The Seen and the Unseen of Womaning
Issue #75: The Diamond Jubilee edition - Whatte timing!
I had an entire newsletter locked and loaded to release today. But it will have to wait another week now, because the podcast I recorded with the brilliant Amit Varma just dropped.
Amit first asked me to record an episode with him on The Seen and the Unseen - which happens to be India's top weekly podcast on politics, economics, and behavioural science - way back in December 2021.
I was so taken aback by the request that I mumbled something about not being ready yet and requested a postponement to the day I publish the Womaning book I plan to put together one day.
Later, of course, I kicked myself for letting my imposter syndrome get in the way of such an amazing opportunity. When Amit texted a group we are on earlier this month that he is in my neck of the woods for some recordings, I told him to pencil me in whenever he visits next or “whenever he has a free slot”.
I thought, perhaps, he would have had second thoughts about having me on by now - or would schedule me sometime in 2045. At best.
The very next week, however, he called me saying a slot had opened up and can I come down to his studio to record “the day after tomorrow”.
I spent the next 48 hours in a state of legitimate panic while doing some ‘last-minute revision’ of everything I have written so far - like the good Indian student that I am. (In my defence, it is not easy to remember all the 200+ stories of women that I have written so far!)
Even during the recording (and later over the course of editing), my imposter syndrome was a recurring theme that Amit and I discussed.
And I continue to feel seized by it, even as I write this. (Me? Seen and the Unseen? What the even?)
Anyway, now that I am finally convinced that there is no Cyrus Broacha waiting to jump out from behind a hidden camera somewhere and shout “BAKRI” at me, here is the full episode:
Those of you who have not been regular listeners of The Seen and the Unseen might be shocked by the length of the episode. At 5.45.25 hours, it is just a few minutes short of Amit’s longest episode.
I assure you - this is a feature, not a bug.
Amit believes in delving deep during conversations and exploring the interesting twists and turns we take without the pressure of a deadline on us.
He also spends a lot of time discussing the origin stories of his guests before delving into their work. And mine began with India’s independence, and the Spanish Flu before that. So we definitely took some interesting detours on our way from there to here.
I am pasting below Amit’s shownotes for the episode - which link, among other things we discussed, to all my previous posts that came up during our conversation.
Over to Amit:
“The world we live in is designed by men for men. What is it like to be a woman in this world? Mahima Vashisht joins Amit Varma in episode 293 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her experiences documenting all that is unseen by men and lived by women.”
Mahima Vashisht on Twitter.
Womaning in India — Mahima Vashisht’s newsletter.
The All-Powerful Female Imposter Syndrome — Mahima Vashisht.
Maternity Discrimination is killing women’s careers — Mahima Vashisht.
Body shaming women is our favourite national pastime — Mahima Vashisht.
Let’s talk about Office Toilets — Mahima Vashisht.
The Raja Beta Syndrome — Mahima Vashisht.
Fabulous Lives of Indian Housewives — Mahima Vashisht.
What is obstetric violence? (Aka my birth story) — Mahima Vashisht.
Women face selective-deafness in meetings — Mahima Vashisht.
Lessons from the Tarun Tejpal judgment — Mahima Vashisht.
The Great Indian Dhakosla — Mahima Vashisht.
Kavitha Rao and Our Lady Doctors — Episode 235 of The Seen and the Unseen.
The Memoirs of Dr Haimabati Sen — Haimabati Sen (translated by Tapan Raychoudhuri).
Nobody Told Me — John Lennon.
An Unsuitable Boy — Karan Johar.
The Nurture Assumption — Judith Rich Harris.
The Confidence Gap — Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
Dunning-Kruger Effect (Wikipedia).
Poker at Lake Wobegon — Amit Varma.
India = Migration — Episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chinmay Tumbe).
India Moving — Chinmay Tumbe.
The Life and Times of Mrinal Pande — Episode 263 of The Seen and the Unseen.
The Road to Freedom — Arthur C Brooks.
