A podcast about ancient humans and fossils in India
A new podcast is digging up hidden stories of India’s archaeological and palaeontological heritage
By Priyanka Sacheti
“Scoop a spade through the soil beneath your feet and you could reveal eye-popping, fantastical proofs of creatures that existed a hundred, thousand, million or even a billion years before you.”
So begins the introduction to the first episode of Desi Stones and Bones , a podcast by journalist Anupama Chandrasekaran that is excavating stories of archaeological and palaeontological finds and of the intrepid people behind the discoveries.
In one episode, Desi Stones and Bones introduces listeners to archaeologists who are experimenting with stone age tools to understand the dates of human migration to India. In another, it focuses on moonlighting palaeontologists who have found dinosaur egg fossils in Madhya Pradesh.
Chandrasekaran describes the podcast as “a road to an education about geology, archaeology and palaeontology” through her travels and conversations with antiquity and fossil hunters. “The listener gets to eavesdrop on my discussions and experiences,” she said.
As one of the oldest civilisations in the world, India is a goldmine of archaeological and palaeontological treasures. A wealth that remains largely out of the mainstream focus, save for a few isolated ‘big’ discoveries making headlines now and then. Driven by her love for audio stories and a newfound passion for archaeology and palaeontology, journalist Anupama Chandrasekaran is endeavouring to effect a change in this arena through her podcast channel, Desi Stones and Bones.
For a business journalist, the choice of her podcast niche is atypical. Talking about the journey that inspired this concept of a podcast that focuses on excavating palaeontological and archaeological stories as well as the people behind it, Anupama says, “I had always been drawn towards the audio format of story-telling. This interest led me to discover the world of podcasts. This was around 2013. At the same time, I chanced upon the book, Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent, by Pranay Lal and was fascinated by its insightful revelations that put a lot of things from our present existence into perspective as well. That’s how this love for podcasts and archaeology and palaeontology took form.”
However, it wasn’t until a couple of years later that Anupama decided to tap into this budding passion to embark on a new career path altogether. “I was already exploring the idea of a podcast venture but hadn’t found the perfect subject to base it on. It was then that I met Pranay Lal at the Hindu Literary Festival in Chennai. His enthusiasm and love for the stories from these two fields was infectious and acted as the nudge I needed to realise that these were the stories that I wanted to tell, because they became a part of my consciousness from moment I heard them,” Anupama says.