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

Sign up for my newsletter: The Internet Personified

21 January 2005

Music, makes the bourgeoise, come together

One of my all time favourite books is Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs. Basically, it’s a collection of essays by the author on 31 songs he loves and the memories associated with them. The reason this book struck such a chord with me is because I do it too! There are so many, many songs, of which just the opening bars remind me instantly of some memory or event.
So, ta-dah, without any further ado/adieu (which is it?) allow me to present songs of my past!

Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve: This song always, but always reminds me of my second boyfriend David. He was this skinny guy, heavily into smoking pot and the Smashing Pumpkins and I thought I was in love with him. How could I not be? He was so incredibly nice to me, even when he cheated on me, that I always forgave him.
At this point, I had one of those ancient modems—19.4 kbp---and it took me several hours to download a song. And Bittersweet Symphony is a pretty large file. So every night as I spoke to him, David would have this song on in the background, over and over again, while I listened and ached with love for him.

Build Me Up Buttercup by the Foundations: This is the song of my college days. This and Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliot. I’d go around singing, Why do you build me up and wait till someone chipped in with build me up for the second voice.
With Get Your Freak On, there’s this part where she goes Holler, except with her strange pronounciation I heard, Hallo and sang that, till someone enlightened me. I still sing Hallo though! :)

Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor: When we were in our teens we had just one radio station, called Times Fm, which played request shows and English music at night. We were all quite addicted to it, even knowing the request show’s number by heart. Anyway, so one day, my friends and I called in and said, "Hi, we’re Betty, Veronica and Midge and we’d like to dedicate Nothing Compares To You to our boyfriends Archie, Reggie and Moose." (Hey, we were all of thirteen, we thought we were pretty damn cool) The radio jockey got quite a kick out of it, saying, "And this one’s for three lovely ladies with excellent taste in music." Sadly, Times Fm no longer exists.

The Wall by Pink Floyd and My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion; Okay, yeah, so even I’m wincing clubbing these two songs together. But, when I was in boarding, we were allowed music on Sundays and everyone took advantage of that. One girl had a pretty impressive shoebox-full of tapes and amongst them was The Wall and Sexual Capacity by Color Me Badd. We danced to Sexual Capacity and sang happily angry, "We don’t need noooooo eddy-caytion!" As for My Heart Will Go On, Titanic had just released and Leo DiCaprio was the hottest thing since walkmans.

La Isla Bonita by Madonna: In school, we had this thing called ‘Class Day’ where each batch put up a cultural programme. When it came to our turn, my section decided to do a dance to La Isla Bonita. Now, one thing you should know about me is that I can’t dance. Not one step. I have the worst case of two left feet you have ever seen. So, I didn’t get chosen to dance to Madonna. Instead, I was the one who carried around the tape player and cued it for my friends to shake their booties. I remember sitting in the girls loo right before the performance and bawling my eyes out.. okay this is a sad story.. NEXT!

We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel, Runaway Train by Soul Asylum, Walk Like An Egyptian by the Bangles, La Bamba by Los Lobos and Mony Mony by someone who I don’t remember: I have these two older cousins—brothers—who are about six or seven years older than me. So when I was about six or seven, these were the songs I grew up with. I remember thinking the songs were really strange. We didn’t start the fire for instance, in my mind, was about a bunch of guys who had burned down someone else’s house and were now trying to escape the blame, La Bamba has some Hindi words (well it kinda does, if you listen carefully!) and oh yeah, Janie’s Got A Gun by Aerosmith, where a girl shoots her father and then runs away. It’s a wonder I wasn’t scarred for life.

I think that’s about all I remember. What are your song memories?
Oh and by the way, whoever's been repeatedly Googling "em meets the parents", you're beginning to scare me. Speak now, or forever hold your peace.


  1. Times FM no longer exists? Sheesh, there's another bit of my adolescence gone. I remember distinctly one night in my first year of college, listening to the witching hour or the wicked hour, or whatever the 1 am show was called; and then 'give me hope, jo'anna ' came on and I turned up the volume and sang along, with the accent and everything, until Nigel from across the corridor had to throw stones at my window to get me to shut up.

  2. Earliest memories of songs are watching Frizzled haired people singin Ma Baker. I dont remember exactly how old I was, but I remember thinking that it must have been about somebody's mother.

    Then when I gained music consciousness I watched George Michael remembering what he did Last Christmas. I loved his songs...

    MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice were favourites in high school. (and I can still rap for U Can't Touch This as well as Ice Ice Baby ;-) )

    During college, 4 years back, things became heavy, but we would still bawl to the tunes of Mr. Big, Ozzy, and hey, even John Denver. I know that's a dangerous combo, but that's how we were. If there was a guitar in the vicinity, the venue would have been the outdoor stage of our hostel.If there was no guitar, then it probably was because we were all singing together in the bathrooms.


  3. You cow. Ladies and Gentlemen, I must protest. The Confessor has skipped (gleefully, I might add) a crucial little bit of information; the fact that she totally usurps every song she hears.

    Every time we're out somewhere, especially when there's alcohol involved, eM hears a song, and syas, "Oh, that is totally my life right now!" and the first couple of times, you're like, woah, so thats whats going on with you right now. Two seconds later, another number, totally conradictory comes on, and up she jumps again, saying "Omigod omigod, thats me, thats me!!!"

    Grrr. I object.

  4. isnt it music makes the people come together? and the b want to rebel?
    memory fades, but thought would voice my concerns


Thanks for your feedback! It'll be published once I approve it. Inflammatory/abusive comments will not be posted. Please play nice.