A new podcast at WYN Studio by an ex-RJ and cancer survivor, C Pallavi Rao Narvekar, brings out the healing power of the voice in these dreary times. It hosts inspiring stories from survivors of critical illness and encourages a number of people to open up and share their story. The 48-year-old from Delhi speaks with The Morning Standard on her latest endeavour.
Any stories that stayed with you long after the episodes ended?
Every story is inspiring, but I’ll talk about Dilshad Master and Kanika Kush. Dilshad is a breast cancer survivor who climbed the Everest Base Camp barely a couple of months post treatment. What a woman! Kanika, in her early 20s, was struck by multiple sclerosis. Adamant as hell that she will not let it become part of her life, she did her research, went pillar-to-post and got a stem cell therapy done to break the disease. She is now free of that autoimmune disorder. Unthinkable!
What is the one common element you discovered between all the guests on your show?
Many, actually. The spirit to fight, survive and thrive post cancer or any chronic illness, accepting and making truce with the illness, the need to respect the body, one’s emotions, closing relationships and pending issue loops, communicating your feelings and most important-loving yourself.
Has this podcast changed your life?
It did in a number of ways. We might think our problems are the biggest and the worst, till you hear the other person’s story. It humbles you. It makes you appreciate your life more. The responses I get post each episode were overwhelming. Starting this podcast has gotten a certain rhythm to life-discipline of weekly timelines. It was just before the lockdown that I gathered and shared my life experiences along with that of my guests, so that others do not make the mistakes we made.
In what way being an RJ is different from being a podcaster?
As an RJ you are bound by many on-air rules and radio parameters. Be it the time limit of 40 seconds to 1 minute before each song, connecting the song to the content and what the listener can relate to.
In a podcast, I have the liberty to speak on topics that are close to me. There are no limitations. You record at your pace, in your space and enjoy it far more.
Though as a RJ, the instant reach is far bigger than a beginner’s podcast, especially in India where the latter is in its nascent stage.
Tell us about your inspiring journey of moving on from Thymoma cancer, accompanied by the autoimmune disorder.
Irrespective of the seriousness of an illness, life keeps moving. I was struck with Myasthenia Gravis, an auto immune disorder, in 2005. In the same year I found out that I also had Thymoma, which is rarely accompanied with Myasthenia Gravis.
From the first diagnosis itself in 2005, I continued working even from the hospital bed. Ideating and sharing content, literally producing the radio shows. It was only later I realised that I was continuously ‘resetting and re-inventing’ myself on the go. From being a RJ to taking up the role of a producer, to eventually head the CSR team for Radio Mirchi pan India, interspersed with my hospital vacations. One should never limit yourself with things you ‘think’ is all that you can do or are good at. When opportunities or situations come, you discover your other talents and strengths. With Myasthenia Gravis, the autoimmune disorder that I have, life is crippling on days. But, you learn to adjust with it, listen to your body and manoeuvre your day and work accordingly.
I have tried to play the role of a good worker in Radio Mirchi, hopefully an above average mom and got the courage to dwell into forays that I thought only interested me, but never thought I would take up as a vocation. Eventually, I set up ‘Indian Artizans’, working in the handloom saris space directly with the Indian weaver. It is an attempt to support some near extinct weaves and art forms. I now venture into the field of content consultancy.
Any more podcasts in the pipeline?
Yes, many concepts are playing in the head. Mental health, relationship issues, healthy eating and more.