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 January 2006
No, no, no, noooooo, don't phunk with my heart, I wonder if I took you home, would you still be in love, baby?
My all-time favourite Google keyword referral just happened today. Two words: Goddess (Saket). It takes so little to make me happy. :)
"Aapke eyebrows bahut ajeeb se hain," (trans: Your eyebrows are very weird) said the beauty parlour lady to me today. I was at this moment, holding shut one eyelid and yanking at my forehead with the other one, but I opened my eyes at that moment and gave her a teary-eyed glare.
"Why are my eyebrows weird?" I asked her, reasonably enough.
"Oh, you know, your right eyebrow is all like misshapen."
Great. Now I'm the lady with misshapen eyebrows. Had to happen someday I suppose.
To make up for it, she told me I had nice eyes. "Now if only they were a little larger and not so slanted," she commented, while I raised my now-clean-but-still-weird eyebrows in front of the mirror.
"I can't help it," I told her, "It runs in my family."
"Ohhh." she fiddled with the thread in her mouth for some time. "You're Nepali."
"No. No. I'm South Indian."
She didn't quite know what to say to that, so she told me she liked my ring. "Oh, thank you," I said, thrilled that I could at least have nice accessories, even if Mother Nature had been a little unkind, "It's from Impulse. GK-I."
"I never go anywhere." her mouth turned downwards, or maybe that was just the thread. "Tell me, do you work or are you a student?"
"I work. I'm a journalist."
"Oh, Hindustan Times?"
"No," but I smiled, because she evidently thought only HT journos did fancy things like having their eyebrows done. The rest of us live misshapenly.
"What do you cover?"
"I write on, um, " this was getting hard to translate into Hindi, but I perservered, "Books and the people who write them and news and stuff. And what's happening in the city."
She attacked my eyebrows with new vigour. "So what is happening in the city?"
"Well, technically I'm on holiday, so I'm not really sure."
"It must be the same, though, no? Year after year? There is no city like Delhi."
I smiled, pleased to meet a true Delhi-lover but modestly said, "No, no, there's Mumbai."
"I love Mumbai," she said fiercely.
"I'm a Delhi person myself, ha-ha," I winced as the thread attacked the middle of my eyebrows, which has got to be the most painful part.
"I hate Delhi," the thread bit into my skin, "It's full of dhoke-baazis (cheats)"
"Oh, that's not true! It's a lovely city!"
She shook her head disbelievingly at me, "It's full of them. Full."
"You're not from Delhi then?"
"No," she put some powder on my face, "I'm not."
She pointed me towards a mirror to look at my face. "See," she said, pointing at my right eyebrow, "See how weird it is? It's all strange at the top."
I nodded miserably. I DID see how weird it was. I was destined to live my life as an outcast. On my gravestone it will say, "Here lies eM. She had strange eyebrows and too-small eyes." I should just retire from polite society, now. Oh no.
As I put my shoes back on, she slapped antiseptic on my face. "Owww," I said, "That stings!"
"That's because you have whiteheads," she pointed to them, gravely, shaking her head from side to side, "Nothing I can do."
"Could I put a cream on them or something?" I asked, piteously.
"No. No cream will help. You want your upper lip done as well?"
I put my hand over my upper lip and backed away, "No. I don't do my upper lip."
She looked at me sadly. She couldn't help someone who didn't want to help themselves.
"So there's nothing I can do about the whiteheads, huh?" I asked.
"Noooo," she started to put her things away and then looked up, "Drink more water."
And that's the moral of this story.