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

17 November 2006

Breaking news type item, before we return to our regular programming

It's funny how your life can change so very drastically in a month, in a week, in a conversation. October I was running wild, all the lights were changing green to red, and so on in a very David Gray-ish way. And now, looking at the compose post page, I'm wondering how I can break the news to you, to the internet, and whether it is yet time to make things public. But why not? Everything's settled--well, almost everything--and all that remains to be done is to confess all. But, I don't know. Once I tell you, there will be no going back, no two ways about it. Not that I want to go back now, but perhaps I might? In the not-so-distant future?

Right. I should probably stop blabbering and get on with it. Although, wouldn't you much rather be amused by TC stories and how last night I counted two men I have tongue swapped with on the same table that I was on, and realised that I have exhausted this city's supplies of eligible, sweet, young boys. (That last sentence made me sound a little bit like a paedophile, no?) Anyway. In all great relationships, there is only one thing that makes things work, and that is space. I need space, and usually, the other person does as well. Even an inanimate subject, like say, a manuscript you had been working on, always looks either so much better or worse, once you return to it after a couple of months. And soooooooo, I've decided the only single constant long-term love affair that I have had, ever since I was born even, might benefit if we were away from each other for some time.

In short, dear reader, I am moving. I'm leaving this city, which makes me very, very sad, but also strangely all fluttery-stomached with anticipation. I've never left it for longer than five months at a stretch (in boarding school, we returned home for two month summer and winter breaks. And boarding school totally does not count, because there you don't have to look for housing or like, figure out where you're going to work or even WORRY because you have NO friends, and in Delhi I know everyone.) and I'll miss so many things about it. In fact, I'm homesick already. Where am I moving? Well, I could never be out of a city, so I'm not doing the whole discovering myself in rural India thing whilst making friends with the local villagers and finally getting my arms hacked off. And I considered all the metros--Calcutta would be a distinct language problem, besides I don't think they have much of a nightlife, Bangalore is nice, but too close to too many of my extended family members for comfort, Hyderabad is like the HEART of most of my family, besides the minute I landed my grandmother would probably start looking for a suitable boy, which left me with, um, Mumbai. Yeah. I feel like a defector.

It all happened very, very fast, in fact two weekends ago, I was chilling at my friend Curly's house, and it was his birthday and sort of a farewell shindig, because he was moving to Bombay, and I was all, "Oh dude, I'm in such a rut." And he was like, "Well, why don't you move to Bombay too?" And I was like, "Okay!" And seriously, that's all there was to it. Then I woke up the next morning and said hmmmmmm, do I really want to go? And half of my head was all no, how can you leave Delhi? But then, the thrill of the thought of just packing up and leaving got to me, and before I knew it, the best laid plans were all awry, because apparently, I was moving to Bombay in January. In fact, Curly and I will be sharing a flat and our friends are convinced we're dating, but this is all part of the Grand I Can Live Away From Delhi Experiment, like a subsection, which I'm going to call the Semigrand I Can Live Platonically With A Boy experiment. Also, I'm going back to the media, joining an organisation with a bureau there, which will be yet another subsection called I Can Do Stories In A City I Barely Know experiment.

I'll be back though, in Delhi. I'm giving myself a year, just to prove that I can do this and not come crying back to my mummy's with my tail between my legs. I've been told, also, that I'll like Bombay, which I really hope I do, because it's harder to be homesick and friendless in a place you like. But I don't know whether I'll love it, the way I love Delhi. People I'm telling now say, "Dude, you can't leave Delhi! You are Delhi!" And it's really nice to be synonymous with a city, but that may also be a good reason to leave.

But I don't go for a good while yet. I have a month and a half of absolutely nothing to do, which I'm so looking forward to. I'm still going to Bombay this weekend, because those tickets were bought before this plan was made, and eventually, I'm going to have to start thinking logistically with things like where do I stay, and what furniture should I bring and should I take my car and so on. For now, I'm enjoying myself. Living the good life.

I just thought I'd let you know.


  1. Wow! This knocked me down like the proverbial feather. I'm just a reader but I hope you'll continue to write and maybe its time you went and conquered Mumbai too! That does sounds a lot better. You'll always have Delhi! May the Force be with you!!

  2. Hey there!
    Me a silent reader here from sometime, a month or so. This post just had to be commented on!

    First off - Lovely news :D, mostly coz I am in Mumbai these days. I've been here since the past 2-3 years, while parents are in Delhi. So, keep moving between these two heavily-debated cities. Both have their own charms - the 'freshness', weather, the sea, and nature in general, the professional ppl, etc that I've come to associate with 'Bombay', while the traffic (oooooh), open-hearted ppl, open spaces, and lots of other things that come to mind with Delhi.

