Decoding loneliness

Published: Jan 10, 2020, 07:00 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

A new podcast discusses the country's growing problem with isolation in no-holds-barred fashion

What is it that makes cities, dense melting pots of civilisation, prone to loneliness? What is loneliness? What are its physical manifestations? The first episode of a new podcast, Lost Connections that was released on December 24, attempts to answer these questions and address this growing concern. Produced by The Curio-City Collective, a learning ecosystem, hosts Deepika Khatri and Arpita Joshi (both directors at the organisation) speak to city-dwellers about well-being, once every fortnight.

Arpita Joshi

In its first episode, content producer Sonia Thomas and journalist Sandhya Menon speak about their own experiences. The episode aptly begins with a quote from Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City, ‘What does it feel like to be lonely? It feels like being hungry: like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast. It feels shameful and alarming, and over time these feelings radiate outwards, making the lonely person increasingly isolated, increasingly estranged.’ There on, it continues to break it down for listeners — the feeling, its implications and the means to deal with it.

Arpita Khatri

The format begins as an interview, with the free-flowing conversation only being interrupted by snappy mid-sentence edits. There are poignant moments when Menon (Bangalore-based) speaks of her condition with regard to the city and Thomas, a Mumbaikar, talks of the sea and her relationship with it. Cities, Menon says, despite being densely populated, are capable of magnifying the condition. This is what lies at the heart of the episode.

In the last section, Thomas and Menon discuss the role of the Internet with regard to the condition. What it lacks in structure, Lost Connections makes up for in information. We only wish it didn’t end as abruptly and had more content on available resources instead of turning listeners to a tab on the website.

The next episode will feature Aparna Joshi and Tanuja Babre of Initiating Concern for All (iCALL) by the School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.


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