Why I Started A Podcast


Everyday / Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Mic ready. Pop filter ready. “Start recording” blinks the screen.

I gulp and press “Record.”

Of all the things I thought I would do in my life, hosting a podcast, even if a ‘mini’ one like the MyndStories Minis, was never on my mind. Although I was a teacher for about 3-4 years in my life, I never liked the sound of my voice. Or how my body looks. But that’s a story for my therapist for another day. 

I never send audio messages because I feel I sound silly. I think I sound like someone caught in a trap with a terrible accent. So, hosting a podcast? NO.

And then there’s the other thing. I am also shy. I don’t do small talk well, although I think there’s a place for it – that simple joy of relating to each other without the complexities of having to have ‘deep conversations’ all the time. But here, I have to talk to strangers, asking them intimate details about their life, relationships, work, hope, and loneliness. AND I have to do this in 20-30 minutes. 

NO.

Yet, when we were launching the MyndStories podcast, I thought of how I want to make India’s first mental health content platform more inclusive. The main podcast, which is hosted by a novice host too, speaks with celebrities, fitness professionals, therapists, business leaders, mindfulness experts, life coaches, and more. But I was curious to know about people who may not have a fancy title but lead just as amazing lives. What moves us? What are the inner dramas of our lives? What is our story?

And then I thought of this yawning gap, this whole reach of a pale horizon that is my life. So much behind me. And what’s ahead of me? I could crawl back into my shell, safe and cocooned – but I realize there’s not much fun in that. Can I put myself out there? Can I reshape that voice of mine by giving others a voice?

YES

So, I said yes: I will host a segment of the podcast. In the first episode, ‘A little bit of this and that,’ I spoke with one of LifeWordsmith’s writers – Akanksha Misra. But I hadn’t ever spoken to her – I didn’t know how she sounded, and I didn’t know anything about her.

I was nervous. She was too. I didn’t have a script. I had no questions I had thought of beforehand. It was an unscripted conversation on life. I was moved by this woman’s story: living on her own as a freelance writer. She reminded me of myself when I was her age. I had that rush to see the world. To do things. (I still do) And to part the curtain of life a bit more, peering deeper and deeper into that vast open sky I felt was mine. 

When we ended the podcast, I was sweating. A podcast isn’t over even then. You record intros. You record outros. A million takes. And here’s the thing:

I have to hear my voice each time. My inner critic roars. “Pathetic,” it screams. I don’t like my stuttering, smattering, faltering words. I seem to have no response on the show apart from saying “Wow,” a million times. Shorn, torn tendrils of the past come fluttering to my door. They tell me: Smitha, you sucked as a child. You were the “sodabuddi.” You were the one no one spoke to.

And I pause the audio. I pause the recording. I take a deep breath. I want to throw the mic. Forget this. 

Breathe.

And I do Take 25 for the outros. Because you see, I can finally hear my voice.

And you are listening. 

That makes me smile, and I send this note to you that you can do that one thing you didn’t think you would be doing; that shy person can give a TedTalk; that trembling kid can lead a startup; that unsure person can write a wow thesis. You have a voice. I am discovering mine. May you discover yours.

I send you all light – you know I have you in my thoughts, and my emails to you will come.

6 Replies to “Why I Started A Podcast”

  1. Hearing yourself isn’t easy. I think I have a deep, melodious voice, but when I hear myself from a recording, I sound like Mickey Mouse. Well, not actually deep and melodious, but you know what I mean.
    Dave

  2. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is scary. But when we eventually gather up our guts and do it, that sense of exhilaration is indescribable.

    I think you are a winner. And thank you for setting us all an example.

    1. True, Poodle. I read somewhere during my research on mental health that we are wired to seek comfort more than happiness. Isn’t it amazing? We would rather be unhappy than be uncomfortable.

  3. I absolutely love this post. It must have taken so much to put all this out here. All these nervous thoughts and the little shy words. I know you don’t believe it when I say these things – you are great on the podcast. I admire how you are able to just talk, converse without a script. It’s terrifying for me. And you do it so well. There couldn’t have been a better host for Minis.

    1. Sigh. When will I reach the stage where I can accept all the good things you say about me? When? 2058th session with R?

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