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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31 May 2007

Behind my eyes

Purple-y days, these days, of summer, with hints of green and gold, at the very edges. i feel minimalist, in the way I am, the way I speak, short sentences, oh okay, is what I say. What I wear is not very different. I am flip-flop clad, skirts reaching thighs, bony shouldered, hand gesturing. Have you gained weight, a friend asks, and even though I want to smack him just a little, has he never met a woman before, I say oh maybe its my hair, oh maybe it’s what I’m wearing, oh maybe it’s the fact that I’m happy, well, happy-ish. Sometimes like last night I watch old people in bars, I see old people, still wearing cleavage, still smiling, still all whee and hurrah and I think maybe if I fold in my edges, maybe if I remember to always sit with my back straight and not stare directly into the sun and not let disappointment show in the corners of my mouth, maybe I will escape that and maybe I will be the only person to be always young. Being happy-ish is somewhat different from being happy, it’s a good feeling, don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely feeling, but at the same time, I’m aware, always, alarmingly, aware that this will end and that shortly, maybe in the not-so-distant future I shall be sad again, well, not sad, but sad-ish. I bought gerberas the other day from a woman at a traffic light and they were pink and orange and lovely, even as they did the end of the day droop and she said I could have them both, both bunches, for ten rupees, and even though I was shopping for an airconditioner and underwear and I didn’t have my car, I bought the flowers and took them with me, whispering into their petals about what I hoped they’d bring to my living room, about how I wanted to be the sort of person who bought flowers for themselves and put them up and I’d always have flowers because having flowers shows you’re the kind of person who does things like that on an impulse. Only I regretted getting those flowers soon enough, because I walked around and people stared at me and my wilting bouquet and I had to keep setting them down when I did things. And when I got home I put them into a Belgian crystal beer mug and tried to make them look pretty only the reason she had sold them to me so cheap in the first place is that they weren’t pretty, they were dying, and they died yesterday all at once petals exploding and I had to throw them away and rinse out the mug and maybe I’m not a flower person after all. Fairly soon I shall be free of encumberances of the emotional kind and free isn't the right word to use here, it implies joy at the fact that my relationship will end, that I will once more be single, because, did you think the expiry date wouldn't happen, oh, because it's happening, it's almost upon me, this is nearly done and it has been fun, I'm still having a good time, but soon we won't know each other anymore and that thought is just dismal. It makes my shoulders sag. Maybe I should have told you I was in love with you before we ended, maybe I should have kissed you that time in Delhi, maybe if I had tried harder we'd still be together and maybe I shouldn't be adding another maybe to my list, I should instead make room for none at all, I should let stars explode behind my eyelids, I should allow this to happen without fighting every single step. Do you believe in fate, in karma, do you believe everything happens for a reason, do you believe in spilling yourself over the internet, do you believe in dinosaurs, do you believe in coincidences, do you believe in compatibility and meant-to-bes, do you think everything is an accident, do you believe in god, do you believe in free will, do you believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, do you believe in sex for sex's sake, do you believe a man and a woman can ever be "just friends", do you believe that if you want something badly enough, it'll happen?


  1. ....loved this!!... its amazingly simple and so chilled out

  2. I've been there, in the not-quite-relationship zone, a sort of twilight between friendship and love. People tell me being single aint all bad and I say that it aint at all bad, but its just a little empty, just a wistful, to not have someone to exchange looks with and giggle to. Love and hugs.

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  4. I believe in fate, in karma, I think everything happens for a reason, I believe in spilling myself over the internet, I believe in dinosaurs,in coincidences,in compatibility and meant-to-bes, I also believe in god,and in free will (all at the same time) and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction,I believe a man and a woman can ever be "just friends" if they get the sex-talk and the flirting out of the way, I mostly believe that if we want something badly enough, it'll happen...but then again, what do i know...look at my life and the spin the universe has me in...

  5. everything does happen for a reason. mmmm, i am dismayed for some odd reason. chin up eM (thats all i can say)!

  6. em, i have this strong feeling that things are going to be perfect for you very soon. just keep the faith.

  7. in't great when you can bull kaka your way thru a post and have people wax poetic

  8. i love how anon can't bring himself to say "shit" and goes for the more amusing kaka instead. very endearing. but contrary to what he says, i rather liked this post.

    you know, with a blog as popular as yours, i can understand how it gets hard to write stuff that is too personal and some of your posts are almost empty of anything substantial. not your fault at all, i've done that too. but like you told me once, blogs are good because they allow you to let go and write whatever comes to your head without worrying about judgment and all that crap.

    not to say the other stuff is badly written; far from it; but this is awesome too. :D

  9. paragraphs make reading so much easier, but I guess the mind does not think in paragraphs!

    nice post. as always.

  10. I know the feeling of should I have tried harder - what could I have done to change this? But I don't think it's up to us....other people need to try as well and not accept it as it is!

