When I was in my first year of undergrad, I used to listen to two podcasts religiously: Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, StartUp by Alex Blumberg (Gimlet Media). I did listen to random episodes from other podcasts once in a while. I also subscribed to too many podcasts in the hope that I would eventually broaden my podcast-playlist selections and get out of my economics/business-genre comfort zone.
Sigh. I gave up this habit of listening to podcasts in my second year of undergrad. Because I couldn’t handle 12-hour-long lectures AND another 1 hour of an intellectual drilling my head with anything related to commerce. I binged on music by my favourite bands (Panic! At The Disco’s “Saturday Night” was a loop-song-for-the-day and Charlie Puth’s “How Long” was a loop-song-for-the-night).
However, as my third year of undergrad (3 months to go before I never have to step into a college again) draws to a close, I find myself a little uneducated. Not specifically in all things commerce / economics / finance / business / accounting, but life in general.
“What do people my age talk about?”
“What are people my age passionate about?”
“Are my perceptions about life/situations up-to-date?”
“Are my expectations from life/people unrealistic?”
“Am I treating myself and my body with the right love, care, affection and attitude?”
“Do I subject myself to exposure to new, contrasting ideas sufficiently? Especially the challenging ones which question my dead-set thought patterns?”
And in an attempt to educate myself about anything and everything under the sun, I scanned far and wide (read: from one Instagram story to another) for anything that could help me fast track my way to being capable of featuring in the “me, an intellectual” section of a meme.
And that’s the story of how I came across “She Says She’s Fine“, a podcast hosted by Dr. Munjaal V. Kapadia (and Maed in India), a gynaecologist who aims to “bust the shackles around patient-doctor hierarchy, and create a friendly, warm environment for his patients to be treated”. In short, he’s the cool gynaec-next-door.
Most of us have some preconceived (love the word play) notions about sex, periods, contraception, miscarriages, IVF, why girls like pink but wear dark-coloured pants five days in a month, the sisterhood of the Accio-sanitary-napkin, is real sex = or =/= porn sex? yada yada yada. Dr. Munjaal is here to tackle each of those notions armed with the forceps of facts and the clamps of clarity. (hehehe, I had to google up synonyms of words to deliver this awesome word play to you)
What I liked about this podcast is that it creates an environment for comfortably discussing taboo topics and hence busts illogical myths and perceptions. I mean, if you shy away from talking about “stuff”, you could just send a link of this podcast to your friends and ask them to check it out.
Thanks to the FEMALE guests who open up and speak out about their experiences, the content can be instantly related to by ALL listeners. #YouGoGirl. Dr. Munjaal Kapadia also shares anecdotes from his life as a gynaec and provides the listeners with a better understanding of women’s health from the perspectives of a trained medical + the male gender.
This podcast is highly recommended to male listeners too. Forget recommendatory, mandatory is the word I’m looking for. Saying that, I would also add that this podcast is not necessarily the one-stop resource for all things related to female health, but can surely be considered as a jumping board into the wealth of knowledge available in medical books. (You thought I’d say internet, didn’t you?)
To be honest with you, “She Says She’s Fine” is the first Indian podcast i’ve tuned into. And I couldn’t have selected a better podcast to be the background music of my commute up and down the Mumbai railway ecosystem, as I figure out the choppy and horrendous waters of the dating world armed with nothing but my woeful ignorance.
I loved the title – I admit, more often than not I’ve told people that “I’M FINE! 🙂 🙂 🙂 ” even when I’m not. And I can’t help but think about the title of the podcast in a future-optimistic way: Once a listener listens to all the episodes of this podcast, he/she/they would be equipped to find out whether the girl they’re asking “How are you?” is giving them a genuine answer. And when/if they do sense that’s something is wrong, they will also be equipped with a solution.
In the section following this paragraph, I have added an episode-wise list along with the names of the guests who appear in that specific episode. I’ll update the section below every Thursday (the day the new episode is aired every week) after I listen to the podcast. In the interest of not giving spoilers to you + giving you an incentive to go and listen to the podcast, I’ll mention my favourite part of the podcast in a cryptic / incomplete fashion.
The first episode: Sex
Kaneez Surka is one of my favourite comedians. I love the way she essayed the role of Instagram in AIB’s “If Apps Were People” and of Clitika in A Woman’s Besties by AIB. I have started following Aranya Johar’s
work only quite recently, and watched “A Brown Girl’s Guide to Gender” , “A Brown Girl’s Guide to Beauty” and her latest, “The Language of Equality” while doing my research for this post. Listen to this episode if you’re a newbie to the whole saaaxxxxophone scene. (I’m too shy to even type it. Ugh. I hope the chemist I go to when I buy condoms (not the flavoured ones. Thanks Aranya for the heads up) for the first time is as cool as the chemist Aranya went to.)
The second episode: Periods
I was introduced to two fabulous women in this episode. Sofia Ashraf is a musician (rapper alert!) and an activist. Chitra Balachandran is the seed (another word play, please ignore me) for the #TwitterGetsFitter fitness movement. One important takeaway for me from this episode was an up-close view of the blood-curdling (sorry, these word plays keep happening) disorder called endometriosis. If you’re looking to making the transition from sanitary napkins to tampons or menstrual cups, this episode can help you make that decision.
The third episode: Safe Sex
I had stumbled upon Rytasha Rathore’s Instagram when I had set out upon a mission of weeding out all the negativity from my social media feed and replacing it with #PositiveVibes a few months ago. Rytasha’s badass confidence is an inspiration to an awkward fatso like me. (Also, me envy her name. Where can I find a name as cool as her name?) Sakshi Juneja is the founder of Gaysi Family and she aspires to build Gaysi into the voice of the queer community in India. Her enthusiasm about this cause is infectious, even through the podcast-waves. This episode is a #MustListen even if you’re just a kid, innocently carrying your tiffin-dabba and Doraemon water bottle to school AND EVEN IF you’re as old as the school building itself.
The fourth episode: Motherhood
Being an active member of the blogging and bookstagram community, I had come across the names Kiran Manral and Meghna Pant on my Twitter feed already. For those of you who don’t know these super-mommies- Kiran Manral is the author of ‘The Reluctant Detective’ (fiction) and ‘Karmic Kids’ (non-fiction). Meghna Pant’s latest book, ‘How To Get Published in India’ is the current #1 bestseller on Amazon India. I am not the target audience of this episode (nor do I aspire to be in the near or far future). Nevertheless, I listened to this episode which dealt with the whole Indian drama surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and the baby.
(to be updated every Thursday)