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 July 2005

Daddy come quick, the dreaming tree has died, I can't find my way home, there is no place to hide

It's been one of those weeks. Hell, it's been one of those months. Nothing really concrete, but still a sort of restlessness fills my soul. But really, who am I to talk of restlessness? What have I done, what have I forsaken, have I even any right to unhappiness? In the larger scheme of things I'm nothing, not even the dust speck, nothing. Who have I even made a difference too? And don't say my family, because I'm sure if I hadn't been me, if I had been someone else say, a boy, or a twin or something, I would have been equally loved. My being loved by my family is only because of a quirk of fate, because I happened to be born to them. And other than that, I can think of no one who it would supremely affect, whether I was on this planet or whether I simply never existed. And that is what is sad.

Forgive me the introspection. It's been raining a lot, usually just a steady damp drizzle and it's the sort of weather where your emotions are set on yo-yo mode. Sometimes driving along with the music high I feel happy-happy-happy, other times I'm all about the romance and I look at everything with liquid eyes and then there are times like this when I'm terribly morose and think about the whole who-am-i-and-what-am-i-doing-here.

Friends return this month, many friends and a cousin and her family will come to stay in our tiny apartment on Monday. She is my only girl cousin and she is supersmart and I think is studying medicine. Of course, you must know that I am probably the underachiever of the family, choosing not to do engineering or medicine or even be a pilot or do a double degree at Wharton but satisfied with my little B.A from my little Indian college. Luckily, this cousin is from my dad's side, where I am the oldest (she comes right after me, age-wise) and so the rest are all too young to be thinking about career moves etc. But I am assured that they are all very smart and will in all likelihood choose a profession that makes them money, rather than something like mine. A distant uncle asked me once at a family gathering how much money I made and really, what makes it okay for people to ask questions like that? I don't know him, sure, he might have once held me when I was a baby, or been at my parent's wedding, but still I don't know him and therefore it's not okay. It's not okay even from my own immediate extended family, but there at least I know they're asking me out of some modicum of concern, not because they want to use it over the next club meeting or something, looking up from over their Scotch and going, "Oh you know, so-and-so's daughter? The one who lives in Delhi? Well, she only makes this much money," and a whole variety of old men will shake their heads over my fate and congratulate themselves that their own granddaughters are married to NRI's with a six-figure salary in *hushed whisper* dollars. (In case you're wondering, I didn't tell him how much money I made. I used an old trick I had learnt in Reader's Digest, about when people ask you personal questions. I simply smiled at him and said sweetly, "Why do you want to know?" Unfortunately, this was too subtle for the old man, so he pushed some more. This time I switched off the smile and said, "I earn enough" and then my grandfather came to my rescue saying, "Now that's not a polite question" and all the other old men agreed.)

Tonight I go for an art-and-fashion-show, a concept which I haven't figured out yet. So you have serious stuff, like paintings and you have frivolous stuff like clothes and yeah, in what world do you club them together? (In a world where you want publicity from all sorts of media people, that's where) It's at some new mall, or as the invite says, "Delhi's newest entertainment centre" which is (hold your breath) right here in East Delhi, my side of town. I can't imagine designers here though, or the p3p type so used to their South Delhi cloisters actually venturing here or telling their drivers, "Lakshmi Nagar le jao". The drivers, who probably live in this part of town, will be amazed and awestruck that their five-star Madams are venturing into their territory.

And last night, very bored I went into a Yahoo chatroom where I spoke to three boys, all of whom wanted to have sex with me and I played a little game to see how fast I could get rid of them. The first one was easy, he asked me my "hight" and I said, "4'3"". There was a long pause. "And ur size" was the next question. "Large" I typed back and he vanished. Boy 2 wanted to know if I had ever had sex. "Have you?" I asked him. "yes" he said proudly. "Oh good for you!" I applauded and he said again "Have u had sex?" Persistant sort of chap. "Actually I'm gay" I told him. "But u said you were f!" he typed back alarmed and when I said "so?" he vanished. So much for them. Boy Three was a little harder to shake, he asked how old I was, I said 24, he said "married?" I said, "yes twice" he asked how that was possible when I was only 24, I said my first marriage was at 14 and my second at 20. Then I said it was part of my community. He asked why I left the first husband, I said because he beat me. There was a long pause and then he asked me hopefully whether I had ever had sex. I said no, my family didn't believe in sex. Then I added, "We're Catholic". "Oh" he typed and then "Are you virgian". What's a virgian?" I asked. "Someone who hasn't had sex or even mastyrbate". And then I left. Still two out of three isn't bad.

