Yaadon Ka Idiot Box

Neelesh Misra has become my favorite story teller. He writes so well, and reads it to the listeners so well. Of course I didn’t have a story teller, leave alone a favorite one, for the past 14 years; ever since ‘growing up’ happened, and Grandpa stopped telling me stories. And whenever I insisted, he would tell me that his story basket was empty, and that I had already listened to all his tales, nothing was left. So I read myself stories- champak, chandamama, minabazar, nandankanan, sanskar, gokulam, and many more monthly magazines. Then I promoted myself to reading short story collections by O Henry, Oscar Wilde; Kaleidoscope, and then came Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, and Heidi; and then full-fledged novels entered my life, which have been with me ever since.

‘Yaad Shehar’- the city of memories. All his stories 
are set in this imaginary small town. ‘Baat pe apni hi
baat kehta he, mere andar mera chota sa shehar rahta he’- and thus begins his narrations. His stories are soothing, thought provoking, and emotional- be it about a retired professor, a liftman, a train passenger, a 6 year old kid, a dog, a father, or a dear diary, dear husband and dear wife. He tells the story from one character’s perspective, relates his feelings, sweet n sour memories-yaadein, ups and downs, aims and aspirations. And he saves the best lines for the end, in its best form- I love his endings, and the way he signs off saying, ‘Bas, itni sit hi aj ki yeh kahaani…’.  “Yaadon ka idiot box” is an award winning program aired in 92.7 BIG FM, every day at 9 pm, and right now it’s continuing its third season.
I download these stories from YouTube, and listen at my own pace, sometimes twice and thrice. These days I listen to his stories more than music.

Stories are an integral part of my life. I cannot imagine my life without them- be it a 3 page, or a 250 page, or a 600 page one. And being told stories once again, feels special. I love Neelesh Misra for his poignant stories that stay with you and keep you thinking even after the 20 minutes are over. I love his voice itself- the perfect voice of an inborn, master story teller. And I have discovered my liking for the language Hindi. Though I admit I have a weakness for languages and almost every language interests me (and my first love remains English- I express myself best in English), I had never expected to like Hindi so much. He made me fall in love with Hindi, and radio- once again..


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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