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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17 January 2008

Almost famous

Wow. Thank you all. I had no idea so many people were actually going to watch the show! I'm getting a lot of the same feedback--in the comment section and via email--that I looked scared, well, not scared, but shy and self concious and nervous. What can I say? There's a reason I choose to write as opposed to like, being an actress or something. Even being in the print media over electronic was a concious decision, I really am more confident with a keyboard and a hell of a lot more articulate.

So. Now you guys know what I look like sometimes and what I sound like sometimes. (That was my I-am-an-expert voice, apparently) In real life, off camera, I guess I'm similar if not the same. Of course, in real life, I'm not always worried about what I look like or even sounding very smart. But when there are cameras on you, suddenly, you're all aware of your bodies and the way you nervously bite your lower lip and what on earth you're supposed to do with your hands. Seriously, I watched all the other panelists and I was like, "Oh my god, how can they be so UNRUFFLED?"

Although watching myself was strange too. You have this moment where you're looking at the TV, you know like how sometimes you see yourself in a mirror unexpectedly and you do a double take before you realise it's really you? It's the same feeling. Initially, the first shot of my face seemed really FAMILIAR to me, like, "Oh, I know this person" before the "Oh, that's me" happened. Do I really sound like that? Is that what my eyebrow does when I'm trying to make a point?

But, I should begin at the beginning. It all started one evening when I got a phone call saying that NDTV would like to fly me down to Delhi to be on We The People, but I don't think I heard another word after "fly you down to Delhi." I proceeded to call every single person I know and tell them that I was going to be *ahem* making my television debut (I've been on TV before, even on a features story about blogging, but this show felt like a much bigger deal for some reason).

The fun actually begun happening on Saturday morning when a car and driver came to pick me up and drop me to the airport. I suppose I COULD have taken an auto, but they gave me an option, so naturally I picked the chaffeur driven one. (When in doubt, darlings, ALWAYS pick the chaffeur driven one. It works for everything. "What movie shall we watch?" "The chaffeur driven one." "What friend shall I meet?" "The chaffeur driven one." Think metaphorically and not literally, and you'll be able to see it) I get to the airport and join the very, very long Indian Airlines queue, till a guy offers to assist me with the instant check in thing. "Sure," I say, always happy not to have to stand in line. Lalalalala, and the instant thing isn't doing my tickets. Crap, I think, I must have printed out the wrong tickets. The guy tries a couple of times and then turns to me. "Ma'am, are these executive class tickets?" "I dunno," I shrug and it is beginning to dawn on me how much I had underestimated the coolness of this trip. Executive class? They wouldn't. They didn't. Oh, but they did.

Ah, the joys of a queue less counter! The joys of that little key to happiness--the invitation to the executive lounge! The thrill of a waiter bending down to ask you what you would like! The oddness of having to remind yourself that you're in an airport! And when you board the plane, there's a movie playing, there's food served with a TABLECLOTH. And there are actual courses. Once you go first class, you can never go back to the squalor and cramped spaces that is economy. I watched Jab We Met and read my free new magazine all shiny and new smelling and ate my heated food, served to me in individual portions and charged my cellphone and basically, yeah, I was quite sorry, for the first time ever that the plane was landing.

It gets better though. There was a guy holding out a placard with my name on it, which has been my dream since I was a kid. (I search the signs each time I land, just for fun, and just in case. It always seemed like such a cool thing to see your name being held up and other people watch you and wonder who you are and how come you're such a big shot and so on.) And I get driven home where I change, nap quickly and then head out again for the shoot.

All the other panelists were sort of chilling outside with coffee and things when I got there. I think I was the only one nervous, they all looked very calm and composed. My stage fright was killing me. I couldn't even sit still so I drank gallons of water and of course, had to pee almost instantly. One thing that surprised me though is that the studio is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. And quite cold too. We sat hunched into our woollens and Barkha Dutt came on, and told us that we the panelists (ahem, ahem) were fitted with mics so we could speak whenever we wanted to and didn't have to wait our turns. I was sitting next to a young psychology student, who looked most amused at my nervousness. "Be prepared," she said, "If you believe in something, it shouldn't be hard to stand up for it." True. Wise words.

I don't remember much of the actual programme (the NDTV site has a video up if you search for it but I warn you, it's very slow). I remember though, the Hindi blogger saying, "Oh the difference between English blogging and Hindi blogging is, that we write about SERIOUS things." Right. Like the contents of your neighbour's fridge. And there was this mother-daughter pair behind me who were all holier than thou. In fact, I think all three of us, the personal bloggers were under attack for pretty much the entire show. Dude. I was sort of expecting it to happen, but still, I wish they hadn't edited out the bits where I talked about how not all blogs were as selfish as they were being portrayed to be, what about the tsunami blog and so on. But I guess they needed to fit it into show time.

