The 36 questions that lead to love podcast: Part 1

Two students who don’t know each other ask each other a set of personal questions

Melody Cui and Kripa Mayureshwar

The New York Times’ 36 Questions that Lead to Love is a set of questions designed to test the hypothesis that “intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific set of personal questions.” In each episode of this podcast series, we will sit two different MVHS students down and have them ask each other questions from the list. Each part contains six questions and as we progress, the questions will become more personal. 

Part 1: In this episode, we asked two juniors who didn’t know each other the first six questions of the set. Click below to hear Vidya Bharadwaj and Vincent Zhao talk about their “perfect day” and answer other hypothetical questions.

VB: My name is Vidya Bharadwaj, I’m in 11th grade and I go by she/they pronouns.

 VZ: My name is Vincent Zhao, I’m in 11th grade. Oh, my pronouns are he/him. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want to be your dinner guest?

VB: As a what?

VZ: Dinner guest.

VB: As a dinner guest. I feel like I’d have a good conversation with Liza Koshy. I don’t know. She seems like a fun person to talk to.

VZ: She has good energy. 

VB: Yeah. Who would you have as a dinner guest?

VZ: Probably my grandparents, because I haven’t seen them in a while.

VB: That was thoughtful. That was deep. I should have thought of someone like that.

VZ: Would you like to be famous, and in what way?

VB: No, I feel like I do a bunch of random stuff and people would judge me really hard. And I just do dumb shit all the time. So it’s like, I don’t know if I could stand being watched constantly, or I feel like I’d have no privacy. 

VZ: Yeah, I get that.

VB: What about you?

VZ: I don’t know. I think I might want to be famous but like, not in the really famous kind of way. Because like then I’d just be followed and stuff. But, like, people knowing who I am, that’d be kind of cool.

VB: Or maybe like, you’re famous but no one knows what you look like. Like Dream.

VZ: Yeah, just famous for some random thing. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re gonna say? Why?

VB: Yes. I panic, because what happens if I’m calling the doctor and pretending to be my mom, like, I have to rehearse what I say so I sound like her. Otherwise they’re gonna know something’s off, or I feel like it’d be really embarrassing. If I were to stutter over my words, like when you read in class. I have to mentally prepare myself for the next paragraph or else I’m going to be really embarrassed. So I call my friends like, ‘Okay, I gotta have a game plan.’

VZ: Yeah, I get that. Like I’m bad at talking too.

VB: What would constitute a perfect day for you?

VZ: I don’t know. Just being at home. Doing nothing really? Because I don’t like working that much. I guess maybe going somewhere with friends. Kind of fun. What would constitute a perfect day for you?

VB: Waking up and actually being able to cook myself a meal, because my sister has caused me a lifelong burnout of food because she doesn’t know how to cook, so I do everything myself. 

VZ: What do you cook?

VB: I don’t know, like in the morning, eggs and bread or poached eggs or something fancy or hashbrowns. Those are fun. But now I just have like Froot Loops and call it a day. And then my cat actually loving me for once in my life. Like every time I go to pet him, it’s really sad, he runs away. It’s embarrassing, but to my sister? They have a bond. So maybe him waking up next to me, that’d be really cute. On TikTok, you see those people and they have really cute cats — that’s not me. And then my friends coming over and watching a horror movie. When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else?

VZ: I think I just sing to myself, and like other people just randomly, just like when I’m listening to music. I just do it under my breath. Do you ever sing to yourself or to anyone?

VB: The last time I did was in the shower last night. I have these really gross waterproof headphones and I sing to myself in the shower so no one else can hear my music. Yeah. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

VZ: I think I would want a body of the 30 year old just because getting old seems tiring. And I don’t like being tired that much.

VB: I agree. I feel like if I was 90 I would want to retain all the wisdom I’ve had throughout the years, so I’d rather have the body of my 30 year old self.

EE: As a final question, how well did you guys know each other before and how well do you feel you know each other now?

VB: Gonna be honest, I didn’t know who you were before, and I still don’t know who you are now.

VZ: I didn’t know her before either but I feel like I know her a little bit better.

VB: Oh, my bad. I’m sorry. I don’t know. Yeah.