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 March 2005

Ex marks the spot

Who made the rule that you have to be friends with your exes? No seriously, how can two people who at one point shared everything in their lives--both emotionally and sexually, to the complete extent--ever break out of that mould and erase the past and pretend like it never happened? Some people manage, I know, with ease and elan, but I don't think I am ever going to be able to.

How can I be "friends" with K, when even now, when I'm not in love with him anymore, some part of me flinches to see him looking so good and taking this whole thing better than I ever could? How can I be friends with K, when he has succesfully ruined my last three flings, because all of those guys looked at me and said, "Um..are you still into your ex?" How do I explain to people, that it's not that I'm "into" him per se, it's just that for a year and a half, he was the most important person in my life. He was my best friend, with benefits. We shut out everyone else, just being with each other. And I hate that he's able to be all "Oh, I'm so over you" around me, and I turn into this completely different, put-on person, who's being snarky and bitchy and picking fights for no reason at all. I might as well just paint myself blue and dance around waving a sign, sayng"Remember me? I used to be your girlfriend. We used to date."

My friends, who are his friends, want us to be friends. No, they expect us to be friends. "You can't not be friends with K," one of them told me, "Don't be so childish." I can't be around him, I told them, I don't like who I am, around him, I don't want to get drunk and snog him and have him push me away, the way he did the one time that happened. Now he looks at me like I'm going to jump him every time I see him and this makes me say bitchier things, in a tone that sounds casual in my head, but which just comes out all wrong.

It's not like he's so perfect either. He gets all shady around me, taunting me, but not quite, expecting me almost, to pick a fight with him and then in front of our friends' disapproving eyes, he will stand back, innocent, with a halo around his head.

On the phone, I'm fine. On the phone, I'm perfect--professional, to-the-point, friendly, but not overly so. We have nothing in common anymore, and while that makes me a little sad, because at one point we even breathed together--our inhalations were synchronised--it's also good, because I don't feel all pang-y and all "Oh I wish we were still together." But the ghost of K looms over my relationships, makes me want people only when they reject me, no matter how sad and pathetic that sounds. And, oh, when I see him. When I see him with my friends, who have taken him to their hearts and who he keeps supplied with hash, then I feel a little surreal. It's as if everyone's pretending nothing ever happened, that we never had a history, that we're just nodding acquaintances who had a falling out, which should just get over already because it's so damn inconvenient for everyone else.

What shall I do? I could follow my impulse and reverse over his face, but then since he's six foot something and I'm not, that would take some doing. I could try to avoid him, for the largest extent, but then how long can I avoid him? I could do what he's doing and forget that we ever had a relationship. I could stop the mindfuck.


  1. what crap! the wanting people who reject you thing, that is. as for the rest, cheer up, eM, kumquats arent allowed to be curmgudgeonly.
    yours, etc,
    the great gaby, guffin to friends

  2. Right.. Great Gaby (or do I qualify for the Guffin? What's WITH these names anyway?), but the whole wanting the rejectors thing is true.. or maybe I'm just feeling blue because I just met what's-his-face and became Snarky eM which wasn't very pretty.
    And kumquats can be curmudgeonly. There aren't many job opportunities for a fruit, y'know.

  3. what the fuck kind of comment is "wolpy"? This from the person who tells other people not to spam his comments section...

  4. this isnt spam. if you listened when i was talking, on the phone and in real life, youd know wolpy joined snitty on your wordlist a while ago

  5. Three golden rules to deal with break ups:

    i) Get over him / her.
    ii) Get away from him / her.
    iii) Leave town.

    Now, the first two are rather difficult, and that's why the third one exists. No, seriously, if you are not the person given to fights, flight. Get a new job elsewhere, go for further studies, improve your life. Get over the other person and when you meet him after two years you will go, "wtf!! i was in love with HIM?"


  6. Samit; I ALWAYS listen to what you say :) ... but I don't always remember. Besides "wolpy" is nowhere near as cool as snitty OR snarky (which btw is a real word.)

    Anurag; Leaving town definitely is the best option, but not one that is open to me right now, worse luck!

  7. eM concludes, "I could do what he's doing and forget that we ever had a relationship. I could stop the mindfuck."

