Not just her style of presentation, there's a lot more that makes RJ Abhinaya unique

Abhinaya does not display the peculiarities unique to FM radio hosts. Her performance lacks the whacky irreverence and tone of conspiratorial closeness, widely adopted by presenters today. She has shown that an RJ can be entertaining by just mouthing simple, but deeply felt and neatly framed poems.

While her self-crafted presentation style has ensured Abhinaya a steady flow of fan mail, the odds she has overcome in her personal life has earned her the respect of colleagues at Aahaa FM (91.9). Abhinaya is vision-impaired and comes from a nuclear family. Her father is a tailor and her mother, a home maker. Until Abhinaya started earning, the family struggled to make ends meet.

After completing her Class XII exams, Abhinaya responded to an advertisement announcing vacancies for female presenters. One of the few applicants who impressed the judges, Abhinaya's poem 'Chinna Chinna Asaigal' reaped rich praise. Now, her two-hour programme (from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., on all week days) is titled "Chinna Chinna Asaigal".

Relaying the melodious songs of Ilaiyaraja and other stalwarts, the programme is punctuated with sweet little poems. Sample this: "Don't call me a flower, I'll dry up; Don't call me a deer, I'll run away; Don't call me a moon, I'll wane away; Call me a shadow, I'll be with you always."

Abhinaya's colleagues at Aahaa FM say she takes just 15 minutes to prepare for the two-hour programme. Each day, she ensures the programme revolves around a particular concept.

Many of her listeners have become her friends and unknowingly helped her become more outgoing. Actor Vijay has had a hand in building her self-confidence. "I used to slip into depression and was a loner, until I began to watch his films," says Abhinaya.

Her dream is to get him as a guest on her show. Other dreams include getting a degree in English literature and enrolling for a course at Music College.

As she sent in her applications late, Abhinaya could not join any college and is looking forward to the next academic year. The free time must help her build on her popularity as "an RJ who speaks in Haiku".


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