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 April 2005

Living Page Three

I'm very sleep deprived. Spent till some four in the morning at a friend's house and then staggered home around four thirty and my sleeping cycle being as it is, had to read till at least five thirty to get myself sleepy. Then I had to wake up this morning and groggily down a cup of coffee, but I still don't feel human.

My best, most energy-packed hours start around six pm and go on till one in the morning. I'm a bit of a vampire that way, I can only start functioning once the sun is down or on its way to doing so. And I need a lot less sleep than most people. Gah. You know my life is boring once I start babbling on about sleeping.

I have to go for the Manav Gangwani fashion show tonight. The theme: An Evening In Paris. The main attraction: Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor, who in all likelihood will not even breathe on the press. I hate people like that. I mean celebrities who have some stick up their asses about not speaking to the media. Hello, the only reason you were invited was so that the press would come and the only reason the press will talk to you is because, buddy, the press made you. You are famous because you have been written about and spoken about. Really.

Now some celebrities are nice. The B-grade ones, obviously, poor things, make sweet love to the media every time they see them. Like model Neha Kapoor, for instance. Now I really like Neha Kapoor, she's sweet, she's polite and she always stops to chat with me. But it's a reluctant kind of liking, because I know she's playing me. And she knows I know she's playing me. So we have this sorta understanding, where both of us will smile and say hello and how are you and pretend like we really care. Among the A-list, I like Sushmita Sen a lot (no need to give a link to her, surely?). Now Sushmita Sen is funny, down-to-earth and the sort of person I can see myself gal-palling it with. Perhaps she's playing the press too? It's possible, but her friendly attitude beats that of the other smaller stars, like Zayed Khan or Hema Malini, who gaze at you snottily. Or even Konkona Sensharma, who I haven't met personally, but who I believe is a bitch to get a quote out of. And being with the print, like I've said before, I think, we don't have the authority that the chick waving the red NDTV mic does.

Some of our own page 3 types are pretty terrible too. Take Anoushka Shankar for example. I want to like Anoushka, I really, really do, because this one time way back, when I was still in college and going to the Mezz I saw her there and she said hi to the DJ who was also a nodding acquaintance of mine. And the Mezz at that time was for me like TC is now. I knew all the regulars. So to see Anoushka Shankar there was like she was part of my extended social circle. But nowadays she sighs, she flips her hair around, she reluctantly poses for pictures and even more reluctantly gives you one small quote that you have to practically drag out of her. C'mon Anoushka! You're more articulate than that, surely?

You have to know your celebs to get along as a features writer in this city. Designers, will talk to you depending on their social level. So Gauri and Nayanika Karan squeal and tell you about their new line, but with JJ Vallaya, you have to make an appointment with his PR just to get him on the phone. Authors are pretty much always ready to talk, but they can get really snotty, if they think you're too young, or just a hack reporter or (heaven forbid!) haven't read their "masterpiece". Unless of course, the author is Sir Vidia, who just says, "Na-ow, I reeelly don't know about that," to every question. The trick to Naipaul, I've realised, is to get to his wife. If you can get her to start chatting to you, she'll make sure hubby dear talks too. The art frat--artists, theatre people, musicians--varies. Jatin Das for instance, is almost obsessive about being called on his cellphone. So first you have to submit to his stacatto interrogation: How did you get this number? Who are you? What paper? Why are you calling me?. The theatre guys, thankfully, know me, so Vivek Mansukhani will make miles of polite conversation. Musicians I don't really interact with that much, but other than Anoushka and Daddy, I believe the rest are pretty co-operative. Oh, funny story about Ravi Shankar. So the other day, he was introducing this new jazz band and the media was talking to him. And this one, very young trainee-type reporter, looks at him, after all the rest of us have got our stories about his take on fusion music and whether jazz was catching on in India etc, and says, "Sir, will you ever do an album with Norah?" Our collective jaws dropped and we gazed at Ravi with delight. "With who?" he asked, puzzled. "Sir, with Norah, daughter?" she stammered. Now our eyes were shining and most people started to look away so that they could smile in peace. "Oh, with Anoushka?" he asked now. "No, no" we chorused as one entity, "With Norah! Your other daughter!"

