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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5 November 2005

Question: Prove In Six Steps Why eM Is Still Single. Give Reasons To Support Your Answer. (40 marks)

I am particularly unattractive these days. I have a terrible cold--thanks to going for a Diwali party with no adequate covering except for a thin crepe chunni--so my nose is all red and raw around the edges. My ears are blocked, my hair has said ta-ta goodbye and fucked off. And to top it all off, I feel fat.

Grah. (Pronounced Graaa-ah).

It is no wonder then, that I'm single. And I'm probably going to wind up alone, and die alone eaten by Alsations.

There are other reasons I'm single too:

I can't stand words being mispronounced. I mean really, v is veee, w is when you round your lips together. No clasping of the lower lip with your teeth, just round your mouth. Therefore it is "Way" and not "Vay". This pisses me off so much that many potential boys have been banished to the Kingdom Of Bad Pronounciation for it. (Ruled by the clan of people who say "My hair are..". Hello? Hair is SINGULAR, how often do we have to go over that?) There was this boy once, a pretty young lad who I was quite warming up to. And then he mispronounced five words in the same sentence. Gently I pointed it out, but he didn't react too well to that. If people just DON'T want to learn, what are you to do, right?

Call me Ally McBeal, but getting food on your face is a distinct no-no in my world. Ketchup on fries, not on your face. I hate ketchup anyway. I can't stand the smell and the taste. This does not go down very well with some boys who like to mix up the ketchup and the mustard into one pus type puddle. Ewwwwwww. I do make some exceptions to the food on face rule though. Chocolate is good. A latte foam mustache is very cute--but not if you do it on purpose.

Tight jeans, worn up to your waist, with your shirt tucked in. Good Lord, boy, it's 2005, not 1981 as you seem to imagine. And your tush isn't that cute, and even it were that cute, it would probably look better in like loose jeans. Not baggy, mind you. Baggy jeans are for teenagers with spiked hair with the tops of their Calvin Klein chaddis showing. That's just trying too hard.

People who don't read. Or who say the only book they have ever read is a) Love Story b) The Da Vinci Code or c) Anything by Michael Chricton (I don't think I spelt that right) or Robert Ludlum or whatshisface, the chap who writes a lot about hunting in Africa.

If you've passed these high tests, there are also the smaller tests. What music you listen to. Whether you have any passions beyond making money. Whether you get on with my friends. Whether you like TC. That sorta thing.

I'm afraid (and this might shock you a little) that leaves me with NO ONE. In this ENTIRE CITY.

I'm so dying alone, no?


ps: if someone could tell me the full form of Q.E.D, I'd be most grateful. I've always wondered. I know the "e" is "ergo", right?

UPDATE THE SECOND: Thought of some other stuff that drives me crazy in a not-so-good way last night. The way he is on the phone is super important. It all begins with how he says hello. Some people say it nicely "Hel-lo" others stretch it out which I can't stand: Ha-lee-yo? Even worse are the ones who seem to swallow up all the letters in the middle so it comes out like "Hlo?" And oh my god, the Hello Tunes! Those are such an excellent way to tell if the guy's for you or not. I knew a guy who had "Lonely.. I am so lonely.." as his Hello Tune and you're calling him and you're thinking, "Oh-kaay. Let's just hang up and back slowly away from the reciever."
And some guys canNOT conduct a phone conversation. There's an art to it, there are some people I don't mind chatting to for hours on the phone. But some guys just put the burden of the conversation on you, so they'll keep going, "Hey wassup?" and "Sooo, tell me" till you're ready to scream! I can't tell who's worse, them or the chappies who don't let you get a word in edgewise, they'll say, "Hi, how're you?" and you'll go, "Oh I have a.." and they'll go, "Yeah? I've had the worst day!" and you'll go, "Oh, me.." and they'll go, "So I was talking to my friend and he said we should go for a movie" and so on.

Just wanted to say that. Carry on now. :)


  1. Uh, eM... "pronunciation", not "pronounciation"

    *Backs away, smug grin on face*

  2. Oh my god.
    I am now super embarrassed.

    Reason Number 7 why I am still single: I cannot spell.

