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 April 2005
Shine On, You Crazy Diamond
Because I meant to write about you on Sunday (When I was at your house, talking to your friends and your mother and looking at your pictures, but when I got home my net was down)
Because I can only talk about you here, where I can't hear sympathetic noises.
Because you're the one person on this blog I don't use a pseudonym for.
Oh god, oh god, I hope I can write about this and have the balls to hit publish.
April 24, 2002
Our second year exams. 9 am and I was sitting at my desk, looking through Medea. The phone rang and my mom told me it was Pieces. Which surprised me, because she usually only surfaced around two.
"Hello," I said cheerily, "How come you're up so early?"
I thought she was laughing uncontrollably. I could hear her voice shaking and her breath coming in uneven gasps.
"Oh god, eM..."
"What's happened, dude?" I asked, still thinking, hmmm.. this has something to do with the exams.
"eM, Puji's dead."
You know whatever they say about people dying and they can't describe just how it feels, only that there's an immense gaping hole that appears suddenly out of nowhere, like a huge black vacuum and starts sucking in things. That sentence, if I had to pick any sentence that would forever change my life, that sentence would be it.
After a long time I said, "You're kidding." It couldn't be possible. Puja wasn't dead, she was probably ill or something.
"Would I joke at a time like this?" her voice broke then and she said hurriedly, "Listen, the cremation is in a bit, you can meet us at her house."
"Do you want me to call Iggy?" I asked. Good, focus on the mundane. Focus on getting the tasks done.
"Yes, yes, please call her. I called you first because you live the furtherest away." She didn't sound as calm as it seems when I'm writing about it. But I can't remember the tone of her voice. I can only remember what she told me. Do you know, I've forgotten Puja's voice? I realised this the other day. I've forgotten her voice and I feel like shit. How could I have forgotten? When I felt likemy world was crumbling then, how HOW could I have forgotten her voice now?
Iggy was asleep when I called her and she murmured grumpily into the phone, "eM, I'll call you later."
"No, Iggy, please, please wake up."
"What is it?" she snapped, and I felt for her I really, really did. This would be the last time she answered an unexpected phone call at a strange hour grumpily. The last time any of us put our phones off while we slept.
"Iggy, Puja's dead."
Like me she didn't believe it. But unlike me, as soon as I told her what Pieces had told me, she started to cry. And I envied the fact that she could cry. I didn't for a week. Not even at the cremation where my beautiful friend's body lay wrapped in a sheet. Her face apparently was unharmed, but there was this horrible guy who Iggy knew who told us her legs and her scalp had been sliced off. Iggy told me this in dry heaves and I comforted her but inside I could picture it, y'know? She must've died on impact, when the truck plowed into their car, but I wanted to think of her whole and safe, her dancer's body perfect.
Am I callous to write about this? Am I a terrible person for blogging about my friends death? Have I trivialised it somehow, by telling it to an audience? By putting it on this blog, the blog that people read hoping to knwo more about romantic escapades and being single and being independant. Not about things like death and life's questions. Me, the person who chose not to write about the tsunami or any other world crisis events, I am writing about "something serious".
On the other hand, by putting it on a public forum, I could somehow honour her. I could tell you that when we were in college and writing about what we wanted to do five years hence, she said, "I want to be happy. And in love." I could tell you that she had been offered Boom by Kaizad Gustad and was contemplating taking it, only she wanted to go on holiday with her family. I could tell you she was stunning and bloody intellegent and at the same time, terribly insecure. I could tell you she was a good, loyal friend and that she loved us and made it a point to say so. I could tell you she hated carbohydrates and loved coffee, that she always wore odd socks, that she always wore this faded denim jacket, that she couldn't speak Hindi or Bengali to save her life but attempted to anyway, much to our merriment, that she hugged hard and tight, that she always knew the right thing to say and that everyone, but everyone who met her, instantly fell in love with her.
Has it really been three years?