SSoP Podcast Episode 59 — India: The Continent Masquerading as a Country

SSoP Podcast Episode 59 — India: The Continent Masquerading as a Country

Friday, 21 June, 2024

India seems committed to being over-the-top in the best way possible. It’s colorful, noisy, crowded, vast, deeply historic, spiritual, vibrantly modern, multi-lingual, and stunningly beautiful.

Want to get loud? India is the place for you! Sure, its population of 1.4 billion people might overwhelm you with the sheer crush of humanity, but its cities have an undeniable energy once you’re acclimated. Delhi, the capital, everything that makes travel great: ancient forts, mosques and temples, leafy parks and botanical gardens, sprawling bazaars, and bustling lanes of street food. And Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the home of Bollywood movie magic.

Feeling like a quiet retreat? India is the birthplace of yoga and meditation. You could visit Rishikesh, on the bank of the Ganges, to practice asanas in the birthplace of yoga. Or visit the ruins of the Maharishi’s ashram to feel the past vibrations of The Beatles.

India is also a fantastic place to shop for jewelry in a market, eat the best curries in the world, browse epic English-language bookstores, wander through centuries-old forts, and, of course, marvel at the Taj Mahal.

In this episode, we celebrate the poet Kabir Das, talk about dolphin rights, dig into Salvador Dali’s quirks, and explore India’s Golden Triangle. Then we recommend five great books that took us to India on the page, including immersive historical fiction, a travelogue and memoir of life in Delhi, a most unusual cookbook, a coming-of-age story (with dragons!), and a snappy crime novel with an unforgettable heroine.

Here are the books about India we recommend on the show:

Books, Transcript, and More

For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 59 show notes.


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In this episode, we get excited about two books: Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey and How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix. Then Dave explains why the Tollywood movie RRR is the best action-adventure movie since Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Stuffed peppers are old-school comfort food, but they're way more fun when you spice 'em up. And thanks to a velvety curry sauce that tastes like cardamon-cumin clouds, these stuffed peppers are a little bit fancy.
Let's build a time machine to visit the bustling bazaar of Hyderabad, circa 1912, with the beloved Indian poet Sarojini Naidu. Can't you just hear the jingling of silver bangles and smell the cardamom in the air?

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