  3. Guilty as charged on almost all counts y'er hounour.

    But why Alsations?

  4. I am not sure Crichton or Ludlum wrote about hunting in Africa. Atleast the books I read were not about hunting. H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon's mines)? Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan)?

    And QED is Quod Erat Demonstrandum and means "that which was to be demonstrated".

    When in doubt, Google. :-D

    And the remaining 60 marks are for?

  5. Since I am feeling particularly mischievous now... you cannot spell, so why not ease a little on other reasons?

    Ok ok, I am disappearing! But before that, there are other places other than ND, no?

  6. quod erat demonstratum , i think . Or something like that..

  7. quod erat demonstrandum. not ergo.

    and eM, half of the world is as fastiduous and nit-picking as you are - and they wont remain single. and being fastiduous and nit-picking is not a bad thing - its good. its called quality control.

    and what would you prefer - being alone and mistress of your own devices.... or straddled with a half-baked compromise for the sake of an occasional roll in the hay.?

    the chap-who-writes-about-africa is wilbur smith, methinks.

  8. and hyde and melon collie got the answer while i was typing. dang!

  9. I got major problems pronunciating v and w differently as well. I think it's a tamil thing, a few other tamil-speaking friends have the exact problem, pretty weird.

  10. QED=Quod Erat Demonstrandum, meaning, that which was to be demonstrated. (Thanks to 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon)

  11. okay, you get the benefit of doubt - but I've made a career of correcting people who actually SAY "pronounciation". Good fun.

    Had a maths teacher once who told us QED was Quite Easily Done. Knew I should've taken up Latin.

  12. Wow, girl. I can relate to every single point!

    1. Pronunciation I give the benefit of the doubt for, because these days everyone pronounces everything in so many ways and then claim "Oh it's the American/British/Russian way etc!" But bad grammar is the biggest turn off for me! Ever heard "they goes"? Ugh ugh ugh!

    2. Food on face can be cute as long as it's limited to areas around the lips. Cheeks, forehead, ears... a big NO!

    3. I hate shirts tucked in too! Some men can get away looking good in tight jeans though, or at least tight at the ass, and kinda looser as it goes down?

    4. People who don't read - the reason why these people say "my hair are.."!

    Fact of the matter is, you're never going to find a perfect guy. (No offense, guys!) So even if you find one who fits these criterion, they'll have other flaws. I guess we'll just have to live with being better than them ;)

  13. Hey there...from a second time commentor, and again, I relate...ever tried perming your hair, then cutting it SHORT, then trying to pull off a summery salwar kameez in minus degrees?
    :| :| Wud've smirked too if it wasnt me.

    Going by the pic you paint, prev posts, et all, no way you'll be single, lady. Heads up.

  14. Gosh, aren't you lot a bunch of smarty pants? :) WHERE did you learn Latin, coz it certainly wasn't offered as a second language in my school! :)

    To answer the questions:

    Alsations, cf, Bridget Jones' Diary: "Singletons will die alone eaten by Alsations", or something along those lines.

    60 marks for the practical exam. This was just theory :)

    African dude= Wilbur Smith! Thank you Richtofen.

    Uh.. pro-NUN-ciation is the way I pro-NOUN-ce it :) and I love Quite Easily Done, much better than the Latin tongue twister!

    I do know Tamil speaking people who have no issues walking the delicate line between v and w. (Want a real challenge? Try vowel)
    But perhaps that's just me :)

    and my hair IS short! Which is why I own so many polo necks. (A-tish-shoo.. I'm most miserable)

    and grah.. never a perfect guy? don't say that! If that were true Bollywood and Hollywood never would happen! :)

  15. The one thing I cannot tolerate is the use of the word "no" as in "I'm so dying along, no?" . I have seen ONLY indian women use it. Please ladies, there exists a phrase "isn't it" in the English language !!

  16. Helloooooo?
    I'm so dying alone, isn't it?

    Um... okay.

