Curious minds select the most fascinating podcasts from around the world. Discover hand-piqd audio recommendations on your favorite topics.
Bangalore-based Rashmi Vasudeva's journalism has appeared in many Indian and international publications over the past decade. A features writer with over nine years of experience heading a health and fitness supplement in a mainstream Indian newspaper, her niche areas include health, wellness, fitness, food, nutrition and Indian classical Arts.
Her articles have appeared in various publications including Mint-Wall Street Journal, The Hindu, Deccan Herald (mainstream South Indian newspaper), Smart Life (Health magazine from the Malayala Manorama Group of publications), YourStory (India's media technology platform for entrepreneurs), Avantika (a noir arts and theatre magazine), ZDF (a German public broadcasting company) and others.
In 2006, she was awarded the British Print-Chevening scholarship to pursue a short-term course in new-age journalism at the University of Westminster, U.K. With a double Masters in Globalisation and Media Studies from Aarhus Universitet (Denmark), University of Amsterdam and Swansea University in Wales, U.K., she has also dabbled in academics, travel writing and socio-cultural studies. Mother to a frisky toddler, she hums 'wheels on the bus' while working and keeps a beady eye on the aforementioned toddler's antics.
I revisited Hidden Brain after a while and, as expected, it did not disappoint. Its latest episode on how all of us are getting more comfortable with the idea of living and experiencing a large part of our lives through others is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Introducing the topic, the inimitable host Shankar Vedantam has this to say:
"It has never been so easy to bring the world into our living rooms and kitchens and bedrooms. And the world that enters our lives has never looked better. You can get the ocean without the seaweed and sunsets without clouds. You can scale a rock face without the fear of a fall. You can experience love without the risk of rejection."
How true it rings! These 'other' lives we have all come to inhabit—whether consciously or not—are often proving to be more satisfying and exciting than our actual lives. More importantly, acceptability of leading such multiple lives has increased exponentially.
The podcast throws up many curious examples of such vicarious living. For instance, there apparently is an internet game, 'Mukbang', that originated in South Korea. In the game, people binge watch other people binge eating. People also go on virtual tours of the Louvre where the crowds are non-existent and the Mona Lisa can be viewed in minute detail.
As delightful as this may seem, aren't there hidden dangers in this pursuit of what is, after all, second-hand living? The podcast particularly explores the deep watching of experts at work (something that we had no access to even a few years ago), be it a chef, a carpenter or a pianist, and what it does to us psychologically.
Shankar speaks to many people and discovers that, for most, it is cheaper and simpler to escape into another person's life and the emotional results are not too bad. As counter intuitive as it may sound, living through others may end up satisfying one's deeper needs and, as Shankar puts it, “fill holes in our psychological lives and serve as a self-esteem pick-me-upper.”