19 episodes

British Podcast Awards winner Masala Podcast is all about taboos in South Asian culture. Everything from sex, sexuality, periods, menopause, porn, mental health, shame, sexual harassment & more. Featuring fierce South Asian women all talking about things we're not supposed to talk about:

Masala Podcast Soul Sutras

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 39 Ratings

British Podcast Awards winner Masala Podcast is all about taboos in South Asian culture. Everything from sex, sexuality, periods, menopause, porn, mental health, shame, sexual harassment & more. Featuring fierce South Asian women all talking about things we're not supposed to talk about:

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 10 - Being American & South Asian

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 10 - Being American & South Asian

    "Being Sri Lankan in America is to unapologetically claim my space as a South Asian..."



    The final episode of Season Two is a special that was recorded, on campus, at UC Berkeley, California interviewing young South Asian American womxn about their experiences. I talked to Sitara Bellam, Emma Desilva, Medhavi G & Shenali Pilapitiya, Students from The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley ’20 & ’21).



    They spoke about their identity, their individual struggles, about being South Asian and being American – and how the two fit together.



    We discussed the taboos faced by all South Asian womxn growing up worldwide:



    Not being able to dateHaving to hide your sexualityHaving to lead double livesIssues around female sexuality and periodsFighting to become strong powerful women



    Fabulous, fierce South Asian American womxn...



    Sitara Bellam: @sitarabellam “I think that as South Asian Americans we have to not only uplift the creatives and change-makers across our Diaspora but remain equally critical in how we engage with our culture and what stories we tell about our identities.”



    Emma DeSilva: @emmaadesilvaa “I hope South Asian Americans will have the confidence to go after their passions and interests, while not sacrificing their South Asian identities. And we’ll see more South Asian American representation in areas, like film, music, media, and politics.”



    Shenali Pilapitiya: @ _shenali “Being Sri Lankan in America is to unapologetically and proudly claim my space as a South-Asian woman, and to contribute to the culture, knowledge and stories of WOC that shape the foundations of America.”

    • 34 min
    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 9 - Sex trafficking in South Asia

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 9 - Sex trafficking in South Asia

    "An ordinary salwar-kameez clad young woman fights sex trafficking..."



    In this episode, I talk with Ram Devineni & Dipti Mehta, who are the creators of the Priya Shakti comic book – which has made the topic of sex trafficking really accessible to younger people. Their project was named “Gender Equality Champion” by UN Women. This is the first ever Indian comic book series tackling serious issues like sexual violence and trafficking of young women by using Augmented Reality technology to appeal to younger audiences.



    MORE ABOUT RAM DEVINENI



    Ram is the creator of the Priya’s Shakti comic book series and named by UN Women as a “gender quality champion”. He is a filmmaker who produced, edited and directed the feature documentary, “The Karma Killings,” which was shot in India and released on Netflix. Recently, he produced “The Russian Woodpecker,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.



    MORE ABOUT DIPTI MEHTA



    Dipti is an award winning, actor and writer of the interactive comic book, “Priya and the Lost Girls.” She wrote “HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan,” which is an attempt to give voice and a face to brothel dwellers bringing their humanity to encounter that of her audiences, and is now touring internationally, creating awareness about the issues of trafficking and human rights. She best known for her portrayal of Reina in “Life! Camera Action,” which brought her multiple international awards and nominations.



    MORE ABOUT THE PRIYA SHAKTI SERIES http:// https://www.priyashakti.com/



    RESOURCES If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:



    APNE AAP



    ANTI-SLAVERY



    MODERN SLAVERY



    SEX TRAFFICKING

    • 29 min
    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 8 - Cancer & South Asian Culture

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 8 - Cancer & South Asian Culture

    "My daughter asked if she could choose my wig after chemo..."



    In this episode, I speak with Susmita Bhattacharya. She’s an award-winning author with many books to her credit. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind, was longlisted for the Mumbai Film Festival prize, Word to Screen. Her short story collection, Table Manners, won the Saboteur Award in 2019 . Susmita’s work has been featured in many magazines and BBC Radio 4. She also teaches creative writing at universities and to young people in the community, and has judged many short story competitions.



