them after a two-month long vacation break is normal or not. (It’s not.) 


3) Do  you enjoy the kind of influence you hold at such a young age?

Delhi University cultural societies are known for the professional platform they provide at such an early stage for students to express their ideas and tell their stories. To hold a leadership position in this sphere and to wield influence over a talented, perceptive bunch of women such as my team is truly a privilege. It also becomes exceedingly important to use this influence ethically, and as the saying goes, understand the burden of its responsible exercise. I have always maintained that being President has been a microcosmic workshop in public management and policy in itself. 


4) Do you have a message for parents to allow their kids to do things besides academics?

I think there has been ample discourse underscoring the benefits and importance of taking part in extra-curricular activities and projects besides academics. The one message I would like to give to parents on the topic would thus be to let their children take up that commitment which “may not look good on their CV”. To pursue crafts only to monetize and capitalize on them and further the over-arching academic considerations defeats the whole point of the engagement. Enjoying a craft is a necessary as well as sufficient condition to continue the process. 


5) What did you do in your current role that makes you feel really proud of yourself?

Proud moments in Theatre are rarely ever on a one-person merit, so I would instead talk about an incident that saw our whole team overcoming a tough situation. IIT Kanpur’s famed theatre festival was a mere 5 days away when unfortunately our lead actor had to be hospitalized with Dengue. One of the directors, a non-actor, had to replace her. Nevertheless, we went for the competition, placed third for Best Play, and won two Best Actor awards. The days leading up to it were presidential nightmares requiring intuitive insights, innovative solutions and necessitating constant morale boosters, but it was worth it. 



6)What is your message to encourage students to do internships and attend conferences?

Experiences are irreplaceable. Learning can never happen in vacuum and it is crucial to engage with the causes in the real world in order to champion them. 

Internships and conferences provide access to spaces of easy flow of ideas, and may enhance clarity regarding a future career path. They serve as excellent tools to gain hands-on experience and expose one to novel ideas of the world. Investment in said experiences, especially during one’s formative college years, helps to break out of the echo chambers that social media has reduced our interactions to. It fosters multi-dimensional and critical thinking abilities.
Student Leader Interview - Navya Kumar from Miranda House Student Leader Interview - Navya Kumar from Miranda House Reviewed by EMN on January 14, 2020 Rating: 5

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