By Seher Dareen
If you ever wanted to listen to some neighbourhood desi girls chatter on about feminism, Bollywood, sex, fashion and mental health while you unwind at the end of the day, here is a set of 32 (and counting) podcasts by a duo that goes by the name ChuskiPop.
ChuskiPop is an on-going podcast series by Sweety and Pappu, who describe themselves as women who are “riding the fourth wave of feminism in our salwar kameez and golden heels”. Sweety is a graphic designer, and Pappu is a copywriter, and they started this series in 2015, continuing to make episodes once a month now. Their most recent podcast highlights mental health, since May is seen as the month for mental health awareness, and details their individual struggles with anxiety and depression, as well as women’s mental health. It’s what’s got us hooked.
But why ‘chuski’? In an interview to Firstpost, they said, “Chuski is an ice lolly. Sweet, sour, tangy and ice cold. An innocuous sweet, but in the hands of a precocious Lolita it turns into something dangerous and suggestive — all because in our primarily patriarchal society any phallic-shaped fruit or food can mean only one thing. I imagine myself and Sweety as precocious Lolitas sucking hard at our kalla-khatta and kachi-kairi flavoured golas, giving zero f**ks but plenty of death stares to tharki uncles.”
Growing up in the Middle East and away from India had them bond over things they (and many women) have in common like being pressured into joining matrimonial sites, and the many cultural stereotypes they’ve faced abroad. Their website has art based on popular Bollywood actors with in-your-face captions, done by Sweety, and podcasts done by both of them. What catches one’s attention in these episodes are their intros, which begin with familiar Bollywood dialogues, followed by catchy music and then their introductions. They then talk about everything that goes on, from their views on makeup to body positivity, and to talking about getting stoned.
They’re hilarious, argumentative, opinionated, touching and crazy narrations on life and death and everything in-between.