Professor Siddharth Deshmukh, ex-dean of MICA, Ahmedabad, received a good response from an episode he did with The Filter Koffee podcast (Karthik Nagarajan) and a Marathi podcast on gol gappa with Trupti Khamkar. “I guess IVM Podcasts (a podcast network in India) and I both realised that hey! I can do this,” says Siddharth over the phone from Mumbai .
Thus began the Travelling Professor’s Diary podcast, in which Siddharth analyses — enhanced by his amicable style — on his observations and travels to MICA, SP Jain, Symbiosis, FLAME, upGrad, and Talent age. Some of the topics he has given insightful perspectives on are ‘the politics beyond our social media bubbles,’ ‘How to beat toxicity with science’, and ‘design your entertainment’. Siddharth has been a professor for 20 years and has taught at various institutes, including SP Jain, Symbiosis and Ahmedabad University.
He is widely known in the academic community, but his podcast reaches people who have never attended his lectures, but will gain from his knowledge.
So why podcasts and not Youtube? “I think podcasting allows you to reach a new set of people that you typically can’t reach on YouTube, or any other visual medium. But that doesn’t mean I am averse to doing Youtube videos. There are times when I put up my own video on Instagram or on LinkedIn and cross link it with my podcast. But I believe the message can be different on a podcast because the structure of the conversation or the kind of rant that I do on my part is unstructured, and the uncertain nature of the conversation makes for a different kind of listening pleasure. Also, a lot of people just put on YouTube and listen to it.”
Speaking about the idea behind the podcast, Siddharth says: “I was always the travelling Professor on Instagram and LinkedIn. The moment I started teaching at different institutes, I realised that my personal brand is not a specific institute, it is more to do with the joy of teaching and of connecting with students and learning. Then I realised I am fairly interesting and unique (laughs). While travelling, you realise there are many things you discover across different cultures and you assimilate them.”
Ideas come to Siddharth in various ways, from conversations to observations. “I am quite a curious mad hatter. So, I keep looking at various things and start pontificating about them and that’s always fun to do. I look at something that has made me curious, either in a negative or a positive way… that can come from media, day-to-day living, within the classroom, meeting parents, and even meeting other teachers. So even though the social circles are different, it has to lead to some either positive or negative observation.
And then rumination on it typically happens. I make a few notes. I then record my podcast and send it for editing to IVM.” Social media is full of noise, where people swing between extremes, does Siddharth think that podcasts are an anti-thesis to that? Does it allow for slowing down, relaxing and being open to learning?
“The next evolutionary step is to encourage a social media structure that allows for more nuanced conversation” he agrees and adds: “It makes for more fun, peaceful and empathetic discussion. So I thought my podcast can allow people to become a little more aware of themselves.”
You can listen to the podcast here: ivmpodcasts.com/the-travelling-