    The best part tho is the change between these two cities. Hope you like Bombay as well as enjoy the change. If not, oh well, its only an year!

    ~Tra la!

  3. Ah, the fog lifts and the "...used to work with them" now makes sense.

    I'm sure you'll love Bombay but can Bombay handle you, huh? Break a leg...

    (And don't you stop confessing...)

  4. Good luck to you!

    sticky fingers, this is getting interesting!

  5. wow! u shalt lurrve bombay! beshtesht place ever!.. well, not many delhites agree.. hee.. BUT, bombay is not called the city of dreams for nothing! :D:D

  6. Hmmm. But do keep posting. And good luck with the shifting (it can be a pretty harrying experience).

  7. My first comment on your blog and it has to be to THIS post...
    Even though I knew about this, it's weird to see it in writing. But you'll be back (anyway, you're only leaving, not LEAVING).

  8. How very cool! Shall be fun to see Mumbai through your eyes...

  9. good - a whole array of new nightclubs, lounges, guys and what-have-yous. Stay in Bandra - you'd enjoy that part of Bombay the most. Commuting can be bit of a bother though, but depends where your workplace is.
    And if you are a foodie, quality of food - despite the diversity - can be a challenge.

    - Bonatellis

  10. All the best to you em! Anyways, we do know that you belong to delhi, and will come back to it no matter what. Go, fly!!

    and thanks for posting it on the original "compulsive confessor" adda and not that fancy, funny new house you built yourself on ibobioobbiibio... whatever!

    And we will let you go (well, we can't stop you but can always demonstrate our intentions) if you promise to tell us all how Delhi guys score over the mumbai shaanes... but comparisons are allowed only one way:-)

  11. This is unfair! You can't gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  12. Go for it girl. It'll do you a whole lot of good.
    The blog stays, though. Promise us that.

  13. i don't know about the language thing, because i have to speak my broken hindi more often than my half-decent bengali in cal.
    and as for nightlife, we have a lot of clubs, a lot of lounges and a lot of in-betweens, but we're a small incestuous community. everywhere you go you'd see the same people.
    so yeah, bombay works.

  14. just returned home from drunken evening with old, old friends from school. well, i'm not so very drunk, but still, drinking with old school buddies will always do that to you. sigh. so much i am leaving behind.

    sticky fingers: i absolutely hope to conquer bombay as well. i've heard there are no house parties there, which makes me very apprehensive, because really, what is my life without house parties? soooooo, i'm going to throw them ALL myself. with my two whole friends that i have there also :)

    random reader: thanks! the sea is something i am looking forward to as well, that and the fact that goa is just around the corner. i've always been a sea person, i love the sound and the smell of it. :) as for the people, hmm, well, think i'll reserve judgement. :)

    blr bytes: oh, i've heard the party people in bombay can put me to shame also. :) and not to worry, think of all the NEW things i'll have to write about now.

    jason: thanks dude! (incidentally, today, a friend asked me how many times i could say dude, without my skin crawling. to which i sang, happily, "dude, dude, dude, dude, peeyo glassful! garmi mey daalo dude mein ice, dude ban gaya very nice, peeyo daily once or twice, mil jayega healthy surprise!" i just thought i'd share that)

    sneha: i hope so! but, you know, it'll never be delhi :)

    wit: oh, you're telling me, dude. i'm already breaking out in a rash just THINKING about it.

    maya: yay! your first comment! and no, no, will be back every now and then, even in Feb for that matter, to bond with your sister :)

    rohini: you live there too, no? am trying to count all the people i "know" in that city. (here's everyone else's cue to put their hands up and tell me you'll take me drinking)

    anon1: hopefully, will be staying there. not sure yet, though. and have already heard horror stories about the commute, i think everyone i know has given me bombay advice, starting and ending with, "the commute will kill you." sigh. the men, though, those i am looking forward to.

    rohit: ah, what could compare to strapping punjabi lads with their dik-chik music and their isseymiyaki? :) i'm sure bombay has no equivalent.

    anon2: awwww. i'm not going forever! and if i know you in real life, i promise we'll bond in the next month and a half. :)

    mugger much: thanks! i hope to like completely reinvent my persona. maybe i'll be cool hat lady, seeing as my hair is growing out and it's in a terrible in between phase which sucks. :) and of COURSE, the blog stays. it's the only place i can bitch, dude :)

    bini: really? because from the bongs i meet here, i get the impression all you speak in calcutta is bengali! but i get what you're saying about the incestousness, that's what i'm trying to get away from also :)

  15. duuuuuuuuuude! you are going to LOVE's just such a non-in-your-face, do-your-own-thing city. totally unlike delhi. and i'll be your friend, so you won't be friendless. yay!!
    in zaphod's words: i am the friend to the friendless. a regular robin hood.

