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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11 April 2010

Isn't This A Lovely Day And Other Things About England

After getting over feeling a little unloved (like, seriously, only five comments on my massive epic post of last time? What's the matter with you guys?) I have decided to come back and offer you my observations on England, in a general, kinda-ranty sort of way.

Also, I understand that you're here for the sex and the drinking, and the sex and the drinking, it is happening, but it's just not blog-posty enough for me to write about it. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's still great sex and still great drinking, but there's only so much I can go on about sex with a significant other, before you roll your eyes and say, "Next!" and click on one of the many noteworthy blogs I have linked on my sidebar over there. So, no, this is not a post about either of those subjects.

Where was I? Ah, yes, England Observations. Based on the opinions on someone who has never actually left the comforts of her own birthland. Not Bill Bryson by any means.

1) The English, they love their country. And they love talking about their weather. I don't know why this is such a surprise to me. Surely, everyone loves their own country. But I'm used to people liking (or hating with a purple passion) India, so it comes as a surprise to me that other people in other places like their own place better than anywhere else. Weird, huh? What will these foreigners do next?

2) And, oh my, the weather. The weather is like that eccentric uncle of yours who might come and visit or might send you a mysterious crate containing tiki figures that come alive in the night and take you back to the past. The weather is That Dude. The weather has a personality of its own, and gets a second page newspaper mention every day. And a remark, each time you meet someone new. It's always, "Oooh, nice day for it, isn't it?" or "Aren't we blessed with this remarkable sunshine?" or "Yes, it is the current temperature of Outer Siberia, but, ha-ha, you can never tell with the unpredictable weather!" As soon as the sun shines, even if the temperature is barely hitting 10 degrees celcius, out come the shorts and the tank tops, and you (and by you, I mean me) in your polo neck sweater are all too obviously the foreigner. (And the one who doesn't really "get" Weird Uncle Oswald.)

3) The words, they are foreign. It's supposed to be English, you know, the language you and I both speak, the language I'm typing in, but the other day, I ask for the waste paper basket, you know, a BASKET to put WASTE PAPER in, because I'm totally not a litterer, and I am met with blank looks. Blanker than blank. No one can blank as well as a salesperson in England who doesn't understand what you're saying. Until JC stepped in and asked for the rubbish bin. I see. RUBBISH BIN, you understand, but not waste paper basket? My word was so much more descriptive! Also, sweater = jumper, quilt = duvet, and many other new words that I can't recall right now, but they exist. I just learnt the old words! Why you gotta be changin' things around for?

4) The English, who gave us our railway systems, also have their own railway systems, and like a boy who will not rest till he's fiddled with every bit of the tracks, the engineers here are like that. THEY. WILL. NOT. LEAVE. THE. TRACKS. ALONE. You're like, "What else is there for you to do? It's done! It's perfect! It makes my country look like it's still in the 1950s!" but they're like, "Those words belong in a rubbish bin, love. The tracks! They need fixing!" And then they will twiddle around with the tracks. And make you take either overcrowded buses or trains that dart all over the country before they take you home. And even if you say, in despair, "The tracks look fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. Really fine. Can we go now?" they will say, "You're just saying that, I'm convinced these tracks make my bum look big."

5) You do not make eye contact unless you know people, and even then, you keep eye contact to a bare minimum. Couple dry humping within your eye range at a railway station? Well, that's your fault for facing in that direction. Turn around, stare at a halpless pigeon for a while. (Although, even the animals get very self concious if you look at them for too long.) People have an unusually loud (and amusing) conversation? Giggling can only be done ON THE INSIDE. Outside, maintain your isn't-this-a-lovely-day face and perhaps say to the person next to you, "Nice day isn't it? We're blessed with this beautiful sunshine."

We're getting to be friends, me and England. I'm beginning to understand its whimsical ways. And I do love this place, I truly do, Uncle Oswald weather, train track fiddling and all.


  1. eM,

    I started writing blog inspired from you (I used to write even before, but the idea of blog came from you).I used to be a ardent follower of your blog for sometime and i really appreciate the way you 'used' to write . Unfortunately , i must tell you that you have lost your touch gradually.

    NO , i am not saying this because you dont write about sex and alcohol.In fact i believe , you just overused those two things ,and could have resulted in this.

    I am no one to advice or give suggestions to you , but i would say, try to do/write about different things in the world.Not just about parties , shopping , love etc.

