In Season 1 of The Curio-City Collective Podcast, we explored how to live deeply in this world by unpacking the idea of well-being in Indian cities and how to practice it in our everyday lives. Over 9 months – from January to October 2020 – we had conversations with people who approach well-being through the lens of mental health, play, sustainable design and waste management. In a year that witnessed one of the biggest health crises of our times, we hope these conversations bring comfort, solace and offer a way to reexamine how we choose to live.
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In the first TCC podcast episode Sonia Thomas and Sandhya Menon join us in a conversation on the growing concern around loneliness in Indian metros and share their wisdom and experience. Sonia and Sandhya have large social media followings where they speak on topics related to mental health with deep honesty and vulnerability.
Sonia and Sandhya, social media influencers, speak on how they cope with feeling low and lonely; and also share their observations on how a city organically begins to build pockets of resistance and resilience.
Aparna Joshi and Tanuja Babre from Initiating Concern for All or iCALL, a pioneering mental health project started in 2012 by the School of Human Ecology (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), explain the nature and kinds of distress experienced by individuals in cities and share coping methods.
Tanuja Babre, Coordinator of the psycho-social helpline iCALL, explains what goes into running a professional helpline and shares a day in the life of an iCALL counsellor.
Lawyer and ocean lover, Afroz Shah, who has led one of the biggest beach clean ups in the world in Mumbai, shares how he has built a well-knit community of volunteers who week after week, come out to clear beaches of plastic waste. Volunteers also share what keeps them inspired and motivated.
Primla Hingorani, 75, is a regular at the Versova beach cleanups in Mumbai since 2016.. What motivates her to be a part of this movement at this age? What are the joys of volunteering and why should more people join in? This and more as we talk to the ever exuberant and warm Primla aka Aunty 72!
In episode 4 we speak to Poonam Bir Kasturi, founder of Daily Dump, a ‘mindset changing business’ working to transform an urban dwellers relationship with their waste. As a pioneer in the arena of home composting, Poonam shares what inspired her to start Daily Dump, how consumption patterns are contributing to a sharp growth in waste volumes and why composting is an important solution.
In episode 5 we meet two individuals, Keshav Jaini from Gurgaon and Savita Hiremath from Bangalore, who have been the driving force behind shifting their large communities to segregating and composting household waste. They share what motivated them to get into community waste management alongside the actual process of making, managing and maintaining the shift.
Padma Patil, who lives in Yelahanka (Bangalore) was able to achieve the stupendous task of converting her apartment complex of 1332 households to community segregation and composting. In this extra, Padma explains the thought, effort and structures that go into doing this.
Episode 6 digs deep into the question of why we should segregate and compost. Keshav Jaini, Savita Hiremath and Padma Patil – individuals who have helped convert their communities to greener waste management practices – share how they have journeyed with waste and outline the numerous profound insights it has brought to them about life and living.
12-Year-Old Gautami who lives in Bangalore began assisting her mother to segregate and compost when she was all of two years old. In this extra, Gautami explains why it’s a question of justice to manage your own waste, and shares what she loves about the process.
Episode 7 looks at questions of connection and care as we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic. Given that the Corona virus has in one way reinforced our shared humanity, it explores what the human response to it will be. Through research, it looks at the potential each of us have to reinforce what makes us human through acts of kindness and compassion.
Episode 8 looks at how to build and nurture communities of care as we find ourselves in the middle of one of the largest lockdowns in the world because of the Corona Virus pandemic. Through a mix of personal experience and research, it examines who often gets left out of these networks of care, and how to extend them to all kinds of social groups with empathy and compassion.
We spoke to Aparna Joshi, Assistant Professor at TISS and Project Director of iCALL, and her colleague Tanuja Babre, Coordinator of iCALL to understand the psychosocial impact of the Corona virus, the impact its having on how we’re all feeling and responding. We also spoke specifically, to care and what collective care means in this time.
Episode 9 reflects on the world that’s unfolding outside our windows and doors as we find ourselves restricted to our homes during the forced stillness of the lockdown. As air pollution lowers and animals begin to wander about cities – what are we seeing and experiencing? What is it telling us about who we want to be once the lockdown comes to an end?
Episode 10 enters the terrain of the strange and fascinating scientific world of pandemics, epidemics and zoonotic diseases. The episode moves further down the trail of exploring how our fraying relationship with our planet might have something to do with the current Covid-19 crisis and considers what wisdom we can glean from this experience.
Episode 11 explores women’s labour and the impact Covid-19 has had on it through the lens of 2 women living in different cities in India. It looks at the invisible and often unrecognised work of a woman’s day-to-day life and reflects on why re-examining these ascribed roles and functions is critical.
Episode 12 maps the ongoing humanitarian crisis of the exodus of migrant labourers from cities in India due to the lockdown and attempts to understand the complex underlying causes that has precipitated it. It looks at the notion of home and belonging and what that means in a globalised world for the millions who live on the margins.
Episode 13 looks at the landscape of cities and how to build cities based on principles of frugality and simplicity. Through a conversation with Bengaluru-based architect, Chitra Vishwanath, founder of Biome Environmental Solutions, it examines how we need to turn to local wisdom and techniques as urbanisation increases rapidly. It also looks at what sustainability means.
In a conversation with Dr. Abraham Thomas, a Ratan Tata fellow in public health based in Kodur, Andhra Pradesh, we reflect on the need to rethink the design and approachability of the Public Health System in India, in light of the pandemic.
A NITI Aayog Report in 2019 predicted that 21 cities in India would face severe water shortages in 2020. In Episode 14 we speak with S.Vishwanath, civil engineer and urban planner who has worked extensively over the past 34 years on issues related to water management in Indian cities. He talks to us about the varied roles water plays in our lives and how we can begin to heal our relationship with this resource and build water resilient cities.
In this extra with S.Vishwanath, we do a quick FAQ on what citizens can do to support building water resilient cities. Whether you stay in a rented house or your own or are planning to build one – he has some suggestions for all of us!
In Episode 15 we speak with Radhika Alkazi, founder of Delhi-based NGO ASTHA, who has been working with children with disabilities. She talks to us about how the pandemic has made children who were already on the margins, even more invisible. She also tells us about what’s working, what support looks like and how safe spaces can be created for children so that they can access their rights.
In a conversation with Kavitha Krishnamoorthy, founder of Chennai-based NGO Kilikili, we talk about creating inclusive play spaces for children of all abilities and why that’s something all cities should envision and plan for. We also talk about the impact the pandemic has had on play and what parents and caregivers can do to bring fun to the everyday lives of children.
In Episode 16 we talk to kids and their parents in three metro cities to understand what the pandemic induced ‘new normal’ for children looks like. Through conversations on daily schedules and outdoor play, we get a glimpse of how this time is affecting children. We also hear from parents on how they are responding, coping strategies and the everyday wisdom they have turned to. (Read transcript) Listen now!
In a conversation with Jehanzeb Baldiwala, Director-Mental Health Services at the Ummeed Child Development Centre in Mumbai, we talk about how the pandemic has affected children, warning signs of distress parents can watch out for and how to respond and build safe spaces that support children’s well-being.
In Episode 17, we circle back to talk about well-being and the city–the theme that led us to begin this podcast. Through a conversation on the multi-dimensionality of well-being and our reflections and learnings from the past season, we talk about why it is more crucial than ever to build collective well-being.
In Episode 18, we revisit the theme that underpins all our conversations this season – transformative change and action. We unpack why this is more urgent than ever and how every action from the individual to the collective carries tremendous potential for change and creating well-being.