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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3 January 2008

The New Beach Addict

The road dips and curves, and we are all silent for large phases of time. Occasionally, there are bursts of conversation, but for the most part, the only noise I can hear is the whisshhhh of the wind outside and the music--changing depending on who's playing it. Mostly, the controllers of the ipod are me and KVA, he chooses electronic and heavy metal type things, I choose sappy alternative stuff. We began the trip by objecting to each other's taste, but by the end of it, we're tired and music becomes background noise. At the wheel is Tyler, KVA's friend, who never seems to get tired, even though he's been driving for 12 hours. Behind them is me, singing softly to myself, and Anamika, Tyler's girlfriend. The two of us doze, mostly, but more often, in my mind I'm recapping the last couple of days, putting them together, drawing out a narrative and a storyline.

We got to Goa actually, a little before schedule, which surprised us all. We had been told it was a 12-hour drive, but we reached about three hours before schedule. "Yay, Tyler," I said, and he smiled, tiredly, before he went to their room to pass out. And stayed that way for the next five or six hours. We had gotten a little lost on the way to the resort, and the car got stuck in sand, which the boys dug out with pieces of palm frond, Anamika took pictures and I offered unhelpful suggestions, since I really, REALLY needed to pee. Finally, we got to our resort--Sea View--which had these cute little straw huts, with a tiny bathroom inside. Jhopadpattis, actually, but still, so adorable. The loo didn't have a door, only a curtain, so KVA and I had to banish each other whenever we needed to use it, and at nights it was really cold and the daytime was really hot, but it was Goa. And in Goa you're never tense about these things. At least, I'm not.

(I'm writing this from a practically empty house--Shark Tooth has moved out and Yamini and Lalli haven't moved in yet, so I have no living room furniture, no pots and pans to cook with, and worst of all--TC has killed a lizard and it's sitting, most gruesomely, in the corner of my room. Ew, ew. It's times like this I have to remind myself that I love him.)

The beach we were on was called Aswem, a very nice, low key sort of beach--made for great swimming too--because there weren't all that many people and most of the people there were in greater stages of undress than I was, so no one looked at me either. I HATE it when people stare. It makes me horribly self concious. I put together a makeshift bikini (I'm really really broke, so I didn't want to spend that money) I have a bikini top and I wore my frog sleeping shorts underneath (which are really quite cute) and I happily frolicked in the water. The others weren't great sea-fans, so that I did primarily on my own.

We checked out the Ingo's night market in Anjuna on Day One. It took us about an hour to cover a two kilometre distance, but I think it was worth it. Even though it was quite crowded, the music was nice--live jazzy stuff---and the alcohol was cheap and I wandered around looking at things. I met Iggy there, she was in Goa too, and I saw the guy who had sold me my runic pixie pendant four years ago, who told me it would open up my "fird eye". He had on lots of jazzy makeup and a pair of fake pointy ears. I guess business must've been good. K and I had gone to his workshop to pick up another pendant and I remember making conversation with him.

Boys-wise, the holiday was quite silent. I don't know how people manage to have holiday romances, really. It seems like so much work, when you're just there to chill. I didn't really meet anyone anyway, besides, we were mostly hanging out with each other and to the outside eye, I suppose KVA and I must have looked like we were together. Lots of cuties, though. I hid behind my shades and leched away.

We saw a man washed up on the beach. That is an image I'm never going to forget. The stiffness of him, the feeling that clutched my throat, the sea going from friendly and caressing to hard and violent.

Happier images I won't forget either. Sand squishing between my toes, the perfect, perfect sunsets, riding on the back of a motorcycle and freezing, riding on the back of a motorcycle and FALLING ASLEEP (I know, I know, I'm dreadful, sorry, KVA).

New Year's Eve was quite low key, for me anyway. We had all been out and about the night before till about five in the morning, and so, for New Year's, we made the trek to Baga beach, which was like rush hour or something, to go to Britto's, where I finally had Goan food for dinner. (It's IMPOSSIBLE to find Goan food in Goa, seriously. I looked and looked and all I saw was either Italian or Punjabi or something). At midnight, there were firecrackers everywhere and we couldn't speak, we were so overwhelmed by the good feelings. After which we went for a rave at Hilltop, which was very sad, terrible crowd--most shady, with men looking like they wanted to cop a feel and I was very tired. Everyone else had rested that day, but I had taken off to meet Kalyan and his friends at nearby Arambol, and consumed a bottle of wine so by the time it was three in the morning I was fading. Hilltop was also quite pricey--1000 bucks a head to enter, and so not worth it. We left soon after and headed to Anjuna beach, where a place called Curlie's had another rave happening. We had been there on the 30th night and had quite a good time, but I guess New Year's ennui had set in, because, meh, it was all right. Not great.

