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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19 February 2005
Once upon a time in the fair (but sometimes not) city of Delhi, lived a young journalist. She was not impoverished, as she lacked for nothing, but she did not have excesses to spend, not earning that much money and so usually by the end of the month, wound up pretty broke.
In the same city of Delhi, lived a man called Mr. Warbucks, a man with weath untold, with a large bungalow made of gold, his soul to the devil he had once sold (okay, going overboard with the rhyming--I'll stop). Mr Warbucks had money, he had fame (he had been all over the papers when he went to visit a small town), he had a family that loved him, he even had a Rolls Royce in his American home. But he was not happy. Mr. Warbucks was not happy because he had an unborn story inside him, a story dying to be born and to be told, but Mr Warbucks didn't think he was a good enough writer to deliver this story.
Enter the Young Journalist (YJ from here on now), who felt that though her wealth may be little, she could more or less tell a story and therefore peddle this craft. Mr Warbucks invited YJ and her mother OJ to dinner in his huge house.
The front of the house looked like a fort, YJ thought as she entered. She was late, but then she was always late. She would blame it on the traffic, on the bad weather, on the fact that god just didn't like her, but the excuses could wait till she was inside. She was nervous, dying for a cigarette by this time, and busily biting all the skin off the side of her thumb.
Mr Warbucks was not as roly-poly as she had imagined him to be for some reason. He was tallish, with sparse white hair sticking up on his head, and a small white beard. Through the hair on his head, you could see the pink of his scalp and YJ instantly felt the urge to pull on his cheeks a little, give that shiny head a rub for good luck, even to hand him a cane and help him across the street. OJ was by this time looking daggers across at YJ for being late, for making her (OJ) sit and have conversation alone, when she had expressely asked her daughter not to do that. But Mr Warbucks was all charm--giving YJ a Bacardi and coke, even asking whether she smoked.
YJ shot a quick look at OJ and said, "Um... no." But then OJ laughed and said, "She's not allowed to smoke in front of me." Which made YJ wonder, was she then being given permission to smoke whenever she liked?
Mr Warbucks asked all the right questions, education, work etc, and YJ was soon feeling pretty damn good. Sure, Mr. Warbucks would ask her to write his biography or autobiography, which would be all about his business and his family and which might be a little boring to write, but she could totally do it.
"You know," said Mr Warbucks, "If you do do this project for me, I'd have to tell you a lot of very intimate details about my life." YJ smiled at him. Sweet old man--he probably thought that kissing his wife counted as an intimate secret, or maybe he secretly lusted after a film actress. But then OJ said, "Yes, Mr Warbucks was seduced at 15 by his cousin!" Okaa-ay, thought YJ, maybe his life would be more interesting than she thought. "She was 12," said Mr. Warbucks, "And she had obviously done it before, because she, y'know, guided me, when she realised I had no clue."
YJ's eyebrows suddenly hit the top of her scalp and she took a big sustaining gulp of her drink to keep a straight face. "Then there were these three sisters in Shimla," said Mr Warbucks, "I made love to all three of them. In fact, one of them got so annoyed with the fact that I was holding her and kissing her, that she put her hand... down there and unzipped my pants!"
On and on went Mr Warbucks--about the woman who used to orgasm with such passion that she sweated all over, about the other woman who was having an affair with a younger man (but not Mr Warbucks) and who straddled him one day and said "This is mine, all mine!", about the other woman who used to give Mr Warbucks blow jobs and then swallow and then get him to ejaculate inside her so that "she could have him from both ends". YJ didn't dare look at OJ, who was giggling over her Scotch. She pasted a tolerant smile on her face, prompting Mr. W to say, "Your daughter has the most beautiful smile". Oh no you don't, Mr Warbucks, thought YJ, crossing her arms in front of her bosom.
This was what he wanted his book about? Perhaps it wouldn't be such a good idea for YJ to take the job, she thought, not when every time she talked about the chapters with him, she'd feel like rolling over and lighting a post-coital cigarette. It was too bad, because she genuinely liked Mr Warbucks. He was a nice man, who just happened to have a raunchy past he wanted to share with the world. No harm in that, in fact, most guys want to share their exploits anyway, except they sniggered about it in locker rooms instead of writing books but hey, to each his own.
YJ sighed. The extra money would've helped. Maybe she'd take it after all.. or maybe not. She was very confused. Aargh, she said, and stopped blogging.