    We talk about the taboo around discussing any major illness in our culture. Particularly, cancer. Susmita shares her own journey of discovering she had cancer, going through chemotherapy, learning to talk about it with her kids. She talks about the silence around the issue within the South Asian community as well as the support she received from some community members.



    MORE ABOUT SUSMITA: • Creative Writing Lecturer, Winchester University • Creative Writing faciliator for Mayflower Young Writers, an ArtfulScribe project in collaboration with Mayflower Theatre, Southampton http://www.artfulscribe.co.uk/blog-category/mayflower-young-writers Editing services: https://www.upclose-editing.com



    Insta @susmita_b_writer



    Twitter @susmitatweets



    MORE ABOUT SUSMITA’S BOOKS http://dahlia-books.kong365.com/en-gb/products/table-manners https://www.parthianbooks.com/products/the-normal-state-of-mind



    “A deliciously bold debut novel …vivid and tender, funny and bittersweet. It’s fearlessly full of surprises about what it meant to be young and female in 1990s India on the cusp of change.” Rosie Dastgir, A Small Fortune



    Table Manners on BBC Radio 4 Extra: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dpz8?fbclid=IwAR3NFwKb1VEm905Y34Yl9OGlmhDcfuBS-dJBaNMV3DLpDKT5T9aFHZXiUWQ



    “These triumphant, sharp eyed humorous stories mark the arrival of an intriguing new voice; tender, poignant and wry.” Irenosen Okojie, Speak Gigantular



    RESOURCES:If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:



    MACMILLAN



    Phoneline – Support available from 9-5, Monday – Friday – 0808 808 0000



    NHS



    BREAST CANCER AWARENESS



    STIGMA AMONG SOUTH ASIANS

    • 36 min
    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 7 - HIV in South Asian Culture

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 7 - HIV in South Asian Culture

    "Three-quarters of women with HIV in the UK are BAME..."



    In episode seven, I talk to Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan, an NHS Consultant who’s also a Sexual Health & HIV activist, working primarily among South Asian womxn. Many of whom have contracted the virus through their husbands, but are unable to tell anyone because of the stigma around HIV.



    Plus an interview with Mina Kakaiya, who’s had HIV for 20 years and is now an activist working to help other South Asian womxn tackle the stigma associated with HIV.



    Both Rageshri & Mina who have such passion and compassion in their work, help us look at HIV in a totally different way.



    We explore:



    • The shame and secrecy that surround HIV in South Asian culture



    • How stigma prevents South Asian womxn with HIV seeking support



    • How shame is such a huge part of South Asian culture



    MORE ABOUT DR. RAGESHRI:



    Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan is a Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at Barts Health NHS Trust and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. Her clinical work, teaching and research focuses on health inequalities, especially on the intersections between health, race and gender. She is an elected trustee of the British HIV Association, medical board member of NAZ, a charity specialising in the sexual health of minority ethnic communities and has recently joined the Race and Health collective. She has recently co-founded SAHAR, the South Asian HIV Advisory Resource and is passionate about reducing the stigma of talking about sex, sexuality and sexual health in South Asian communities in the UK.



    Twitter: @crageshri



    Insta: @crageshri



    MORE ABOUT MINA:Mina Kakaiya is a social entrepreneur, speaker, author and wellbeing coach. She is a trainer in mental health, emotional resilience and mindfulness. And has been a volunteer peer mentor with Positively UK and informed national BHVIA HIV standards for Peer Support. She has also been involved in HIV campaigns and national and is an international speaker on HIV.



    Twitter: @KakaiyaMina



    LinkedIn: @mina-kakaiya



    RESOURCES:
    If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:



    NAZ



    POSITIVELY UK



    TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST



    THE FOODCHAIN



    AIDSMAP



    ORGANISATIONS FOCUSSED ON SEXUAL HEALTH FOR SOUTH ASIANS



    NAZ & MATT FOUNDATION



    IMAAN

    • 45 min
    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 6 - Menopause

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 6 - Menopause

    "I had night sweats, hot flushes, itchy skin, insomnia, tingling on my skin..."



