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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24 June 2009

I've got clouds on a sunshine-y day!

The monsoon is here! And this makes it hard for me to be grumpy, because really, everything is wetnewclean and the glorious smell of rain is everywhere and it's cool. Well, while you're indoors anyway. Outdoors is a muddy mess, and I can't find my umbrella, so yesterday I got soaked not once but TWICE with people giving me amused looks as I searched desperately for a rickshaw.

Before the monsoon arrived though, last weekend, on an incredibly muggy evening, was a party thrown by two of my friends at their brand new house. It was one of those insane parties, everyone losing track of time and getting hugely drunk. I stuck to talking to people I knew, although I did have a long intense discussion with someone about how I had been in love with Holden Caulfield when I was twelve and that's even what my laptop's name was and he agreed that Salinger was the best writer ever and we nodded and realised we were the only two sensible people there.

At most parties, my role is to sit by the laptop or iPod or whatever and find music to get people going. Sadly, this is not the case in my own house. JC has very clear ideas about music, as do I, so we wind up alternating between his and mine. But otherwise? I have full control and people like it, people like my music, so that's always awesome. I always wanted to be a DJ, with some kind of jazzy name, headphones to my ear, watching people spiral in front of me to something I choose. One of my secret ambitions (don't laugh!) is to be a radio jockey. My Hindi isn't stellar, I mean, I can speak it, but I can't churn out the patter that you have to to be on radio. I need to stop and think and translate in my head. BUT there are so many, many English shows now, that it should be easier right? I just want to be able to share music and things with people, I like the idea of someone driving to work or sitting in a local train and being bored and tuning in to hear MY voice and my music. Of course, my show would be all about talking less and playing more music and I'd do themes and everything! Young women one week, or classic songs another, or just songs with poetry for lyrics. You know? Clearly, I've given this a lot of thought. Where's my job?

Right before this party, Ira and I went and had our hair cut. Mine reached all the way down my back and I was so bored of it doing nothing except being up and away from the back of my neck all the time that I asked the hairdresser to do something different. And she did. It's now a little longer than chin length, in an "asymmetrical bob" and I can wear it loose and it looks quite good actually, all scrunched up with product (of COURSE I use product, I have Malayali hair, it's thick, it's frizzy, it's totally everywhere.) It's the first time a stylist has been able to do something with my hair, normally people stay away from doing anything too much with curly hair, because it tends to stick out and form an afro if you're not careful. But this stylist was awesome, so yeah, if you have the same problem I do, go to Curl Up And Dye (I KNOW! Isn't it a GREAT name?) on Hill Road and ask for Sugandh.

My hair actually, (and this is gross, so look away if you're squeamish), had started to make little dreadlocks behind my head, underneath another layer of hair. No matter how much I combed it out and braided it, the next time I left it loose the matted clumps would be back. It was awful. Not to mention embarrasing when I got there. She spent about 45 minutes trying to comb it out and then finally I said, "Just cut it off" and then the scissors wouldn't go through it. I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me right there. You think you know thick hair, but you don't until you've seen mine. It's masses of hair, hair that weighs a good amount on its own and now I feel about five kilos lighter AND I can shower and run my fingers all the way through! It's like magic!

But she was very sweet about it and told me other horror stories, so I felt comforted knowing that mine was not the worst case she had ever seen.

In other news, writing a second book is MUCH MUCH MUCH harder than writing the first one. So please send happy thoughts my way so that I can get this over and done with already.


  1. Ms DJ... all the best for the second book... and lets hope it ain't about no dreadlocks :-)

    And I can see everyone go ga ga over the rains now... wont be long before we start ranting...

  2. wow.. mine is the first comment here.
    Thick hair is something you should be proud of (but yeah, if you don't let those dreadlocks happen. I guess, you have no control over them)
    Somebody like me really appreciates thick hair because it is frightfully boring to have limp, straight, thin,brown hair :(
    No style stays long on my hair because they have absolutely zilch volume. They return back to their original, limp, straight, thin, self in no time

  3. lolz... while I was typing, someone else made the first comment. Shucks!
    And yeah... all the best with your second book

  4. Hey Em,

    I'm sure you've heard about Meow 104.8...the FM radio station in Kolkata...only women, only talk and it's a huge success over there apparently...if Mumbai doesn't already have something similar you could be the pioneer and of course add your favourite music to all the girl talk...just an idea...

