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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7 January 2011

These boots were made for walking

I had gone to Dilli Haat yesterday with my mum. A lovely bright sunny day, and I took loads of pictures which I didn't feel would fit a Facebook album, so I put them on Flickr.But they weren't getting as much attention as I wanted to, and I needed to put a new post up anyway, so here we are. A photo post about winter in Delhi.

If you're not familiar with Dilli Haat, you should be. It's been around for ages, it's a sort of handicrafts artists collective, you get things from all around the country, and the best part is that they have a food court where each state is represented, probably the most popular draw there. When it first opened, a friend's mum, who worked in Delhi Tourism, was one of the head organisers, and we used to go, and sit in this little machan like structure, where someone brought us momos (from Mizoram) and pao bhaji (from Maharashtra) all free of charge.

Among the lovely things you get there, are bits for your house. Back in the day, everything was very ethnic, but now with craftspeople sort of "getting with the times" as well, you'll get things like this lovely modern looking fish mobile, made of cloth and hand painted. I bought this for my house and it's now hanging just above my laptop, catching the sun. 

These little clay people, I loved as a child, I had a 'People Of India' set, and yesterday I bought one with all the freedom fighters, who are now lining my bookshelves. I also like the little nodding guys, in the top picture, and these gods and goddesses dolls immediately above. 

The nice thing about taking your camera to Dilli Haat is that there are so many things you can take pictures of.

Like these ladies from Arunachal, who very sweetly posed for me, staying stiff and not moving a muscle and then were delighted with the results.  I'm of the school of thought that asks before I take a picture, and usually I'm too shy, so I don't generally get lots of shots of people, unless they're my friends, but I got my mother to ask (yeah, very grown up of me, I know) and they agreed, so good.

I had a couple of pictures of these abandoned instruments, without the shoe, but then after going through them all, I decided this one was the one I liked best after all. It seemed to convey what I was going for: stillness and movement, all in one go. I like pictures like that. 

I was introduced to the pork raja mirchi in this stall about two months ago. They now have a stand alone restaurant in Green Park, called just Nagaland Kitchen, but it's the same guys who run this. The raja mirchi pork is brilliantly brutal with the spice, not fucks-up-your-insides hot, but makes-your-nose-run hot, which is much nicer. They don't serve it on the thaali, too much for most people, I suppose, so I ordered it with a side of steamed rice and sniffled my way through lunch.

Maharashtra is one of the most popular stalls at Dilli Haat, always with a crowd, no matter what time it is. Amazingly, the owners have been very short sighted by not including excellent Gomantak sea food, instead making it all about the veggie stuff. Even thepla, which I had to explain was Gujarati, not even Maharashtrian.  Oh well. It still does a good business on vada paos, pao bhaji and sabudana vadas.

The wind picked up a bit, so this is when we left, stopping only at a Kumaon knitwear place to buy a pair of awesome fingerless gloves for me. (Bulky, but SO WARM). And then home to my new boyfriend, my heater, and watching Up, with leftover pork for dinner. Mmmm. Winter.

ETA: Err. Upon re-reading, I realise it sounds like I have a new boyfriend AND a new heater, whereas in fact, my new boyfriend IS my new heater. Just wanted to clarify that. Carry on. 


  1. Nevertheless, I knew what you meant. I'm so smart!

  2. So, is that a boyfriend with heating properties or a heater with boyfriend properties?

  3. :) cool pics :) dilli haat luks amazing...i have heard abt t...want 2 go der smetym :)

  4. Neha, good question. :P

    Btw, Pav Bhaji is actually, orginally, Gujrati as well. Only, Mumbai has made it it's own. :)

    Not that it matters, of course. It's yumm and that's enough. :P

  5. The fish picture is good, and I am assuming that your going through photography tutorials so that all of us get to see better pictures each new day. :)

  6. I think I fell in love with Delhi in winters at Dilli Haat.

  7. Hey Meenakshi
    The pictures rock. From author to photographer,sounds gr8:)
    Let's talk business, I need a copy of ur books and can we talk bout it.

  8. Any visit to Dilli Haat would be incomplete without visiting Kashmir stall; Wazwan is the most amazing cuisine I have ever had, do try Rishta and Gushtaba next time you go there

  9. OMG.... thanks for this post. I have spent my 3 years of college at Dilli Haat. Its my favouritest place in Delhi... oh i'd give anything to have momos and fruit beer from the sikkim stall rite now.

  10. Please visit OR Thanks

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  11. Interesting post!came here from blogadda and I think its a perfect blog

  12. Loved the pictures.... This is the Delhi I love...colorful and vibrant... :)

    States across India have tried and miserably failed at an imitation of a Dilli-Haat like thing....


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