Now I feel a little more capable of facing my day. I think the venting helps. By the way, the picture was taken this morning, on my balcony, when the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I quite like it.


  1. Nice post. Yes, the rain can do that to you and I love rainy days because of it. Just so I can sit by my window and watch the rain, smell the earth and introspect, which just happens without any prompting really. Also, my top most romantic season! Still waiting for the rains in Chennai, though!

  2. Nice picture. Nice post, too. Mostly.

    Adjectival forms of verbs usually end in 'ent', not 'ant'. Thus, 'depend' -> 'dependent', 'persist' -> 'persistent'. Leave the ants for the Yanks, they never learn English anyway.

    *sits back and waits for eM to come up with 'rely' -> 'reliant'*


  3. Further point - reading your blog is a learning experience. I hope I remember all these things when my daughter grows up.


  4. hilarious!
    that is, the last portion of the post, and JAP's comment ...

  5. About the "not beleiving in sex and catholic part" , The connection ?

  6. lavi: My window is not unfortunately, positioned so I can look at the rain dreamily through it :) I've always wanted a window seat though. Perhaps in my bungalow in Ooty when I'm a rich, famous author :)

    J.A.P: How. HOW do you always find these tiny grammatical errors that I'm sure NO ONE would've noticed?? :) Still you keep me on my toes, for which I am truly thankful :) And re: your daughter, I think each generation has completely different experiences and emotions, so just I don't feel the same way as my mom did when she was my age, I'm sure your daughter will have a whole new set of worries and good times :)

    bonatellis: Thanks!

    rat: No connection. Joke. I actually DATED a catholic for two years and so I KNOW that's not true ;)

  7. *prostrating myself at the grammar God over here* All hail JAP !


    1. I usually reply with some exhorbitant number as my salary - 15 to 16L pa is usually a good idea. A good poker face at this point usually helps.

    2. I had no idea you were THIS evil. Poor boys in chatrooms ! I also had no idea that people who mastYrbate are not virgins. Go figure ! I have an evil plan that we shall hatch together in a Yahoo chatroom sometime soon !

    3. Lovely photo !!! And to think you just bought that camera too... !

  8. I hadn't realised that such things actually happened in Yahoo chatrooms! In a gay chatroom, eM darling, you'd be known as a 'timewaster' by all those looking for sex - which, trust me, would be all of them.

    -hopes he hasn't made any grammatical error-

  9. Hey eM,
    Great blog. Your writing style is so engaging . Been reading for some time now and just thought I'd say Hey.
    The who-am-i-and-what-am-i-doing-here syndrome: Glad I'm not the only 20 something with these sorts of existential thoughts.

    Nice greenery outside your apartment too!

  10. I have a window seat at work and when it rains I pretty much stop working and look out at the rain instead (of course even when it's not raining, I frequently stop working and look out of the window... I really must pay more attention to work!!)

  11. It was an orthographical error*, not a grammatical one.

    And if I am to be deified, may I please please PLEASE be a god of something interesting, like chocolate mousse or women-who-bear-an-amazing-resemblance to-Salma-Hayek or maybe even (oh joy!) both together? Grammar forsooth! *glares at Vignesh*

    eM, may I swipe that picture and put it up somewhere?

    *ishpeling mishtek


  12. listen... there's a picture up? where?? Linux doesn't show me any photos, stat meters or blogger squares. :(

  13. Awwwwwwww.. someone wants my picture!! *most excited* Please swipe it by all means, J.A.P. And orthographical errors, grammatical errors, same difference :)

    vignesh: Yes, if I said that, I'd probably be the best paid journo in the world!!! :) I don't think they'd stomach that really.

    vibhu: Thank you! And heh, I haven't mentioned that I'm also bald.

    jay: Ya, I s'pose, but I was looking for a little "time pass" anyway, not really to sleep with anyone :)

    krazybombayite: I think a pre-requisite of being 20 something is being introspective, don't you?

    penny lane: I LOVE your username. Unfortunately all the windows in my office are newspapered over so no daydreaming there :(

    mangs: Awww.. you can't see my purty picture? Never mind, it's just a pot in the rain with some trees behind it.

    trittenin: Heh. Will most definitely remember THAT for next time. Thanks! :)

  14. Art and fashion show huh? Been curious about elaborate..

    Nice pic, and an interesting read this post was.

