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I am not a fan of audible books. Trust me, I have tried really hard to like them. You see, I badly wanted it to work so that some of the load carried by my overworked eyes could be palmed off on the ears. They, the eyes worked non-stop, when I blogged, surfed the net, Facebooked, read books, played Farmville and/or the many word games I love, and finally they also were heavily invested in watching shows on Netflix and Disney Hotstar, not to mention some of the travel shows on YouTube.

The first reason is that my mind wandered. Yes, my mind has mind of its own. It tends to wander instead of listening and picks up all sort of things along the way. I am okay with it coming up with topics for blogs. But that’s not all it does. It drags up memories from I know not what deep chasms. Sometimes I find myself having conversations with people and telling them things bluntly like I should have long back. This is a favorite hobby of wandering minds I have learnt much to my chagrin, trying to tie you up in knots about unresolved things from long ago. Recently though the wandering mind has been kind, gifting me with lyrics of songs from ages ago in mint condition too. I mean, there I’d be, and the next thing I know I’d burst out singing lines from a song that I hadn’t heard in like thirty or forty years, leaving me impressed and amazed at its prowess.

The second reason I disliked audio books was because of the way the stories were told in someone else’s voice. No offence to some of the excellent narrators, except that their style wasn’t for me. When I read books, the reading voice is mine, and the characters speak in voices my imagination has assigned to each of them. The way they express love, horror or fear, are all mine. But when I heard the story in someone else’s voice, it jarred on my nerves. I could not quite reconcile myself to their intonations.

So I gave up the audio aspirations, apologized to my eyes for my inability to look after its welfare, and continued using their services to read. Walks, and journeys meant listening to music. My mind could wander at will if it so chose while the music played. In fact it did that quite a lot, and does too.

And then one fine day I scrolled through the podcasts available on the Stitcher App and on a whim searched for anything available on Russian history. Yes, I am fascinated by Russian history. The app gave me the Russian Rulers History Podcast and I started listening to it. That was it. I was officially hooked. Now my walks are incomplete without Mark Schauss talking Russian history to me. It is simply awesome. Right now, I am only about eight episodes into it, there are many more to go and I really look forward to them. You bet I am enjoying myself immensely. What’s more, my mind doesn’t wander. It wouldn’t dare!

© Shail Mohan 2021