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 March 2010

The Wondering Of Wandering

Here we are, week two of my two month long stint in The Country That Once Colonised Us But Is Now Colonised BY Us (TCTOCUBINCBU). I had a pretty good time this last week. For one thing, Small got married and I got to pahtaaaay London style. For another, I am filled with the little insights that make foreign travel so worth it. But let's begin at the beginning.

Small's wedding:
The couple decided to get married at court and have a day long party after that. We met Small and Mr Small (who really deserves his own name here, but I can't think of one at the moment, so Mr. Small it is) at one of London's oldest pubs, The Prospect Of Whitby. So old that it even has its own Wikipedia page! Coolness. The pub was delightful, we had the upstairs 'Pepys Room' all to ourselves, a wedding party of about twenty people, foreigners and Indians and it overlooked the Thames. Interestingly, the room we were in was once used for cock fighting and boxing matches, which made me think of Sherlock Holmes , which in turn made me think of Robert Downey Jr with his shirt off. Good times.

I wore my red Cotton-On H&M dress with a red sweater on top and JC wore... a suit. People in London are usually very nicely dressed, and I find myself for the first time in my life, not completely satisfied with my clothes. It's odd, I'm used to being nicely turned out and now I either look ordinary or out of style and this means I might have to do some shopping while I am here and use some of my already limited resources to buy some new clothes. Even though it's unfashionable and weird to shop there, Oxfam, the charity shop has some very cool second hand clothes on display. I don't have a thing about preworn clothes like a lot of other people do, the Oxfam shop that I popped into had some pretty nice stuff, and cheap too, so what's the harm, eh?

This was the view from the pub, right below me, which you can't see is a gallows, because apparently, some bloodthirsty judge used to love to drink there and watch the prisoners dangling beneath him. Gross.

Later on, after stopping at the Smalls' for a brief rest period, we made our way down to a boat on the Thames, where the reception was held. The boat was called Tattershall Castle and it was the coolest party I have been to in a long time. (We did have this pretty nice boat party in Bombay a while ago, but that was pre-terrorist, and now I don't think you're allowed to have boat parties anymore.) The boat stayed in one place, but it did rock every now and then, so you felt like you were drunk even if you weren't. For this one, I wore a proper evening dress, daring to go sweater-less, but I had my coat close by, in case I felt suddenly chilly. I'm still not daring enough to check it in to the cloakroom.

We had to leave fairly early, because JC had work the next day, also London is a fair bit away from where we are staying, about 40 minutes commute, but I did manage to get some dancing in, and quite a lot of drunkeness. All in all, a brilliant party and the couple looked so sweet and happy, my heart was overflowing with love and good wishes.

Other stuff:
I've basically been at home for the rest of the week, writing and watching TV. Saturday night, we did manage to go out to a pub called The Railway, in Crawley (which by all descriptions sounds like the underbelly of England, but it wasn't so bad.) It was nice and cheap with a live band and we met a friend of JC's and all her friends, so I had a pretty nice time. Also, the sambuca shots went a long way in loosening my inhibitions, even though I paid the price quite heavily the next morning.

It's sort of strange being the only brown person in a bar, people keep looking at you, and you don't know whether it's your hat or your clothes or just you, yourself, that look odd. And JC and I both got ID'd at the entrance, which MAY have been about us looking too young, but more likely because we looked like unpleasant elements. I was all like, "Seriously? Seriously? Do I look like I'm going to blow up a random pub in the middle of England?" But then I DO get ID'd in India as well sometimes, so I'm just going with the looks-too-young explaination.

Also, I guess London has a lot more Indians than the smaller suburbs. It makes me happy to spot posters like this in the tube stations.

Tonight, I go out with JC and his brother and his fiancee to dinner to an Indian restaurant. I was planning to be all cool and not eat any Indian till I got home but I can't hold out any longer! I hope they do a good biryani. I have this rice craving that will not go away.


