Our Last Week is a weekly podcast by neuro-science researcher and physicist Anuvab Pal and world renowned philosopher Kunaal Roy Kapur. They come together to create an event horizon that looks at the black hole of human existence with a gravitational lens trained specifically on the human week that just went by. They’re just two guys trying to make sense of it all. Deep, bruv.
Do people greet each other properly only when they have an agenda? What do we need to do make moments ‘truly’ memorable? What makes you relate to characters in movies? Do we live in a post-truth world where nothing can be trusted or even distrusted? Is Twitter finally enabling people to be their ass***e selves? On this last episode of Season 1 of Our Last Week, listen to Kunaal Roy Kapur and Anuvab Pal looking back at a year of conundrums.
With all Anuvab’s personal conversations with Kunaal are making it to the podcast, he laments their private lives have now become ‘conundrums’ for the benefit of the show’s producers. Which begs the question, do our personal lives even matter? For e.g. do the rights to Dhoni’s life belong to him or to the producers of his biopic? Also, how many middlemen do you need to get anything done? Can Indians ever have an event that doesn’t go into a crisis
Can a Global Citizen Fest really eradicate poverty where a head-exploding variety of celebrities get together to sing and dance for an audience hell-bent on enjoying itself? Are human beings beyond pleasing? What pleasure do us Indians get in circumventing the rules? What is the greatest sacrifice any RBI governor has ever made for India? How much work can you avoid by saying soldiers are dying? How much knowing is knowing enough? OLW asks the right questions once again.
This week there are no conundrums, life itself has become a conundrum. Kunaal and Anuvab contemplate the brave new world where Trump is President and their cash is worth nothing. They are distraught that the basic promise printed on our bank notes has been broken. Anuvab looks for all things he can barter for some tandoori chicken and they talk about how Donald Trump as president will change how we fundamentally look at the western world.
Why doesn’t anyone in a position of power ever retire? Are people with a family business really that happy or are they better off with jobs? How our phone battery is giving us anxiety? As we get older, do we inevitably become the people we hated in our youth? Are WhatsApp groups another reason to hate our parents? OLW has answers to all of life’s important questions.
Should you be obliged to tip for a service you have already paid for? What is the point of an air mile if it doesn’t actually equal a mile? Do you have kids only so that you can play on a bouncy castle in your 40s? Do you really need a temperature controlled bum shower (aka health faucet)? How do you handle a meeting that turns pointless while you’re in it? Life throws us questions and the OLW duo have the answers.
Kunaal and Anuvab are back with more conundrums about the events gripping the country and its borders. Anuvab is fascinated with Bollywood extras and how the Indian caste system plays out with how they are treated. The duo has a suggestion for a new act for the government, which would be a boon for doubting spouses. And Anuvab talks about a difficult time when he had to choose between greed and conscience.
Anuvab Pal and Kunaal Roy Kapur return with another set of fresh conundrums. Why we don’t take instructions very well. How we don’t follow our own dreams but follow someone else’s. And why a veteran film star went to an awards show dressed as a tomato. How Kunaal has a very keen sense of fashion, which is to be determinedly unfashionable. And how our self-expression is always about whom we hired to do it for us.
Kunaal and Anuvab on the importance of that ONE signed piece of paper in India and how it can validate your ENTIRE existence. The duo on how being a freelancer is not very different from being a daily contract labourer. Kunaal on how India already has driverless cars. Anuvab on his visit to a business school.And why America is a nation of illegal immigrants.
The Olympic games are on and Kunaal has been staying up to watch various events, he shares his unique (peculiar?) observations with Anuvab. The duo discusses a new set of games where you have to compete with the animals to win a medal/save your life. Anuvab reads an essay and finds fault lines in the Indian education system. Also the ultimate conundrum, is life elsewhere?
Polo matches with Dras’ who’s who (who?). Instead of Shanghai, Mumbai can become Venice. Inspired by Hitler’s house in Salzburg, the duo formulates a theory on natural beauty and ugly minds. Anuvab discovers some stunning facts about Victorian hygiene. Recipes for Indian cooking can be quite confusion, but Kunaal thinks they’re downright conniving.