  16. Excellent! More people defecting from delhi
    There are plenty of house parties in Bombay. In fact the best parties are house parties, where you eventually stumble up to their roof and maybe sit in a tent drinking and smoking and then stumbling back down only to go home on the back of somebody's bike just as dawn is breaking.

    AND ITS NOT COLD!! Jackets are a fashion option not necessity.

  17. "and realised that I have exhausted this city's supplies of eligible, sweet, young boys"...
    so here she comes to BomB-Away!

    PS: Always known Delhi in a different shade through ur blog ..and it was pure delight to read u every time I did ..the city(zens) will miss you :)


  18. everyone i know and don't know is moving to bombay. and i'm stuck in dxb. :(

  19. and because it's 2.41 in the AFTERNOON on a WEEKDAY and I have nothing to do except eventually pack and then maybe panic coz I still don't know where Pieces is, I can reply to comments with ease and elan. (wonder whether i should pour myself a drink. p'raps not. does drinking at nearly 3 pm make you alcoholic?)

    nandu: anyone who can quote durrell at me instantly wins my heart. come back to bombay and marry me? :)

    fivefeetzero: now, see, i was HOPING you would say that! yay! i have now FOUR people I can go drinking with on Saturday night. tra la la la. who rocks? i do, baby, i do.

    scritch: i am soooooo not defecting!! i still love delhi muchly. i'm just, um, experimenting. :) and excellent news re: house parties. but tents? why tents? surely a terrace would be enough? although, i will miss my jackets. i have so many and they're so pretty. sigh.

    grain saint: oh dear. here my role in the universe was to make people realise the joys of the capital city and now i feel like i'm failing. althoughhhhh, i'm sure bombay has many MANY people i can talk into loving delhi. :)

    sonia: better than all your friends moving abroad no? which is what is happening to me. but what on earth is dxb?

  20. Don't you have a thing for curly hair? (Is this gonna be platonic despite his nick?)

    Good luck, gal! May the shift be as smooth as can be.


  21. Chennai was one of the original four metro could you leave it out while checking H'bad and B'lore?

  22. hmmpf whatever, as long as u continue over here! thats the best part abt blog 'friends' eh!? they can't just leave :)

  23. Bureau for a News agency. They're all clustered around this one place, and only two Eng channels have bureaus here.
    Good bring in your infamy (forgive the use of the word), it'll be fun to add to the crowd.

  24. eM, this is most distressing! and here i was looking forward to all your house parties once I get beck to delhi this christmas!

    Ah well... now we can only await thy return fair maiden..

    Sheryl Crow sang that "everyday is a winding road" and now you must follow yours and besides "You are only given one spark of madness. You musnt lose it!" (robin williams)

    Lastly, in Bbay since you are going, hit Mondy's on Colaba, the place to chill with some friends and beer and with any luck make more... last time i was there i sat with a friend before the Tull concert at 3pm and we had 2 VERY large pitchers of beer b4 us and so did most everyone in there, from young to grandpa age... like Humphrey Bogart once said, "the trouble with the world is that everyones just a few drinks behind."

    Cheers and good luck...

  25. it's been more than a year in delhi, after moving from bombay, and i still miss bombay, and detest delhi....i hope you enjoy's a magic city...

  26. good for you! like all the billion people who've already commented (well most of them) i loooovee bombay even though ive been there like what, three times in my life. id move there in half a second.. and even that half a second because thats how long it would take me to mouth the word "yesssss!!!!!!"

  27. just so everyone knows, bombay blows. it's a hell hole. it needs to be razed to the ground. i wouldnt recommend anyone move here ever, for any reason.

  28. the only bby i know of is downtown, colaba, fort, mhd ali rd, even kamathipura has a distinct charm. everything else is a pile of garbage, excreta and dried fish. Also a bylane is what ppl in bby call a 'road'.
    have fun. Also no winters to speak of.

  29. Before you revealed where you were heading to I was secretly hoping you were going to say London. Oh well. Bombay is very lucky to have you!

  30. Bombay's more humid, but uhh, it's not as dry.

    I have nothing to say, really. I'm just disappointed you didn't pick Bangalore.

  31. ahhhh, lucky you!!! b'bay rocks...sniff, how i miss is just NOT the same, horrible bloody place (and i'm being polite about it!) oh, go to leo's, and toto's, and mondy's, and polly esther, and jazz, and enigma, and zaha, and red light...oh, and hard rock..luuuurve the music there and the men are muy fabuloso! look forward to reading of your escapades there!

  32. you will NOT like mumbai. and i'll try to make sure of it 190 km away in the rotting heart of PNQ.

    you can't leave delhi! where the hell am i supposed to crash after my planned orgy-like intoxicated new years-es in delhi? WHERE?

    although, if it is just a year, then well i suppose it's alright. a little. still not pleased though.

