Visually-challenged Shifna Mariyam’s YouTube radio ‘Minnaminni’ is a platform for unknown talents from Kerala

“Hi, hello, here is ‘minnum tharam’ (twinkling star) on Minnaminni online radio. With her, is me RJ Shifna,” says Shifna Mariyam in her clear voice and a intentionally pretend accent. She goes on to introduce a singer in Minnum Tharam, one of many programmes of the channel. “It is to introduce hidden talents who might fade away for want of opportunities. If I have reached anywhere, it is thanks to several people who encouraged me and never sympathised with me. Through my radio Minnaminni (which means ‘firefly’ in Malayalam), I want all talented people to have a chance to showcase their abilities,” says the 20-year-old.

Singers, musicians and mimicry artistes have participated in her radio. Shifna admits that research and work meant she couldn’t submit all that many episodes on her channel however the lockdown has given her the time to focus on her channel. At current, a new submit is added on alternate days.

A budding author and poet, Shifna has additionally featured a few of her tales on the channel. ‘Symphony’, a brief story written by her, was included within the channel as an audio story. “Since I am a mimicry artiste, I enacted the entire story myself. ‘Malakha’ (angel), presented along with two other voice artistes, and ‘Nanmamaram’ were also broadcast on the channel. All won appreciation,” she says. ‘Top Ten PSC’ is a brief and crisp one for these making ready for examinations performed by the Kerala Public Service Commission.

The nearly-one-year-old on-line radio has 600-plus subscribers and options talents from throughout Kerala. Shifna herself is a star in her personal proper and is a five-time winner of the Kerala State School Youth Festival.

Being unbiased

Shifna says she has at all times had an ear for accents and sound and so was in a position to mimic individuals and audioscapes to perfection. Visually-challenged from beginning, Shifna says her amma (mom), Shahina, is the explanation for her success as a result of she by no means let her really feel any completely different or sympathised together with her. “It is true that my mother has to ferry me around but she made it clear that I would have to learn to be independent and not expect others to keep helping me,” asserts Shifna.

Her sunny perspective and musical expertise received her observed in main college. But since her mom discovered it tough to juggle her many obligations, Shifna needed to cease her music classes. But not one to cry over misplaced alternatives, Shifna shifted to mimicry and made it proper to the highest. As a newbie, Shifna used to put in writing her personal scripts and dialogues however as soon as she saved bagging prizes in her class, famous mimicry artiste Kalabhavan Pradeep contacted her and provided to shine her innate expertise. “That was when I was in class 10 and had won the second prize and A grade in district-level competition,” she recollects.

Since then, she has had mentors in Pradeep, Kalabhavan Noushad and Kallara Anzar. Her achievement and confidence have gained her recognition in tv exhibits and programmes. Hoping to do her commencement in Malayalam, Shifna says that she is aiming to take the Union Public Service Examination after her post-graduation in Malayalam.

Does she have a message to convey? “Yes, don’t feel sorry for those challenged by any kind of disability. If such children are given a wee bit of help, they will do as well as any other children, if not better than them. We don’t want sympathy but we need empathy and opportunities,” she says.

Often, such kids should not given sufficient consideration. But she feels that whereas colleges for the blind train them Braille and do a good job in instructing these with visible challenges, Shifna, a former scholar of a college for the blind herself, explains that most of the colleges don’t make the scholars proficient in English. “That puts us at a disadvantage. I feel we would do much better if we had integrated schools. Visually-challenged children need not necessarily go to blind schools only. Schools like Jyothirgamaya can work wonders for us,” she avers.

After her Plus Two, Shifna was coached by visually-challenged activist Tiffany Brar, who has begun a college, Jyothirgamaya, for these with comparable difficulties. Tiffany used to go to Shifna’s dwelling within the suburbs of Thiruvananthapuram and taught her Braille and use of computer systems.

Before she hangs up, I request her for a picture of hers. She asks if WhatsApp will do. When I request her for a picture to be mailed, she says she would attempt as she can be doing it for the primary time. Five minutes later, the images land in my mailbox.

Another first for this decided lady with a dream to pursue!

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