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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21 April 2010

Travel is broadening (especially to the waistline)

I've been feeling oddly tired recently, sort of a dull ache in the crooks of my arms and my shoulders. I'm putting it down to toting around a very heavy bag--the bag itself weighs loads, and then I put other things into it, like my camera and a book (in case I am alone and bored) and the new Moleskine I just bought (which I love with a purple passion), so, yes, hea-veeeeeeeee bag. Still doesn't explain why my arms hurt, though.

Anyway, I've been a busy girl this last week. On Thursday, an English friend from Bombay was in London (and consequently got stuck because of the Volcano, which we shall now refer to in capital letters). Me and English friend did a walk through Fleet Street and the inns of court and stopped at Samuel Johnson's house. Which is where I made the discovery that Samuel Johnson and me? Totally BFF. He liked strong, outspoken women, one of his closest friends, in fact, was a former hooker, and he liked women to have opinions. His man-servant (back in the day when slavery still happened) was more like a friend, and when he died, this guy, Francis Barber, inherited most of Johnson's estate. Also, duh, he wrote the dictionary. AND his cat Hodge was such a personality that he has a statue to himself, right outside the house. And he died on December 13th, 1784 which is EXACTLY TO THE DATE 197 years before I was born. Maybe I was him in a past life. Anyway, me and Sammy are kindred spirits and to remind myself of that, I bought a fridge magnet from his house (I have a fairly extensive collection of fridge magnets from all over the world, that I get people to bring back for me) with his most famous quote on it: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life has to offer." My sentiments exactly.

We also pottered around Notting Hill and went to the very same travel bookshop that inspired the bookshop in the movie-that-shall-not-be-named. In fact, English friend looked at me outside the bookshop and said, sternly, "DO NOT MENTION THAT MOVIE." Here I was all set to go on about the Julia-Hugh love, but I obeyed and said nothing at all. (Hehehehe.) The bookshop however, was brilliant, one of the best selections I've ever seen and it was really cool that the proprieter had actually read the books on display and was able to recommend them. The only bookshop close to my house in Bombay is Crossword, and there, well, let's just say, they look quite clueless even when you ask them where something is.

JC's mum and I have been bonding, and we often take off and do stuff together while he is at work. Last Friday, we went for the Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy. (Question: I have always pronounced it Van-Go, but people here seem to pronounce it Van-Goff. Which is correct? Readers, I appeal to you.) Brilliant, brilliant stuff though, and I am now totally inspired to do arts-and-culture-y stuff when I get back to Bombay, provided I can drag Ira and BB with me, of course. (You can read about my impressions of the Royal Academy here.) Although, the last two exhibitions we went to were a bit of a bust, one had a couple of drawings of cats and a vaccuum cleaner and a recording of a voice going, "Catastrophic, catatonic" and so on, and the other was photographs of random chairs and things, which were quite pretty but not exactly Van Gogh standards, if you know what I mean. But, free wine, which makes schmoozing in Bombay so much fun.

Ooh, I also checked out the very famous Harrods while I was in London and oh my. Window shopper's paradise. They had this very kitschy memorial with sphinxes and a fountain and things for Diana and Dody, which just added to the palace like feel of the whole place. I hear they're opening a Harrods at the Palladium at Phoenix Mills as well, which, yes, JUST what we need, right? Fuck Harrods, I say, bring back my export surplus guys on Hill Road that they chased away as part of the 'Clean Up Bandra' campaign.

Saturday night, JC had a friend over and we barbecued in the garden. They very thoughtfully brought back some lamb seekh kebabs for me, but as I have said before, it's best to just avoid Indian food while you're in England. I stuck to a bacon cheeseburger and was quite happy with that and my vodka-Cherry Coke, playing random Bollywood songs for two very disinterested Englishmen. But mmmm. Cherry Coke. Number one on my list of things to miss when I return. Ahem. I mean, AFTER my loving fiance, of course. No question!

And this week I have been quiet. Tired-ish, like I said before, but doing stuff around here. Like popping by to the nearest town for coffee and shopping, chattering away to a four-year-old who I SWEAR asks more questions than I do, watching my new TV obsession, Fringe. Stuff like that.


  1. wow..I'm the first one to comment..i've nothing much to say..except that i'm a crazy fan of your blog. I dont know what style of writing it is called, but I like it. If at all i do write someday, I will remember you as my inspiration. You never mention anything about do u stay fit then ?

  2. love the way u desribe london and wat happens here! been living in this city for over 4 yrs and i adore this place and coming from living in cities like

    mumbai and blore i can totally relate to the stuff u talk abt! way to go and write more abt london, nuthin like a frsh perspective to make me fall in luv with

    this place even more! ciao tk care of ur shoulder!

  3. In Dutch- which is where Van Gogh is from, G is pronounced as FF. So a 'gh' becomes a "ffh"- a kind of throaty ffhh.
    Got to know this on my visit to Amsterdam last year :)

  4. Heyyy =) I saw you on tv girl :p on arte, the french/deutsch channel ;)

    Your blog is nice =)

  5. i´m one of the wise guys:
    van: pronounced = fun. not like in -vast-.
    gogh - go = like in god, not like lets go
    gh - like the new yorkerish ach,

    or the ch in the arabian name chalid|de|van%20gogh
    not realy but...|en|van%20gogh
    thats what you hear in london|fr|van%20gogh
    this in france

    the following is the real sound of the gh pronounced in dutch, taken from the german "ach"|de|ach

  6. Hey eM! Have been reading your London diary. I'm flying into the Big Smoke on May 4th, volcano-permitting, how long are you around?

  7. i like your blog.
    i have you seen in the tv too.
    your opinion about the most things are very interrested.

  8. I have a silly question. Who is taking care of your cat when you are traveling? Was reading your blog and just thought of TC

  9. Wait they chased away the lovely shops on Hill Road? That's like the best shopping bombay has. Sigh.

  10. Actually, you can get some pretty decent Indian food in London. You just have to know where to go ;)

  11. Those are neat observations chronicled here, I too should try to attempt something similar about my new city and country, though I can never be as good as you with words


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