Clarification Regarding Release of Funds to Prasar Bharti — I&B Ministry press release.
A Life in Indian Politics — Episode 49 of The Seen and the Unseen (w JP Narayan).
The Vidya Balan Nirmal Bharat commercial.
The Good Girls — Sonia Faleiro.
Two Girls Hanging From a Tree — Episode 209 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Sonia Faleiro).
Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar’s Swachh Bharat commercial.
Twin Peaks — David Lynch.
The Life and Times of Nilanjana Roy — Episode 284 of The Seen and the Unseen.
My Friend Sancho — Amit Varma.
The #MeToo Movement — Episode 90 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Supriya Nair & Nikita Saxena).
Daily Rituals — Mason Currey.
Daily Rituals: Women at Work — Mason Currey.
The tweet Mahima referred to about Albert Einstein’s wife.
Eileen Mary O’Connell’s tweet about Marie Curie and Mariah Carey.
The Loneliness of the Indian Woman — Episode 259 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shrayana Bhattacharya).
The Life and Times of Urvashi Butalia — Episode 287 of The Seen and the Unseen.
The Incredible Curiosities of Mukulika Banerjee — Episode 276 of The Seen and the Unseen.
It is immoral to have children. Here’s why — Amit Varma.
Men Must Step Up Now — Amit Varma.
Superforecasting — Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner.
Who gains from the new Maternity Benefit Act Amendment? — Devika Kher.
Here’s What’s Wrong With the Maternity Benefits Act — Suman Joshi.
This Be The Verse — Philip Larkin.
Deep Work — Cal Newport.
Invisible Women — Caroline Criado Perez.
The controversy over the woman with an oxygen cylinder cooking in the kitchen.
We Should Celebrate Rising Divorce Rates (2008) — Amit Varma.
The Kavita Krishnan Files — Episode 228 of The Seen and the Unseen.
Fearless Freedom — Kavita Krishnan.
Why Loiter? — Shilpa Phadke.
The Jackson Katz quote on passive sentence constructions.
Manjima Bhattacharjya: The Making of a Feminist — Episode 280 of The Seen and the Unseen.
Karthik Muralidharan Examines the Indian State — Episode 290 of The Seen and the Unseen.
Whole Numbers and Half Truths — Rukmini S.
Rukmini Sees India’s Multitudes — Episode 261 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rukmini S).
How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings — Sarah Cooper.
Untamed — Glennon Doyle.
Shrill — Lindy West.
Steal Like an Artist — Austin Kleon.
Show Your Work — Austin Kleon.
Keep Going — Austin Kleon.
Why Women over-apologize and men under-apologize — Mahima Vashisht.
The Best-Kept secrets of “nice neighbourhoods” — Mahima Vashisht.
Divorcing in India — Mahima Vashisht.
It’s official: India’s gender gap is increasing — Mahima Vashisht.
Idolizing women's sacrifices is a subtle form of abuse — Mahima Vashisht.
Boys Clubs at work are making you a poorer leader — Mahima Vashisht.
Brave men and hysterical women — Mahima Vashisht.
Paternity leave will unsex your life — Mahima Vashisht.
Should we lock up all the women? — Mahima Vashisht.
RIP, my sense of humour — Mahima Vashisht.
Let me mansplain it to you — Mahima Vashisht.
Whither Good News? Childfree and lovin' it — Mahima Vashisht.
Menstruation jokes are not funny. Period. — Mahima Vashisht.
The Raja Beta Syndrome — Mahima Vashisht.
Men, Women, and the Mental Load of running a house together — Mahima Vashisht.
Parampara. Pratishtha. Abortion. — Mahima Vashisht.
Can women even do jobs? In search for the Goldilocks working woman — Mahima Vashisht.
All the Single Ladies — Mahima Vashisht.
Listen to it - over the next three years or however long it takes you - and let me know what you thought of our conversation.
Here’s to conquering the all-powerful female imposter syndrome!
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