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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15 October 2007

But, I digress...


One thinks it might be time for one to change the subject. Although one loves posts with many, many comments (as an ultimate validation, one is, after all, an only child) one realises there is only so far one can milk it. Unfortunately, despite recent media attention, one has been having a rather dull week. One has been ill, no, not a viral this time, this was less pleasant, if that's possible, and in the process one made many friends eye roll by being ill and refusing to see a doctor. One does not like doctors, you see, (oh fuck this) okay, so no one likes doctors, but I have a particular distaste for them. I'm usually dependant on my "strong Andhra peasant gene" to get me through things and (can I blame this on my mother and get away with it? I think I can) my mother was never one to give me like medicines and stuff when I was sick. Well, only if it got worse, but in the first day or two of a fever, I'd get half a crocin and a day off school, which suited me just fine.

I think it might also be a living alone thing that makes me so lazy about looking after my health. The last time I was ill, two months ago, was the fifth time I had gotten a viral infection since I moved here. I ignored it, popping a crocin if it got too bad, till one rainy morning, I couldn't move. Not only that, I had to switch off the fan and pull two extra quilts out of the cupboard, and still, I couldn't stop shivering. This next bit is the irony of it all, even though I hate going to doctors, and think anything can be cured by a good night's sleep and a glass of water, I am a hypochondriac. So, the other day, I'm sitting at Deepti and Neel's and holding a white cushion and I coughed and there were red spots on the cushion. Everybody else carried on with their conversation, and I was sitting for like three minutes, staring at the cushion, planning my funeral, thinking of cancer treatments, thinking of what wig I was going to buy to replace my hair and then Deepti noticed I was quiet and asked what happened. Fearfully, I showed her the cushion, my eyes scanning her face for the obvious distress and sympathy that would follow. She looked at it, looked at me, trembling in my corner, clutching the cushion to my chest, and said, "Um... you're drinking tomato juice."

Soooooo, yeah. Hypochondriac and averse to medical treatment. What a pretty pickle! I imagine it's some sort of mutated gene, a survival of the fittest thing that makes some of us dislike doctors and be inherently lazy, and others who go to doctors when they fall down and skin their knee. Us, the lazy, hating doctor type, will eventually die. This proves one of two things, depending on which side of the creation debate you're on. One; early man evolved into homo lazius and homo doctorus. The only problem arose when both homo lazius and homo doctorus took to golf. The planet was overpopulated! Therefore, clever Evolution Genie (whose name was Oho, making his initials what, class?) (Fuck, these antibiotics clearly contain pot) made all of homo lazius redundant, leaving space for everyone else , (namely, homo doctorus). Or two; God is a doctor. But when you take resessive gene one, laziness/doctor aversion and team it with resessive gene two, hypochondria, you get, well, me. An oxymoron. (Which reminds me, how many years ago, Pieces and I were talking and I think the word 'oxymoron' came up and I said I was unsure of the meaning, and she bit her lip and looked around for an example and then said, "A smart surd is an oxymoron." (we meant no offense really, my soul is Punjabi, balle... balle? No?) which now is the sentence that always swims into my head when I use the word. That and Defence Colony, early evening in the summer, both of us in tight t-shirts and blue jeans, leaning against a Maruti Esteem.)

Where was I? Are you still around? Are you secretly judging me for having totally lost my ability to write coherent sentences and paragraphs that actually relate to each other? Well, sit right back, my judgemental friend, light yourself another cigarette, and prepare to be even more smug, because I'm not done. (Writing 'light yourself another cigarette' just made me fumble around in my bag to pull out mine. Product placement bastards. They're taking over the world. I just watched Thank You For Smoking, which you should absolutely watch) I was telling you about how I'm unwell with a Secret Painful Infection (not an STD, but you can feel free to speculate on any others) and how my friends were annoyed because I hadn't gone to a doctor in the five days I suspected I had the SPI and how on Friday night it escalated and I was really not very well at all. I spent the night with the concerned friends, and my phone was low on battery and so when I got back from the tests and the diagnosis the next day around four, and turned on my phone I got many worried text messages asking where the fuck I was and whether I was dead and if I was dead could I at least do them the courtesy of informing them. I made the last one up, but, no, really, since I was feeling like shit, I was all misty eyed at the concern. This will add totally new dimensions to the funeral in my head next time I play it out.

This was actually supposed to be a post on living alone and the Toll It Takes On Many Of The Things You Take For Granted, which it isn't anymore, and this is a fucking long post so I can't go into that now, but I will make you a list.

Living Alone And The Toll It Takes On Many Of The Things You Take For Granted

1) There is no milk.

2) There are unemptied ashtrays.

3) You bathe with cold water for three months because you're too lazy to fix the geyser.

4) Ditto on the light in your room.

5) In fact, ditto on any household thingamajig that doesn't work.

6) There is dust, lots of dust.

7) There's an almost about to explode carton of grape juice in your fridge.

8) Your clothes are wrinkly.