Being on TV is fun.

And then we went to the new TC, which is a major DISAPPOINTMENT. Oh my god. They still had the Opus signs up, the music was the same though, but the prices have gone up and it just didn't have the charm or the feel of the old TC. The old TC was dim lighting which felt all warm and nice, this TCOpus thing was DARK and smelt funny. Sigh. It's like the end of an era.

Anyhoo. There's my rub with fame for you (I'm so broke my outgoing calls are cut because I haven't paid my bills, so I'm not saying fortune). My internet is also cut so I'm cyber cafe-ing it till the end of the month. So much for the TV-featured-blogger, eh?

Although, ooh! My new tagline is totally: 'As seen on TV.' Heh.

UPDATE PIMP TYPE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Because now we're like all recording our movements. So, this weekend I'm off to watch the very underrated Pakistani band Strings, which plays some seriously cool music. They're playing along with Parikrama and Saif Ali Khan is also going to be performing. I mention it because my friend Chitgo (who is also very comely and charming and would be my boyfriend if his girlfriend was not also one of the nicest people I have ever met. Hmph.) is organising it and he says it's going to be very cool and when he says something like that about music, I generally buy it. So, I'm going and it's at the Andheri Sports Complex, Sunday the 20th and in Delhi at the NSIC in Okhla on the 27th. Tickets are available here. (I don't know where offline, though. Chitgo?)


  1. Read abt u in ET today .. I am sure ur novel would be worth the wait .. something like a chetan bhagat's 5 pt smone ..

  2. Congrats..good work
    It's a bit sad they edited your part..anyways now you're famous and you're a celebrity..enjoy the feeling of being a celebrity

  3. does nervousness make you speak more words in a single gasp?

    seeing the show made me think so...!

    or thats how you speak generally?

  4. ahem!!
    I have been a silent reader for quite some time..But I must say,I was shocked..not at you..but on my stereotypical hypocricy..You were so different than what i thot u to be...
    dont worry!!!It doesnt really mean anything..hehe..Congrats btw..for the book as well as the TV show..

  5. So are you now going through that stage where you look at your blog and go "Oh no, this place is so messy - what will everybody think?" (like when you have people over to your place for the first time).

    Those links of yours do need updating though.

  6. Congrats ..Ive read abt the novel and I think its a great idea..being a media person, it was interesting to read the perspective of someone who is on the other side of the camera

  7. TCOpus...sounds like

    and Jab We Met? You didn't fly Indian did you? How come we've never swapped airline tales..hehe... :)

    Maybe you'll now consider renaming yourself to something like 'Foxy Tanya' or "Fox-eM' or summin. ;-)

  8. can somebody please post a direct link? (for the search challenged :))

  9. Good for you! Re: Exec lounge, chaffeur-driven car, etc... well, the first time is always the best. It's never going to be as much fun the next time... :-)

  10. Congrats for your new found celebrity status...

    even i have started visiting your blog after watching u on the show..u very looking pretty cool..and u made ur point..

    keep up the gud workk....:)

  11. i might the only person who reads ur blog tht has NO idea what u look like. when your book is out, please tell me it will be on amazon or some such online-ness?

  12. Yeah..quite right. This does occur to the people who spend too much time typing away on the internet. You tend to become too self-conscious and you feel everyone's looking at you and one awkward gesture blow your reputation to pieces..or can make people look at you with prejudiced eyes. And not only in front of a camera but in the social sphere as well where you have to interact with new people every few days. But, I tell you, you managed to look okay (gestures-wise) and sound really wise! And that 'bitin ur nails' thing made u look all the more, I daresay, sexy!

  13. congrats dude! for the new celebrity status,Well u deserve it.
    keep it up!

  14. Yeah, a direct link would be good.
    I am not registered at ndtv website but i looked at archves and found only eisodes till aug 2007.


  15. eM
    Congrats! But listen, I wasnt coming online for the past few days so I didn't get to see you on TV. I demand a link where I can watch the show or at least tell me when are they going to show a repeat telecast. I don't know, do something and get me that episode. Pretty please. :)

  16. Watched the show online. Very slow, but worth the watch.

    Don't worry, you were good.

    Though Barkha seemed to be more uncomfortable than anyone else at the prospect of "irresponsible blogging".

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Been an irregular reader for 2 years now- but I guess the NDTV show made me write this!
    You do have a nose ring? It wasn't too clear on the video they have online. But I just lovvvvvved the nose ring.
    And you have gorgeous eyes :)

  19. have been a long-time lurker... i HAD to come out to say two things: 1. i really like your blog (and am sure the book will be great fun too!) and 2. it's chauffeur (sorry! am on the desk -- so you know how fussy some of us can get!)

  20. Your integrity stood out. Surely your folks should be proud of you. People like you inspire faith! Congrats!
    WW (well wisher)

  21. ws 'biting ur lower lip'!

