We recommend: Our fav podcast episodes
Editor’s Note: We’re giving playlists a break this week—and tuning into podcasts. Assistant news editor Nirmal Bhansali is back with a list of his favourite podcast episodes. Listen up for these narrative and informative episodes about space missions, electric cars and judicial histories. We hope you’ll discover something new, have a less boring commute, or just enjoy the banter.
Written by: Nirmal Bhansali, News editor
‘Saare Jahan se Accha’ by Mission ISRO with Harsha Bhogle: We would be doing a disservice if we didn’t recommend this series after the successful landing of Chandrayaan - 3. I think the best way to celebrate this achievement is by learning how India’s space ambitions were realised. The first episode ‘Saare Jahan se Accha’ starts off with the intensity of space research in the 1940s and how Homi Babha and Vikram Sarabai decided to set up ISRO.
From there we are taken on this amazing journey of ISRO’s journey, and the different stories of how India’s space programme was built—over two seasons. Harsha Bhogle is an exceptional host, and his voice elevates the experience of listening to the show. Not to mention, Raghu Dixit has scored the background music for the series. All in all, this is a podcast that is worth every minute of your attention.
‘The Electric Car Goes Mainstream’ by The Tesla Shock Wave (Land of the Giants): Land of the Giants is a narrative podcast series which covers how big tech companies influence our lives. This time, they are looking at Tesla’s fractured history. While Elon Musk is now almost always in the news for ruining Twitter, he is also the CEO of Tesla, the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles. This episode kickstarts the series about Tesla’s rise. It features interviews with the original founders, engineers, executives and other journalists who witnessed the different disasters and triumphs that Tesla was a part of.
15 years ago, when Tesla started, the world and the auto industry expected it to fail. No one at the time believed that a niche company, and the concept of electric vehicles would enter mainstream. Since then, it has become a giant in the auto industry and has overtaken legacy car companies one by one. Tesla’s story is an important one and this podcast tells it best.
‘Undertaker’ by Imaginary Worlds: As a kid, I believed WWE was real. Undertaker was my favourite. He had “9 lives”. He was undead. Everyone was scared of him, and no one could beat him. Of course, as I grew older, I realised the WWE is scripted, with intricate storylines and characters that take up different roles in the story of the WWE universe.
Imaginary Worlds is a podcast which explores imagination, fantasy, sci-fi, and how humans suspend their disbelief to experience fiction and stories. This episode focuses on how Undertaker as a character managed to capture the collective imagination of millions of fans for over three decades, and what goes on behind the scenes in writing such a character. If you are even remotely interested in wrestling and the WWE, you will love this episode.
‘The Ways of Hearing’ by Radiotopia: The Ways of Hearing is a 6 episode series where Damon Krukowski explores the different changes in our human experience of listening as we've shifted from the analog age to the digital age. He tackles 6 different themes related to the way we experience sound - Time, Space, Love, Money, Power and Noise. For example, in the episode about Space, he shares the story of how the proliferation of headphones has created mini private spaces in our public spheres. In Money, Damon offers a deep dive into how streaming has upended the lives of many artists around the world.
This is a series about the world of listening. Anyone who is interested in music, sounds and anything audio must definitely check it out. The series is reflective, intelligent and will change the way you think about the sounds in your lives.
‘Political Thicket’ by More Perfect: The podcast, conceived by the host Jad Abumrad, is about the stories behind the US Supreme Court’s significant judgments. This isn’t a legal knowledge heavy podcast; rather it’s a series which features investigations and some great reporting into the perspectives and stories surrounding a case. It is audio storytelling at its finest. In ‘The Political Thicket’, the podcast delves into something many of us take for granted, a judge’s dilemma. The episode focuses on “Baker v. Carr,” a small case in the Supreme Court and brings in the historical perspective of this case.
It takes you back in time with archival audio recordings of actual arguments made by the counsels in the case (yeah that’s right, the US Supreme Court has recordings of cases dating back to the 1960s), the questions the judges asked, interviews with the clerks of the judges etc. The case ended with two of the 9 Supreme Court judges mentally breaking down and foreshadows an important moment in America’s political history. Are you wondering why this happened? Well, I won’t be spoiling it for you. This isn’t a summary post about the episode. Go out and listen.