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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > This podcast explores the stories of women in India who have found joy in public spaces

This podcast explores the stories of women in India who have found joy in public spaces

Updated on: 11 June,2024 09:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nandini Varma | theguide@mid-day.com

This podcast is a record of stories from women across the country who have had to bend and challenge the rules to find joy in public spaces

This podcast explores the stories of women in India who have found joy in public spaces

Women practise yoga in Delhi’s Lodhi Garden. Representation Pics

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In their book, Why Loiter?, Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan, and Shilpa Ranade asked their readers to imagine a city where the streets were full of chatting, laughing and breastfeeding women, women exchanging work notes, and women freely sitting about sipping cups of tea. “If you can imagine this, you’re imagining a radically different city,” they noted.


More than a decade has passed since the publication of the book, but not much has changed drastically. Public spaces remain gendered. The ways in which women negotiate spaces for themselves continue to evolve. Tapping into this inquiry, the City of Women podcast documents stories from women around the country who have had brief encounters with freedom in public spaces. Although the podcast began its early run interviewing women from Bengaluru in 2020, they have included voices from more cities today. Each episode spans approximately 10 to 15 minutes.


The episode Movies has women describing cinema viewing as a liberating experience
The episode Movies has women describing cinema viewing as a liberating experience


One of our favourite episodes is called Movies. It is stitched from little snippets of memories shared by women of all ages. They recollect finding the experience of watching cinema in theatre halls liberating. One of them recalls bunking college to catch an early morning show, taking the first seats because they’d be cheap, and seeing familiar faces in the crowd. She also laughs about getting caught by her mother later on. Another says, “Ask me [about] all the movies — from 1961 to 1964 — I remember them even today.” There’s a certain freedom in the darkness of the hall and in the company of women. The episode celebrates such moments. It maintains anonymity of the interviewees to show how this isn’t an experience of a countable few, but an active participation in leisure by multiple women.

What makes these episodes distinctive are the sounds that accompany conversations — interrupted talks, a dialogue from a film, or simply street noises. Because of the nature of the stories shared, and the conversational tone of the featured guests, the podcast is easy to consume. It is a little bit like boarding a local train, and standing at the door. The co-passenger next to you has a story to tell, before they disembark and another one takes their place.

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