My latest book is The One Who Swam With The Fishes.
"A mesmerizing account of the well-known story of Matsyagandha ... and her transformation from fisherman’s daughter to Satyavati, Santanu’s royal consort and the Mother/Progenitor of the Kuru clan." - Hindustan Times
"Themes of fate, morality and power overlay a subtle and essential feminism to make this lyrical book a must-read. If this is Madhavan’s first book in the Girls from the Mahabharata series, there is much to look forward to in the months to come." - Open Magazine
"A gleeful dollop of Blytonian magic ... Reddy Madhavan is also able to tackle some fairly sensitive subjects such as identity, the love of and karmic ties with parents, adoption, the first sexual encounter, loneliness, and my favourite, feminist rage." - Scroll
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7 October 2004
And now, a word from our sponsors
What’s been up, you ask? I realise I haven’t said anything about my present life in recent posts, concentrating instead on the past. Fear not, the Rajat story will continue.
But, a few words nevertheless, on the rest of my life.
So a good pal of mine from college--- Iggy---just got a job as a management trainee in one of those fancy, foreign companies. (Damn, I have such trouble with the name! What was it again? Oh, yeah, Price,Waterhouse Cooper). So she wanted to celebrate. We were to meet up, get a drink somewhere cheap and catch up on everything that had been happening.
Also included in the plan was another college buddy, Meg. Now, I like Meg. I really do. I just don’t like her around boys. Around boys she’s all big-eyed and helpless damsel, which gets annoying after a bit.
Our group in college is rather weird. Everyone has at one point or another had a major blowout with someone else, leaving the atmosphere tense and smoking. Take Iggy and I for example. A couple of years ago we got into this fight of gigantic proportions over all sorts of little things that had been boiling for a while. We didn’t speak for something like three months (and that’s hard to do when you’re in the same classes and have the same friends). Eventually, we made it up, but it seems as if our friendship is just about re-emerging now, that we’ve put the past behind us.
Though we get on like a house on fire. Maybe it’s our zodiac compatibility, y’know we share the same birthday and all. But she’s so different from me. Poles apart really.
And then there’s the little tension between Meg and NT. You see, Meg was dating this guy for a really long time (for her) and then the relationship ended because she cheated on him. But still, Meg and NT are best friends and NT started to date Meg’s ex-boyfriend (My life is the Bold And The Beautiful). Now, Meg can’t say anything directly to NT coz technically she did cheat on him and all. But still she’s pretty pissed off that her friend should be dating her ex-boyfriend. Understandable? Totally.
Anyway, so feeling all “girl power” and everything I message K : “Hey. Will be meeting Iggy and all around six. If you want to meet up let me know.”
But still I was totally unprepared when Iggy said, hesistantly, “Um… K. will be coming too.”
Okay, so I hadn’t told anyone I was inviting him along. Turns out Iggy, Meg and K have been hanging out ALMOST DAILY. My friends. How dare he poach on my friends!!! I don’t randomly hang out with his buddies, now do I? And as for them, bloody Judases, they never, but never, “hung out with him and smoked a j” when we were dating. What in the name of fuck was going on?
Iggy said quickly, “Now don’t overreact. I mean, we’ve all been really bored, so we’ve just been hanging, ya know? Me and Meg and K and Nikhil.”
“Nikhil? Who the fuck is Nikhil?” This was going really badly. I used to know all of K’s friends, they used to know me. It could have been worse, I expect. Nikhil could have been a girl--- the kind with long straight hair and tall and with an armpit bag and manicured nails.
Still, I decided to go. The evening would at any rate not be boring. In fact, perhaps a lot less worse than the odd things that had been happening to me lately. (More details on that later).
Anyhoo, it was rather weird seeing K again. He’s lost so much weight. His stubble was a little overgrown. His hair framed his face in it’s glorious curls. And oh, he smelt so good.
There was a little awkward moment in the car. I sure as hell wasn’t going to sit next to him. Meg refused too, so it was up to Iggy to do the honours.
