A list of Indian podcast episodes that we enjoyed listening to the most

What a year 2018 was for podcasts globally. We saw an action-packed year right from a flurry of numbers indicating growth in audiences to the entry of Google and Pandora to acquisitions, reorganizations, re-shuffles, and exits. The Indian scene although not as exciting and fast-paced still saw some activity. We saw some big names such as Moneycontrol and Indian Express launch podcasts. IVM – the premier podcasting company expanded its roster and now has a show on pretty much everything. We also saw a spate of launches from independent podcasters. Here’s hoping that more podcasters join they fray and keep this momentum going.

All things considered, we were spoilt for choice in terms of things to listen to. So, Saif and I decided to compile a list of podcast episodes we enjoyed listening to the most in 2018. Here they are in no particular order:

The Seen and the Unseen: IL&FS and the Indian Financial System

The recent IL&FS crisis was a moment of reckoning for the Indian financial system. A quasi-sovereign company with over 347 subsidiaries defaulted on loan payments and the company had a collective debt load of over Rs 90,000 crores. This caused a ripple effect across the system. The stock markets tanked, liquidity dried up, certain mutual funds had to write off investments and caused a crisis of confidence in other NBFCs. In this episode, Economist Ashutosh Datar and writer Vivek Kaul discuss the nature of the beast that is IL&FS, the origins of the crisis and touch upon other aspects of the Indian financial system.

The Seen and the Unseen: The Evolution of Cricket

In this endearing episode, veteran cricket commentator and writer Harsha Bhogle talks about India’s most loved sport, the transformation it has seen, the various inflection points, and makes some bold predictions along with a whole lot of personal anecdotes. The heavy dose of nostalgia makes this episode all the more fun.

Cyrus Says: Valentine’s Cock & Bull feat. Ayesha Broacha

On this Valentine day special episode of Cyrus says, India’s favorite podcast host, Cyrus Broacha has his back against the wall as his better half makes a memorable appearance on the show.

Also check out the laugh riot that is the Cock & Bull edition of the show which features freewheeling conversations between Cyrus and the IVM team, usually the founder Amit Doshi, hosts, and the producers.

My Indian Life: Dancing to his own beat

In the debut episode of this popular podcast, Kalki talks to Eshan Hilal, a young male belly dancer who grew up in a conservative Muslim family, his challenges, and his fight against all odds to follow his calling.

My Indian Life: Rocket Woman

While India is still a deeply patriarchal society and there are countless Indian women who have accomplished great things whose stories remain hidden in popular discourse. That’s what makes this episode featuring story of BP Dakshayani, India’s own rocket woman who played a key role as the deputy project manager for the Mars Orbiter Mission special. Some serious hidden figures vibes in this episode…

The Pragati Podcast: True Financial Inclusion

Today most of the conversations we have about financial inclusion barely scratch the surface. These conversations and debates are largely limited to investing and banking. But in this episode, Malavika Raghavan dives into the weeds of microfinance, a rather unsexy topic. She talks about the past and present of microfinance in India, the challenges and the opportunities. She also touches upon aspects of under penetration of insurance, rampant mis-selling of these products and, the mindset of the quintessential Indian saver.

The Pragati Podcast: Why is Talk Radio missing in India?

In this wide-ranging conversation, the hosts talk to Amit Doshi, founder of IVM Podcasts about the lack of talk radio in India, the economics of FM radio, regulations and a whole lot more. This episode is a masterclass on all things broadcasting in India.

Biker Radio Rodcast: Raid De Himalaya 2018

An iconic episode capturing moments from the 20th edition of the Raid de Himalaya – the world’s highest rally raid. Talking to participants from different walks of life and capturing the spirit of the rally, this episode encapsulates the man + machine vs terrain phenomenon brilliantly. As the hosts rightly put it, the only thing negative about this place is the temperature, -25C brrr! Listen in for the thrills and the chills. Shirshendu Banerjee and Arvinder Singh also won the prestigious ‘Whickers Radio & Audio Funding Award’ earlier this year.

Shunya One: Pankaj Mishra

A brilliant conversation with the veteran tech journalist Pankaj, founder, and CEO at Factor Daily. Pankaj talks about his beginnings, the ethics, and evolution of tech journalism in India and the dark side of technology.

Glimpses of the Future

This episode with historian and academic Sohail Hashmi is just so timely. The cities and towns and villages we live and grew up in are losing their identity day by day. In this episode, Sohail Hashmi talks about the importance of understanding the past to know where we are. Watch out for the heavy dose of nostalgia this conversation is bound to induce.

Hear Me Too

The product of a collaboration between Express Audio and UN Women, ‘Hear Me too‘ is a prescient podcast which explores violence against women in India. The podcast brilliantly captures different viewpoints of stakeholders and possible ways of fighting this harassment that seems to be well entrenched in our society – from homes to workplaces to the cyberspace.

Writer & Geek: Deconstructing Formula One

In this episode, the brothers – Shankar & Vishnu dive into the weeds of Formula 1 – past and present. If you are a motor-head, then I am pretty sure you are going to love this. I mean if knowing about the 9 different types of tyres and kinetic energy doesn’t interest you, I don’t know what will.

The Passion People: The Ascender

From being diagnosed with asthma at the age of 17 to scaling the 7 highest peaks, this is a story of a man who braved seemingly insurmountable odds to follow his dreams. On this riveting episode, the Naga talks to mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta who has scaled the 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents and is on his way to completing the 7 highest volcanic peaks of the world. The episode tracks Satyarup’s journey from his childhood, his fight against asthma and, achieving the seemingly impossible feat of scaling the world’s tallest mountains.