    Thank you for inspiring me to start a blog ,I wish you goodluck and also to let you know that i would not be following your blog much from now on , as i dont find it interesting any more.

    I believe you dont consider this comment offensive and take it with right spirit .


  2. Perhaps you are experiencing the stiff British upper lip, remember you are in the Queen's country so no loud crackers. And yes the lingo will be different, if you recall Yes Minster

    Message for previous commentor: eM is different and still good. Like our lives blogs too have their ups and downs, so wait for the spring to come after English winter subsides!!

  3. Dear eM, you are reading my mind today!!! I am stuck at home reading your blog because THEY. WILL. NOT. LEAVE. THE. TRACKS. ALONE.

    I planned to go to the seaside in this glorious weather (The crazy uncle is being good for a change!!!) ... and then I check the trains aaaaaand "Planned weekend engineering works blah blah blah". I actually think the Crazy Uncle has a pact with the Crazy Engineers. They always seem to close the line where I live when the weather is good to ruin all my weekend trip plans. :o)) I swear the tracks are never being repaired when it rains or when it's cold and all I wanna do is stay at home.

    Anyway, I didn't mean to rant like that. Sooo, let me say something nice at the end of this comment. Like, "Isn't the weather just lovely today?" :o))

  4. Nothing like Britain with Bill Bryson eh?

  5. hahaha... you really had me smiling there for a while with your observation and frankly needed that bit of humour.
    anyhow, the weather in this country is unpredictable and is always a reliable conversation starter (not with the ladies though, not always). as far as the trains go... sometimes i'm clueless regarding their engineering works - though if you check their website they apparently have grandiose plans which should have been completed by 2012 but have now been delayed by about 4-5 years - brilliant, innit?

    btw, bin was the keyword :)

  6. wow!
    so they actually talk about the weather as much as people say they do!! :P

  7. Hey...perfect timing to discover ur blog...over d two years i was in England, I realized dat most people talk about d weather to make in wen u catch them staring at u n all...others just cant get over d weather...
    Did u discover in no meassage here, u just text people...n do notice d pigeons...they are FAT and LAZY...they refuse to fly away...we have to change our route for them...and...they eat all kinds of food...even chicken...

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  9. Nice to have you back after a while,eM.

    I feel like saying "I knowwwww" to every remark of yours!!!

    To summarize...

    The weather in this country is a bloody bitch, if you go out on a sunny day without an umbrella, you'll come home drenched. If you go out on a windy day with a heavy overcoat, you will come back toasted!!!

    They just don't feel cold.The days I go out looking like an eskimo, everyone around will be wearing skirts or dresses with light overcoats!!!

    The english are obsessed with their country, especially the weather.Every Thursday, I listen to my cleaning lady complain(or praise as the situation is), the weather,traffic and England in general all the while thinking about that precious 15-minute sleep lost during this rambling.

    Even here in London, some or the other underground line every weekend,mind you,every single weekend!!! It's such a pain...

    Lol, good one about the pigeons...Those gray rats are impossibly snobbish as well!!!

  10. Lol. Yeah but the thing about the British is I absolutely ADORE their insults. You twit, you wanker, you imbecile! And not to mention their incredibly cute accent. *sighs*

  11. Hilarious!! I love your observations. Great post.

  12. Tracks on the bum can make it look bigger too. Fact.

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  14. I'm offended :( Don't put all your readers into one box Em!! In fact I like your other posts best- the witty ones, the rant-y ones, observations, on travel,domesticity-your experimental cooking (see for some of mine!! hehe sorry for the shameless plug)oh and I became addicted to Anne of Green Gables because of you!I'm also loving the life in england series. Can't wait to read about the wedding :))

  15. Wow! I really relate to what you say about London. I was confused too with suddenly having a whole new set of words- duvet etc.

    And what about random people in the neighbourhood saying Good morning to you

  16. I'm Italian and lived in England a few years.... I really do understand you and your perplexity about English people! But you see, in Ireland is even worst, four seasons in a day, they say, and being true, it makes it easy to talk about the changing weather!
    Anyway, I'm reading your book: my friends gave it to me few days ago for my birthday and I've almost finished it. I really love your style and getting to know a different culture through your eyes. I had a few friends from India when lived in UK and now it seems to me I understand a bit better...
    Lovely blog, I'll come back!

  17. I'm laughing reading these because they're all so very true! NEVER make eye contact, always a bad idea!


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