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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25 November 2004
The Younger Man-2
So Abhinav called me that night and the next and the next. We were growing incredibly close, despite the two-year age gap, despite the fact that we had nothing in common. We didn’t meet all that often---once he took me for his school’s farewell party and introduced me to the guy who would be my first “real” boyfriend, a chap called Harsh.
Harsh always, from the beginning, liked me a lot more than I liked him. He was one of the rich-kid types, y’know the ones where their dads own a business, their mums go for kitty parties and he lived in a big, plush farmhouse with at least three cars at his disposal.
His room was the entire basement of his house, the only décor was sports equipment and mirrors lining the walls and stretching up to the ceiling. But he and Abhinav weren’t really friends, both got annoyed with the other and consequently called me.
As for my relationship with Abhinav, it grew. He had a string of girlfriends, each one more bizarre than the next. There was this one chick for instance, who, when he asked her out, screamed in the middle of an empty stadium, “This boy loves me! He’s my boyfriend!” while Abhi looked on, bemused. He once told me he had dreams about this girl, where she killed her mother and blamed it on him.
But the one girl Abhinav loved was Chhaya. She and I struck up a friendship. It was tentative at first, built mostly on the fact that Abhinav would call both of us on a conference call and then all three of us would chat. But thanks to the miracles of ICQ (again, can someone please tell me whatever happened to that programme? Did it die out once MSN came into the picture?) we got to chatting. Actually, she and I had a lot more in common than Abhinav and I did—we both read, had impressive vocabularies, liked the same music---so he wasn’t really our only common factor.
Chhaya and Abhinav kept breaking up and making up and meanwhile my relationship with Harsh got a little rocky. Try as I might, I just couldn’t see what I had ever seen in him before. He sensed this and upped his possesiveness, getting a little clingy. I was, on the other hand, falling hard and fast for Abhinav, who continued to regale me with stories about his love life. Finally Harsh and I broke up—and this is a little hard to admit---on the eve of his birthday. He didn’t take it very well and I felt like I had sprouted horns and signed a pact with the Evil One himself.
This is the part where the story gets a little bizarre. Chhaya and Harsh had started talking and a few months later, they started dating. I wasn’t very comfortable speaking to Chhaya after that, because I knew Harsh had been calling me a slut up and down the town.
Abhinav, in retaliation, started dating this other girl, who he claimed he was crazxy about and as for me I sat in my room alternating between crying and singing Save The Best For Last.
“All of those nights, you’d come to me,
When some silly girl had set you free,
You wondered how you’d make it through,
I wondered what was wrong with you,
Coz how could you give your love to someone else
And share your dreams with me
Sometimes the very thing, you’re looking for,
Is the one thing you can’t see”
Finally, I graduated from school and Abhinav broke up with his girlfriend. “Aha,” I thought, “now is my chance.” And so haltingly, hestitantly, I told him I was attracted to him, that I wanted us to be more than friends.
Poor Abhinav was rather befuddled by this confession. I suspect he never thought of me as a girl at all, just a comforting voice on the other end of the phone, someone to flirt with occasionally, get the dope on “what women want”. Someone who would be there forever, and the only female he shared a completely comfortable, non-sexual relationship with.
He was sweet about it, but he didn’t feel the same way. And I finished with school, en route to college decided to put my past behind me and start afresh. So I outgrew him gradually, though he still did call, I couldn’t identify with school and homework and all. I was a college girl now, independent, around people much more intellegent than I was. My world was no longer limited to the friends I had in school. Plus I had gone on an extended holiday to the States and when I returned I met David, the first person I thought I truly loved.
But more about him in the next story.