    Thank you for your feedback. We at The Compulsive Confessor are always happy to hear from you. Rest assured, your comments are being taken into mind while writing.

  17. heh, convergence of the grammar and spelling nazis, obviously not my scene. *poof*

  18. Ever thought about of NanoWriMo - check it out
    You could write something

  19. jeeezus christ eM, that's the most hilarious stuff i've read in ages =D
    men who can't speak and spell and write proper english are serious turn offs..sounds terrible but hey! the heart hates what the heart hates!

    the fat day's will disappear once the diwali mood has worn off =)

  20. But then, you are completely ruling out a whole set of men who are wonderful, but don't come from English-speaking countries :)!

    My best friend is one of the most intellectually astute persons I know, and he cannot spell in English to save his life. Doesn't read most anything outside research papers in his subject.

    And yet, he can tell his Bach from his Vivaldi, his knowledge of 20th century international politics is amazing, knows a heck of a lot on Middle-Eastern history and literature.

    Some people are just better at soaking up knowledge and experiences than others. And they don't necessarily have to read a lot of books to achieve that.

  21. Wilbur Smith wrote about Africa. and melon collie is right about QED... (BTW i love the mellon collie thingie.. Smashing Pumpkins right?)

    Nice read.

  22. Bad spelling can be rather annoying I suppose. But there's no need to turn up our noses at people who can't spell, I think. Nobody's perfect.

    Take for instance the person who backed away with a smug grin after correcting your correct spelling of pronounciation. Worse still, you thought he/she had you there. And while we're on the topic of spelling, is there some reason the word "intelligent" is spelt "intellegent" on your blog? I thought it was a typo at first but then found that it was spelt that way throughout. I thought later that it must be intentional and that it was perhaps your way of fusing intelligent with elegant. But why?

    As for QED, my maths teacher said it stood for Quite Easily Done too, and I'm pretty sure jabberwock and I didn't have the same maths teacher (or english teacher, judging by his/her idea of the spelling of the word pronounciation :P). Maybe that's what they were told to tell us at the Maths Teacher Training School.

    As for the distinctly Indian habit of substituiting 'isn't it' with 'no' as in 'I'm so dying along, no?', I think it is perfectly acceptable. It is as much a product of imperialism as nighties and frocks in India and should be allowed its place. Besides, I think it's kinda cute really :)

    And I'm glad to hear that yourself and all you know in New Delhi are well and safe. We were quite outraged here when we read about it in the papers. Going to the dogs, this world is.

  23. Sirisha, that's because it is "pronunciation" and not "pronounciation". From the same Latin root as enunciate. So say OED and Merriam-Webster.

    I'm quite sure Jabberwock would be most pleased to deny association with your English teacher :)

  24. Oops Jabberwock! scratch that. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote that (or if I was thinking at all)! My humble apologies to you. Looks like the bad spelling bug caught me too.

    You may also pardon me on the grounds that I posted that at around 4am in the morning. Now that it is a more sane hour, I have begun to see the folly of my ways.

    Well at least now when someone asks me what the most embarassing thing I've ever done is, I won't have to think very long.

    (oh Lord, the shame!)
    *scurries away behind bushes*

  25. Heheheheheh

    Funny post M!!

    Grammar & Spelling Nazis Convention? Count me IN!!!!

    M might spell badly, but you have to hand it to her - she's consistent. Oooh and here's a pet peeve - people who confuse 'your' and 'you're'. *shudder*

    Oh, and I have a cold too. *sniffles*

  26. Okay Sirisha, relax! All of us have done equally embarrassing things on posts and comments. It's never a sane hour in the blogosphere.

    (But can't resist playing devil's advocate again - you posted that at "4am in the morning"? Hmmm...)

  27. quod erat demonstrandum. *grin*

    and i SO know what you mean! i'll probably die lonely too! eventhough I'm not so (*ahem* if i may say so) anal ;o)


    welcome to the wonderful world of wikipedia (ooo, alliteration)

  29. Wow, I never knew my little post on my entirely frivolous little life would spark off a debate on grammar of all things! :) I feel most gratified. You lot are upping my intellectual quotient.