Have you been catching Pokémons lately? Anuvab and Kunaal have dreamed up an even better game, Passport Go, where each level you excel brings you closer to finally getting your passport. And what about too much specificity —do you really want to know where every tower of your phone company is? You just want to have ONE uninterrupted phone call! And have you ever automatically respected someone just because they were sitting behind a glass window? “Should you hit the dog?” The duo investigate whether self-driving cars will make us less human.
Why are Bengalis so obsessed with South American football? Is it Maradona and Messi or just the idea of a human being moving so quickly? As Brexit leads to Bregret, the practice of making up words is so confusing that you have no idea whether it’s about teeth whitener or a coal scam. Why ransom is the best strategy for getting smooth courier deliveries. “Deep down everyone wants to leave”, why getting a visa in India is such a big deal. What does being rude to waiters say about us? And what about waiters who are rude to customers.
Hens giving eggs is a usual occurrence, but Kunaal encounters a Coorgy cat who pushed coffee beans out of its backside! What did they call it though— potty spice latte? Anuvab wonders why restaurants have started barbecuing everything —pineapples, cricket bats and even children. Where do we draw the line? Also, do you want to scratch your head? Need to find where the remote is? Don’t worry— there’s an app for that! The duo shares it’s thoughts on Udta Punjab — and how some people in a concert might complain that they’ve never been peed on.
This episode of Our Last Week was performed LIVE at the Cheer! festival at the NCPA in Mumbai in front of a packed and by-and-large appreciative house (one uncle seemed very upset). For those of you who could not make it we bring you all the conundrums presented there right here. The OLW duo talks about (unique) biometrics in India, ISIS vs. Amit Tridevi and why healthy smoothies can by yucky.
Have you ever counted your clothes before handing it to your dhobi? That’s because everyone in India is a conniving thief! Kunaal explains why he doesn’t take working from home seriously— how can you make a presentation when you’re cooking an omlette? Anuvab gives saintly advice to all lost souls — you can be successful if you do something, even if that something is a corruption scandal or a terrible reality show. They wonder why millenials are like immature 12-year-olds—they don’t want to work in an office but a kindergarten, and why hating customer service people is a generational affair, is it in our genes or is it taught to by our parents?
“Ma mati manush”— is that a campaign slogan or a password from Star Trek? Was the ‘Acche din’ slogan ‘inspired’ by the Chilean one ‘Happiness is coming’? In this season of elections, Anuvab Pal and Kunaal Roy Kapur decode campaign slogans. The duo talk about an African politician whose life story sounds like an episode of Game of Thrones and how anything that happens exactly as it is supposed to, is considered revolutionary in India. Lastly they are exasperated on being subjected to reading open letters and recommend people write ‘closed’ ones instead!
Why did Doordarshan’s news anchors talk in high-pitched English accents? And do IPL organisers think the sport is not entertaining enough, is that why you have movie promotions, cheerleaders, synchronized swimming and celebrity commentators to make the game more enjoyable. Summer vacations are here, Anuvab and Kunaal discuss the ridiculous children’s that are advertised, such as: advanced comedy for under 6-year-olds, how to write a novel in 4 days, skydiving from mars and such. And the most important conundrum of all: can Haydn and Bach stop terrorism?
Anuvab brings his expertise on the British monarchy to this week’s episode and suggests the former Empire sent the less fun royals to India. Then talking about accountability in large organisations and how much Pepsi Indra Nooyi actually owns. Also, do urban folk ‘know’ something is ayurvedic if they can’t identify the smell? And Our Last Week actually solves the world’s problems with a simply brilliant tax-solution. Not even kidding.
Casting decisions may or may not always make sense. Ask Anuvab! The duo discusses the way we benignly trust the drivers of kaali-peeli cabs, but always secretly question the new-age cabbies of Uber and Ola, who need GPS to get to the city’s iconic landmarks. Brokers are, apparently, really territorial. Who knew?
Several silly cases end up in the Supreme Court, but the OLW duo speculate that there is this one Bollywood case the judges might actually be interested in. Kunaal believes that in Mumbai, there is no art to living; it’s just the hell of living. Why is Donald Trump just like that Bengali uncle? Anuvab has the answer. The duo mourns the rampant misuse of “air-quotes” and talks about why Holi is fun, but a lot of fear.
Anuvab and Kunaal discuss Leonadro Dicaprio’s arduous journey to an Oscar win – and did being (digitally) manipulated by a bear finally win it for him? Kunaal cannot understand why Mad Max:Fury Road won all the awards but not ‘Best Picture’. How justice in Indian courts can be served by a loaded gun. Anuvab, deeply disturbed by Kunaal’s weight-loss, consoles himself with donuts. And why there were too many issues at this year’s Oscars.
