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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8 July 2010

Let’s get physical, physical

Operation get my life in order is in full effect. About a week ago, I joined a gym. It’s a really good gym for anyone in the market for one in Bandra, called 10 The Health Spa and what sold me on it was their steam room. I know the weather outside is practically a sauna, but this is CLEAN steam. Pore cleansing etc.


Now the problem with gymming is that at some point you actually have to exercise. Which means, oh, the unbearable pain of it all. Right now various parts of my body are screaming out in protest including the back of my knees (I did squats yesterday) and my shoulders and upper arms (bicep curls with weights). Not to mention each time I laugh, my stomach (ab crunches). If all this pays off though, as Dilip, my trainer, promises, in about a month I should be Lara Croft. With Madonna arms. Okay, his promise was more like, in about a month, it’ll stop hurting. Google tells me this hurt is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which basically means my old muscles were torn and my body’s building new ones. Pretty cool, right?


But it’s become sort of my daily routine. I plug in some Ingrid Michaelson or The Sneaker Pimps into my ears and stroll along, some days with an umbrella, some days getting my own sneakers really wet. I take a different route every day (there are two) so I don’t get bored and I look around me, like really look, at things I’ve never noticed before. It’s a sort of meditation for me—my pre and post-gym walk—a time when I am alone with my thoughts and the music is pulsing in my ears and the entire world looks like a soundtrack.


It’s the same feeling I get on a treadmill, pushing the numbers higher and higher, watching my exercise face in the mirror, feeling the monotony of the track slide under my shoes. You never go anywhere on a treadmill, but it does tell you how fast your heart is beating and how many calories you’ve burned. Which is not even one of those little M&M’s I’ve been sneaking.


And afterwards, once Dilip has stopped looking so chirpy even as I gasp in pain, I go back to the locker room, collect my things and start the slow stroll home. By this time, I am STARVING. Beyond hungry. The last time I was hungry like this was when I was a child and used to play in the park near my house. Then I’d come home full of health and vigour and good old fashioned hunger and somewhere along the way, as a grown up, I stopped feeling that exercise hunger. The oh-my-god-my-body-actually-needs-food hunger. Now I just eat, coz meh, it’s lunchtime. Sometimes I stop at Candies or Cinnabon to get myself a snack, most days I go home, drink a glass of juice and have an early dinner. And then equally early bedtime. This gym thing is terrible for my social life, but it’s weird how it’s become part of my daily routine. Even today, even though I’m bunking (having just come back from MALAD, I am in no position to exercise) I’m already planning on making up for it on Sunday afternoon and quite looking forward to it too.


What all this has taught me—besides an intimate knowledge of muscles in my body that I didn’t even know existed—is that I like my quiet time. My shut off from the world time. Just me and my aching body, just me and the feel of my shoes and the tightness in my arms and the flexing of my calves. A time when I am not available to anyone else. Coming home, having my quick fix meal, and jumping into a warm shower (which almost makes the pain go away). Exercise is like really aggressive meditation. You should try it too.


  1. Loved the last few lines

    I so miss my gym back in India, perhpas will venture out here too in few days. Try a smoke after work-out, has a different effect

    Good to note your thoughts on being alone, at times solitude does help

  2. I miss my gym back in India too, I miss all the exercise, I miss feeling good about myself, and I miss being in excellent shape. I agree with feeling ravenous after a work out, it makes you enjoy food so much more!! Sigh..I need to get back to a gym now.

  3. I joined a gym recently too. I love it. They have TV screens built into their treadmills, bikes and cross-trainers. I get to watch all the shit that I wouldn't watch at home, and it's not a waste of time because I'm exercising. :o))

    The other day, I was walking back home from the gym and got a text msg from my sort-of-lover saying, "I miss you. Hope Jim was a reasonable substitute."

    Oh yeaah, Jim really gets my heart beat up!!! :o)

  4. I joined a gym two weeks ago. I've already developed a love-hate relationship! :P Achy muscles keep grumbling, but the adrenalin rush keeps me going there for more and more@

  5. And I am still struggling. Do I or do I not join a gym? Sigh!

  6. ohhh, so that's where you were headed. i spotted you in bandra last week. was super kicked with my first bombay celebrity sighting. :))

  7. That's great, keep gymıng! Good thoughts comıng to you from türkiye. but don't smoke any more, quıt, smokıng wıll make the paın so much worse.

  8. hey hey hey.....
    i am sure u r not as lazy as maself... i like riding on ma bike, hardly some 300 mts frm ma place. uncles in gym telling me ki jawaan haia munda wajan utha achche waala..... :P
    and trainer ofcourse has lost the hopes....
    love the tread mill though and ride back home :))

  9. I visit the steam bath after my work out and get a massage on my rest day.feels good

  10. awesome post!!I'm waiting to shift to Bangalore and start gymming!

  11. absolutely... work outs make the rest of the day happy... a sense of accomplishment

  12. someone jus spoke my mind out; but, Arshi dint go to a gym did she !!!

  13. why does everything good for you have to be so damn painful?
    & Why does mostly everything tasteless & foul have to work better as an elixir?

  14. i go to gym too...feelings described is quite same for me too...but like u said...after the initial inertia of i really look forward to going to gym and make it on a regular basis.. :)


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