Fringe and Geekery

Fringe Topics and Geekery Track of The Goa Project 2016

Jayati Doshi


Talking to strangers about love

Submitted Jan 18, 2016

You know those intense emotions we go through while falling in and out of love? the ones we thought no one would ever understand?
I was curious about them, so a year ago I started talking to strangers intimately about love, and learnt (among other lessons) that there was so much universal in all the many ways we love, and yet each experience so uniquely ours.
Through this session, I wish to let you in on what I have discovered through this project about how we love: all kinds of love, and all the many things around it. Friendship, family, self-love and romance. The kind that makes you go weak in the knees and the kind that goes unrequited. Stories of being swept off ones feet and of being heart, cheated, ghosted, broken. Intimacy and sexuality. Insecurities and mindgames...
This is also an invitation for you to join me on plotting our ideas of universal love together, so that we can comfortably place ourselves in it, with a little bit more of belonging and empathy.


A little over a year ago, while trying to write a story about different ways of loving, I started taking to people about how they experience love. I took strangers out on “dates” and spoke to them about love, intimacy, trust, vulnerability, soul mates, marriage, sexuality, heartbreak, and everything else in between… I researched about these themes, and tried to see the patterns in the people I met.
This project, called “Saudade” has since been a lot more than just a musing about the most nuanced trick-question of our lives.

I will be sharing some insights from the process in this session, such as:

  • Some questions about love and intimacy I asked, and some of the interesting responses I received. What they taught me and how that make me rethink what I knew about I knew about love.
  • What I learnt about having intimate conversations with strangers, and about asking super personal questions without being intrusive. And why conversations like these that make us vulnerable are a great idea (and of the little experiments you can also try).
  • Some thoughts about the universality of our experiences, and the nuances of our uniqueness within it all. Really, we all have the same stories, really, but we experience it in so many ways… and what that taught me about empathy and relating to people.

By putting these ideas out there, I want to invite you into this journey of re-discovering how we relate to people and let them into our lives, and how we love and belong.


Bring in your stories and questions about love and intimacy (and all the other things), and the willingness to rethink all of it with an open mind.

Speaker bio

I ask people really basic questions (what does love mean to you? how do you define success?) and write about the answers I receive for a living. Literally, in the sense that I believe that these answers help me live better, and also figuratively, as this is also my career (professionally, I am a writer, a researcher, a story-curator, a story-teller, an artist and a very curious person).

Saudade, the project about talking to people about love, started out as just a writing experiment, but has been life-changing in many ways. Combining what I learnt from strangers with reading into theoretical perspectives on these themes has made me rethink how I looked at relationships in my life, also leading to social/ personal experiments. Which has only led me to ask more pertinent questions about this un-ending, but highly relevant (and I daresay) important journey of loving. Currently am working on writing a fictional novel and devise a performance piece based on what I have learnt so far.


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