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She’s the one who knocks

Updated on: 14 March,2022 09:20 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sammohinee Ghosh |

A podcast delves into criminal offences by women while uncoiling law enforcement and public perception in such matters

She’s the one who knocks

Haseena Parkar features in one of the episodes of Miss Conduct

What shakes us the most when women commit heinous crimes? That women are widely cast as nurturers not only shocks our openness for any criminogenic need in them, but also prompts us to conjure explanations on their behalf. Two women are ‘probing’ this complex in a podcast called Miss Conduct, which recently wrapped up its 26th episode.

As we scroll through their fairly long list of episodes, a few topics excite us more. We turn to the queen of Porbandar underworld Santokben Jadeja; Seema Parihar’s Bandit to Bigg Boss journey; Haseena Parkar’s handling of ‘certain business operations’; and Cyanide Mallika, the country’s first convicted woman serial killer. Co-hosts Ragavi Ramesh and Nisha Chandrasekaran warm us into the show with a fun jingle. We aren’t sure if it’s their voice or professional skillset — Ramesh is a lawyer and Chandrasekaran, a PR professional, who knows how media affects popular judgment — that nudges us to take notes. While elaborate criminal acts tickle our curiosity, we’re aware of our growing trust in the speakers. It’s like listening to a trusted aunt or uncle (say, Tridib from Shadow Lines).

Ragavi Ramesh and Nisha ChandrasekaranRagavi Ramesh and Nisha Chandrasekaran

What was the lightbulb moment for Miss Conduct? Chandrasekaran replies, “We were not happy with the way real-life crimes by women were being told, so we decided to do it ourselves. Often, female violence is labelled as crimes of passion. That trivialises the case in hand. Women perpetrators are called victims of their circumstances with inadequate inspection of their conditions. And in the media, there’s either too much coverage, or nothing at all. The paucity of balanced reportage in case of women-led crimes was our trigger.” Ramesh, who checks for the legal route taken in these matters through testimonies and documents, adds the audio series was born out of a moment of annoyance.

The duo preps months in advance to get a list of topics out. Then comes research. “While we enjoy a grisly murder, variety in crime is also our focus. A good con-woman tale, an arduous financial fraud or a dacoit’s antics can also engross listeners if told the right way,” Chandrasekaran says. She shares that IVM Podcasts, their production arm, helps them with sound design and technical support. That’s how a fine-tuned final product is released.

Ramesh mothers two ginger cats and we get updates on their cosy lives on the show. As we try and grasp the nitty-gritty of law enforcement, we also revel in women narrators chalking out their own paths. Ramesh points out that subjects such as Troilokya, Kolkata’s earliest known serial murderer, and Kannagi from Tamil epic Silampathirakam, were conceived in a mesh of history and myth. And for such names, they always begin with a disclaimer.

Although a podcast best suited for weekend sleepovers, we wish Miss Conduct gave us a bit more of jitters than jokes. 

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