At a very young age that Aastha knew that she would end up living her life dabbling in words. Growing up, she penned novels about her friends, a la Enid Blyton. She became a journalist and kept up her love affair with words by writing for Elle, Tehelka, DNA, Mid-day, Asian Age & other publications.

Always the romantic, Aastha finally got a chance to make people believe in true love (through words obviously) when she became only the second Mills & Boons author in India. A natural extension of her experience is co-hosting Spotifys’s original podcast, “Love Aaj Kal” on love and dating in contemporary India, which serves as inspiration for writing her new book on modern romance in India for Harper Collins (out in Feb 2021!).

Going into the discussion, we talk to Aastha about how generations of women have been influenced media (through movies of the 90s, popular television shows like Sex & the City, Friends, etc., Disney cartoons & classic literature like Pride & Prejudice,) to develop constructs of “perfect love stories” and “ideal partners”, that may not necessarily be realistic or emotionally healthy. We were keen to understand her take on how millennial Indian women’s idea of a partner is evolving to redefine relationships that are more equitable partnerships rather than the reformation of emotionally unavailable men. Money, power and looks? Not so much. Respect, equality and kindness? “Now, we’re talking!” says Aastha.

Aastha’s take on dating in the internet era was especially intriguing to us. While technology may have increased the size of the dating pool available to us, it has also presented the “illusion of choice” in modern day relationships, she says.

Lastly, Aastha tells us about how routinely received podcast submissions of heartbreak, separations & toxic relationships and haven’t jaded her idea of love. It has allowed herself to build an emotional resilience that balances her romanticism with a healthy dash of realism. Most importantly, she stresses on building our own emotional resilience against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting dating landscape by practicing self-love.

Watch our full conversation with Aastha!