Listening Chronicles #11
A series documenting podcasts I've been listening to and sharing thoughts on those I would recommend.
I am back with another edition! It’s been a while.
If you’re a person who celebrates Diwali, I hope you had a memorable one. If you are not that kind of a person, I wish you enjoyed the holidays that came with it.
Before we get started, I wanted to make a public promise. I’ll be publishing the Listening Chronicles every Monday starting today. Trying to get back some consistency.
This edition has a bunch of different podcast suggestions, let’s dive in!
Podcasts This Week
On Being | Listening to the World with Mary Oliver
Over the last few months, I have become a bit more open to reading poetry. The words make sense in a way that normal sentences don’t. Especially during these weird times, I’ve found solace in many poems. Mary Oliver’s are ones I’ve discovered only recently. So, when I came across this conversation, I knew I had to listen.
It’s a beautiful episode. Mary Oliver reads out a few of her poems, she talks about what it actually means to pay attention in the present, how she thinks about writing and so many other things in between. Considering the times we’re living in, this episode is comforting.
If you’re a fan of poetry, just listen to this! Also, read this piece on Brain Pickings.
Joe Rogan | Edward Snowden
A few months back, I wrote about Edward Snowden’s book Permanent Record, his memoir. It’s a brilliant book. I’ve admired Snowden’s work a lot.
There are many things to note from this conversation – about state’s impunity, about modern surveillance, about how power creeps into systems but I guess the best bit is why Snowden continues to be hopeful despite all the terrible things he’s witnessed.
Showcase | The Great God of Depression
In the previous edition, I suggested a 6 episode series from Showcase called Ways of Hearing. I came across another series which involved a story of a neurologist Alice Flaherty, the novelist William Styron and their struggle with depression.
I’ve heard 3 episodes till now (2 left). The show is really thoughtful in the way they approach the topic of depression.
I quite liked the series till now. The stories of Alice and William, the way they approached depression, the way it changed them and the lives around them. All of these remind you that depression is a normal human experience.
(Do consider your mental space before listening to this series. There are vivid depictions of trauma, of the different difficulties that the two central characters in the story faced. That might be triggering.)
I am a huge fantasy fan. I love different worlds and stories about dragons, elves, magic and whatnot. Unseen is a fictional audio series about an urban fantasy world. Each episode is a different story in that world. 3 episodes have come out till now, and if you’re someone who’s looking for an escape – this series would be it.
The sound design, the script and the storytelling come together to form a uniquely immersive experience. It’s like you’re living within the world itself by listening to the podcast.
The Cut | Protesting Without Rules
It’s a conversation with a journalist and an organiser about what the right way to protest is. Is there a standardised way of protesting? Can you even protest peacefully? What are the objectives of protests? The host Avery Trufleman delves into all of these questions. It’ll probably leave you thinking more about protest culture
Radio Diaries | How to Lose an Election: A History
This short 16-minute episode of Radio Diaries takes you back in time and shows how Presidents of the past handle the loss of elections gracefully and why it is important for a country’s unity to transfer power peacefully.
The Seen and The Unseen | The Art and Science of Economic Policy
Recommending another interview here from The Seen and The Unseen. This features a conversation with Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah, both of whom have been involved in government policymaking for decades. They wrote a book recently, and this conversation unpacks that entire book (In Service of the Republic).
It covers the fundamentals of economic policymaking, why we get things wrong here in India and what can be done about it. They discuss many real-life policy problems and share fun stories of their time working in government. It’s a valuable episode, and if you’re even remotely interested in policy – this would be a good place to start learning.
Cast from the Past | A TED Talk by Roman Mars
I have recommended 99% Invisible multiple times. I am going to write about it separately at some point or the other, but this TED Talk was my entry into the world of 99 PI. I keep revisiting this video when I feel bored.
While it is a TED Talk, what it really is a live demonstration of a podcast episode. It’s a lot of fun and is definitely going to get you listening to more episodes of 99% Invisible.
That’s all for this edition of the Listening Chronicles! Do give some of these episodes a chance and let me know what you think. Be sure to write to me with podcast suggestions, I’ll share them for the next edition of Listening Chronicles and don’t forget to share this with friends you know who might enjoy podcasts.
(P.S. I’ll be sharing a new episode from my podcast the next time you receive this newsletter)