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Aastha Atray Talks About ‘Love Aaj Kal’ And Why Current Generation Struggles To Commit

  • IWB Post
  •  December 17, 2020

‘But that is the way we are made; we don’t reason, where we feel; we just feel’ – Mark Twain

The matters of the heart are the easiest and hardest to comprehend. They can be both startlingly simple at times, yet so convoluted and confusing. The idea and manifestation of love, dating, marriage, and sex have changed over time, more so in recent times. Society has opened up to conversing and discussing relationships as opposed to these being taboo or bold subjects some decades back. But in an age of Tinder and Netflix, how easy is it for people, especially the youth, to fathom the depths of emotions? How can they get answers, share opinions, or discuss freely their joys and inhibitions of falling in and out of love?

Well, the podcast Love Aaj Kal hosted by Aastha Atray and Ankit Vengurlekar is a series that dwells on various topics ranging from dating apps, interfaith marriages to why men rape. The banter and conversations help unfold the complexities of different feelings and situations with a lot of sensibility and genuineness. Aastha Atray is a well-known name when it comes to discussing love and emotions. She is a journalist and also writes books on romance. Besides being a podcaster she is also a singer. In spite of donning multiple hats, she says, “My main role is of a writer— and everything else I do comes from that. My songs emerged out of my poems and my podcast emerged out of me writing about it on Instagram. I do all of these without much effort, as they all stem out of one common passion – writing about love. I just work every day on creating something or the other, and every project has taken on a life of its own.”

We caught up with Aastha to learn a bit more about her, the podcast, and the place of women in relationships.

Tell us a bit about Love Aaj Kal. How did it help you rediscover love in your life? 

Aastha: I think doing Love Aaj Kal has made me realize that we all go through the same feelings – heartbreak, jealousy, insecurities. The fact that everyone goes through it, and we all survive and come out stronger, makes it all okay. Shared pain turns into happiness pretty soon.

The topics you choose for the podcast range from interfaith marriages to dating apps. How do you decide, finalize, research for these topics?

Aastha: Most of the topics come from what listeners write to us about. They share their concerns and their problems. And we pick those concerns and try and break them down and figure some solutions, which come out of our own experiences. We have got experts to talk about issues we haven’t been equipped to handle, for example, recently we got a psychologist to talk about if our childhood traumas affect our relationships.

Love Aaj Kal

How have the dynamics of relationships changed in India in the last decade? Your thoughts on this.

Aastha: It’s all about the illusion of choice now, which comes from the dating apps. We all think we can find someone better, and we don’t want to compromise at all. So relationships have become too much about the shallow stuff, like looks and status, and nobody wants to commit to one person anymore.

Talking about emotions is your forte. How important do you think is this genre of writing or podcasting, especially today because though we live in a more connected world, we are also more private or isolated in sharing our deepest thoughts?

Aastha: We have been overwhelmed by how many people write to us about their deepest, darkest problems. That’s because they are listening to us, and feel we are non-judgmental, unlike maybe their family or friends. So they rather reach out to us, even though we don’t know them. So yes, it’s strange that people seem more connected but still, people would rather talk about their problems with a stranger.

In your experience over the years, how much has the narrative shifted to women taking charge of their emotions, relationships? Do you see a discernable shift in women being more authoritative in relationships? 

Aastha: Thanks to social media and movements like #metoo, women have become aware of who they are and what they want in the past few years. And they are shouting it out loud from the rooftops. I am so happy about that. They know exactly what they deserve and are not afraid to ask for it. It’s a great time to be a woman.

How can Indian women achieve liberation in love?

Aastha: They should not search for Prince Charming. They should change their type; stop liking the bad boys, and find love in men who treat them well, and stand up for them. They also need to stop seeking validation and love themselves.

What drives you to do what you do and at the same time what are the various challenges or hurdles that you face along the way?

Aastha: I am driven by my constant need to create, and I express myself best by writing or singing, or podcasting. If I didn’t create, I would be bottling up my emotions. The only challenge I face is my own laziness.

Also, do people think or judge that your area of writing or creativity is not as deep or hardcore when compared to talking about issues that are political or topics that come under ‘serious journalism’? If yes, then what would you like to say to them?

Aastha: I am sure people regard writing or podcasting about love and relationships as frivolous. But, they forget that the core of humans is their heart, and the heart cares about love the most. Love and feelings make us human, and so I feel my job is super important.

What are the few things that you would like to see change in society or mindsets in terms of emotional health or relationships?

Aastha: I just think we should leave people better than we found them. We should be kind. We should be honest, and we should be clear about our intentions. We should never lead people on. We should know that every action of ours has a reaction and we shouldn’t do anything that could have adverse consequences. We should also love ourselves first, and then try and love someone else. And we should never seek validation from anyone else but ourselves.

Check out the Love Aaj Kal podcast here.

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