Did you know that when you're on the highway and someone in front of you puts on their right indicator it means they want you to pass them? Me neither.

By the time we're halfway to Bombay, we've already started thinking of the things we have to do tomorrow. I am browner, there is sand everywhere, but the feeling of letting go, of going with the flow is leaving me. Tempers are running shorter as well, but for most of the ride home, I am asleep. I don't know how the boys are staying awake for so long.

It is close to two when we return and the morning of my first anniversary in Bombay. One whole year. And quite a bit to show for it as well, I should think. People-wise anyway. Chrisann, Sameer, KVA, Deepti, Neel, Kalyan, Virginia, fivefeetzero, Diabolique, Melody and people I don't blog about but love anyway, thank you. Bombay wouldn't be the same for me without you.


  1. i havent been to goa yet. hope to go some day. have a great new year. and here is a suggestion: how about changing your template? its been a while and its a new year and all that. what say?

  2. You sounded quite at peace.
    Wish you happiness.
    I am always on the lookout for a new blog from you.

  3. WOW Tyler that's a record time, 9 hrs seems impossible. We drove down too and it took us almost 13 hrs.Which route did u guys take? We took NH17..It seems like you guys flew:)

  4. Ah, so I wasn't the only reveller suffering NYE ennui. (Just looked it up.) Good to know...

  5. sounds like a fun trip...and I thought my masala chai new yrs eve was fun ;P

    And you HAD to remind me of pets killing lizards, didn't you? Little "Honeybunch" here's been on a spree lately, the mutt.

  6. 1. Tyler had been up the whole week till 2 am everyday working, and back in office the next day at 10. so pretty cool he stayed awake i thought.

    2. We reached goa in 8 hours. thats 600 kms in 8 hrs. Sarine - we took NH 17 as well. there was fog which slowed us down a bit tho.

    3. yes, u fell asleep on a friggin bike. with ur head resting on my back, which was good, coz then i knew when u were ABOUT TO FALL OFF!!

    4. U wanted to go home on 31st night at 12:30.

    5. U are forgiven coz im part of the people who have made bombay worth it :)

  7. oh, and we were in a santro. had we had a faster car, god knows how fast we would have reached!!

    and eM, his name is Tyler Durden ;). u made his day. and i thought the other one was kanta...

  8. you sound fairly subdued. is it just me imagining this or did a number of people kick of 08 on that note?

  9. An AVERAGE speed of 75 kmph when sleep-deprived isn't particulary cool, IMHO. But perhaps it was a safe highway...

  10. we have just had the best girl's night out ever! to celebrate our annivesary....eveyryone I know seems mad at me...but I love you...and I'm g;ad you;re here

  11. ah!! does seem like you had a decent year end party.. wanted to be so much in goa this time,, but then my girl was turning up in pune after more than 3 yrs and she's in love with this city... so there i was ushering in the new year with her at some do in town here!!

    happy new year to you!!

  12. this travelogue is very bore when compare to other post..shows This new year was a different approach to you in Goa and very matured-sentences.Happy New Year

  13. It's been good to have you around too :)

    Here's to us seeing more of each other in 2008! May it be a good one!

  14. More than the, the real Bombay has been brought to me by the blogs by you and the likes. Missing all the sunshine and the frolic. Bombay wouldn't be the same for me without you.

  15. What a nice clean look your blog has! As if I had taken a bath after being through muck in the Bombay monsoons! And three-column symmetrical too! Rare on blogger.

    Even I've not visited Goa. (Dying to, though).

  16. Ok, you won't find authentic Goan food all that easily in the restaurants around Goa. You'll probably find the real stuff being cooked by some guy in minimal clothing in a shack in the middle of nowhere. There was this one place behind a church (can't remember the name) that apparently serves the best fish curry and rice ever. I'm not much of a seafood eater, so this is according to my folks. Also, this was a couple of years ago, don't know if the shack is still there.

    And yes, booze is cheap there! A double shot of feni was going for 12 rupees at a place called Casino the last time I checked.


    a different perspective of this new years' goa trip, to the same beach and the same set of huts on the beach!

    Yeah he missed to mention the topless beach tho!


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