  1. Hey there are great but cheap shops for dresses n all in london, Check out miss london on oxfrd street, then stratford centre, and there is always primark and peacocks :D

    that is one gud thing abt london, ur never an odd one out. even in the most BRIT area, u WILL find lots of other brown faces. n foodwise,london most definitely little india lol

  2. topshop and miss selfridge at oxford circus are good for cheap but cool clothes. oasis, mng, and h&m, too. uniqlo is cheap, too, and i also like a lot of the shops on the kings road, esp. a little further away from sloan square. also, wander around covent garden for some neat stalls and shops (you have to do a bit of digging here). speaking of CG, there;s this really cool pub right in the middle - the pasties shop is on ground level, with the pub upstairs - it's really nice and airy and is actually a house, with several rooms on top, plus a balcony where you can look at onto the garden.

  3. Hi! I read your blog often and quite like it :)
    And you know what.. I just got back from a vacation in London and I had the same feeling.. My clothes were either outdated or just didnt seem right!
    But enjoy yourself and dont worry, all a girl needs is the attitude ;D


  4. Hi...i drop by quite oftena dn i love love the way u based in london and wanted 2 mention this nice affordable boutique in Picadilly Circus called Apricot which i so totally has clothes and accessories that are not out-of-this -world expensive, neither does it look ridiculously cheap, but feels like u completely fit in with the fashion and UK in general.
    Oh and do try the comedy clubs when ur in London next..cheers!

  5. Awww I'm loving your travels in England and for clothes I agree with Buttercup about Primark, I love that place they have good clothes and accessories and at very reasonable prices!! The little charity shops are nice too, I remember picking up second hand books and cute earrings from Oxfam when I was in England last.

    If possible head out into the countryside, my favourite places are Devon and Cornwall. I so envy you right now, keep having fun and take care :)

  6. Stick to the charity shops, at least the money might go to a good cause ... and the clothes are sometimes great -- the secret is to go to a charity shop in an upmarket area (like Kensington or Richmond) where rich people donate nice clothes. And don't go to Primark ... it's a disgusting corporation that relies on child labour in various slums in India, and on illegal immigrants in the UK that they pay less than the minimum wage, to get huge amounts of clothes produced quickly and at stupidly low prices. They encourage people in this country to throw away outfits after one wearing and have put huge pressure on the whole fashion industry to cut their prices to a level that doesn't allow for the people who make the clothes to be paid properly.

    Gah, end of rant. I'm not normally an ethical activist, but when people start talking about Primark, it really gets me going, because it's a company that blatantly denies any responsibility for the things that go on in their supply chain.

  7. hEY! I've been following your blog for sometime now.....and boy this thing is so addictive..... love the way you write.... n hope to read your book someday :)....... Great Going!

  8. I love the real life travelogue quality of this post.
    a real person's perspective and not a superficial walk through of a place.
    lucky you.

  9. One of the most unbelievable psycho crime drama of a vast nation wide crime syndicate is unfolding LIVE on this person's blog

    There are more than 100,000 members of india's real estate crime syndicate who are chasing one guy ( who is a graduate from India's Harvard......IIM) all over the country and it is happening LIVE on his blog ( and twitter.....this is unebelievable and extra-ordinary\\\ These are gangsters belonging to the JD(s) factions who are using their loyalists in bangalore police to chase him and trap him

    EVerything is unfolding LIVE on

  10. Phir bhi dil hai hindustani...I guess it happens with all of us, we enjoy life abroad but when looked upon differently heart craves for India. I too will be relocating abroad soon and am alread feeling the pangs

  11. Thanks for the lead on 2nd hand shopping in London. I'll be there soon myself and will stock up on some threads unknown here in SW Turkey! BTW: how was the Indian food?

  12. i've heard that indian food in the UK is not really indian... it's a watered down version of it. Of course, i never tried it cos i was there only for 10 days and was more interested in the local cuisine. Was the biryani any good?

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  14. looks like you're going from being a quarter-celeb in India to a homeless-poor nobody in UK....wearing H&M and shopping for clothes at Oxfam


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