In this day and age, we are all kept busy by a wide array of scheduled and unscheduled tasks, as constant workloads just keep piling on.
In the midst of the small breaks we have, be it sitting in Dhaka’s monotonously excruciating traffic, or having a refreshing meal in an hour-long lunch break, a few podcasts, with their treasures of diverse information, conveyed in emotive, sharpened dialogue and punctuated by soothing musical performances, help us to relax and open a window to learn and relish something new.
Podcasts are audio shows consisting of many episodes, and just like TV shows, they are spread across a spectrum of genres, encompassing a wide range of discussions on topics such as politics, and pop culture, to history and even comedy. They can be freely accessed on Spotify, iTunes and websites of the podcasts themselves.
Here are some podcasts that you should try during those tiresome commutes or snug in your comfort zone, to learn and explore something new and invigorating.
In our Time: BBC radio’s “In our Time” podcast has stood the tests of time in becoming the grand podium of ideas. It is a picture perfect pitch of a format between the unmatched presentation of Melvyn Bragg, the evergreen presenter of the podcast, and the acumen demonstrated by his beguiling group of different intellectual guests in every episode.
This 45-minute whirlwind of ideas, ranging from the exegesis of religious texts, to the meaning of war, to the differentiation between Socialism and Communism, to the covering of lives of famed individuals such as Emily Dickinson, Gandhi, and many others is surely something utterly mindful and modern for diverse palates.
Two decades of existence and all archived, listeners can tap into any recording of their choice of topic and carve out their own imagination, nurturing it with more thoughts and ideas.
Bookclub: Another of BBC’s top production is the Bookclub, which will surely resonate with bibliophiles. It does not get any better than having your favourite authors being quizzed about their journey and the ultimate germination of ideas being translated into a book later on, followed by questions from an audience of readers.
It features host James Naughtie in conversation with some of the greatest authors of our time such as the late Toni Morrison, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Franzen, amongst many others.
Making Sense with Sam Harris: One of the smartest and most erudite podcasts on the web, Sam Harris — a neuroscientist by profession, and provocateur by choice — brings guests from all over to talk about the changing landscape of thought, morality, religion, meditation, philosophy and science.
Engaging in conversations with luminaries from diverse fields such as Ricky Gervais, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and many others, Sam delves deeper into questions many of us often wrack our heads about, such as what makes us human and the meaning of life in an uncaring universe. Doing so with clarity, prose and panache, he takes us along a journey of self-discovery.
Article of Interest: This podcast focuses on what we wear and is one of the most interesting fashion podcasts out there. Encompassing a broad array of rarely thought topics, such as the rise of casual wear, the textile industry’s effects on the environment at large, and why womenswear don’t have pockets, this podcast aims to educate us more in depth about our clothes and their history.
An audio documentary comprising of a six-part series on the history of clothing, Article of Interest is indeed interesting, delving into the more fascinating aspects of our clothing, offering a more penetrating look into what we wear.
The Weeds: Vox is one of the more polished and analytical news outlets in the current age. Likewise, their podcast, “The Weeds” is right up there with the best.
Cross-pollinating between different streams of content, it always tries to provide balanced and nuanced content for the listeners. A semi-weekly podcast, hosted by Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias, it aims to provide in-depth discussions on the state of the world itself, with a considerable focus on American politics, coupled with its foreign policies. The best way for you to kick of some binge listening would be the disentanglement of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where they explain everything from scratch, and help the listeners understand what went on.
With clear language, presented in clarity, it helps to understand the more complex and perplexing issues of our time, with greater in-depth coverage and honesty. A tour de force.
If you ever had a thirst for knowledge, but left daunted by the sheer enormity that is the web, podcasts are your godsend gift.