Play to Potential: Devdutt Pattanaik 

Author and columnist Devdutt Patanaik who writes about Indian Mythology effortlessly draws parallels between the concepts of Mythology and management, governance and leadership in this interesting episode. From his beginnings in Medicine and healthcare to the transition to the world of Mythology, from the concept of marketplace and service providers to the role of Krishna in the Indian epic of Mahabharata, the guest seamlessly glides through both subjects with ease. 

Paisa Vaisa: Financial freedom

Indians are notoriously bad when it comes to saving. A vast majority of Indians either invest in gold, fixed deposits, and real estate or depend on mis-sold LIC policies for everything from emergencies to retirement. In this 3 part series Anupam, the host talks to Pattu, who runs the popular personal finance blog freefincal.com about all things financial freedom. The fact that there is very little information on this concept out there in Indian context makes this episode all the more awesome.

Paisa Vaisa: Credit card basics

We’ve all have our share of credit card related misadventures. For a product that is supposed to do a simple thing – provide credit, it is notoriously hard to choose the right one. This 3 part series with Navin from BankBazaar, tackles everything from what a credit card is to the concept of credit score.

Outliers: Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy, the founder of software giant Infosys is a household name in India and an inspiration to countless entrepreneurs. In this brilliant episode, he talks at length about his decision making framework, the importance of governance and integrity in the decision making process, how he deals with criticism and a whole lot more. Given the turmoil Infosys faced in its hiring and firing of upper management, this episode is a good primer on the thinking and ethos of the man who built one of India’s most respected and successful companies.

Outliers: Phanindra Sama

Talking about outliers, also check out this episode with Phanindra Sama. Phani is the co-founder of RedBus and one of the most successful Indian entrepreneurs. He turned RedBus into a bus ticketing giant and made a headline grabbing exit way back before the VCs on steroids supercycle. Phani shares his experiences with entrepreneurship, the transformation from an angry young man to self-purification, the importance of humility, the perils of micromanagement and how to be a good leader and the legacy he wants to leave behind.

The Design Your Thinking Podcast: Vithya Hair and Makeup

On this episode, hair and makeup artist, Vithya Visvendra talks about her early struggles, experience as a refugee, battles with depression and more. She talks about how she fought and conquered her demons and followed her heart.

The Inspiring Talk: Vidya Vox

On this episode, Bijay talks to youtube sensation Vidhya Vox, her journey from being an Indian immigrant in the USA, her first tryst with music, studying psychology to the world of Youtube.

Audiogyan: India’s Design Hero – Prof. Balkrishna Doshi

This episode with India’s design hero is a masterclass on design and architecture. On this episode, Prof. Balkrishna Doshi talks about his design philosophy, the evolution of Indian cities, his thoughts on Vaasthu and a whole lot more.

Sea change

A remarkable 3 part series about societal change in the digital age and how to make a bigger, faster and more inclusive impact in the world we live in. These conversations are all the more prescient given the raging debate over the role of technology in our lives and on society. Listen to the change makers who are making this systemic change possible.

Kahani Suno (formerly Stories of Premchand)

A brilliant series of readings of stories by popular by Sameer Goswami. 

The Intersection: Forget Labs & Pugs, say hello to India’s home-grown dog breeds

In this fascinating episode of The Intersection, the hosts shine the spotlight on the handful of indigenous dog breeds of India, why they’re slowly disappearing and how a few dog lovers are doing their best to conserve these breeds. 

You can listen to this playlist (Podtalk: List of episodes we enjoyed listening to the most) on the Storiyoh app.

Notable mentions

As much as we would have loved to cover episodes from more shows, we had to keep the list short in interest of brevity and goldfish like attention spans. But that doesn’t make these following shows any less awesome. Here are some more podcasts we loved:

Maed in India: India’s first and only indie music podcast that features independent artists from across India. 
Indian Noir: A fast-paced, edge of your seat crime, horror and fantasy audio stories set in India, featuring Indian characters.
Dear Pari: India’s first narrative podcast on adoption.
Night shift: A short series that chronicles the lives of four women, who work through the night, breaking boundaries and stereotypes. 
Baalgatha: One of India’s most popular podcast on children’s stories from India and around the world. 
The History of India Podcast: History of India, from 6th century B.C.
Marbles Lost and Found: a podcast to raise awareness about mental health.
Newslaundry Hafta (paywall): your weekly news tonic administered by the NL team. 
Lewd Cabal: a podcast where a group of friends dissects south Indian movies with a healthy dose of banter and comedy. 
Culture chaos: the chronicles of a desi girl getting on with life abroad. 
Curry Podcasts: a Tamil history podcast.
Tollywood Project: A Telugu podcast covering movies, technology and random banter between expat friends.
Edges and Sledges: a weekly cricket podcast focused on Indian cricket

We also have a request to make. The only way the Indian podcasting scene can grow is if you the listeners support creators. You would have no doubt been bombarded with requests to subscribe to shows, but ours is a bit different. We would greatly appreciate it if you tell 5 of your friends about a podcast you enjoyed listening to.

Podcast creators put in a lot of time and effort to make them and the only way the Indian podcasting scene can grow and creators flourish is with your patronage. So lend our fellow Indian creators a hand by spreading the word about the podcasts you like and give them a shoutout however or wherever you can.

Now go tell them about it!

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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