    - cale.

  33. been a silent reader of ur blog for around two years n finally had to comment....
    u r so ditching Delhi n running away...
    aaaawwwwwwwwwwww :-(
    newayz hope bbay lives up to ur expectations!

  34. dxb is the short form for dubai. sorry! forgot that not many would know that. :)

  35. for the record: Leo M is a woman with a permanent period trapped in a man's body and usually should be ignored.

    Secondly, sure you can wear your jackets, you just don't HAVE to.

    thirdly. I don't know why a tent. but this girl had a terrace with a tent in a corner with hanging curtains and coloured lights and music and cushions. I must say i was damn impressed. one the the best house parties i've been too.

  36. no 'o' on the last too. and there should be an 'of' somewhere as well

  37. Oh well, considering that our run-ins are strictly limited to saying "hello" every now and then in the hustle and bustle of TC, I guess I'd be lying if I said you shall be missed.

    On the other hand, I guess nothing much would change since I am in that largish village by the sea at least once every month and I'd not be too surprised if the "hello" sessions happen again at Toto's or any of the numerous joints that litter the lovely landscape of Bandra. If you miss TC too much, do check out Hawaiian Shack, you'll get pretty much the same fare minus RATM, Rammstein and the heavier stuff.

    You'll either totally fall in love with the place or positively hate it.

    In any case, farewell and fare well.

  38. for the first 2 paras, i thought you were getting married. heh heh . Well, ok, you know i'm lying.

    If you need help with marathi, you know who to call. And i'll call for help if i need your language.

  39. the best line i ever heard about the Bombay vs Delhi thing (i love both) is "Bombay is a great one night stand but Delhi is the best wife". so have your fun, trust me after you've exhausted the nightspots and partying, you'll be back a happier person. and also grown up by then little eM.

  40. Goodie! Bombay should be a great place for all the compulsive confessing! Everyone must live in Bombay once, especially when you know that you are going to return. Best to you!

  41. oh well, please don't, or if you must, then do keep in touch...awww...

  42. I admire your courage for the move and hope that the younger, male inhabitants of Mumbai will serve your (insatiable?) taste!

  43. Hey eM! Welcome to aamchi Mumbai. Look forward to reading posts on your experiences here. Btw altho I know you have frnz here, if you need any help, suggestions places to eat or drink or dance at then lemme know. Welcome to the city with the big heart!

  44. Hey eM! Welcome to aamchi Mumbai. Look forward to reading posts on your experiences here. Btw altho I know you have frnz here, if you need any help, suggestions on places to eat, drink or dance at then lemme know. Welcome to the city with the big heart!

  45. Awww...

    You're leaving...

    What a shame.

  46. I wish ou hadn't told me before the post then I'd feel the surprise everyone else does. Anyay you'll have Pieces there and many more, I'm sure you'll love Bombay. I'd love to see how you manage the monsoon though. Or the local trains, but it's a fab city, full of chutzpah and energy. I'm certain you'll have many more interesting stories to narrate.

  47. Besides now that Bouncy's here in London, or Amulya as you call her, I realise that it makes a huge difference to move away from home at least once. And by home I don't mean your parent's house I mean the comfort and familiarity of Delhi. Oh my God! I'm so thrilled for you, you might even have a moment of personal growth now!
    Brava bebe brava.............

  48. bombay rules in so so so so so many ways...u will love it. just remember to embrace 'humanity' at in its most populous avatar.

    ill come visit you there, i dont think my grudgingly 'dilli' hear can live without a trip to bombay once every quarter...

  49. Oh my god, you lucky girl! I have contemplating such a move for years and still stuck here. Part of the reason being I am so used to Delhi. For instance, there's sarojini market here which I know is non existent in Bombay. Well, I know that might sound silly but you know what I mean! Anyway, have a great time. Bombay rocks.

  50. calcutta doesnt have a nght life????? its the only city in INDIA where you can party beyond 12 at night. update yourself honey.

  51. 1) eM (is that 'Me' reversed or am I thinking too much?)...

    2) This girl Maya, is her real name Samira? Just plain curious...

    Must read this take on TC Delhi:

  52. ..go'll love it! For someone who's worked that routine backwards i can safely say the process is completely self satisfying! Good Luck!

  53. Expecting some more well written blogs... this time involving trains, rains, cultures, heat, dirt, bambaiyya, page 3 ppl, ppl selling page 3.
    All the best. Happy new year.

  54. Did you see the article by one Mr. P.Suresh Babu about you in the Malayalam weekly 'Kalakaumudi'1677
    dated October 28, 2007 ?
    Pls commend !


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