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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28 April 2005

People are strange, when you're a stranger

So yeah, a lot of people know who I am in real life. And I know who they are too. It's fun meeting other bloggers at events and gatherings because you can look at them and think, "Hmmm... I so know what they're going to say about this." Of course, with all the fun and excitement, you (and by you, I totally mean me) kinda lose some of your own anonymity, but that's a risk you have to take I guess. Plus, you can see them sorta sizing you up in their heads. I know I can hear the wheels in their heads going, "Ooh, so this is eM. Ooh, she's so not what she's like when she blogs."

Because I'm really not, y'know. In real life (and I don't know whether I should be telling you this, but it's really late and guess where I've just come from) I'm very reticent. I don't like talking about me or my life, unless I'm completely comfortable with the person I'm talking to. And this site is like, what, ten per cent of what actually goes on in my day. So I guess it sorta bothers me when people act like they totally know me, because of my blog. I'm sort of like two different people--eM and whatever-my-real-name-is, one spunky and spirited and the other really rather quiet with not much to say.

Cyber identities are wierd aren't they? I don't know what you, my regular readers, imagine me as, but I know I have a picture of each of the bloggers I read regularly. I can sort of see what they look like, imagine them to be absolutely wonderful people with strong opinions. But are you really? Aren't we just nicer on our blogs, don't we just project the best, most articulate parts of our natures?

Okay, so how many of you have friends who read your blogs? Friends who perhaps live abroad or far away and don't email and think the best way to stay in touch with you is to have your URL on their Favourites links. I know I do. I know many people I know and love read this and I know when I finally email them about something they'll say, "Ya, but I read it in your blog!" Are we losing the art of having conversation already? Perhaps, when my friends return, I'll only be able to converse with them in long monologues, rambling on and on and on about how I think and how I feel till they get totally sick of me.

Why do we read other people's blogs? We certainly don't want to listen to people holding forth on their passions, or on books they've read recently or on their exboyfriends. Then why do most of us, invariably start our day by quickly quickly checking the sites we've read so often that Internet Explorer completes them for us?

I've met some of the bloggers I read in real life and usually, but not always, when we meet, our conversations turn to blogging. Over and over we rehash posts and over and over we try to match the other person to their online identities. I've had blog gossip last me through entire booklaunches, or through drinks after the LIFW, and I'm always fascinated and I always want to know more about the "real" person behind the superstar bloggers.

Nw with articles coming out "revealing real identities" of people who really preferred to stay anonymous, I don't know how much longer this love fest with blogs is going to last. The media is glutting itself with blog stories, all over the fucking place, and pretty soon they will tire of it, just as everyone else will. But till then my hit counter and everyone else's keeps rising and we (the Bloggers) watch our growing numbers with a mixture of pride and dismay because really what do we say to this audience who expects new insights or developments every day?

And soon Blog Burnout, already prevalent in the US will filter down here and youandmeforever dot blogspot dot com will vanish and blogs will be just like personal journals which no one reads and we'll all go back to using pen and paper again. How sad.

Because the mystery, my friends, is the secret of a good blog, the pseudonyms, the personal asides, the feeling that you could know this person from somewhere because you're in the same city or country or planet, but you just don't know who they are.

Maybe I know you all : )


  1. In general, if there's even a remote possibility I might want to write something...erm, not-so-polite about someone in the future, that person will never be told about my blog. I don't want to spend all my time self-censoring.

    What I value most about blogging is the strange and varied mix of characters you meet along the way; people whom you know intimately - yet don't know at all. It's nice.

  2. Very true. Most people are not what they seem on their blogs. And how long can you keep blogging before burning out (and by you I also totally mean me, hehehehe) and picking up a new pastime?

    I can totally imagine people acting all like they are your chums since they have read every post you wrote.

  3. Hope blogging does not burn out here..half the people (and there aren't many ;-) ) who read my blog know me..but they are all far away and like you said, they kinda keep track of what goes on in my world.. and there is another half of bloggers who know me only through my blog..

    which of these do i write for? I'd like to think that I write for both kinds..and thankfully, those who know both me and my blog aren't posing any threats..not so far atleast!! (somebody hand me some wood!) *touchwood*

    and yes..i do have a pic of u in my mind..but it looks very much like that bunny u put up there!!

