Fun facts to daily news, Bollywood to literature – there’s a lot to listen to and learn
With the move to online classes, there’s a growing demand for hobbies that don’t require you to stare at a screen. People have taken up cooking, many have re/discovered a love for embroidery and, of course, podcasts are flourishing. Podcasts work because they’re easy to listen to while doing something else —֫ running, or walking, or even cleaning the dishes. Unlike video tutorials, they’re not a strain on the eye either.
Here’s a list of 10 podcasts we recommend.
1. No Such Thing as a Fish: It’s a fun and informative series, great if you’re a lover of trivia and facts. The weekly updates involve the hosts (writers of hit BBC series QI) gathering together to discuss the most interesting things they’ve found out that week. Topics range from American presidents to snakes that eat other snakes.
2. Today, Explained: Produced by Vox, this daily podcast explains top news stories of the day. This is a good choice if you’re looking to better understand the world around you. Recent episodes talk about the shift to homeschooling by American parents in light of the pandemic, the US presidential elections and how to survive fake news.
3. Modern Love Podcast: The Modern Love column of The New York Times is, of course, popular worldwide. In this podcast, Daniel Jones (editor and creator of Modern Love) and Miya Lee (editor of Tiny Love Stories and Modern Love projects) get together, along with several columnists and guests, to tell the love stories of regular, everyday people. Heartfelt and warm, this is a great option for bad days when you need to lift your mood a little.
4. What it takes: If you’re looking for something motivating and inspiring, this is the podcast for you. Featuring episodes with authors, musicians and politicians, the focus is on the struggles each guest has overcome to reach where they have — literally what it takes to be successful, to, essentially, make it.
5. The Habit Coach with Ashdin Doctor: This IVM podcast tells you how to create and maintain habits. Whether it is habits around food or sleep or productivity, this one really forces you to relook at your life and change it for the better. The best part is, most episodes are less than 10 minutes long and so you can listen to them in your study breaks or between classes as well.
6. The American Life: This podcast won the first Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting in 2019. Hosted by Ira Glass, this podcast tells stories of regular Americans and reports on news you might have missed out on. It’s entertaining and informative with fascinating human stories. Don’t miss this if you’re looking for interesting stories and some innovative storytelling.
7. The Happiness Lab: Hosted by Yale professor Laurie Santos, this podcast looks at how we think of happiness and what essentially constitutes it. From looking at Greek philosopher Aristotle’s thoughts on well-being to how spending time really determines happiness, it looks at a variety of topics to understand what truly makes us happy.
8. The History of India Podcast: A weekly podcast that provides an in-depth look at Indian history all the way from 6th century BC. This is a great pick for history lovers as well as novices who just want to learn more about India. You’ll end up with much more than the knowledge your history textbooks give you and you’ll probably enjoy it more than history class as well.
9. The Lit Pickers: Hosted by writers Deepanjana Pal and Supriya Nair, this podcast looks at all things literature and is a must for all literature lovers. From taking a detailed look at what exactly goes on in lit fests to literary prizes and their significance, from Harry Potter to Jane Austen, this one covers a broad spectrum of literature topics.
10. Picture ke Peeche: This Audible podcast is perfect for Bollywood lovers. Hosted by film critic Rajeev Masand, this one speaks to directors of popular and well-loved movies to understand what went behind the scenes while making them. From Farhan Akhtar talking about casting Aamir Khan for Dil Chahta Hai to Shoojit Sircar speaking about how he shot the road trip in Piku, it’s full of nostalgia and a lot of fun trivia from Hindi movies of the last two decades or so.
Shreemayee Das is a writer, stand-up comedian and co-founder of The Grin Revolution. She has a degree in English Literature.