    And yes, all the best with the next book :)

  5. happy thoughts, and best luck with the second book :)

    Speaking of monsoons, the heavy rain-filled ones are heavy. The overlong overcast ones can turn out to be spiritually depressing!

  6. im so with u on the hair thing!d worst thing is, my friends who have thin hair are all ga ga over my hair and scream at me when i cut it. they just dont understand the matted hair issue, just keep telling me i dont comb it properly. so glad to see someone else has the prob of too thick hair

  7. soo true...its the same wid my hair 2 :(..I don't agree wid nikita,she wudnt say dat,if she had mallu hair.I'm so sick wid my hair I'll gladly go bald ggrr...

    gud luck with ur 2nd book em..

  8. I am sure you would be a great DJ/RJ if you really decide to be one :). Asymmetrical bob sounds cool, wish I was brave enough to experiment like you.

  9. Pliss go to my blog, plissssss. It is called MaaBehenJokes and it is nice, pliss go no. Yeah, go here, I love y'all.

    Your blog smells of poopoo by the way, Madrasi lady.

  10. Congrats on finally getting a great haircut! Which actually reminds me to get mine cut too.
    Good luck with the second book! Publisher set any deadline?

  11. People don't even let me play my music in my own car :(

  12. Em, I so understand your hair problem. I lurveeee straight hair and I have this weird inbetween curly and wavy kinda hair. Ditto, everytime I get a hairdo, it's picture perfect for 2 mins until the wind blows in the rick...and poofff it's all over you. But this time I tried to work with the curls at Mad O Wat...n for the first time ever I really have a new look, it's curly but great. Been over 2 weeks since my haircut and it's doing well!

  13. Hi em, I've been reading ur posst sort of reg 4 a lng lng tym. I just joind blogger tho.

    Jus wanted 2 tel ye, I loved ur book. I ve been reading n re-reading n re-reading it..Its pretty greatt....

    All the best for ur second book.Am sure it'll be as great too :)

  14. hey!

    Curl up and dye? How un-original!Now, I know this is a shameful proof of my non-existant social life, but the name is totally lifted out of the movie The Runaway Bride!

    Had to get that out! :)

  15. All the best for your second book. So lucky you got the rains. Here in Delhi, we're just about roasted/fried every time we step out of the cool climes of an AC or a cooler. Hope the rains show some benevolence here, if only by way of pre-monsoon showers.

    P.S. It seems one of the kind of idiots you referred to in your last post finally got through your filters, including the link.

  16. Em,

    My first comment on your blog. I must say I really do love reading it! :)
    Haven't had the chance to read your book yet though! Is it available for sale outside India?

  17. Wow, your book is "out of stock" - does that mean it is terribly popular.

  18. Hello ,

    I read your book , sometime back. I found that it is the kind of book that i could read as a stress buster - its mostly light and doesnt make you think too much. But i know your next will be better.

    Yes, mally hair is a bane. It is neither fully curly nor fully straight , and its thick and irritating.

    Hmm...i always thought writers enjoyed writing stuff , and never found it hard..

  19. ooh!
    i suppose The Runaway Bride lifted it from The Blues Brothers then!

  20. That's the most descriptive hair styling/cutting that I have ever read. Btw, I enjoy ur writing, you have a great way of putting words together.

  21. totally with u on the mallu hair point
    thick curly frizzy impossible to maintain
    the list goes on
    and i hate when ppl come up to and tell u - wow ur hair is so black .. it is so thick .. i luv ur hair ...
    oh yeah .. take it :-)

  22. Hair Scare...
    I totally emphathise... MY hair was soooo wiered & frizzy & curly & WILD that even a BIG scrunchie cudn't contain it! You know what I did in the end??? I shaved it all off!!! lol! It was sooo much fun watching my parents' and grandparents' faces!!! And NOW, my hair is growing all straight!! Its still very boyish and short; and I've just pierced my nose and belly button and now all the ppl in my college and neighbourhood call me the 'rock chic'!! Isn't it fun!!

  23. I'm sorry, you're getting no sympathy from me. i have straight, silky, fine hair and all my life i've longed for hair like yours!!

    *proceeds to close eyes and send happy thoughts eM's way*

  24. So this is totally random, but I were you at Ghetto this past Saturday night? Definitely saw a man that looked purely like JC and someone that fitted what I figure you would look like..I just thought it was weird and coincidental, since I just pretty much started reading your blog..

  25. Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be back for more!


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