    And tempted as I am to trawl through my posts and correct all bad spellings, lessee, so far I have "independant", "wierd" and "intellegent". :) I know that would be cheating. And we wouldn't

    But many good points have been raised. Thalassa_Mikra's take on men raised in non-English speaking countries.. good point. But then, remember also, this is about men I would date and as I have a passion for the language and love stuff like crosswords and word play and things, I think it would be important to ME to have someone to share that with. That said, I have many friends who don't believe in vocabularly beyond 'sup, and they're brilliant, intellIgent people :)

    What else? Oh ya, spelling. I'm sorry, I realise I'm a sucky speller, but I just DO NOT have the patience to spell check! At least I don't tYpe LiKe ThIs, right?

    And will SOMEONE answer my Latin question? Hellooooo? How does EVERYONE in the WHOLE WORLD know what Q.E.D is, without Googling it?

  30. I tend to ignore the odd lapse in grammar, spelling or pronunciation. What gets my goat is when something like "Please bare with me because ..." comes from a person who has good command over the language.

  31. My can't-stand-list has all of yours AND fake foreign accents and call-centre english!!

    And those who read out jokes off their in box on their mobiles..

    I reckon how you tell a joke is THE art... not reading it out aloud.. and if you've got it as an sms, the chances are that i've got it as well

  32. em i laughed my head off on this!

    let me add please:
    the confusion of relative pronouns, he and she ( gosh, dont they know man and women are somehow different???) which continues with possessive pronouns as in her/his mix up. In a story with mixed sex parties involved, it makes following the story line hellish difficult and when on top no names are being mentioned... and these grammar mistakes from men that i think educated.. :S

    ankur: french people also add this 'no' to a phrase, so calm down please. And may i add that a gross london 'init' at the end doesn't add much style also.

    Any flat without books, magazines or newspapers scares me blind and i try to exit asap.

    Sense of dress, errrr, yeah, some enlighment necessary still for the male side, but then sun-bed-roasted guys also dont turn me on much!

    May i add Frederick Forsyth, John Grisham, Ken Follett and Stephen King to the no-literature list??

    I hereby admit to 6 years latin in school and a degree in anglistics (literature and linguistics).

    I fully agree to the jist:
    Its damm hard to find Mr. Right Guy!

    so: try, try
    till you die!

  33. by the time i finished going through aall the comments, i forgot what i had to say. then i had to read the post all over again..

    can i please write a "ditto" on my blog, and link it to you?

  34. QED - Quod Erat Demonstrandum, if I remember my middle-school maths correctly. i empathise, though: mispronunciation is really annoying. and the hair are thingy too.

    when i was a kid, i had these friends who used to say, in response to a question like: 'where have you been?'

    'oh, hare and theeyar'. (i'm trying to replicate their pronunciation here).

    quite aptly, my itunes started playing the overture to My Fair Lady as i read your post about pronunciation.

    and yes, em, independent, no -ant. i've noticed that in your blog many times and forgotten to correct you.


    how goes? i am sinking in a cesspool of phd-induced gloom, hence the long silence. write to me.

  35. the french say no after every statement too... as in, 'it's a beautiful day, no?'... and we dont mind that at all. but then again, there's a difference between a french and a hard-core punjabi delhi accent. blah to the hypocrites.

  36. QED? Blame it on the Asterix comics.

    Same goes for 'Alea jacta est' 'O tempora, o mores' and a couple of others.

  37. And I, of all people, am so late to this party? Ah well, ita diis placuit. Non omnia possumus omnes.
    About QED, any half-decent dictionary of English will actually have it listed. The Chambers or the Concise Oxford definitely would. That is where I figured out what it meant, and that was in sixth standard, long before Google graced the earth.
    And, is alsatians.

  38. As an English teacher, I do tend to notice poor language usage. However, I also try to recognize that language mistakes are going to seem more glaring to me simply because correcting the grammar of others is part of what I do for a living. Still, I have difficulty getting past the first impression of someone who speaks poorly or cannot seem to string a coherent sentence together. If it's grating now, how much worse would it be to me over time?

