BENGALURU: The use of digital communication grew exponentially during the pandemic. Like everyone else, Dr Ashish Philip Zachariah, too, used video conferencing app Zoom to connect with friends and family. Eventually, the senior specialist-orthopeadics at Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar, realised that most of the topics they discussed always gave rise to new perspectives for him to think about.
After brainstorming with his childhood friend and marketing specialist Siddharth Unni, the duo started a podcast channel called ‘The Odd Couple’. Started last September, the podcast had one episode releasing every weekend. But now that things are slowly opening up and everyone’s getting busy with daily work, there’s a new episode every fortnight.
Zachariah says, “We’re almost done with two seasons now — 36 episodes — and we’re planning a third season now. We’ve been discussing a spectrum of topics, including nepotism, the concept of a national language, karma, work-life balance, mental health, vaccination and cryptocurrency, and sustainability.”
By doing more of these episodes and with the listener base growing — two lakh listeners since its launch to be precise — they’ve also included experts to join the chat. Some of the names include wildlife conservationist and activist Vivek Menon, American war photojournalist Thomas Hurst, music director Prashant Pillai and so on.
“Everything is unscripted, so basically all you get to hear are two-three people having a casual conversation and sharing their perspective about a certain topic. There might be point of views within that conversation which one may agree or disagree with. But our idea isn’t to tell you what is right or wrong; it’s for you to decide what you want to believe in,” he explains.
Busy with his hospital rounds through the day, it’s only after 8 pm, when he returns from work, that Zachariah and Unni work on the podcast. “We record the episode, edit and then post it on various platforms. The software available today makes it so easy for us to compress and edit the conversations to make it podcast-worthy,” he explains, adding that all recordings are done remotely due to the pandemic.
He points out that some of the topics discussed during the podcast helped him during the difficult times of the pandemic. “It felt amazing to get out of the rut and have something joyful to work on after days of just gloom and despair. Unni and I both have creative minds and we’re happy to have found a new hobby,” he shares.
The most important takeaway for the doctor is handling emotions. “There’s so much depression and anxiety each of us is going through. But these conversations just help us express some of our fears. We’re hoping that it will be beneficial to those who need some cheering,” he says.
(‘The Odd Couple’ is available on YouTube, Apple Podcast, Spotify and anchor.fm)