Anuvab and Kunaal find it hard to keep up with the endless wave of protests in the country and if you do too, they provide simple hacks for how to add your two cents into every conversation about the nation, without really knowing much about the issues at hand. Kunaal finds out he’s not quite the ‘Wolf of Dalal Street’ as he invests his kids' money in a crashing stock market. And a worldwide exclusive from Our Last Week: Anuvab simulates the sound of a gravitational wave.
This week, Anuvab and Kunaal scrutinise the pretentiousness of the barrage of LitFests, the casual communalism of Indian uncles, and people who go a little too crazy while writing reviews on websites. Listen to the duo discuss the oddball YouTube genres that inexplicably garner immense popularity, and find out what it's like to be on a Bollywood set. Also on this episode: A conspiracy for their assassination and what to do when your children go, "I'm not sure about this Dad guy...
Anuvab has to write a script about villains, and that gets him thinking – where have all the great Hindi film villains gone? It’s fine that the sons and daughters of heroes are becoming heroes, but what about the sons and daughters of villains? Kunaal, on the other hand, having just come back from his Egyptian travels, recounts how difficult it is not to look like an Indian tourist when you're in a foreign country. Also on the episode: What’s the point of book launches in the modern age? And, are free events and seminars always populated by the homeless?
Who’s the most important person at an Indian wedding? The bride? The groom? The parents? None of them. It’s the uncle, the self-appointed head of all things wedding-related. Is the jalebi is not yet ready? Don’t worry, the uncle will take care of it. What if an uncle misbehaves with the guests? That’s why you have the "head uncle" keeping a close eye on the proceedings! Also on the episode: Anuvab hates going to school reunions, Kunaal plans a trip to Egypt, the duo play a game of dead or alive and wonder whether a clock repairman cares much for time.
On this special, year-end episode, we recap the best of what happened on Our Last Week in 2015. There was Kunaal and his fear of being “followed” on Twitter. Anuvab attempted to figure out why we end up being late for appointments and meetings when we’re always in a rush to get somewhere. The duo also tried to find an alternative to cricket, wondered how Indians would behave in space, and discussed one of the most contentious issues of the past year – award wapsi or, as they like to call it, when writers decided to return cash.
“Hey, did you read about those floods? So unfortunate!” “Yeah, but everybody I know is fine, so it’s not that bad.” Is that how we gauge disasters? And, can competition from private companies in the weather prediction business really make the Indian Met department pull up its socks? Anuvab & Kunaal don’t think so – “The competition will spur them to make it rain, just to prove a point (and their “predications”),” they say. Also on the episode: The motivations of Pakistani generals agreeing to get abused on live Indian news TV debates. How no one is churning out actual “news” anymore. And, can Delhi government’s move to restrict traffic movement according to a car’s registration number work when a traffic cop can’t even read the number plate amid all the smog?
Anuvab meets a gem of a person who doesn’t think the Paris attacks, where 130 people lost their lives, are a big deal, because, “But, in the Bombay attacks, just at VT station it was 130!” Kunaal is preparing for his upcoming shoot, where he has to swim in a gutter… literally, and that’s when it hits him – “What am I doing here? Why didn’t I finish my education?” Also on the episode: What would an Indian James Bond be like? What if things such as tables and walls start becoming intolerant? And, a solemn message to address the Paris terrorist attacks.
Anuvab and Kunaal muse about the loss of rock ‘n’ roll from an artist’s rock ‘n’ roll life and contemplate the idea of ownership in a digital age. Also on the episode: What’s the best way to protest against government policy? (Hint: it’s not so much about returning, than it is about asking for more.) Can you find a date at an NGO fundraiser? And, in a Chetan Bhagat moment, what if historians start thinking about what happened in the past?
It was Kunaal’s birthday, and Anuvab has a conundrum (obviously!)… How can the passage of time be a reason to celebrate a person? But, it’s more about celebrating the fact that you managed to survive another year, says Kunaal. Also on this episode: the duo wonder why Indians are always rushing to places when they are never on time, discuss our tendency for talking during a movie and explain how the years between the ages of 35 and 40 are when you’re supposed to toast your successful life... if you have achieved success, that is.