    Me, "Yes you could. And. Yes. You would."

  8. Samit, dude, seriously, are you inventing a language? Sorry, don't intend to be rude, but your new words are really cool. Remind me of the hitchiker's guide -- frood, willomied...

    eM, I'm sure you will get over him sometime soon. Take my word for it. You will brood, and brood, and go gaga over his memories and one day you will be so fed up of feeling low over him that you will cheer up and never think about him again.

  9. Yes, it is me. You did tarot card readings for me in school. You little minx you!

  10. I should be the last one to say anything on this issue - the last time I ran into my ex, I ended up drinking too much and crying my heart out at 4am to a sleepy friend.

    Don't run. Running only makes it worse. Coming from a guy, he isn't any more 'over it' than you are. Blog a lot. And Im sure I dont have to tell you, the pardy queen herself, that pardying helps too ;)

  11. It's just a time thing.

    Stay away as best you can for a couple of years. Let the dust settle. And the mud. Then you'll either co-exist as rational and civilised human beings or be avoiding one another like a bad case of halitosis.

    Nice blog!

  12. Okay.. this is going to take some doing! I never thought this post would get that many comments, after NONE on my last :) Right, one by one.
    > Manish: Great idea, but hard to implement.. it's easier said than done, you see.

    > Anurag: I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that happens asap!

    > Ostrich: Hello, hello! I thought as much, by your blog pic, but HOW did you know it was me?

    > Dwarf: I think your advice makes the most sense. I'm going to do exactly that! Thanks :)

    > Vignesh: How do you know he's not "over it"? Tell me the secret mechanisms that make up the male mind, I want to know!

    > Roger: Like I said, I'd love to avoid him, but since we move in the same social circles, that's going to be kinda hard to do.
    Thanks for stopping by, though.

  13. You know I can't do that... there are some things that men cannot tell women, even if they wanted to !! But it stands to reason that its not going to be easy getting over someone like you (since you are way up there in Delhi and Im way down here in Blore, flattery here can have no other basis other than honesty ;) ). Thats how I 'know'.

  14. You know I can't do that... there are some things that men cannot tell women, even if they wanted to !! But it stands to reason that its not going to be easy getting over someone like you (since you are way up there in Delhi and Im way down here in Blore, flattery here can have no other basis other than honest opinion ;) ). Thats how I 'know'.

  15. You will kinda get over the guy. Someday. But in my experience we never completely get over our 'ex-es' ever. I saw mine after seven years when I least expected it and it upset me - just for a day,but,I hate to admit it, it did. So, don't worry too,too, much and try your best to stop the mindfuck!

  16. What is with the self-destructive streak among perfectly intelligent women wanting people who reject them???
    BTW you are a celebrity of sorts, our local newspaper mentioned ur Blog, saying "there is a gal who admits to drink with her friends and how empowering is that"!!

  17. As easy or as difficult as you make of it deah gal.

    And dontcha forget:
    "Tahiiiieeime is on your side. Yes it is."

  18. Looks like everybody and their dogs have broken up at some time or other. :)

  19. Okay, this is going to take some doing, and since I am slightly buzzed I hope you will forgive me any typos:

    Vignesh: Such flattery! :) But it will get you everywhere my friend. And recent experiences have taught me long distance things aren't always bad things, so if you're interested... ;)

    Sunrayz: i'm OVER him alredy! It's just..complicated! And exes are evil.. another tshirt slogan for you guys.

    Primalsoup: You just made my day! And my week. Oh, yeah, let's not forget my year. Please send me link to paper. Pretty please?

    Ostrich: Yeah, yeah very funny. It was the email address wasn't it? I should take that down.

    Anurag: Damn right, bro. It's one topic EVERYONE has a story about.

  20. Try laying ur hands on The Hindu supplement, Metro Plus of the 8th of March, Chennai edition... You are featured on the front page, along with Rajit Kapur and Shehnaz Patel! :)

    The online version, doesn't have this story!

  21. Yes, yes, long distance phone calls to Delhi are fine ;) But I would rather you NOT be buzzed, while saying the same thing ;)

    This isn't what we are talking about is it ?

    And Soups, THE HINDU is not your local newspaper da !!


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