Podcast experience: the intermediate spaces
By listening to podcasts, I have learned to appreciate the sound layers that mark the context of my life.
I pour the coffee. I go over my tasks for the day. I put in the ingredients to start preparing the meals for the day. There’s half an hour left until yoga class, so put on the headphones and my morning begins in earnest.
There was a time when I fed this goblet of filtered drink as I perused the newspaper. But time seems to have crumpled up in these dense knots, unfolding and escaping into nothingness if I don’t squeeze my multiple to-dos inside every twist and turn of its second score fiber. Quietly browsing the large format newspaper is a weekend luxury; other days I have to settle for the endless scrolling of social media or the click-and-skim of online news portals. But with these bluetooth-enabled micro-electronic wonders talking in my ears, I can take care of morning housework even as I’m listening to the news – and perspectives – of the day.
Podcasts – and speaking in other ways – made the mundane tasks of my daily life a little more bearable (think Mary Poppins and a spoonful of sugar!) And helped me deal with the isolation of the last 19. month. While the early days of the pandemic turned everyone and their niece into a podcaster, the following year saw the emergence of a whole slew of nifty new shows that confirmed that this format of content delivery was here to stay. So, as the number of independent podcasts created under tables and in bedroom closets continues to increase, so do the audio portfolios of major media brands. Consulting firm Redseer reported that in 2021, nearly 20% of India’s population (over 12 years old, with internet access) listened to podcasts in one form or another, an increase of 34% from compared to 2020. They also noted that Indians on average spend around 2% of their online media consumption time on podcasts.
I don’t consider myself to be an “average” podcast listener – it’s by far my favorite medium. More and more, I find myself referring to something that I have listened to much more often than something that I have read.
Even before the pandemic, I was a podcast addict, spending my two hour commute listening to dramas, documentaries, real crime, feature films and talk, but listening has filled what one could. think of it as the empty hours between start and finish or the time spent waiting for something, such as milk to boil or sleep to come.
But for the past year or so, listening has filled different kinds of spaces – perhaps not empty, but certainly open. I searched and found a variety of voices; some provide stimulation and feed my curious mind. Others offer comfort and hope, a respite from the run-run-run of the workday; I mentioned a lot in this column. Yet others let me laugh out loud as I clean the dishes after dinner, making family members wonder if I wasn’t losing him so slowly (now they look at my ears first, then roll over. eyes).
Sometimes I listened deeply, other times with only one ear, but by listening to podcasts I have learned to better appreciate the layers of sound that mark the context of my life. And when the headphones came out, I learned to pay more attention to words, the voices that speak them, and the silences that punctuate speech.
Hyderabad-based writer and scholar is a neat fighter
a losing battle with the clutter in his head.