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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1 April 2008

Flights Of Fancy (when real life is too boring to write about)

(inspired by a very fun discussion I had last night with (among other people) Ideasmith, JAP and Chronicus Skepticus)

It's Thursday morning. You wake up, feeling slightly heavier than you did last night. "Damn hangover," you think to yourself. Somewhere during the night your clothes seem to have gotten all tight and uncomfortable as well. You stretch and knock your cat off your bed. "Dude," you say out loud. Your voice is low and gravelly. This is not terribly surprising, because several times having first woken up, you sound like a man anyway. What is surprising is the unfamiliar weight in your underwear. And the unfamiliar lightness of your chest. You figure your clothes must have twisted around in the night. You're not prone to thinking in the morning anyway.

You roll out of bed and your cat takes one look at you and leaps a few feet in the air, his tail all twisted and bushy. "Crazy cat," you think and begin to proceed to the bathroom. Out of the corner of your eye, you see a strange man in the mirror. You start and whip behind you. The guy in the mirror does the same. He looks oddly familiar. You take a step forward, mouth open and realise it's you. This is the worst hangover of your life.

Somehow--let's not get into semantics and details and things--somehow, you know that you are a man for only 24 hours. That tomorrow morning you will be back to being your old feminine self. Carpe diem takes on a whole new meaning. You open the door of your room, feeling the new muscles in your arms, feeling the way your legs walk differently. You lope.

Of course, the first thing you do in your bathroom is examine your new equipment. It's all outside! And your period has, duh, vanished! You pee standing up and for the first time in your life don't get any on your thighs (you've used public restrooms where standing up is a necessity) you're aiming, it's in the toilet bowl, you're awesome. You do, however, forget to put the toilet seat up.

Now to think of logistics. You find your cellphone and send a text to your roommates: "Hi, out of town for the day, a friend of mine (here you pause and then pick the name Abhimanyu because you've always loved it) Abhimanyu, will be staying the night in my room. See you tomorrow!" You send similar texts to your friends who you're meeting tonight, saying Abhimanyu came in unexpectedly and since you've had to leave, could they entertain him? You're leaving him your number. Your friends are happy to oblige and your evening plans still stand.

Still, it's a shame to waste the day sitting at home. You spend an inordinately long time in the shower, for a boy, you think, you have rather a nice body, if a trifle on the smaller side. Your mind is suddenly filled with boy thoughts, sports and sex and the human body. It could be women, but you've been a straight woman all your life so it's hard for you to think of them sexually.

You wonder what you're going to wear. You find a t-shirt abandoned by one of your male friends, underneath that you put on your baggy camoflage pants. It doesn't seem to matter anymore, in your head, what you look like. You still look pretty good, you think. You have actual stubble, which you rub the back of your hand against with not a little pride.

You watch a movie by yourself. You follow some women into the theatre and are shocked when they shoot you suspicious glances and leave one seat deliberately between you. "But I'm one of you," you want to say. You content yourself by eating a box of popcorn, a large coke and a hot dog. Suddenly, your body seems to need more food.

You meet your friends at night. It's odd not to get as much attention as you're used to. It's odd to walk through rows of men at the bar and not have their eyes automatically do a scan. You are invisible.

But on the other hand, you are in a world where male solidarity is the name of the game. You are backslapped. A guy trying to get a girl's attention looks at you and shrugs. Your women friends are a little weird around you, slightly guarded, slightly flirty. You look away when you realise you can see down their shirts. Almost you want to tell them, but stop yourself. This is too much fun.

A girl at the bar slides over to you and begins to talk while ordering her drink. You smile back, nervously and then at another point you say, "Oh my god, I totally know what you mean!" She looks at you weirdly and walks away. One of your male friends comes over and says "She was hot." "Really?" you say and he looks at you weirdly too. You sound gay.

