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

You awaken thrice before it's actually time for you to wake up. If it's your turn to open the door for the maid, you do. Some days, you forget whose turn it is and do anyway, so that the reproachful sounds of your flatmate's footsteps don't reach you. The cook asks you what she should make for dinner, you are aware that she is noting how you sleep, on your stomach, one arm curled around your pillow. You murmur something, she says you haven't touched the rotis she made yesterday. You apologise. You try to go back to sleep. It is ten am and your cat needs to be fed. He makes this known by sitting on your back and meowing into your ear. You lift him up and kick him out of the room. Your alarm goes. You press the snooze button. Your alarm goes again. You surrender and wake up.

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.


  1. hey ....super as usual.....
    most ppl wud envy ....

    loved the way u put it....but stop the whining :)


  2. Hey you sound good at this working at home business. I just cannot figure out how to do it - before I know it, half the day is over and I have watched Oprah and The Bold and the Beautiful!

  3. the engineering student in his last semester(with a project to turn in-which translates into no classes)feels almost the same way

  4. 'Undeserved' guilt is the worst. Did it attack as badly during school & coll days as well? :)


  5. damn girl... u just put up the day of almost every single person working from home.. its times like these which make me feel like having a real job where I HAVE to go and interact with people at work.

  6. Are you going to do that wrong-way-wrong-time commute On Thursday or not?


  7. The grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?

  8. wow. so all my fears about working from home are true. you need way too much character. meh.

  9. Now this I have to comment on! Maybe working from home would be better if you had some other stuff you need to take care at home [read cook for your husband, look after your kids(s)]. Otherwise, yeah, I would choose to meet some people anyday.

  10. i started reading ur blog some time back.. pretty good..
    and now that u have mentioned the way ur work life, i majorly envy u!
    it would be really great probably once i dont feel bad about waking up beyond 8 AM and i still can catch up on proper breakfasts!
    to speak out more clearly like most of the people, i would love to get a princely salary for no work at all! no employer agrees with me though!
    keep it up!


  11. That was excellently observed.

    Now may I recommend commuting to Henry Thams?

  12. My home office is equipped with a big desk, lots of books and a play pen. I work side by side with my toddler while she plays or watches Dora, I type away at my computer and then my wife takes over after breakfast. We take turns throughout the day between toddler play, nap time and helping other people know their dream of working from home. It really is rewarding and we get to stay home and so does our toddler. We believe if parents want to stay home and work that they should be able to do that. I’m a work-at-home coach/mentor to help others obtain their dream.


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