9) There are home delivery boxes everywhere.

10) You skip breakfast, because you're "not a breakfast person." You so are a breakfast person, it's just easier to go straight to lunch.

11) Your fingers recognise the snooze button even when your eyes are closed. I don't know about you, but my mother likes to wake me up by beginning a conversation like I'm already involved in it. For instance.

Me: (asleep, in dreamland, lalalala)

Mother: (many loud noises, some gragefigeoifgksnv;loebclqwhnw)

Me: Uh?

Mother: And so I said I thought you'd love to do it.

Me: Yur?

Mother: abekbvlkeb;gwlbg4egn lglr4ng...what do you think?

Me: (just about opening one eye) Huh? What? Coffee?

Mother: You're not answering me.

Me: (realisation dawning, because this has happened many times before) That'sbecauseIjustwokeup.

Mother: How long can you sleep? It's a lovely day! The sun is shining!

Me: Evidentally. It's morning. Can I have my coffee now?

Post coffee, I ask her what it was she was talking about and we have the coversation again. Where I can make more legible noises. She doesn't have a snooze button. But that house always has milk.

(This is a compilation list, by the way, and should in no way be reflected entirely on either Shark Tooth or Small or Dee. They're all pinaccles of perfection and perfectly beautiful flatmates and anyone would be lucky to have them. This is all me, not so much a pinaccle of perfection, but they love me, so I guess I get by.)


  1. Thank you for smoking is good. So is the Nicholas Cage starrer Lord of War

  2. i am sorry, but i couldnt resist pointing this out to you - it is 'recessive'...not resessive..i remember an old post of yours on how particular you r bout grammar and spelling, so figured i wont be considered evil, for pointing this out! :)

  3. UTI,eh?Drink loads of water and cranberry juice.No alcohol/coffee.
    Get well soon!

  4. finally a normal funny post after frikkin ages eM. i lol'ed a lot on this one.

  5. it started out well but the post is way too long and not too funny.

    funnily though i'm ailing too. was too unwell to clean my apartment yesterday and the thought of unfolded clothes and dirty dishes is making me more ill.

    oooo met someone new will share more when there's more to share. da de dum dum da. :)

  6. What's UTI?
    get well soon...

  7. undie terroriser infection also known as urinary tract infection medically

  8. all humans are alike...
    i tht u were super-human ...
    u disappoint me...
    i wish my mom was here wid me...
    get well soon...& get antibiotics..and something 4 ur throat....

  9. But urgh, key takeway: The bit about early summer evening (well, summer early evening) in Def Col leaning against an Esteem makes me miss Dilli now.
    Le sigh.

  10. too long a post for a person like me to have the patience to read thru, so I didnt :)

    but whatever it was looks pretty introspective!

  11. UTI reminded me of 'The Green Mile'... and then the cranberry juice advice in the comments reminded me of 'The Departed'. hee hee hee, looks like i've been watching too many movies!!

    Nice one eM... enjoyed it!

  12. you are under a lot of pressure to perform and be a pinnacle of perfection with your posts..

    long post - definitely NOT the way to start off after the controversial exposing of self..

  13. you know what? you shouldn't hit snooze. is there a turn off the alarm function? then ALWAYS turn off the alarm. that way it doesn't ring again, and again, and again.

  14. ditto to maia, except....

    it's pinnacle.

  15. Visiting back after months, and discovering the good old CC. I agree doctors suck unless they're cute. Meanwhile popping crocin helps, I'm trying Coldarin this time. Desperate to get well by Thu morn. A shout out goes out to you as well, for that cute doctor, or the magical pill - u know what I mean.

  16. UTI huh? maybe you should get volt to wash his fingers and wee-wee more often.

  17. lol... i think thats the fun of having a popular blog (...and those 15 seconds of F - strange pun!)

    u have hilarious ppl like "there are so many anonymous" and "crotch doc" commenting..
    u have ppl commenting even when they dont think its a good post (and therefore not worth commenting) :)


  18. there are more pros than cons of staying alone. and i am sure u realize them girl...

  19. As the title 'Dont read this' becomes irresistable, similarly a post 'not worth commenting' is hard to be missed without a comment :)

    Anyways I think 'one' still needs rest so catch up with anything missed being fine and enjoy the illness :P

  20. Hi Em - you rock girl!! Loved the blog.
    I just discovered this - you post with the same tag (Em) I used to use, before I gave it up... G'luck on the book deal - can't wait to read it when its out...

    (yet another expat indian)

  21. Em..your list made me laugh (a bit ashamedly) cos currently my house looks exactly like that...

  22. Add to the list...

    x.) There are all sorts of unopened envelopes around the house: bills, bank statements, letters for past occupants, "You have just won this-and-that" offers, Greenpeace newsletters...

    xii.) Take-away/ Homedelivery menus

    xiii.) Linen gone soft because themaid won't change it often enough

    xiv.) Lots and lots of laundered but not ironed clothes



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