    And yes...dont EVER EVER remove that nose ring!!

  22. I din watch the show, but came hear cause of a mention of all this show talk in a blog.
    I am sure u loved the oppotunity n made gud use of it. I alwyz wished if things were talked with more of an open mind thn pre-conceived societal notions ..


  23. hey!
    I saw you on the show and whats the word?You are very spirited and its so cool to handle criticism well esp when it comes from hypocritical bonkers!I had read about your blog in a news article and now when i watched you,i had to read it.and im glad i did.Keep up the good work!

  24. hey meenakshi madhavan, i must say i have become yr fan after the ndtv show. i did not know anything abt blogging i had jus heard abt it. and going by my name i just wanna be honest and say i think yr really cute. i am married have a son who is 10yrs old, i am almost 35yrs of age. married for 14yrs. being very honest and open in my marriage.I love yr nose ring too. infact after watching you i have started to blog and created a blog..on google, its called Just being honest,
    i hope to say all that ifeel on it & take views on them.
    stay tuned.

  25. Hey Confesor,
    cheers on your ndtv show, pity I missed it. Will check the video soon. And with ndtv, one can expect to see it again soon too....

  26. watched it on the site. u r no longer anonymous now? famous, too. :P

  27. you haven't addressed why you looked like a tween. and i don't mind the new TC. it's more spacious. and i guess you didn't have a moment to bond with the new place. i did. the twenty20 finals. :)

    and once the book comes out this blog will shoot up through the stratosphere.

    i want a signed copy. kapisch?

  28. I watched it online and saw the look on your face when that comment about Hindi blogs having serious content proped up..I could practically tell what you were thinking..! I was thinking the exact same thing. Life is serious, too. A lot of people (particularly indians) seem to forget that. What with the mentality here...(ONLY doctors and engineers, Culture=shutting up about your opinions, blah blah)...We have a long way to go. Either way..I'm glad people like you are making a difference. We need more of you.

  29. dude, u need to invite these fans for a party to ur place. or my place. we can call it the 'Mingle with Minna' bash :P

    saw a bit of the show. they didnt show u enough i thought. celebrate with a drink this weekend?

  30. You were just yourself... the same as you are on the blog.... i guess many of them have got inspired by you.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. hey em, may be I am trying to invade ya private domain but then as u r 'the compulsive confessor' ,I saw u taking 'few drags' off an acquatiance ciggarette.
    Then u conceal the fact.whats the need for that, its your personal choice why to fear any one judging u?
    My apologies if I had crossed my boundaries of decency but as u say "c'est la vie"...happy blogging

  33. Oh since everyone is talking about this!! I want to see this video, unfortunately I can't find it on the website! anyone care to post a link pretty please!!

    - shruti (different blogger than the other shruti posted above)

  34. heya! saw the show and wanted to say congrats. I loved all the personal bloggers there and have been lurkingly reading ur blog for a while now.

    Almost famous?? Nah....I think we have passed that now :P

  35. Hindi bloggers write on serious matters? It is the joke of the season.

    Happy blogging.

  36. Your performance on NDTV was definitely nice. As a senoir blogger I would like to wish you lots of luck with many fruitful years of blogging ahead of you. Please do not hesitate to call a spade a spade or a bloody shovel

  37. Hi. No, I did not catch up on the program. Yes, I would have loved to but by the time I logged in and saw your message, I was a day too late.

    Caught up on your blog when I saw the ET article.

    How do you manage to get so much publicity?






  39. Hi EM,
    got to know about you from the show.Sorry for being late :) went through quite a few of posts. I found them really good.was pleasantly surprised to find that you write on a wide variety of issues concerning your life.The NDTV as a bit misleading ;)
    btw I feel that you are being a bit harsh towards the Hindi blogger. He didn't actually demean anybody..I really feel bad when I see so much of antagonism between the Hindi and English speaking junta n India..
    Will be eagerly waiting for your novel.I am sure it will be much much better than that awful book by chetan bhagat.

  40. I didn't know so many people watch NDTV!

    Your book launch will probably be bigger than Samit's was, at this rate :)

  41. "you're all aware of your bodies."
    Body I think.


  42. after reading the source code.... here is a direct link:
    (its full screen flash video)

  43. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I am going to see the Strings show in Delhi!! YAY!!

    And congratulations on your book... I read about it in the Economic Times. I shall buy it when it comes out.

  44. Totally agree with divi there. I Just hope you don't get mobbed after your book's released.

  45. great to see you on NDTV s program. Appreciate your candid confessions. I have been reading your blog though never commented.

    Keep up the good work......

  46. Saw you on TV the other day.Good job!I think you really took it well.The anchor,(my personal feeling)just 'lost it'.Cheers!
    DesiGuru (

  47. burp. My 2 dimes - not that they matter:

    1. you looked smoking hot there. I was shocked - never expected you to be hot - dont ask why. And demure. And they both made a good combo.