  4. hey eM!

    your point abt how we now check blogs every morning and how one day we will return to pen and paper, reminded me about the big-bang and the big-crunch theories of the universe! true, true...

    and Internet Explorer does not complete the URLs for me. Mozilla Firefox does. *arms akimbo, feels proud as a firefox supporter* :-D

    i dont think we are losing the art of conversation. blogs are a way of hearing out a person fully before we interject with comments. now, how many of us fully hear out the speaker before putting forth our own comments. hardly any! see, how blogs are helpful there?

  5. Jay: I completely agree with you. I don't like to censor myself either--and for the most part, I don't. But still, you have to keep in mind the possibility that ANYONE could google you and stumble across your blog. It IS a public space after all.

    Anurag: I'm curious now. Who have YOU met? :)

    Shain: I think for people who are used to writing regularly, blog burnout's not going to happen. But for people who do it just coz it is THE thing to do--like homepages were, way back when--they might tire of it sooner or later.

    Sanitystealer: The internet is all about secret identities, but that only works if you can keep it a secret, right? Sounds like an interesting computer class, btw :)

  6. Mandar: Why do you ALWAYS comment when I'm done responding to everyone else? :P Oh well, you do make a good point about listening to what people have to say first, but I didn't get the whole big bang reference. Explain please!

  7. the big bang theory states that the entire Creation (all universes, space, time...) was created from a single point. that point exploded and threw bits and pieces everywhere. these pieces evolved into what we see today. the universe, which began with a point exploding, is said to be still expanding... from the explosion! this is known as the big bang.

    big-crunch is the theory that is a sequel to big-bang. it states that the entire creation will eventually contract and crunch into a single point!

    the "single point" in question, by the way, is known as "singularity".

    i have explained (?) these theories simply and may be a bit vaguely... there's not much i can do about it... i am writing a comment, after all... not a post!! :-D

  8. i really liked the post and could identify with it. i have known people who read my blog before they knew me and had a very different perception of what i am. but i like the fact that you create all these mental images abt people and indirectly know abt what is going on with them. another one of the marvels of technology. once again - great piece.

  9. Well, well, never though you would call yourself quiet;)

  10. Actually I meant thought and not though

  11. You know, I really haven't formed ANY opinion about you other than you write REALLY well. Personal opinion, I mean. But since you've committed, what DO you think I'm like :-) ?

  12. Mandar: Okay, that went TOTALLY over my head! :)

    Sagnik: Thanks dude! I like the whole picture forming thing too--I do it when I read also!

    AB: Oh come on. I'm pretty quiet. Okay, fine, so I'm not :P But that's only coz it was the FINALE, dude, and it was soooooo exciting! :)

    motheater: You forget I know people who know you. And you know people who know me :) What can I say--I think you're someone I'd love to sit down and have an actual face-to-face conversation with, as opposed to the synopses thingies of our lives we do online :)

  13. Funny!! I was just thinking about what I'll write in my next blog. Why do I blog? Why don't I maintain a diary instead? Will I tell ALL my friends about my blog or just those who, I'm sure, I am NOT going to complaint against in my blogs? And that made me wonder the same thing - am I really the person that my blog portrays? I reached the conclusion that I blog because I am a bit of an exhibitionist. I don't maintain a diary because, again, I am an exhibitionist :) I used to - only when I was deeply disturbed over something. Some of those things I wanted my husband to read and understand. We have a very open communication in our relationship and its not that I NEED a diary to tell him my feelings. But these were things I thought he'd better read than hear from me. Know what? Being the gentleman he is, he NEVER touched my diary. Even when I left it lying around in plain view, threw hints that he'd be interested in what's in there and finally TOLD him to read it. He still hasn't!! Hence, I blog. (He reads that :P)

    I try to create an image of the author of every blog too. Am new to this blogdom so the images are still blurred. But every blog clarifies a few more features of the mental image I have. And you are right - will we blog if no one read our posts? I don't think I would.


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