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 March 2007
On Working From Home
The house is all yours. You cherish this. You go to the bathroom with the door open. You put the kettle on for coffee. Your cat twines himself around your legs, with accusing meows. You feed him, he follows you back to the kitchen to see if you have anything more appealing on offer. Still sleep bleary, you switch on your laptop and plug in the cable wire. A slight flaw in the internet and your day is undone. Your computer hasn't been working so you rely on your flatmate's. Other people are commuting. You are in your boxer shorts and t-shirt, smoking your first cigarette of the day and checking your email. Other people who commute can afford to spend the day just surfing the internet, by virtue of the clocking in. You feel guilty. You don't allow yourself any breaks beyond lunch. You check if your story ideas have been approved. If they have, you start making your phone calls. Still, you are at home after all, and your body takes this as a cue to relax. Your mind however, doesn't. You feel guilty on a week you don't have any stories. You feel guilty on days when you don't have to meet anyone. Guilt, guilt, guilt. You are racked by it. You contemplate some days, just taking the train and going into your office, but discard this as impractical. At office, you are legitimately allowed to have weeks where you have nothing to show. Weeks where the weekend feels like an excuse to do what you've done all week.
You forget what it's like to have conversations with people who are not your cat.
The days when you have to meet people are filled with glory. You waken early, with a sense of purpose. You dress early, finish your mail checking and head out of the door. You ask questions you've been framing in your head before. You hear the uhs and the ums in your voice, coming from not asking questions all day. Coming from typing questions instead.
You file your story. You research it. Your writing skills have been honed for this is your only form of communication for the most part. You like the way your stories look now. You sometimes wish you had admiring colleagues around you to see how rapidly your fingers move across the keyboard.
It is seven, it is eight. You need to leave the house. To go back to bed in the same nightclothes you are still wearing would be depressing in a way you cannot even imagine. While elsewhere in the world, people commute home, you commute outwards. You are lucky you know many people. You drink more. You smoke more. There is nothing else to do. You are only eating one meal a day most days. Your body does not seem to need any more. You feel cliched.
You tell people you work from home. You hear envy in their voices. This is what you have wanted to do all your life. You are happy. You are guilty.