Talking To The Moon
I once read somewhere that in your 20s you meet a lot of temporary people. That quote must have probably been written by someone making sombre, prophetic conclusions about human relations - but for me especially, having seen seen a lot of people waltzing in and out of my life in the past several months, this line has gained a very literal sense.
Grad-school gives you an in-built social life setting of peers you take classes with or reside around. Living in a city where you find yourself isolated once the work day is over could mean having to go out of your way to form social connections.
I found myself in a very similar situation last year - I was meeting newer and newer people all the time, quite organically, often without a clue about the potential depth or longevity of the connections. A bunch of (mildly amused) 50 year olds in one of Atlanta’s walking groups. Co-passengers that I was hauled up with on 16 hours NYC-Delhi flights. Friends, and friends of friends who I ended up traveling with, along many east coast cities. Dozens of candidates that I got acquainted with during recruiting career fairs. Transient connections formed during hikes, volunteering activities or house parties. To (physical-world) connections enabled by random outreach on (the virtual world of) LinkedIn. I had almost forgotten what it was like to be surrounded with people (friends?) who you have known for at least a couple years and/or already have a strong rapport with.
I realised that meaningful conversations were the only starting point to make meaningful connections across such diverse sets of humans. I do love small talk - it keeps our world sane - and is a standard bridge to, well, big talk. But somehow, I felt many talks lately were becoming big talks very soon, often in only one meetings. It was exhausting, but also rewarding. I quickly realized that if one puts in right effort (and words), it’s quite possible to get to know more about people’s lives than one usually would.
I was particularly fascinated by tit-bits of stories of some of my connections. An engineer left their well-paying job to become a yoga teacher. An Irish woman I met on the boat to Ellis Island was on a quest to find her lineage, while I was a mere tourist. A hugely successful YouTuber initially started their channel to overcome stammering. A friend at work underwent bullying as a fresh-off-the-boat immigrant kid in the US. A friend I made on Instagram shaved their head bald to act in a mere 30 second ad video around cancer. A colleague got 3 tattoos on his hands as a symbol of them surviving a suicide attempt.
All these are, if I dare use the word, ordinary people, like you and me, with stories that could have happened to any one us. Most story-telling platforms focus heavily on outlier stories. What the world could do with, right now, is bring forth, not-so-outlier stories - stories of people like you and me, to remind us that life is indeed abundant, rich, non-linear, diverse and yet so similar for many of us. And who doesn’t love listening to stories?
It is with this thought of bridging the story-telling gap between the story-livers and the audience, that I am starting a conversation-series, or as an uber-driver framed it - a ‘vodcast’ (video podcast), titled ‘Talking to the Moon’ (T3M) ! Every episode will see wholesome, organic conversations with a different guest (the moon?) about something they hold dear to their heart.
This is something I have been working on for only a few months, but I had this idea years ago in 2015, when I tried to record something with an equally enthusiastic friend (thank you Chibby!), but like all ambitious ideas in undergrad, it didn’t go anywhere. After gaining more life experience and watching a shit ton of celebrity interviews over the years, particularly by Anupama Chopra/Rajeev Masand, I *might* have done a better job this time.
Full disclosure - I do not have a professional set up - I’ve recorded episodes on an Iphone or on Zoom. I have the wonderfully amazing Anuja Kulkarni and Abhijay B to take care of the brand design and sound departments respectively. I am very new to this world (I don’t listen to podcasts) and I am fully aware that some episodes might be a bit too niche or some of them a bit too long, or some of them with home-video vibes. I often wonder if anybody will even watch it, but we are hopeful - the universe often works in mysterious ways!
We (the T3M team and the guests) have made this with a lot of love, so if and when you do end up watching the episodes, do let us know your thoughts. We would love to hear them!
Oh - and a word about the title, when I was putting this show together, I was listening to this edit of Bruno Mars’ eponymous song a LOT. And we have heard of loving someone to the moon and back, but have you heard of talking (with someone) to the moon… (and never back…?)
As Carrie Fisher once said, and Meryl Streep echoed, - take your broken heart and make it into art :)