Published: 22nd May 2019
Kelirondu Katheya: Meet the NRI couple whose Kannada podcast has 30,000 listeners across the USA
Anand Hemmige, who has successfully established a Kannada podcast for kids living abroad, tells us how these podcasts are helping kids develop their listening skills and get in touch with their roots
Meet Anand Hemmige and his wife Parimala Deshpande. This couple has become popular in the US for their Kannada podcast channel Kelirondu Katheya, which has over 1,000 active listeners per episode and about 30,000 unique listeners. It all began when the couple, who lives in America, couldn't find any quality content in Kannada for their kids besides a few books online and they felt that that wasn't enough if their kids had to really learn and appreciate the language.
So far, the couple has aired over 35 stories and they release one story per week. They share simple stories like those on Akbar and Birbal, Tenali Rama and Nasreddin Hodja — stories with strong morals. Apart from stories, Kelirondu Katheya also aires shows that talk about the importance of celebrating certain festivals. Anand explains, "We choose stories from books that we enjoyed as kids, as well as from books our kids enjoy today. We believe that narrating stories with great moral value to children at a very young age will benefit them as they will inculcate the same values."
Kind of stories: They share stories that carry strong moral values
Anand, who is a software engineer, is happy about the popularity that the show has gained in the past few months. He says, "We did not want our kids to be glued to devices or gadgets playing games or watching videos which affect their brain and their eyesight. But the Kannada content available online is not exactly quality content. Our idea was to inculcate listening skills among kids and also develop the habit of storytelling. Hence, we decided to take things into our own hands and produce a podcast show in Kannada."
So who narrates these stories? This initiative is entirely volunteer-driven. Anand's friends, who are also Kannadigas, have come forward to narrate stories on the podcast. "If you tune into the latest episodes of Kelirondu Katheya, you can hear Dr Nalini Nagendra narrating stories. She is a resident of Dallas is very passionate in supporting this mission by helping with voice-overs, branding and so on. She is also very popular with our young listeners. We have had kids imitating her style and sending us recordings. Ashwini Kartik and Aparna Narendra are established Kannada singers who help us with voice-overs, editing and, in general, as critics to keep us standing in good stead. Vijendra Rao and Rajiv Jois are professionals who help us out with audio engineering and voice-overs. Newcomers like Kartik, Aditya Padaki and Seshadri Purushotham joined us because of their interest in storytelling. They have picked up tremendously over the past few months. Shivanand Uli is a talented artist in Bengaluru, who has been lending his artistic talent to our website," says Anand.
Fanbase: They have around 1,000 active listeners across the world
But don't be mistaken. Producing podcasts is not as easy as it sounds. For Anand and his team, it takes 2-3 days to complete narrating one story and thus, make it a point to release only one story per week. They have been receiving a phenomenal response from the listeners. "We have heard from Kannadigas across the globe about the difference the show has made to their kids. It's very satisfactory to hear our little experiment to entertain children at least for a few minutes a day has been successful. Perhaps, the greatest satisfaction is that kids remember the stories and the voice behind them and even try to imitate them long after they are done listening. It means that they have developed a listening habit, which feels great," concludes Anand.
A few famous podcasts:
BooksThatSpeak is a podcast dedicated to kids where stories are narrated in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. Their effort is to help kids fall and stay in love with books and stories, even if it means that they are listening to the stories instead of reading them
Desi Outsider is a podcast by two young Indian women who want to be the voice of reason that fails to be heard in certain Indian households. The podcast is designed to bring meaningful conversations on relationships, dating, education, and feminism into Indian homes
Dakaar is a podcast by Geetanjali Advani which will allow you to follow her food journey and the Dakaar thereafter