  11. hey!
    these are my first confessions on your blog. i've always experienced this bitter conflict between friendship and love. always believed there is a barb wired fence that separates love and friendship and while you are wondering which side you'd rather be on, its a pain in the ass sitting on the fence. in retrospect the women with whom i've enjoyed a "just friends " relationship with seem so much more special. a platonic relationship seems so much more redeeming than a failed one.
    will spill out more confessions in the future. great blog! count me in as a regular visitor to your blog.

  12. u always get WHAT you want. just not WHEN u want it... talking from experience. and when u get it.. u dont want it..its destinies way of outwitting u.

  13. which part of your post do i most identify with? the bit about never growing old or about being the kind of person who buys flowers for herself? the "happy-ish bit" or the "maybe" bit? which question would i like most to be answered? the ones about karma, choice, god or internet? It's tough to decide.

  14. thank you all. even the random troll anonymous. because, i mean, even as i was writing it, i was wondering whether it was worth being a post at all, because it was so very random, but then, on the other hand, i DO have days when i'm not entirely thinking structure. its a debate i had with another blogging friend the other day, about whether we blog for hits or for ourselves, and while i did say i blog for myself, at the same time, i love getting feedback and comments and checking my statcounter and so on. but, like scout said, being fairly read means also sometimes you have to put up posts which reveal nothing of you at all. and then, there are posts like this one. which, despite the ambiguity, gives away a lot.

  15. The "I Believe" Rewritten :) ... eM and Chrisann.
    Apostles of truth. I love thy blog eM.
    There eee's uh God. :) .... and even Shaggy wonders if God eee's uh Woman.
    Well written post. You surely feel thro those fingertips dontcha
    Q. Can you express and well as you write?

  16. i don't think she expresses AS well as she writes, the smile's too vibrant and innocent to allow emotion of such contradictions as in this post...

    i'm not where you are right now eM, but i have been. i never found the words to touch i have, through you.


  17. let it go, em. someone will come along, and he will be worth the wait. i hate seeing you doubt yourself, and i really mean it when i say, it's about him and not you. you're a strong little trooper, girlie. hang in there :)

  18. LOL @ Mr. Last sign :)
    slightly blasphemous too...
    but yes "we're on the side of truth and justice" as eM n me like to say...
    And sure she can express as well...
    most famous way of showing her disapproval is packing her bag and saying I'm heading home now (pout included)

  19. @Chrisann:err..blasphemy.. why? i was only 'doing' analogy
    Anyways nice to squeeeze a reply out of you on eMSpace.
    Never seem to get any replies on walking contradictions.
    @eM: Nothing ever comes to an end or expires, everything moment is a new beginning.
    You just have to make and @eMpt. (Arey waah gyaan.. einstein)

  20. End of the day, if you don't regret anything and u r happy abt the choices u made, u can believe in everything! Loved this post.

  21. oooops.. that was meant to be Socrates not Einstein

  22. even if everything happens for a reason, u dont know the reason before u actually come across something for which that earlier thing had happened for!

    point is why waste time in finding reasons. you are what you are, and you are feeling good. isn't that we are all trying to emulate?

  23. Focus not on what could have been, but what you can have, now that you are free! The world's your oyster. We all sail through...

  24. socrates drank hemlock
    I'd go with semisonic: ëvery new begining comes from some other beginings end"....
    blasphemy on re-writing the Ï believe"
    I don't recall any questions on walkingcontradiction, from you last sign
    unless you're masquerading as 'satish'who BTW I ignore...
    I have no responses to :0 & hmmmm, and mmmm
    drop by say something'
    I might just say something back

  25. I say trash all the sage advice
    (no offence to all who offered their comments to eM)

  26. eM, I believe you have outdone yourself.

  27. awwwww.
    comments from real life friends and blogger friends make me all mushy inside. my days are going from crap to diarrhea (i KNOW i didn't spell that right). work--that damn thing--is interfering with my wallowing.
    i'll just go spontaneously combust now.
    but BUT y'all must go and contribute to my brand new baby blog: coz the only way i feel better is through blog pimping.
    i'm such a slut that way.

  28. hey lil eM. u're a sweet lil ass. made me laugh so with you comment above...

  29. PATHETIQUE! Bad even by blogging standards. Errrr. Em! I might forgive this from a sixteen year old because I am forgiving by nature.

  30. have a link to your blog on my blog. maybe linking to this blog might have rub off effects on my writting. dryness converted to fun. would love to see that happen. :-)

  31. Hes really proud of the fact that he called u fat, and u blogged about it. considers himself a bit of a celebrity i should say.

  32. it doesn't actually you can't control the way people feel about you. but you can control how you feel. or at least control how you express it. so next time work or shortening that list of maybes.......

  33. kva called you fat!?!?!
    he's prolly getting back at me for calling him fat!!!!

    stupid men. stupid i say! throw them all the lions!

  34. eM,

    I am right there where you are.....could just emphathize..Dont worry every thig is worth its wait

  35. hey namesake ...things will be better soon. M

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