Stories of Men

A loving relation between father and daughter

An Enduring bond between father and daughter

An Enduring bond between father and daughter

This episode of Our Voices focuses on the special bond between father and daughter. Sunetra recounts how her father, Dhruba, has been a life-long inspiration. She also discusses how she and her own daughters have embraced the values he espoused.

The first pet

The first of many moments of father and daughter bonding Sunetra remembers centre around her first pet. As she and her family moved around a lot, she had never had any pets as a youngster.

It wasn’t until she was 16 that she received her first, a rabbit who would live for 12 years. Sunetra looked after the rabbit for the first years of its life but when she left Kolkata to study at university, her father took over. 

“In effect, the rabbit became my father’s pet. My father and I had a very strong bond always but it augmented that bond in very interesting ways. And my father became very attached to the rabbit.”

A unique correspondence

So attached did her father become to the rabbit that he began writing letters to Sunetra on the rabbit’s behalf updating her on the family gossip. Not only that, he would write part of these letters in French. The letters would be carefully folded into four parts. The first lines would be written by him, then the next part by her mother, a third part by her grandmother “and then the fourth bit when you folded over was from the rabbit in French, and it was just wonderful.”

“The music in my life”

Describing her father, Sunetra says that Dhruba was a playful, sometimes mischievous individual. Being a dad sat comfortably with Dhruba’s other roles and attributes. He had a sparkle in his eyes and a youthful expression which didn’t fade as he got older. He was also something of a renaissance man.

He taught African history at the University of Calcutta and he was a keen traveller and a lover of culture. He was also an exceptional singer. “He sang all the time. His singing was the music in my life and has always been the music in my life”.

memory of a loving dad

Intellectual discussions

Talking about Kolkata, Sunetra describes it as “full of these beautiful old colonial buildings and the hustle and bustle of life. It is also the centre of the most vibrant kind of intellectual activity and real internationalism.” Sunetra experienced much of this during her youth through her father and his friends.

From the age of around 11, she would be invited to participate in discussions about film and music. Sunetra was always gratified with the attention she would receive. “When I spoke, all these men who were then in their 40s and 50s would just listen to me. Everyone was accorded respect in their opinion.”

A conversation between father and daughter

This no doubt helped Sunetra develop confidence in her own way of seeing this world. This was put into practice when, at the age of 14, she began to feel out-of-sorts at school. The school she attended was very exclusive and she felt alienated from mainstream Bengali culture.

As a result, while walking back from The Calcutta Book Fair, it was time for father and daughter to have a conversation. She told him her feelings and received a surprising reply. “I said that I wasn’t really happy with my situation at school. And he said, ‘Well, in that case, you should leave’.” 

story of a father's love for his daughter

Taking charge of her destiny

Dhruba’s response was anything but flippant; he was being a supportive father in his own inimitable way. “There was so much actual weight behind what he said. It was saying: you need to make a decision right now, Madam, you’re 14 years old. And you need to take charge of your destiny. And I am telling you how you can do that.” 

It was the father’s responsibility to ensure his daughter took responsibility for her decisions. Sunetra took her father’s words to heart and successfully completed the entrance exams to enrol in a new school. She spent four happy years there.

Real goals from a loving dad

Sunetra’s academic achievements took her all the way to completing a PhD in the transmission of infectious diseases. When Sunetra’s PhD professor asked Dhruba whether he was proud, he replied “Why? It’s just a PhD.” At first, this response may sound strange, churlish even, but Dhruba’s goal for Sunetra did not rest with academic achievement. 

He also did not believe that Sunetra should live her life in order to make him proud. The father’s love for his daughter was expressed by the deeper ambitions he had for her. “Your real goals are to achieve happiness, fulfilment, and to be able to care for others and to be able to do something that makes you feel like you’ve achieved your purpose in life. And that’s not something anyone can endorse externally.”

Personal success

A supportive father who taught her to find her own path

Sunetra went on to achieve her purpose. She became an award-winning epidemiologist and professor of zoology at the University of Oxford. She is now carrying out her research on the spread of infectious diseases, such as malaria, flu, and COVID-19; and working on developing a new flu vaccine. 

Passing on her father’s values

In Dhruba and Sunetra’s case, the father and daughter bond has crossed more than one generational divide. Dhruba’s influence is visible not just in Sunetra’s personal success but also in the way she has raised her two daughters. 

Before the pandemic, her eldest daughter had been training as a corporate lawyer. But she has since found herself drawn to much less lucrative roles in public law and human rights. She currently works as an immigration lawyer. Speaking about this, Sunetra says “that’s very inspiring to me and I know that’s exactly what my father would have liked”.

Feeling blessed

Dhruba passed away in 2004 at the age of 69. Naturally, Dhruba’s passing has been a great loss for Sunetra. But her memories of the father-daughter relationship continue to sustain her. The bond between father and daughter still continues through Dhruba’s voice. Sunetra has recordings of him singing to which she listens regularly. 

Talking about how she feels when she reflects on the influence of her father, Sunetra says “it makes me feel blessed. It just simply makes me feel so extraordinarily lucky to have had that person in my life.”

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Laura is the mix engineer for the Stories of Men podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Stories of Men podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

Experience in Industry: 3


Favourite Food: Potatoes

Favourite Sport: Wild swimming

Favourite Show: Anything Marvel

Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights


I’m the community manager at Stories of Men. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests. What I love most about working for Stories of men is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

Industry experience: 3 Years


Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.


I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Stories of Men podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

 Experience in Industry: 5 years


Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt



Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Stories of Men’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  





Favourite Food: I love Indian food – My favourite dish is a Dansak. It’s a rich combination of hot, sweet and sour flavours, made from lamb and lentils.

Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.


I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Stories of Men podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues regarding men that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.



Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

I’m the Editor of Stories of men. I craft compelling narratives from the stories of our fantastic guests, editing their interviews and scripting the episodes. I’m a freelance journalist and audio producer from Northern Ireland, currently based in California. I cover social issues, health and gender – with reporting in The Guardian, Vice, NPR, Cosmopolitan and many others. My focus is shining a light on the communities and initiatives that improve people’s lives. I have a background in the nonprofit space, having worked in communications for a mental health charity, as well as an education start-up. I mentor young female writers and sit on the board of an NGO that empowers women in global supply chains. 

Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live 

I am the host of Stories of Men. I help to find men that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet men from all walks of life and many of these guys had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Stories of Men’ because I wanted to give these men a platform to share their stories with the world.

I love the detail that people go into and how people craft stories in different ways. My dream and vision for the future would be countless people messaging to tell us how a particular episode has changed their lives!


Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.