    In this episode, I talk with Madhu Kapoor, Founder, M for Menopause who went through a difficult journey through menopause. She found no literature or support when she was struggling. And is now on a mission to get South Asian women talking openly about the menopause.



    Sangeeta’s monologues talk about how talking about any female bodily functions was such a taboo when she was growing up. In a culture that doesn’t discuss periods, or childbirth or sex and how they affect our bodies – talking about menopause is such a long way away.



    MORE ABOUT MADHUMadhu’s menopause journey was horrific; she struggled at home, socially and at work. As her symptoms became severe her relationships broke down and affected her life and work. Despite having been surrounded by women all her life, she’d never had any open discussions about the menopause and she really struggled.



    This led her to set up M for Menopause which aims to encourage open conversations about the menopause and to increase knowledge, awareness and support for women, employers and families.



    Website: www.mformenopause.co.uk Insta: @mformenopause Facebook: @mformenopause



    RESOURCES If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:



    NHS



    MENOPAUSE SUPPORT



    MENOPAUSE RESOURCES



    NICE RESOURCES

    • 36 min
    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 5 -Rape in South Asian Culture

    Masala Podcast - S 2, Ep 5 -Rape in South Asian Culture

    "Women are taught to carry shame & honour for their families."



    In this episode, I speak with Leesa Gazi, the director of a critically acclaimed and highly impactful film about survivors of rape in Bangladesh during the war, who are now in their 70’s and 80s. Leesa stayed with the women, connected with them and discussed their experiences – and has now turned this into an empathetic and impactful film.



    Leesa and I discuss:



    • How patriarchal attitudes in the culture prevent rape victims from coming forward • The horror and impact of rape on women and young girls in South Asian communities • How the burden of “honour” & “shame” are attached exclusively to women in South Asian culture



    ABOUT THE FILM ‘RISING SILENCE’: https://www.risingsilence.co.uk/



    MORE ABOUT LEESA:



    Leesa Gazi is a Bangladeshi-born British writer, actor, filmmaker and Joint Artistic Director of a London based arts company Komola Collective. She is the concept developer, co-writer and performer of the theatre production Birangona: Women of War, which she later developed into the documentary film Rising Silence, which has won multiple international awards. The film sheds light on the lives of rape survivors of the Liberation War of Bangladesh.



    Twitter: @LeesaGazi Insta: @leesagazi



    RESOURCES If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:



    RAPE CRISIS



    Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)



    NHS



    VICTIM SUPPORT



    Supportline: 0333 300 6389



    THE SURVIVORS TRUST



    Helpline: 0808 801 0818



    SUPPORTLINE



    Helpline: 01708 765200 Email: info@supportline.org.uk



    SAFELINE

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
39 Ratings

39 Ratings

questionablyansa ,

We’re all bad betis and I’m here for it 🤩

Love you and the podcast to bits! Deconstructing taboos and the stupidity that is societal norm, absolutely perfectly! Something that all desis should listen to, as we talk about many different topics in depth, with different guests!

♥️♥️♥️

nnicholls ,

Amazing, Empowering & Educational!

Wow! Just wow! This podcast is absolutely incredible. It covers so many important topics and brings light to many taboos within South Asian culture. Bringing them to light and talking about them makes them more accessible in modern day culture and helps so much to empower and educate. Sangeeta does a brilliant job of holding space and really making you and her guests feel at ease, while at the same time making you think and feel! I love it!

MuttsWoz ,

Superb must-listen to podcast

This entire series is made to perfection. Every single episode is honest, raw and beautifully crafted. Sangeeta’s compassion shines as she gives her guests the space to open up about subjects we all think and feel but are perhaps fearful of saying. Masala podcast is a priceless piece of empowering art. Thank you for creating it.

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