  15. fesh!! Thats what the picture made me feel, the post was an interesting contrast though. ( I dont mean chemically treated here) very dark and complicated.

    I am a first time visitor here and I think I am going to follow your blog.


  16. a really very interesting blog fun going thru!!!

  17. I agree with Vignesh - if someone asks (read: demands to know) your salary give them an exorbitant amount (15 or 20 or ven 25 L a) with an absolutely straight face. They'll know you are lying, you know you are - but then it is all the more fun, no?

    I loooooooooove rain. Many americans have trouble understanding why I don't mind getting soaking wet in rain :P I grew up in a desert town - rain still feels like what food must be like to a VERY hungry person.

    I also disagree with another of your observations about yourself (maybe you didn't really mean it since you have a healthy self-esteem) - you wrote "Of course, you must know that I am probably the underachiever of the family, choosing not to do engineering or medicine or even be a pilot or do a double degree at Wharton but satisfied with my little B.A from my little Indian college." Why do you think studying only engineering or medicine or becoming a pilot is considered "being successful" and nothing else is? The biggest achievement is in being happy with our choices and as long as you are happy with yours, who is anyone to decide whether you are successful or not?

  18. I read your blog pretty often and I really like it but I really don't like it when people describe clothes as frivolous. They're something we use everyday, they say a lot about us, they are in fact a statement on how we choose to show ourselves to the world. They help us feel good about ourselves. Who doesn't have one item of clothing that is your armour against the world? Need I remind someone of a famous Mango spaghetti strap top?
    All in all, its the people and parties surrounding fashion that can be frivolous (yet fun) but clothes and fashion in themselves are not frivolous. They provide employment to many, they revive traditional arts (of printing, dyeing, embroidery)and they make people feel good! Not frivolous in my mind!!!
    And maybe art and fashion are not the best pairing of events but in my mind they're both expressions of creativity and who are we to judge anyone's expressions of creativity?

  19. Okay first Sista T, since your comment was the most thought provoking. I guess I've never thought of clothes in THAT sense, when I say frivolous I mean the arbit designers at p3p dos who air-kiss and bitch about everyone else. But, yes, you make a good poitn about everyone wearing clothes and clothes ARE important, I totally agree. Okay, I've lost track of my argument, but suffice to say your point is a good one and duly noted :)

    KD, Hypothetical, thank you and keep coming back!! :)

    Gratisgab, post shall soon be up on the various things I've had to cover under the name of "work". Heh. I so love my job.

    Gettingthere, I meant success in the eyes of other people who might think that the degree is important. I think I'm not doing so bad actually :)

  20. hey lovely here through confuzzled and there thru "a long list". Great read.

  21. Nice picture, reminds me of indian rains once again!

    Really liked the list you had in the post below, makes me wanna to something similar!

  22. cybersex is something that never made sense to me. how, pray tell how does one do it, and not do 'it', but cyber? 'i am now kissing you'. sounds kind of like you're in the the year 2257 and human civilisation has gone kaput and you're making out with an android.

  23. hey, i'm back in blogland. narrowly missed being blown up yesterday. well, not that narrowly, but much too close for comfort, at least psychologically.

    will be blogging more regularly now, i think. how are things with you?

  24. I'm enjoying your blog -- I was recently in India!

  25. Grah. I post new post then see unread comments. This is what a hangover will do to you :)

    lancelot: Thank you! :)

    asya: You lucky thing! Though now some of the newspaper on the windows has started peeling and defiant rays of light dare to enter!

    sml: Do a list! Great fun, I promise :)

    nish: It's kinda creepy also. Similarly the whole concept of phone sex freaks me out too :)

    someol'guy: Oy. A comment does not an update make. Email, okay?

    apostle: Thanks!


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