Fun :)


  1. Hi,
    Tailed you from Everyman's link. Guess Ravishankar has far too many daughters to keep track of;)

  2. Hey eM! Nice post! Just had a few things to ask.

    I somehow feel that the media totally neglects a section of people, just because there is no glamour/spice associated with them. The media guys are interested in models, film-wallahs, industrialists, politicians, religious(?!) leaders, sportspersons, management gurus etc. However, they do not care much (at all, rather) about, say, some professor in some educational institute, who is building/has built the next big technology thing. Or may be, a researcher, who is slogging away, trying to build the next most happening thing, alone in his chamber! Surely, it cant be that these people are difficult to find or that what they do is never known to anybody and is clandestine. Yet, these guys are neglected. Dont get me wrong. I am not blaming anybody for this. Just got curious. Any specific reason?

  3. Hahaha.. So wat did RaviShankar answer finally?

    Deficiency of sleep is something I suffer with too. :-|

  4. You met Sush Sen!! ohhh how i envy your job...she's my fav celeb. Have you ever interviewed Abhishek Bachchan? He seems like a sweethart too.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Huh ! A friend of mine was showing me pics of Neha today, from a launch in Delhi... what a coinkidink !!

    Yeah, I get a lot of Page 3 info from this amazing woman who I act with. Its hilarious to watch her tell stories of Page 3 wannabe and the pros, at their respective games.

    If by boring you mean, filled with all sorts of activity and famous people by the bucketloads, then yes, you life is boring.

  7. Couchpotato: Hey, thanks for stopping by :)

    Mandar: That's not entirely true. If say someone was working on something groundbreaking we would write about it, if they made it known that they wanted it to be written about, or if we found out in some way that it was happening. As for parties etc, most people like to read about famous people and their doings, which means more readers, which means the paper sells. Simple business tactics, my friend!

    AmitKen: Well, he stammered for a bit and then said "there were no plans to do so on the horizon". What could he say, poor old sod.

    Anon: Nope, haven't met Abhishek Bachchan, but a former colleague has and has blogged about it. Go check the writer-in-exile link on my blogrolling thingie.

    Anuja: Please go away.

    elf: Well, while I like Konkona's acting skills, this wasn't really a personality assesment. I was talking more about media friendly people and how much I like them, understandably. They make my job SO much easier :)

    Vignesh: Doing my job doesn't count as an exciting life, surely? And so you already know p3p gossip? Do share

  8. Oh, you cruel Journos I tell ya! :) There doesn't seem to be a dull moment ever in your life, nice! :)

    Oh and I see a certain someone lurking around here too. I reckon, said person might be developing finer feelings for either of us! :)

  9. Aww... come come now.. what did the lurker say ?!?!!? Do tell !!!! Catfight time !!!

  10. Primalsoup: Many dull moments, I can assure you... but definitely more fun than most other jobs :)

    And as for lurker, I think she secretely likes reading our blogs but poor thing, can't for the life of her say anything nice :) Too bad.
    No Vignesh, I'm not going to tell you what she said. Maybe if you keep your fingers crossed she'll drop by at your blog too :)

  11. Hey eM

    another lurker here..but i think i can be nice :) love reading ur blog..i'm gonna buy your book when u write it!
    Just one thing..why did u choose to remove her comment? I read it..and i also feel what u think about her is right, but to leave her comment there wouldn't be so bad would it?
    Anyway, it's up to u..i still love ur blog :)
    bye bye

  12. Hi, I so agree with you. The other day I had to interview Tarun Tejpal. If you have read his book, you will realise that it is sex-ridden. I pointed out that a reviewer has called his book a "treatise on the subject: the Indian Penile Code".

    He so predictably disagreed with me and hinted at the fact that the reviewer is like me, one of those ignorant few who haven't read 500 books of the Indian tradition itself. Felt like asking him, "Well, have you?"

  13. Hi, I so agree with you. The other day I had to interview Tarun Tejpal. If you have read his book, you will realise that it is sex-ridden. I pointed out that a reviewer has called his book a "treatise on the subject: the Indian Penile Code".

    He so predictably disagreed with me and hinted at the fact that the reviewer is like me, one of those ignorant few who haven't read 500 books of the Indian tradition itself. Felt like asking him, "Well, have you?"

  14. I have no idea how I got here, but I'm glad I did. Nice blog. Cheers. :)

  15. Grainne: Thanks! It's always nice to have readers for my eventual "work of art" :)
    As for Anuja's comment, I deleted it, not because it was particularly offensive, but because I could :) I like to exercise my power sometimes!

    AB: I read your Tarun Tejpal entry.. hilarious :)

    Boomsa: I'm glad you did too :) Stay tuned...


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