In this episode: What will the future be like, now that cab drivers can give us star ratings? Also, Our Last Week discusses and disses Big Data, wonders why beauty makes Kunaal uncomfortable (no, it’s got nothing to do with the effects of excessive makeup) and explains how the real India can be found at night, on long-distance trains, once the clock strikes 1.
Director, check. Cinematographer, check. Casting director... NO! Amid the euphoria of Court being selected as India’s entry for the Oscars, Kunaal explains why firing the casting director is what you need to do to make films of such calibre. Anuvab, the authority on all things related to The Empire, traces the discovery of India back to the British civil servants. The duo then addresses a pressing conundrum – what would it be like if your child cheated on you with another set of parents? Also in the episode: Buying a library, the pressure of selling out and real estate negotiations.
Fresh off a trip to Kolkata, Anuvab & Kunaal have a new conundrum to solve – would you actually find Chicken a la Keiv in Keiv? More importantly, is ‘continental cuisine’ really from the continent or is it just an excuse to use a lot of butter and cheese? Also: the duo tells you why their funniest creative moments will go unheard (sure, we believe them!), discuss Europe’s migrant crisis and explain how Donald Trump proves that political ratings are the same as TRPs.
Conundrums turn towards crime as Anuvab & Kunaal turn voyeuristic, watching the media circus around the murder coverage. Also: Does possessing an anglicised accent ensure you’re treated differently by judge and jury? Do political speeches focus only on entertainment? Why Kunaal is on a high-fat diet and how Anuvab is able to understand Mumbai real estate prices.
Anuvab & Kunaal discuss whether it really matters who heads the FTII and when it is okay to throw filmmakers in jail (hint: not when they are students of an institute, protesting at midnight). Anuvab also recounts his experience of being in the audience at a stand-up show and explains why he believes everyone was drunk on the eve of August 15, 1947. Kunaal meanwhile tries to understand why porn has become boring and reveals the strategy behind Indians having several children.
Anuvab & Kunaal take Shashi Tharoor’s arguments reparations on straight to the heart of the British establishment as the co-host of the legendary podcast The Bugle; comic Andy Zaltzman joins them on this new episode. Is offering to let Indians beat the English at cricket enough to atone for the sins of The Empire? Or should they also apologise for the culinary catastrophe called the chicken tikka masala? Tune in to find out.
In this episode of Our Last Week: From sports to public behaviour, the duo examines characteristically Indian quirks; Anuvab believes Kabbadi just mirrors the real-life Indian shoving and pushing experience, Kunaal thinks Batman is not a brooding saviour of the world but just a grown man in a black rubber suit and Anuvab explains Kolkata’s competitive fixation with medical conditions.
In this episode of Our Last Week: Anuvab explains why he loves using the word conundrum. Kunaal on why you can’t discover something that already exists (think: gravity). Attending a dinner party when you’re 40-years-old. Coldplay's impromptu gig in Delhi and Russell Brand’s funnily unfunny tour of India.
This episode of Our Last Week features a Zimbabwean woman who is willing to pay for a husband, (the lack of) strong feeling for Maggi noodles, the ridiculousness of building society fights, 'happy birthday' billboards for political leaders and our thirst for knowledge, rubbish knowledge.
In this episode of Our Last Week: Kunaal Roy Kapur on why he thinks a tractor in Mumbai makes more sense than an SUV. Anuvab encounters kids with anger issues. How to get a best deal at a funeral service. Tinder India is a bit different (clue: who’s your daddy?). The loneliness of the YouTube commentor.
In this episode of Our Last Week: Modern Bollywood writers who are not conscious of parking problems. How Zimbabwe solved inflation problems by printing bigger notes. Unleashing your inner Mexican at a Kolkata club and the pressure of being a host for corporate events.
In this episode of Our Last Week: Kunaal talks about his trip to Hungary, a day in the life of Salman Khan's fans, how Indian’s love to ‘buy consequences’, Anuvab gets slapped by 7 year old on a plane, getting hugged by your bank manager on your birthday and how nothing is greater than the power of celebrity.
Our last week discusses the significance of recaps in business books, drivers who want your car, service tax rates for spying (is it even a service?), space travel with dry dhoklas, the unfortunate snoring problems of a four year old and the Shakti Kapoor impersonator outside KFC.