The pleasure seekers

Updated: Apr 18, 2020, 08:20 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

A Bengaluru-based theatre artiste is using social media for a nightly erotica reading series on Instagram.

Anuja Ghosalkar
Anuja Ghosalkar

Every night at 11 pm, a voice greets you. One that will take you on an erotic journey of your own with a piece that's original or from popular literature. You've entered the lonely hearts club and this is about erotica that isn't just heteronormative. In essence, Lonely Hearts 5678, a new project by Bengaluru-based theatre artiste Anuja Ghosalkar is for everyone. Started on the first day of the lockdown with an Instagram page, it features contributions in the form of poetry, prose, short stories, diary entries and excerpts from novels including one by Arundhati Roy.

"It didn't begin as an art project," confesses Ghosalkar who was getting critical of the food and workout videos that made it to her social media feed every day. "People were going live every 30 seconds too. So I thought, what is it that I can do without going live and without performing myself?" she says. It was as a joke that she first considered erotica and then realised it could be the need of the hour. "I heard that people were sexting quite a lot during the lockdown. I wondered if my Instagram could be an enabler for a shared experience," she adds, admitting that it was also a way to shake up her own practice as part of Drama Queen, her theatre company. Among other things, she knew it needed to represent queer erotica and be sex positive.

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The name, Lonely Hearts 5678, is an ode to popular culture based on the '70s experimental film and Nathaniel West's hit column Miss Lonelyhearts. "It's my way of saying, let's talk about pleasure and intimacy in the time of social distancing. It's what people crave," she explains.

While the project is intended for the lockdown period largely, Ghosalkar believes that she will find a way to continue it in a weekly format later on. "I am not sure if it will receive the same response after the lockdown. I may look at using it for a physical performance some day," she signs off.

Time 11 pm
Log on to lonelyhearts5678 on Instagram

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