By the end of the night, after dancing somewhere, when no one offers to drop you home, you're filled with joy again. To take an auto alone at four in the morning with no fear. This is the most powerful you have ever felt. By now you have observed the other boys enough to kiss the girls and pat the boys on the back. "Are you and eM related?" asks one of them. "We're sorta cousins," you say, and leave it at that.

Back home everyone is asleep and your cat still runs and hides at the sight of you. You lock the door and sleep naked. You want to feel the moment of your body transforming, of hardness becoming softness, of curves appearing, but of course you miss it and the next morning it's just you again, and your cat rubs himself against you, demanding to be fed.


  1. Loved it! Muchos fun! And as usual, you wax eloquence. :)

  2. hahah well written but eM it goes way way way deeper then that :) I think I might do a reverse role blog posting !

  3. If I were granted 3 wishes, being a man for a day would definitely be one of them. Kind of reminds me of the Rob Schneider movie(Drat! Forgot the name). No?

  4. it would be awesome to be a man for a day!oh the joy of ppl talking and looking 6 inches above the chest!surreal!

  5. lol...quite an innovative post...a well thought of concept!

  6. Good stuff! I hope you thought about sex every 3 minutes too :)

  7. lol sum1 recommnded this blog to me...and yes do write very well....NO wonder u get payed for it....

    but i stand firm that a man turning into a woman has loads more possibilities nd perks....!

    still nice to c the othr side o the coin...!

  8. eM, this wasn't an eM type post at all!!!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. very creative...
    nice to see that you do have a vague idea about how men do their things!
    but, you just did not think enough about sex...not too manlike!
    Nice Effort....really enjoyed reading it.
    Somehow liked the bit at the end the most!


  11. I have been an on again and off again reader of your blog, but this one here particularly is a nice piece of writing, part surreal and part..for want of a better word, real! For once I wasn't imagining YOU writing this but was living it!

  12. Hmm Hmm

    Whats that i am smelling ? male chauvinism ? or female ?

  13. Girl, you've taken penis envy to new heights, or should I say new lengths.

  14. The lack of attention must be suffocating .. i guess :) ..Nice post!..would have loved If you had delved into other gender stereotypes as well .. cricket,shopping..

  15. Well written this one - gets a bit tighter here.

    Well I tried imagining myself out there where the guy was, with the hot waitress and all that around, physical references would've come in – (I would agree with some of the comments above on that).

    The male in me would call this one a sissy boy otherwise. Fine, a good boy he is – just getting spoiled.

  16. Haha good one.. nice little points noted.

    I was going to say sex would be higher on the agenda, but then I found myself wondering if I would sleep with a guy, were I a woman for a day... it's hard to say, eh?

  17. Hi,

    It's funny, I say! Do girls really want to be boys? And for what benefit? Just to feel safe to return home late?


  18. damn...

    am such a big fan of your posts....

    but this like too too good...

    and dying to read ur book......

  19. Pathetic post .. to say the least.
    Not original even..

  20. meh, twas just ok for me

    (mailed you as inayat)

  21. I bet, it was the cat. Are you sure you didn't exchange gender identities with him that mornin'! :P

  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. Nice post, but not the point we talked about. Being a nearly anonymous man is cheating, kiddo.


  24. sounds like a movie which could have been lots better

  25. hi meenakshi how r u?? really proud abt u dat in ur young age u r going to conquer the world of literature, i am forwarding the publishing of ur book, n what abt urnext book??tc....

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. I loved your post, only because it mentions two things I would love to do without: 1. Having to try and stand and pee in public restrooms- especially with a young daughter whom I hate having to take to public restrooms while traveling in India (I dread to try and hold her in such a way that she doesn't wet her clothes or touch the sides anywhere) and 2. Periods - if only God had designed the cycle in such a way that the woman herself could control when she wanted to reproduce!
    Anyway, hope you have another flight of fancy where you dwell longer on the same theme. Would like to read more on this one.

