Chirpy and Chatty - RJ Shezzi

Her voice wakes up most Hyderabadis every morning. Not only her signature line “Good morning, good morning”, lifts our spirits, but give us a fresh start! Mirchi Shezzi, as she is known as, is admired for her energy and joie de vivre.  Her relatability makes her a hot favourite with her listeners, making her one of the well-known radio jockeys in the twin cities. Her entry into Rj-ing was as unplanned as her shows on air — spontaneous and fun! To know more about Shezzi, we caught up with her for a candid conversation.

How did a Chartered Accountant become one of the most well-known voices in the city?
As much as I believe it all being accidental, it only happened as I trusted the flow of life and the Universe’s direction and grand plan. Almost four years as a radio presenter and now I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there are really no accidents in life!

You’ve been with Radio Mirchi since its inception in Hyderabad. Tell us more…
The show has pretty much been my baby and has come a long way. Well, technically, I’ve come a long way. I had zero experience and was so frightened and hesitant to talk because I was mortally afraid of blunders I might commit; it is, after all, a live show! And to be brutally honest, I was awful! Since I had no radio background, I didn’t know what set template to follow, and so I just started having real conversations with my listener friends. The funny thing is that my lack of radio experience worked in my favour. People connected with that and the show took off and how! 

We covered current events, we spoke about world news, and then I started talking about things that mattered to me. Traditionally we are told radio is all about entertainment, but then I realised that people also needed to have real conversations. So I started questioning and talking about ‘non-traditional’ radio things. From homosexuality to the quality of education in our country; from women’s safety to the environment – if something needed to be addressed, I took it up.

Tell us about a campaign that was closest to your heart?
We created a campaign called ‘Let There Be Light’. We spoke about women’s safety, every single day for a couple of months. I took to colleges and institutions where I’d sit and talk to young students; sharing my views and hearing their stories. We pushed the entire city to stand up for our own safety. We got maps of the city printed and put these up at various locations; KBR Park, metro stations, malls etc. along with different coloured pins. The aim was to ask people to pin the location where they felt that there was a lot of eve-teasings, where they felt that there were inadequate street lights, and where they felt the roads were so bad that you would invariably have to slow your two-wheeler down, thus making you vulnerable. This data was collated and shared with the GHMC and the Hyderabad SHE Teams, and both departments gave us their complete assistance. Repairs were carried out, street lights installed in some areas, ‘nuisance spot’s’ identified and cleared, and roads repaired. 

What is your USP?
I try to keep it real, as much as possible. And I genuinely love interacting with people; making new friends. That I think has held me in good stead. I’ve realised that people are incredibly discerning and perceptive; you can ‘fake it to make it’ only up to a certain level.

How is ‘Work-From-Home’ planning out for you?
Ever since the lockdown began, I haven’t taken a single day off (as most people would’ve realised by now, it’s more work when you’re at home!) we have a lighter version of the software we use in office; the software on my laptop, my microphone and a quiet space is all I need to do my show. Fortunately, it starts early enough in the morning for there to be a few disturbances. And over the last few months, I have learnt to incorporate the sounds from outside, be it my dog barking or even the doorbell ringing! I just pause, apologise and continue talking, and people have also enjoyed that little disturbance. It makes it real. 

How different is Shezzi inside and outside a radio station?
Exactly the same! And before you think I’m indulging in a spot of self-aggrandisement, I’ve been told this on numerous occasions! There are certain aspects of my private life that I tend to keep private, but for the most part, everything you see and hear, is pretty much how I am in real life too. Boisterous, really chatty, quick to anger and equally quick to calm down. Emotional and sometimes just a little bit extra. Oh, and did I mention chatty? Yup, very chatty!        ---- as told to Anahita