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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12 April 2015

Nizamuddin: a meditation

I've lived in Nizamuddin West for four years now. Four? Maybe a little longer.

My first house had an outside bathroom, but it's where I fell in love. It was a great house. I remember it still with fondness. There were so many rooms! And a false fireplace. And crazy retro tiles and switches. I loved that house. I'd be there still if they hadn't broken down the house next to it and the cupboards which were joined to it fell apart. (A 'bhai behen' house as the construction people called it.) Oh, also the outside bathroom got old in the winter and when I was drunk.
From the back terrace. Look how many trees!

[Speaking of, I've been drinking an inordinate amount lately. Not inordinate if you consider the archives of this blog, but if you think of my last few years, coupled and with someone who doesn't drink that much, then rather a lot. Tonight I am returning from Le (La? French something) Bistro Du Parc, in Def Col, which is very nice for wine and french fries, just what I was in the mood for anyway.]

[My friend I was out with and I have this thing where we dress *very nicely* for each other and tonight it kinda backfired as the two of us were all nice dress-lipstick-heels and everyone else was traipsing in with gym clothes. Delhi! Please dress nicer when you're going out for dinner. No one wants to see your hairy legs, boys, unless it's under a pair of linen shorts.]

Anyway, Nizamuddin. The posh people are in the East. It's like I'm in Bandra East in 2007, and everyone's in Bandra West and I was trying to sing the virtues of my side. Except there are many things I love about Niz East too, but primarily the parking. I don't care so much about the tomb (it's right across the road if I want to look at it) or the green (I'm surrounded by several trees) but I do envy them their parking sitch. The Nizamuddin Basti has grown over the last few years and now everyone there has a car with nowhere to park it so they park it within the colony.

Which, I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry for sounding elitist or whatever, but I strongly believe if you don't have a space to park your car RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE you shouldn't park it anywhere else. Orrr, I wish every neighbourhood had one large central carpark and it was safe to walk from there to your home.

I also like that I've been here so long that when I go to the market, everyone says hi to me. Fruit guy. Both the  veggie guys. The electrician. The tailor. The guy I once had cleaning my car and now I have another guy. They all say, "Hello madam" and I say, "Hello!" and we belong for one second to the same place.

The other day we had a party where we called people from the "Greater Niz" area. Which turned out in the end to not only include Niz East but also Jangpura and Def Col. My friends from Greater Niz introduced us to Kabul House for kebabs and biryani, very Persian, so Persian in fact that the Good Thing said we would order from there every time we wondered where else to get food from. 

"Nizamuddin isn't South Delhi!" said a friend's date one night. He turned out to be a total tool, so we can ignore whatever he said, but another friend called my address "Central Delhi." I'm not sure. I'm spitting distance from Khan Market, yes, but also Ashram. I'm twenty minutes away from everything and still the cab drivers ask me where I am. "Nizamuddin station?" "No, West!" "But.. the station?"

Let me tell you: that station isn't as close as it appears. Too close for an auto, too far to walk with a heavy bag. I try and take all my trains from New Delhi Railway Station.

Let me tell you: we have a posh grocery store and Cafe Turtle and we also have beef tikka and the best biryani you'll eat in Delhi.

Let me tell you: we're in one of Delhi's oldest neighbourhoods. I love it. I'm so glad we stumbled upon it.


  1. I so totally get the thing about being "hello'ed by fruit and sabziwallahs. That bonhomie makes you feel at home. Like it does in the corner of Bangalore where I live. And by the way, I used to live in Lajpat Nagar I, right across the Def Col flyover and people called that Central as well!!!

  2. What possible virtues does Bandra east have? No snark, serious question. I live in bandra west, but the rents are so crazy. I want to move but not too far away from all the nice bandra things.

  3. From when I lived there half a lifetime ago: trees, low rents and a great seafood restaurant right next door.


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