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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20 October 2010

In with the new

As an early birthday present, the ‘rents got me a brand new camera. You remember I was considering getting the Canon G11, an advanced point and shoot, which looked and felt pretty damn awesome. Sadly, the price? Not so awesome. Close to Rs 30,000, and only down to Rs 26,000 in most places that offered a discount. Still, I thought this was the camera for me, and on Monday, my mother and I strolled down to Palika Bazaar to buy it. But, the funny thing is, even though it was this super spendy camera, the shop owners (brilliant guys, work with most journos, look for shop number 167 in Palika) seemed to think I’d be better off with an entry level DSLR. My mother pointed out that the G11 would be somewhat of a full stop in terms of growing as a photographer, and eventually, I might like to upgrade to a “proper” camera. All signs pointed to the Canon 1000D, much cheaper, and with about the same features as the G11, except that when I grow out of the kit lens, I can upgrade. It was a good idea, so I decided to go for it. And it’s light, which was one of my requirements. I LOVE IT. It’s beautiful and makes even random pictures look like art, and I’m very happy with the purchase and have spent all day reading the manual so that I’m better equipped.

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Luckily, the very next day, I was due to take Apple and her parents around Delhi, so I thought it would be a good chance to do some experimenting. You know, October heat, nice lighting, monuments, perfect photo day.


Things didn’t go quite as planned though. Here’s what happened. We got the only taxi driver in all of Delhi without a cellphone, so we’d have to go look for him, instead of him just dropping us off. So, we decided to give him Apple’s spare cell, except she forgot that she had set a call redirect from that phone to her other number. Yeaaaaaaaaaah.


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It was a particularly warm day, and by the time we were done, all sweaty and in need of a cold drink, I told her to call the guy so he’d be waiting for us outside. Which is when she figured it out. Uh oh. It would have been fine if it was just a taxi, there are LOADS of taxis, but all their stuff was in the car, AND they had to catch a 5.30 train to Agra.


We tried turning off the phone. No luck. Call barring. No luck. Finally, we decided to go walk along the parking lots to see if we could find him.


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Do you know how many parking lots are around the Red Fort area? About forty gajillion. And there we were, sweat pouring down our foreheads trying to find a white Indica. Do you feel sorry for us yet? There’s more. Sometime in the last two days, I’ve done something to my back. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but it hurts to turn my head. Like, really hurts. Also, my period decided this would be a good time to come out and play.


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Finally I called my mum, who said she’d call the taxi stand dudes and figure something out. In the meanwhile, I took them for lunch at Karim’s in Jama Masjid, which was, as always, awesome.


No luck after lunch either. We decided to offer a reward to whoever spotted the car and brought it to us. By now it’s about 2 pm. I’m seeing visions of us settling down at the Red Fort FOREVER. Apple and her father went to look some more, while I sat my aching body down on a wall and waited with her mother. We asked the cops to look. We asked little beggar girls to look. The WHOLE WORLD was looking for our taxi and no one could find him. In the meanwhile, I counted fifteen people who came up to me and said, “Why don’t you just call his cell?” THANKS. I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!

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By now it’s about 3.45. I’m starting to recommend that they get an overnight hotel and miss their train. The taxi stand is pretty close to my house and I figure he’ll go home eventually. The second taxi driver (sent by the owner of the stand) is driving around looking for him. People keep tossing us looks of sympathy. We had new friends!


And then! Like a glorious, last minute knight in shining armour, the second taxi dude found the first one! My mother called with the happy news, Apple and I skipped merrily along to give her parents the good news. The arrival of the car was heralded by all our new friends. Men waved at us from across the street, “Your car is here!” women stopped feeding their babies and looked at us with shining eyes. The crowd around us thickened. The little beggar girl ran up to us and said, “Madam! Your car is coming!” We were part of a family, a Movement.


I have never spent so much time outside the Red Fort. I have never been so warm and uncomfortable. But we laughed, they got to their train on time, and that was my Tuesday adventure with the new camera. I certainly hope it doesn’t continue to make my life quite so exciting.


  1. Ah, nostalgia. Reminded me of my industrial visit to Delhi when we visited every single place except the industries..
    The pics have turned out to be real nice, especially the second ones. Hope to see more of them :)

  2. Nice photos. Your next purchase should definitely be the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens; you'll love it and it's quite cheap.

    Delhi's taxi drivers have to be the most annoying in the world. The number of times they dropped me off somewhere, then disappeared for hours and hours and hours ... or just drove me round and round and round the same block, wasting my day & then demanding to be paid for the "extra" kilometres. One thing I don't miss! :o)

  3. Oh man. That really sounds like one hell of a day. The pictures are lovely though. And the post too. Funny and vivid :)

    I love DSLR cameras but simply cannot afford to buy one at the moment. Ah well, Happy clicking!

  4. hahahahhaha, I thought this kinda messed up shit only happened to me.

  5. Can imagine what you went through...losing sight of someone in big bad Delhi sucks

  6. Hey! This blog is so fun!! And good luck with your new canon!
    And wow, "listmaniac" is kind of a girly book which I enjoyed immensely...looking forward for more fun and frolic!!Love you!

  7. How much did the camera cost? I've been meaning to buy a Canon 1000D for sometime now. And is buying from Palika a good option?

  8. It's always a good story to tell, not sure if it's as much fun going thru it :) Having said that, I personally love purani dilli, so the time spent there, is usually quite cool

  9. Can completely relate to the incident, as last year we got lost in parkings at Select CityWalk (Saket). They have four parkings and my dad forgot in which one he parked and lost his parking ticket too.
    We manually kept scanning each Parking/Floor/Car, with the entire Mall-Parking world helping us!
    Finally found it after 1.5 hours!!
    That was some jittery experience splly being in the non-AC basement!

    Pics are cool. Happy clicking!

  10. eM, these photos are reaally not "art", really truly. You need to frame better. Except for the first one. Thats lovely. :)

  11. Oh wow is this the same as the Canon Rebel? Its on the top of my lust list! Am so sure it will turn my sometimes mediocre pics into works of art too!

  12. Oh wow is this the same as the Canon Rebel? Its on the top of my lust list! Am so sure it will turn my sometimes mediocre pics into works of art too!

  13. hahaa...luv the way you put the whole experience...we indian's do gravitate towrds all things 'mela-like';)...haffun with ur new camera..unfrgettable first experience i

  14. okay i know you were in a lot of discomfort,but i loved this post!

  15. your new snaps posted here (flicker) show the consequences of alcohol and man eating!!!


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