“I wear many hats,” explains Pramada Menon who is a consultant, professional trainer, filmmaker and a social activist. So what will she be doing in the city? A stand-up comic act at the Godrej India Culture Lab, which Menon likes to recognise as a political act. Thus, we get talking about her piece Fat, Feminist and Free that she has been performing across the country since 2007.

Pramada Menon
Pramada Menon

The 30-minute performance is themed on gender diversity while looking at its presence at work. Menon, who co-founded Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action in 2008, talks about how gender is played out in a workspace, “I look at the polarisation between men and women that happens at the work place, and produce situations that we end up laughing at.

For instance, when a man says, ‘You are looking good today. You should wear skirts more often,’ is told to be taken as a compliment. If the woman doesn’t do that, she is said to be uptight. Whereas you never see a woman going up to a man saying that you look great in this suit and your ass looks really nice.’ ”

Taking a pause, Menon mentions that this however, shouldn’t become a war. “We should be able to work together without focussing on what’s between our legs,” she quips in a flash. Menon finds humour a handy tool through which she hopes to break gender stereotypes.

Basing the piece on her experiences, Menon explains that the title of the piece confronts the reality; she elaborates, “You don’t say fat in real life. You say healthy. If you say feminist to someone, they think you are a man-hater or bra-burner types.”

Unsettling the norm, Menon resists adhering to just being called a performer. “I do few performances but they are more as a political context. In our country stand-up comedy is only looked at as a commercial act.” The New Delhi-based freelancer who has performed in the city earlier, in 2008, says that every performance of hers is new and unique.