  39. Who the hell cares about rules? And isn't that what grammar is, at the end of the day? Rules. RULEZ!!! At the same time I understand why such things irk you -- it's what is closest to one's heart that one doesn't like being violated.

  40. "I'm so dying alone, no? "
    Kind of sounds cute. "Come no Go no Yes yes no no"
    "I'm so dying alone, isn't it? " =
    "I'm so dying alone, right?" ?
    I'm so dying alone, am I not?
    But, we are stressing too much on aloneness and death.
    QED knowledge entirely depends on number of Pythogoras Theorem proofs done in school :D.
    QED = Quantum ElectroDynamics. Heh.
    Why would anyone even admit to knowing something like that ?? :D

  41. Let me guess... the only Michael Crichton you've read is Congo..? :-)

  42. eM is still single the same reason that i'm still single. her standards are too exacting and she forgets that this is delhi---the kind of person you're looking for..a guy in your case, and a broad in mine... doesn't exist in Delhi. they were all born in S. India,namely bombay and bangalore, and they stayed there, leaving us delhiites with our fantasies. and channels like Star World and Zee Cafe only fanning our appetites with their Monica(Friends) and Becker(Becker) characters.

  43. I'm so dying alone, isn't it?

    The tag question purists would still not agree. It should be this:

    I'm so dying alone, am I not?

    The two helping verbs and the two subjects must match.

  44. Accent, spelling and mispronunciation never really turned me off. But bad writing does for some reason.

    I hate writing a long email to someone and then getting a one paragraph reply with no content or humor whatsoever. Then later it is mighty irritating when the same person wants to chat for hours on the phone. Woman, if you had things to say then why didn't you just put it in the email? I have video games to play right now.

  45. Oh and I have no idea what Q.E.D stands for. I can look it up, but you have the internet as well so I'll not bother.

  46. Hi, dropped in from rimi's blog
    Well, I am not sure that the six listed reasons are all there is to it, coz They dont seem all that big an ask.
    I mean, surely no more than 1 in a thousand make ketchup on the face a regular occurrence at meals.
    Seems to me there are probably some subconscious filtering criteria that are probably being applied here!
    QED was taught in middle school, if I remember correctly.

  47. Estellite dear, as long as you refer to the one you seek as "a broad", I can understand why you have trouble finding someone.

  48. You just wait till you see that birthday gift of yours :)

    I have the same pronunciation issues... which I believe is quite common.

    December, december, can't wait for december :)

  49. estellite: Bombay is not South India. South India comprises 4 states namely Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and a union territory Pondicherry. Bombay is in Maharashtra in what would be called Central India.
    That aside, I agree that the smart ones are here... down under :)

  50. Errmmm

    O.E.D is a dictionary.

    Q.E.D isn't a turbo-remix version ?

    Damn. That footpath bookseller has done it again.

  51. The problem with setting high standards is... you have to follow them :).

    Anyway, I like your post, girl!

  52. Hey
    I seem to share many of your issues - not the spelling related once, my better half would disown me for misspells! But the whole delhi - hair - is-plural-thing. Ugghh.

    But here's the good news : being a stuck up calcuttan myself, was v v v v relieved to find my b.half (from a spelling / pronunciation perspective), and found him in delhi !
    PS - i think kanika G is soooo stuck up (coming from me, Prudence McPrude! )
    PS 2 - My b.half n i used to love TCs, many moons ago when we lived in dilli!
    PS3 – Am pretty sure you will not be single for long, right-grammar-in shining armour will find you!
    PS4 – if you are from LSR (which u seem to be, all the more u will!, I am! )
    PS5 – There’s hope!
    PS6 – ran out of reasons
    PS7 - ….

  53. you are/ were single cos you have not/ had not found the person who makes you overlook all this and sweeps you away, despite the list! Trust me, it does happen, even if it is when you are being rolled out of surgery!!


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