I am a Gemini, and I am not afraid to admit it! No, really. I’m not. I fully recognize I was born under one of the standard “ugh you’re that sign”. A quick Google search tells you why. Nosy, gossipy, indecisive, ruthless.
Also - curious, communicative, and passionate.
I can get behind most of these descriptors for who I am- both sides of the coin that the stars have lain at my feet. Honestly, I don’t think of astrology as accurate, nor do I think of it as something that isn’t real. It is a thing humans use for better and sometimes for worse. As noted in the first episode of Skyline Drive, astrology is right like a poem is right. One of the most beautiful phrases I’ve heard come out of a podcast in a while.
From Kaleidoscope and iHeart comes a dive into the world of astrology with Mangesh Hattikuder. I was lucky enough to score an early listen to the first episode, as I am a fan of Mr. Hattikuder’s work - and now his daughter too.
Artfully woven through the first episode are exposition, character, and story. We meet Mangesh, the host, along with a few friends who all work together to explain astrology in the modern sense. From the roots of Mangesh’s childhood and heritage to whispers of multibillion-dollar applications, we are brought what really is a solid introduction to what I am calling astrological scope.
This podcast is absolutely bubbling with a childlike curiosity. It’s one of the reasons I’ve loved Mangesh as a host in the past. I’m very glad to find it’s him and not just what he’s working on. The teasing quality of this content warning at the top (adult language is included) was an ice-breaking way of getting some information across without breaking the tone of slightly silly. “Okay, guys we’re going to talk about astrology”. Combine that with some very real-world heavy content, it’s a delicate balance that Skyline Drive is striking. In just this first episode, I think it’s pretty solid.
While some people find astrology ridiculous and silly, it’s also not. It’s something very much worth talking about. This isn’t even the first bit of a podcast I’ve listened to about astrology. It means a lot of things to millions of people around the world. We’ve seen a boom in Western people considering the stars for their future. These Western people who might not know in some places, it is a very real consideration. I just saw a tweet today about how astrology has been used to negatively control women in some parts of the world.
Astrology can be a small paragraph in the morning newspaper, or it can determine if someone remains a bachelor their entire life. This podcast balances these considerations well, all things considered. Mangesh’s parents had an arranged marriage, somewhat born of astrology. People his parents knew, their lives were determined in a few ways by this “pseudo-science” thing.
Astrology is real in the sense that people believe it is real. The overall tone of this first episode makes you comfortable with this balance while treading towards the more positive, playful side than the negative. It gently brings forward each chapter across nearly 40 minutes. It’s personal, it’s journalistic, and it sets us up for an interesting ride. Coming out of the credits, I took off my headphones and said out loud “oh I’m going to like this one”.
This is not only because I am relentlessly curious about things, but this podcast is so nice to listen to. There is a cast of stellar music, great writing, and wonderful performance to bring it all together as an episode exemplar of what people can do with this medium (Side note to anyone sending me early episodes: when you make a mixtape can I have that early too?).
Thank you to Arielle Nissenblatt for setting up the early listen, and thank you to Kaleidoscope for sending over the mix.
On a serious note:
Social media is a really difficult thing we’ve found in recent months. While I’m hanging out over in the Podcasting Community Discord (link here), I can’t stress enough what direct subscriptions mean for people like me.
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