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 December 2006

The post in which I pretend that I'm super-popular and you've asked me all these questions (humour me)

Today we tackle Turquoise Cottage:

Pallavi from Bandhavgarh writes in to ask:

Dear eM,
Your blog is all I live for. But there is one thing that has always bothered me. Why do you keep going back to this TC place? What's the deal? Do they PAY you to make an appearance or what?
Eagerly awaiting your reply,

Dear Pallavi,
Turquoise Cottage (or TC as we call it to make it easier to text or refer to in conversation; NEVER TC's though, because that is just wrong) used to be one of my favourite places in Delhi. Notice how I said "used to be".

Turquoise Cottage came about when we were all in first year college, I think this would be late 2000 or early 2001. Originally a very popular place, like all Delhi clubs, it had its days in the sun, before gently fading away to attract only thirty somethings. Or late twenty somethings. Definitely not us. Now, let's put me in context. I was a most Serious Young Person in college, all duuuuuude-bring-back-the-70s and at the same time, let me adjust my silver framed spectacles and quote the Romantic poets at you, while we argue metaphysics. Right, do we have a picture? Excellent. Therefore, cluh-bbing, dahlinks, was way beneath me. This was around the time I discovered Old Monk and Coke, and drinking in friend's basements, and buying three cigarettes for the delectable headrush I always got with the first drag.

So when Friend Who Was Older Than Me (in his twenties, although it saddens me that he was younger than I am now) took me to "this really nice place with good music", I went. And fell in love. I loved that it wasn't crowded, that the booze was reasonable, that they played all this rock music. Delhi then didn't think rock was cool, it was all PSY! and TRANCE! everywhere we went, even the good ol' Mezz, once a favourite, had sold out by opening its doors to the horror that was electronic nights every Tuesday. And it was too crowded to move. (Incidentally, even now, my mother says, "Aren't you going to the Mezz tonight?" despite the many times I have sighed and reminded her that it is, in fact, six years later).

Turquoise Cottage has a lot of good memories for me. I remember arriving there the day I lost my virginity, all knees trembling and raw skinned and feeling as though everyone could totally tell. (I told my friends though and there was much toasting and war-whooping, much to poor old ex-boyfriend's dismay. Although he was pretty pleased at the act too, I might add.) It's a place where I've met people, and flirted, and hung out with friends, and now at parties and things, people come up to me and say, "Haven't I seen you at TC?" and we know so much about each other from that question, what music we like to listen to, what kind of party scenes we're into, and even, usually, what professions we're in.

But now I feel going to TC is like a force of habit. I don't know why I go anymore. It's much too crowded and the wrong sort of crowd too, ever since they started cover charge, the music always seems to be the same (Rage Against The Machine, Du Hast Mich, The Reason etc etc). Every time I go, I feel as though THIS time could be different, that we'd be taken back five years, when TC on a Friday was all you could ask for from life, when you met and talked to nice, new people regularly, when you didn't have to dress or anything, when the bartender could see you from across a room and know exactly what to fix you. My friends who used to be regulars just like me have dropped out saying stuff like "The music is too loud, dude" or "It's way too crowded." But I keep going back.

And one of these days, like a time portal or something, it's going to be empty, and I'll get what used to be our favourite table, and the old foozball table will be back where it was, and people will be less hectic and dressed in jeans and sweaters and sneakers and prop up beer on the DJ console. And the music will be just right, no one would be dancing either, unless they were really ambitious, and I will be nineteen and hopeful that every evening is spangly excitement.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. agree completely. The last time I visited TC was in January 2005, a month before I quit Delhi. Things were a tad better then (less crowded). The play list was repetitive (Losing my religion was a favourite then). Have not been there since. Like you, my friends in Delhi too have a similar opinion about TC now.

    There should be a place like Mondy’s in Delhi too. That place has a jukebox. The music you have there is awesome, from Beatles to Portishead to Supergrass (I guess nowhere in India will you have Portishead playing in a pub). Spend 100 rupees, cue 20 songs and have a great time.

  3. drinkin in the friend's basement reminds me f the time when we were outta booze and someone suggested Iodex on bread. what a kick it was! never tried that again. *hic*

  4. Yep thats whats happened to all my favourite places too.

  5. I can't believe people actually email you! And you complain about unpopularity.

    My friends don't even email me much less random strangers.

    But I too have wondered about this 'TC' place.

    In my mind I always thought of TC as 'Ticket Collector' or 'The Club'.

