Learning to fly

Updated: Nov 23, 2019, 09:24 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A podcast has a SoBo poet talking about the experiences she gained after leaving the comfort of home

Natasha Malpani Oswal has been an immunologist and worked in impact investing
Natasha Malpani Oswal has been an immunologist and worked in impact investing

Living in South Bombay must sometimes feel like living in a different universe to some young people. They don't need to cross the geographical border at Lower Parel for any reason, because their world is ensconced within the parameters of their gated societies, private clubs and educational institutions. And they are happy living that sheltered existence. It's the only way of being that they have really known. But that's precisely what puts them at risk of being a frog in a well, or so says Natasha Malpani Oswal in her recently launched podcast, called Boundless.

In it, Oswal — who was that very SoBo person for the first 20 years of her life — talks about how her worldview changed after she shifted countries for higher studies, spreading her wings and learning to fly. She ended up spending 10 years in the UK and the US, returning to India only in 2018. And once she did, she started penning down her thoughts in the form of short poems since Oswal, whose day job is with a digital entertainment company, felt that it would help her re-adjust to life in the country. Those poems were later turned into a book, which is the basis for the podcast the 31-year-old started in October.

The episodes are pages in a personal diary, in effect. Oswal lays bare a wide gamut of human emotions she felt after she flew her SoBo nest.

These range from love and longing, to courage and uncertainty, to pride and prejudice. There's one, for instance, in which she talks about the importance of vulnerability as a human trait. She says that people rarely warm up to someone who comes across as Mr or Ms Perfect. Instead, we are drawn more to a person who doesn't, or isn't able to, hide his or her weaknesses. "Being vulnerable also helps us understand our own selves. It takes us time to really get a grasp on our thoughts. It's only when you open yourself up in front of the mirror can you see yourself being reflected for who you are," she says.

There are other episodes that deal with subjects like those pesky aunties at weddings who ask you questions like, "Beta, tum kab shaadi karoge?" Oswal starts each one with a poem she has written, and then goes on to discuss the piece, peppering her talk with slice-of-life observations and nuggets of wisdom. It's a self-help sort of podcast, in that sense. But at its core, it remains a product that was possible only because a 20-year-old SoBo girl migrated to a distant land to face her fears and, as a result, develop the emotional intelligence to translate her thoughts into verse.

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