    2. Many things were not expressed strongly - my blog, my content, you dont like, you dont come. Me defame you, you screw me, no problemo. I would have expected more defiance from the three personal bloggers. Whats with Vikster claiming to rise in his career through his blog? Dude, I love your blog but you saying that just diluted the seriousness of personal blogging. Em, you could have done with a dose of aggression martini. But you looked hot and that made up for it.

    3. Rajesh Lalwani says a book deal happened because of the high quality content and not novelty. He needs to re-examine his hypothesis. The book deal came because of salacious content - not just high quality content. It is just like the book deal that 'girl with a one track mind' got with her blog being outed. Was there really high quality content on her blog? Duh. It just helped that Em also expresses herself well. Ok, I do think Em you write much much better than 'the girl' - but had you been writing on strait-laced/public interest issues like tsunamis, I can bet my last centimo that you would not have rcvd a book deal.

    I mean please!! This is a woman posting details of her sex life. We are a voyeuristic society. And people love gossip of this kind. Hence there is a market for such stuff.

    The high quality vs novelty content also diluted the defence by personal bloggers weaker.

    But em, you were hot. Why the F are you still dragging on that cigarette?

  48. you seemed a little hesitant in speaking your mind . . . were you just trying to be politically correct or did they edit the good part out?

    the show itself seemed a bit contrived . . . e.g they picked up just the "sensational" snippets from all 3 blogs. . . maybe you should have been a given chance to select your own excerpts too . . .

  49. Great show. You spoke well. But do you think the book deal would have happened without the subject? I mean, sure, you write decently -- but so do a lot of other people. If you're defending your subject matter on one end, why do you claim, then, that your book deal was because of your writing ability, and not the supposed controversial nature of your blog?

  50. hmmm, i was looking forward to see more of wat u had to say. plus they didn't say much about your book...

    the mother/daughter pair were totally being judgmental, and props to Jhoomur for calling them on it. the hindi blogger was totally annoying too, though he did make some good points.

    and the guy who said personal bloggers r vying for attention, deserves one tight slap.


  51. great blog eM and loved the NDTV show. what i didn't like about the show was that you guys never really took logical stands on the blog regulation issue which I thought was the real thing everyone had gathered to discuss.

  52. hey hi ,
    im siva,yar blog is really really good, it feels gratifying to see people who are willing to "write" posts rather than just paste them , yar blog s inspiring to new kids like me, a rookie in bloggin , i have jus given u a link , hope purists like you can lend me a hand , by placing a link of mine in your blog .
    my blog:
    cheers (and fingers crossed :) )

    P.S.i really hope yar novel comes out sonner , and yar gna rock!!!!

  53. Barkha sucks.
    Leher is the prettiest journo, but you are not too bad either.
    And how does it matter why or how the book deal happened. She has it, we don’t. Q.E.D.

  54. wow!! wow! and wow again... As a blogger and wannabe writer, I know how much this would mean to you!

  55. hey eM! glad you enjoyed the concert. also, you know I don't date celebrities so let's not get either of our hopes up ;)

    the tickets are available at a number of places apart from; cafe coffee day outlets in N - Block, Connought Place,Khan Market,AWWA, Dhaula Kuan (Opp. Taj Hotel),M - Block, Greater Kailash - 1,Masjid Mod, Greater Kailash and at music world outlets in ansal plaza, CP, Kalma Nagar and Ashok Vihar.

  56. Saw you on the show. My sympathies!! Though, you looked cute (not fat..referring to your previous post), not nervous/ scared either. :)
    I've written a post on the show too...
    Found your blog through Google. Nice blog you've got out here.
    All I can hope is that people don't stop expressing themselves in this open forum, just because of that one episode. Remember what they say about barking dogs? *grin*
    Cheers...S mi l e

  57. was great to see you talking after being a regular reader for a long time...I'm glad NDTV wan't that slow for me :-)

  58. hey congo ~~~~keep up the good work~~

  59. i wuznt gonna write, but i seriously kept on thinkin how i hadnt replied to the part of serious things in hindi blogs

    LOLOLOL!!! dat shit wuz so funny! serious things, like wht wuz in my neighbour's fridge hahaha... loved it yaar

  60. hi meenakshi
    i recently heard of u since i got invited to be part of an ndtv show that u're going to.i must say that now that i checked out ur blog i can see why u have such a big fan following.never really been into blogs but after readin urs,i think i might get ur funny,crazy style!!n u even write about d most mundane things in the most hilariousd manner!n wow!! ur case is like somethin every1 dreams of once in a while-to be another new-age anne frank n all that,but of course u r much more frank than that.its gr8 fun readin so keep rocking n keep blogging!!


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