And it was weird sitting in the back seat of his car. And it was odd talking to him. But, you know, I didn’t feel the gut-wrenching pain I thought I would. Maybe I AM over him. Maybe I’m finally ready to move on. It’s a good feeling.
But, I couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling that something was wrong. I examined the situation a bit. Okay, there we were Iggy and I on one side, K and Meg on the other. Ggy was saying something, I was laughing, Meg said nothing, K reached over and touched her on the arm and asked if something was wrong. She smiled wanly up at him. Conversation moved on to………. Hold it! Meg was totally hitting on K. Why had I not noticed this before?
The two of them disappeared for a bit to smoke another joint and I turned to Iggy, horror-struck. “Okay, is Meg hitting on K?” I asked, thinking that she would dismiss it as a wild suspiscion. Instead she looked at me sadly, “I’ve been thinking the same thing. Their body language is just too….comfortable.”
I was aghast. My friend and my ex-boyfriend? I felt as if I had just been thrown into a Dali painting or something. Any minute now the waiters would lay melting clocks on the table. “But it’s just a suspiscion,” Iggy was quick to add.
Meg and K have known each other for ages. I mean, before I even entered the picture. Then they had a huge falling out, and it took all my convincing powers to get K to talk to her again. I know she’s hit on him in the past. I know he’s never acted on it. I also know she flirted with him while we were dating but I dismissed it as harmless.
Of course, now that K was single again, what was there to stop it?
Happily, Iggy and Meg disappeared to the bathroom leaving me some time alone with K.
“I’m sorry,” he said
I looked at him, at his soft eyes and the dimples at the corners of his mouth and I wanted to cry.
“Between you and me..” I said and stopped.
“Are you having a scene with Meg?”
“What?? No way! Me and Meg? Are you insane?”
And, reader, I believed him. It may have been two months since we broke up but my K lie detector still worked. (It happens with every long time relationship. You automatically know when the other person is bullshitting you. I’m serious). And right now, baby, my lie detector was silent.
K reached across the table and took my hands, that were nervously rearranging the cutlery.
“Babe, if I wanted, if I could be in a relationship right now, I’d be with you. I just can’t feel anymore.”
“But I felt love for you,” I said softly.
“I know, and not a week goes by where there’s not a day that I don’t totally regret our breaking up. It’s just that, well, didn’t you feel like you were living a façade when the two of us were together?”
“I thought we were happy. I thought we’d be ‘together forever’.”
“I’m sorry,” he said again.
“Oh K. I don’t hate you. I’m not even in love with you anymore. I just miss what we had, you know? I mean, we were best friends, and no one gets me like you do.”
“So,” I said smiling, arching an eyebrow at him, “Am I still the last person you slept with?” (Okay, sorry, couldn’t resist that).
“For sure,” he said, smiling back at me, “since we broke up I’ve kissed one person when I was very drunk and I don’t remember her name or her face.”
I carefully evaded all questions about my own sex life (Can it even be called a sex life I wonder, that one night of making out?) though I did drop a few hints and evilly enjoyed his face dropping.
[And now, a word, a mere whisper of an update on the aforementioned sex life. Whatever happened between Shiva and I is now over. I kinda thought it would die a natural death last week, but I didn’t expect it to be so abrupt. Oh well, I’m glad I didn’t get attached. That mantra worked like a bloody charm! For more on what he’s up to, go read his blog, coz I doubt I’m going to get a first-person update any time soon. It was fun while it lasted. This is the point where I say, ‘Good luck with all future endeavours’ and ‘I hope we can still be friends’.Consider them said!]
Right, this here is a huge-ass entry and thank you for reading all the way up to the end. I would have broken it up but I think you would’ve killed me for having two serial stories running simultaneously. But I just wanted you to know what was going on and what I’ve been up to.
Famous last words:
K to me, “So we’re good.”
Me to K, “Yes, we’re good.”
Hurray for happy endings!