An ear for travel

Updated: Apr 03, 2020, 10:58 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

A new podcast by storyteller Rakesh Tiwari is perfect for those yearning to explore new places while staying in

The episodes revolve around Benares, Jaipur and  Nainital
The episodes revolve around Benares, Jaipur and Nainital

Having worked as a consultant at a BPO for 12 years on shifts determined by the time in Australia, Rakesh Tiwari was accustomed to returning home in Navi Mumbai only for sound sleep. His mind, though, was dominated with an instinct to travel and so, he says, he began to "Google travel". He would type the name of the place that interested him at a given moment and virtually transport himself to the spot. Over the years, he noticed that there were many like him; those who wanted to explore places but couldn't, for personal or financial reasons. He decided to turn his vivid imagination into a pitch for a podcast in January as part of a pitchfest that the storytelling platform Kommune was hosting in partnership with digital music service Spotify.

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"I didn't want to make it a travel show. I wanted to tell a story," Tiwari says, about Qissa Shehron Ka, the podcast that is now available for streaming. Here, the now full-time storyteller traverses through Benares, Nainital, Indore and Jaipur with each episode not exceeding 14 minutes. With a fictionalised narrative, the production quality is excellent, too. It helps familiarise the listener with the places and their intricacies — be it litti chokha or chowmein. Crediting Neelesh Misra of Yaadon Ka IdiotBox fame and author Paulo Coelho as his inspiration, Tiwari, 34, says four to six hours was spent per episode since voice modulation and pacing was key. "Recording a podcast is different from performing on stage. Also, when I speak normally, I tend to rattle off," he reveals.

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Tiwari is keen for listeners to realise that everyone has a tale to tell and that you don't have to be a storyteller to do that. Recognising that this is the perfect time to contemplate and listen to a podcast, he says, "We have a habit of creating stories out of nostalgia, imagining what would've happened. And especially during this time, the present generation doesn't need excel sheets; they need stories."

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