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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27 December 2017

Newsletter: The return of the part-time hermit

But I'm also writing my new book so THERE
I have been reading the Penguin Book Of British Short Stories (volume II from PG Wodehouse to Zadie Smith) which is not only reminding me how much I love the short story--sort of got out of the habit last year--but also included a gorgeous story by Evelyn Waugh, who I have never read before. Called The Cruise, it's letters from a young lady of leisure while she does a cruise to Egypt, and each of her letters has "Goodness how Sad" in them, and in one of them, a postcard, she makes it just "G how S" and now that phrase is stuck in my head. Squishy and Bruno fight? G how S. My coffee spills? G how S. I even woke up in the morning thinking "G how S" and it's a very convenient phrase for all manner of things.

The last time I was obsessed with a line I read in a book was way back in 90s, when I read Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris, and Fadiman, pregnant, is wandering about the house at night, wanting a piece of cheese "toasted mostly." My friend Nayantara and I had a whole bit about toasted mostly, and mostly toasted, and I think G how S that we don't really do things like that anymore. I think it's because people seldom read the same books at the same time anymore--books with memorable lines in them anyway, and the last time I can remember a collective fad as it were was with the Harry Potter books, and that's why we can still reference them today. I was re-reading Harry Potter just recently, the last two books, and now I've gone back to the beginning with Philosopher's Stone and G how S that they're over and I'll never read them for the first time again.

(I'll stop.) (But G how S.)

This week in domesticity: My cousin gave us an Instant Pot for our wedding, and it's been sitting in its box on top of the kitchen shelves for a long time, since we didn't have a transformer to convert the voltage (American to Indian.) It didn't even occur to me when I asked for it that it would need a transformer, because I'm used to buying things from Europe should I need to. (Well, not used to buying things from Europe, that sounds like I just whip out and order like French cheeses or something all the time. I mean that we've bought electronics from Europe before, on our last two trips and they haven't needed any fancy plugs.) Finally, we bought a massive box to change the voltage, which was more expensive than I expected it to be, having never bought one before, but luckily it is blue and matches the kitchen tiles and we have snuck it into a corner and stacked cookbooks on top of it so it looks inoffensive.

SO the Instant Pot. It's basically an electric pressure cooker, with a slow cooking and yogurt making option (also rice), but it's so insanely popular that there's a whole cult movement around it. Here are just two of the articles I found when searching for "instant pot why popular." I began using mine just yesterday and I feel like as a reluctant cook, it has cut down a lot of the guesswork for me, because... dun dun DUN, it has a TIMER. I just set the thing and leave it to do its work, no counting whistles, no need to turn down the stove. I made a coconut chicken curry yesterday and a cauliflower soup today (our winter veggies are basically just cauliflower and aubergine, so we have bumper crops of each.) Both SO good, and I'm totally giving all credit to the pot. I've also been kinda scared of the regular pressure cooker since the one time I tried to use it, it exploded (sort of) and there were vegetables everywhere.

And the soup! You guys, if you've never made a soup from scratch, only those packet ones, there's this wholesome Martha Stewart type feeling that floods through you. I made this soup, you think. SOUP. I MADE. And it tasted good! Plus, if you don't like veggies, it's a good way of disguising them and still eating healthy.

And lest you think I've only turned to domesticity and given up my social life, I'll have you know I went to two very fancy parties this week.

This week in oops, maybe that was a bad bargain: I bought a one month membership to Ola Select, but honestly, it wasn't really worth it. Sure, it's cheaper to get an "Ola Prime" but those are usually just beat up Swift Dzires, and I'd rather have a new Wagon R, I think. Also, it takes SO LONG to get a cab, which is not usually the case with Uber. With Ola, your waiting time shows up as "ten minutes" and then, half an hour later, it's STILL ten minutes. Makes it very hard to go out unless you've planned to book your cab thirty minutes in advance, which you know, I got out of the habit of. Will not be renewing I don't think, even though I really wanted to love Ola, since Uber is so evil.

Saturday reading list for those of you sitting at home today drinking soup:

Round ups:

* The best children's books of 2017.
* These very hyped gadgets went out of business, so a memorabilia gift guide to 2017.
* Things that offended Indians in 2017.
* A hater's guide to a posh Christmas catalogue.
* And finally, every single year end list because we can't get enough.


People assume that to choose to live in a cold place is to choose austerity and a life without comfort. Because, of course, to escape the cold—to winter in the tropics, retire under the sun, take off for the islands at Christmas—has always meant you had achieved a certain level of success. But a cold life is not without its own riches. There are clear winter days when the surface of the snow glitters like diamonds. We have access to silence, one of the rarest commodities. And cold ocean waters make for extravagant dinners: salmon hooked minutes before, clams and mussels gathered into buckets by cold hands, oysters slurped raw so that you can feel the ocean dribbling deliciously down your throat.

- In defense of winter in Alaska.
More and more, however, families and friends of those who die on Everest and the world’s other highest peaks want and expect the bodies to be brought home. For them and those tasked with recovering the bodies — an exercise that can be more dangerous and far more costly than the expedition that killed the climber in the first place — the drama begins with death.
- I LOVE Everest stories, and this one is insane and sad all at the same time.

The Love Commandos, on the other hand, advertises a one-time fee that covers the cost of a wedding ceremony and registration; couples are invited to stay as long as they need. Perhaps more important is Sachdev’s promise to protect them even when it compromises his safety. Armed men and disgraced relatives routinely come knocking, he said, and at least four khaps have issued bounties for his death. None have made good on their promise, but he and his colleagues have been beaten. “Look, we are madmen,” he explained. “We are not scared of dying.”
- In a year of bad news re: choosing who you love, here's a lovely story about India's Love Commandos.

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