  28. haha this was fun reading...:D
    reminded me a lil of 'prelude to a kiss'...
    and there was a crappy bollywood movie along the same lines with that soppy aftab and weirdo antara mali :D..u seen it?

    had a good laugh reading this though...

  29. world please notice. Em has turned into an intolerant idiot... deleting comments sounding even 1/2 ounce critical... Even this would disappear in another hour or sure. So much for this 'Free Spirit' and all her Tamasha in the name of Freedom.

  30. I suppose the biggest "problem" to work around in such a scenario would be to look at other women sexually. Interesting concept, I gotta say

  31. Fantastic fancy of Fantacy...

    BEWARE Only can enjoy Indian Equines...

    Life means full of REALITY with ROADIES 0.0 when publish all Fantacies among in front of a community...So do not stamp "ITS BORING"..This Fantacy USED TO happen among current our COMMUNITY....As if AFTER we BORED, again some specialists make another Fantacies....This is Community-Life-Cycle


  32. @anonymous [the one who asked the world to take notice]: Well, not sure what your previous comments were, but for some reason, I presume, that your comments would have been more personal than critical. Deletion of those comments probably rubbed your ego the wrong way, and hence you are back with another comment stating whatever. Word of advice- Direct your comments toward the post and not the author. Would definitely help, if you wanna see the comment stick! Peace.

  33. damn ....... A big LOL for this piece of humor + pun.. one nice post ..

    well yeah a transformation from boy to girl would make a better deal than this one...

    a true flight of fancy, this one.. good job


  34. hey eM... i did watch you on "we the people".. i thought the whole Hindi vs English was very unfair(the fridge thingie was hilarious thou)..
    i felt u went into the studio with a very preset mind.. prob did not want to draw too much attention,and i did notice you were quite nervous in the beginning ... anyways you were great ... ive been reading your blog for quite sometime now(first time am commenting).. you certainly have a flair for writing.. and let nobody kid you that you didn't deserve the book deal.. am looking forward to it.. whats the name btw?

    This post was a good one too... except, i would disagree with a few things.. U didnt even scratch the surface., Anyways ill let it go as u can justify ur perspective and so can i.. and more importantly i dont want to be mauled by you on my first comment...hehe.. so cheers..

    Still trippin on OLD MONK?? i too love tat drink... And dont wanna sound like ur mom.. did u start smoking again or have you kicked the habit for good??
    am jus curious.

    Ta ra

  35. hmm, have you read will self's 'cock and bull'? same idea. it was quite funny, i thought when i read it, which was a while ago.

  36. Hey this is "the HOT CHICK" ... Rob Schneider movie.... You have just added the cat to it... I mean if u have not watched the movie, watch it... u'll feel the déjà vu...

  37. @ Brad ... the free advocate , conscience keeper, one who knows boundries of freedom, one who knows Lakshman rekha of critical writing...and above all whose prejudices are realities of this world..

    I am the same anonymous person who wanted the world to take notice..

    I have one suggestion to you.

    Could you please take some time off and read some literature on critical theory...and then post ur opinions ....please

  38. your cat had her / his hair on edge huh!! good one...btw, pls ask chronicus skepticus why she stopped blogging ....

  39. It was good..But al d time reminded me of tat stupid Antara mali movie..n it was not really captivating like ur usual posts...somwer smtings wer lacking..mebe tat all depends on one's mood

  40. hi meenakshi...
    good work and nice reading experience!!!

  41. o.k a debate has ensued here:

  42. Yeah.I've seen this movie too


  43. Hey eM that was so Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!really funny..........way to go!!!!!!!!

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. and quite a delightful flight i must say!!

  46. loved it....

    it'd be awesome to see what a guy would write if they had 24 hrs as a woman :P

  47. Have you seen Gerald wakes as a woman - a cute French animated short?

  48. Awesome!!! I loved reading this! Quite an imagination u have got!


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