Love Matters: How a podcast is shaping conversations on love, relationships, and more | Feelings News


Despite being a universal experience, love, sexuality and desire remain shrouded in secrecy. But it is time to reshape this narrative. Navigating the complex layers of this often-taboo topic is ‘Love Matters’ — a podcast produced by Indian Express (IE) and Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster. Featuring conversations with guests, who have unique expertise in different areas, the podcast is hosted by none other than Leeza Mangaldas, one of India’s top sexual wellness educators.

To celebrate the power of love, IE in collaboration with DW, hosted an event in Delhi to showcase how the podcast has transformed the audio landscape and started an important conversation on identity, pleasure, gender, and more.

Talking about their partnership, Anant Goenka, executive director, Indian Express, and Peter Limbourg, director general, DW, were present at the special event. “We are very happy to have IE as partners, as we both share similar ideas about journalism. ‘Love Matters’ is not only about love, but good journalism as well,” Limbourg said.

love matters Anant Goenka and Peter Limbourg.

Goenka, on the other hand, praised DW for being an incredible brand, and noted on how IE is trying to break the mould by sharing these invigorating stories that have never been heard before. “The podcast ecosystem is changing the audio landscape. More and more people in India are listening and engaging with podcasts on a much deeper level. This is where we enter to serve good audio journalism to our massive readership of 200 mn+ users,” he said.

On the power of love, Goenka shared that it is the only thing that can transverse different identities, such as race, caste, religion or gender, and help question these rigid hierarchies. Agreeing, Limbourg said that love promotes freedom. “Hate is a strong feeling, but love and passion surpass everything, thereby helping society as a whole.”

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Started in 2021, ‘Love Matters’ has featured remarkable personalities such as writer and filmmaker Anurag Minus Verma, actor Chhavi Mittal, sexual health educator Dr Tanaya Narendra, among others. Previously hosted by Indian actor Evelyn Sharma, Mangaldas has now been roped in for its latest season.

So, in a conversation with Leeza Mangaldas, LGBTQ activist and senior lawyer Saurabh Kirpal, queer icon and celebrity chef Suvir Saran and actor Padmapriya delve into the nuances of love, the evolution of sexuality in our country, their ideas of love, and much more.

Leeza: When were you introduced to the idea of love growing up?

Suvir: I was in school when my mother introduced me to the concept of sex and consent. She wouldn’t shy away from having discussions about the subject.

Saurabh: Things have evolved now. People’s views about sex have changed. Now, we are ready to have public discussions about how love intersects with gender roles, caste, sexuality and more. This is largely in part due to cultural imports that have attuned us and made us more aware about the world around us. The landmark judgement in 2018 that decriminalised homosexuality is also one major reason why we have been liberated and dared to come out. However, beyond our bubble of literate cis-gendered upper caste society, these ideas are still shunned. So, we have a very long task ahead of us!

Padmapriya: Sex was a very hush-hush topic for us. My parents never addressed it openly with me. In school, I remember we were segregated into groups where the girls were taught about menstruation and reproduction in a separate room than boys. Most of us also learnt about sex from porn, which is definitely not the best source of sex education.

Leeza: What freedoms do you have today that the older generations might not have had?

Saurabh: To hold my partner of 20 years without shame or safety concerns. A chance to live together as two proud gay men, but not being able to give it a name — the tag of a marriage. Without this legal recognition, we are denied basic rights that might be taken for granted by heterosexual individuals. So, we are still second-class citizens in our own country.

Padmapriya: We, today, have a rare opportunity to address these vital topics. My own parents struggled with their marriage, but were never able to have an open conversation about it, in fear of societal pressure and norms.

Suvir: An opportunity to be comfortable in who you are. Be unabashedly yourself and authentic to your true feelings.

Leeza: What is the craziest thing you have done for love?

Padmapriya: I was in New York City when I fell in love for the first time. I went to the local store and bought flowers. It was midnight and I was just jumping, singing and distributing these flowers to random strangers.

Saurabh: Come out to my parents and bring my partner home.

Suvir: I was conned by a man I liked. In a few months, he emptied out my bank account. I was obviously devastated, but my grandmother told me to not get bogged down because the best thing I could do for myself was to still have hope in love despite everything.

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