    Turquoise Cottage is a bit of a shock by comparison.

    [there is a club in Bombay that has actually been named 'The Club' by a very very imaginative guy]

  6. today i'm working backwards.

    scritch: people DON'T email me. this one is fake. hence the post title. :) i do however get a) photographs of strange men and b)emails asking for advice. both are fun, but slightly bemusing. we have a bookshop here called the bookshop. it seems to be a cool thing to do.

    iz: i think it's an adultitis thing. seriously. btw, i happened across your blog and liked it very much. everyone reading this should immediately go check it out. (after leaving a comment por moi of course)

    bricks: okaaaaaay.. IODEX? on BREAD? i just threw up in my mouth a little. ew. i'll take your word for it being a good high, and sip my chai instead.

    whitelight: ahh.. losing my religion. a favourite on monday karoake nights also. (i sang it! along with bohemian rhapsody, which is a tough song to sing at any time, let alone when you've been drinking) so at mondy's you have to PAY for music? that's just sad, no?

  7. by the way, scritch had a cat called cat, so imagination (or a lack thereof) is not something she should be whinging about.

  8. I have known a gaming co named 'The'. The shutters were down in 4 months flat.

  9. hey did you know its actually "Turquoise Cottage of the Orient".....i know... even i couldn't believe it !!! Look closely at the sign outside the next time...AND there IS a reason for "TC's" ...its cos you start seeing double there!!!!! Nyeahahaha!!!

  10. Yeah five rupees/ one song. It’s a jukebox after all. But then you get to choose your own songs. Like I said, there is no other joint in the country where you can mix Portishead or Massive Attack with beer. And the jukebox has been there for more than 30 years. It's a Parsi owned place, the music has to be great.

  11. screw that, have u seen what they've done to bachus?
    they here being the god damned delhi crowd...

  12. nobody loves me. sniff. AND am on antibiotics (long story) so no drinking for a bit.

    leo: that's nothing. i had a dog called puppy. :)

    bricks: THAT is the funniest thing i've ever heard. where'd you get your game dude? oh it was made by the. by what? by THE, dude, the! :)

    madhatter: i actually did know this. but no one calls it, "of the orient." it just doesn't seem to fit. although the roof is blue. (i'm blue, i would die if i were green, i would die if i were green, if i were green i would die) (now is this song stuck in everyone else's head also?)

    whitelight: ahhh.. right. some of the ccd's here have q-jam jukeboxes, which is always a disaster because inevitably you here either shakira or some punjabi thing or enrique over and over again till you want to impale yourself on a coffee stirrer. but this place seems worthy of being checked out once i move. (which, by the way? is THIRTEEN days away now!)

    chitgo: WHO, i ask you, who still goes to bachchus? (bachus to everyone else)

  13. Ha Ha. Jukebox with Punjabi music. Sounds strange and funny (ah! no offences to Punjabi music lovers ). I thought you knew about Mondy's. It’s a Bombay institution along with Leopold. It been there for freakin 70 something years. Imagine a pub in India in the 70s playing Floyd. Fucking awesome.

    So you land on the 2nd of Jan?

  14. Try Thursdays - its more like it once was.


  15. .....WHAT? Its not "Am cool...Bada-bing, badoom -bah, bada bing badoom-bah, bada bing badum bah"????.....Here, Enjoy!!

    (PS: the whole "I-am-so-drunk-I-am-gonna-sing-this-song-even though-i-dunno-the-lyrics" is so endearingly excuse me while i kiss this guy!!)

  16. Beautiful post...been away from Delhi six months now and yes, i do miss TC :)

  17. hey u could get used to all this. [i dont mean just this post].and it will only get better. dont let all the adulation make u settle for this. but then, u cant force ambition on people na? just wondering thats all..


  18. Ironic that you would abandon a place that gave u a reason to revel in ‘emotion/ moments recollected in tranquility’
    Sometimes it’s a relief that certain things elude the assault of change …and TC is one such place…you know no matter how much the world around you spins till you see the morning stars, the hangovers, the bruises et al…this place has the same whiff of nostalgia ..the black n the blue…the music, ( I know I make it out to be one surreal joint…but it’s just one place whose comfort you can be embraced in ...have a beer ...sing out loud n dance to la bamba ...)
    It’s a place thatz known you ..n no place knows belong nowhere TC you can just be by yourself or with your troupe...

  19. still miss mezz.. the original one. rip!


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