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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21 May 2005

A Series Of Unrelated (and some rather unfortunate) Events

Recently, one of my colleagues changed where she sat because there was this huge lizard stalking her. "I hate lizards," she told us, when we asked her why and begged and pleaded so hard, that we didn't have the heart to make her sit on the terminal facing the Lizard Wall.
The lizard has become quite a regular fixture now. He comes out around three, scurries up the wall and sits there for a while looking at us. Then he retires behind the old newspapers taped up against the window to keep the sun out. He usually comes out later in the evening too, but then there are so many people there and someone will invariably squeal, "Oooh, yuck! It's a lizard!" and then he will leave; a hurt expression on his face.
"We should name him," I said the other day.
"Yeah," said another not-squeamish colleague, "He looks like a Shrikanto."
So Shrikanto he is, despite Colleague One going, "Not Bengali! He is so not Bengali! Why have you given him a Bong name?" She's Bengali herself, by the way, in case you hadn't guessed and her lizard trauma dates back to when she and her family unwittingly consumed a lizard that had fallen into a hot rice cooker and then had to get their stomachs pumped. Oh dear. It's not a pretty story and I think Shrikanto overheard it because he avoids her dutifully, this Lizard Cannibal.
We also had a grasshopper the other day, which made me squeal, not liking flying insects. But she was named Tun-tun and I fervently hope Shrikanto has consumed her somewhere.

I was at Hookah tonight, for some new band they had just gotten--Arabic sarangi type. Actually I was there to interview the disciple of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and very excited I was too, because I've had Afreen Afreen on repeat in my car for ages now. I've reviewed Hookah before, way back when it first opened and I had taken New Boy with me and he spent the entire evening flirting with Hot PR Chick. Tonight I figured since New Boy wasn't around anymore, it was a good oppurtunity for me to flirt with the Hookah owner who is very cute. So I did, we even giggled about star signs and all that and then I noticed that Hot PR Chick and Hookah Guy were giving each other long looks over my head (which was pretty easy, considering they were both GIANTS).
So then I asked Hot PR Chick, very sweetly whether she and Hookah Guy were an item. And she blushed and nodded. And I wanted to impale myself on the stirrer that came with my LIT. But I drank it instead.
Then I interviewed the band and the band leader was pretty damn cute. I mean, a) he's a musician and b) he had long hair and that pretty much finished me. So I batted my eyelashes and grinned very widely and he got chattier and chattier, telling me all about the belly dancer instructor who told him she didn't drink and then downed two martinis and did unmentionable things. (Well, he refused to mention them. If I knew, I would've told you, I promise). And then he turned to the young shy sarangi player and said how at some concert a girl climbed onto stage and kissed him. And the young shy sarangi player blushed and I gave him a "oh-how-nice-for-you" nod and turned back to the band leader and saw *sigh* his fingers entwined with the sarangi players, rubbing across the knuckles. Firmly, without a doubt entwined.
(Here's a question: Where do you look when someone's holding hands in front of you? Is it rude to let your eyes drop or do you have to stare, like I did, for fear of appearing homophobic, zombie-like at the wall between their heads? Honestly, I had a crick in my neck from not bending it for so long)
(ps: that Nusrat Disciple never showed. Fever or something.)

This must be said. Even though I normally don't make public announcements on this blog, I assume some of the people who read it must be women in Delhi. The other day I was driving to a friend's house and it wasn't even that late, only about 9.30 and my turn was right after the bus stop. So I waited behind the bus for it to move so I could move and I was aware of this creepy looking middle aged man staring at me. And just as the bus started to move and I put my car in first gear, so I could move too, he tried to open the back door and get in.
Luckily, my doors were locked and my windows up, but imagine if they hadn't been? I wouldn't be writing this for one. And so please, please, please invest in a weapon. Pepper spray is your best bet, you get it in Defence Colony Market for about 395 and from what friends tell me, it really works. You totally should. I'm going to, tomorrow.


  1. First comment yay!
    Right, firstly, I used to have a lizard I called Dino. Short for dinosaur, see? It was *quite* sweet. Secondly, your reader from Switzerland was talking about me, I thought I should let you know. :) She's coming to Cal for my wedding and is very excited.
    Aaaaand - I did have *something* to tell you about something else but I can't remember now. Damn.

  2. i'm straight, but i have gay friends. even now i feel uncomfortable when they display affection in public. but to address your point of rudeness, i guess the answer is no different from what you do when heterosexual couples start snogging in public.. you behave as if this is something you see all the time :)

  3. Girl, you better have that pepper spray handy at all times...from what I've been hearing about Delhi recently, it doesnt seem like a safe place. Take Care eM :)

  4. I don't know anyone else who listens to Nusrat, and now I find you, you're on another continent :( I used to play Rachid Taha's 'Barra Barra' over and over again on my CD player.

    A friend once tested her pepper spray and me and another girl got nailed. I've never been stabbed in the eyes with chopsticks or had bamboo shards forced up my nostrils, but I can't imagine it being too different. Overnighter at the hospital - and this was from 5 feet away. "Well, at least we know it works..." she said, bearing flowers.

  5. Padmini: Ooh, congratulations! :) When's the wedding? And was Dino a pet or just an occasional visitor like Shrikanto? Btw, HOW did you get to my blog? I'm very curious. :)

    fingeek: Yes, I suppose you're right. Only I don't often have to INTERVIEW snogging couples, do I? :)

    Anon: Thanks! I totally know that, this country is rapidly becoming more and more unsafe.

    the box: He's actually quite popular here, in fact now his nephew, Raahat, is making a killing too :) And too bad about the pepper spray, but it reiterates that it works, right? :)

  6. Good idea to keep car doors locked and windows up at all times when driving. That's quite creepy, though. You should have backed up over the guy.

    I love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's music too. Have you heard "Behad ramza darda"? It's lovely. And "Barra Barra" that Box mentioned is very nice too.

  7. I'm also a huge fan of Ali Khan. It's funny how we're all drawn to each other.

    That's some scary shit about the car. Keep your doors locked at all times!

  8. Well, since I just travel off and on to Delhi I make do with Relispray....something is better than nothing. Anyone know where I can find pepperspray for my next Delhi trip? CC you had better buy that spray pronto or travel by company provided car (if there is one) when travelling back home late at night.

  9. hey,
    The Lizard and Grasshopper story reminded me of a similar one about a gecko and a mantid...

    its by Gerald Durrell...
    "My family and other Animals"

    *scampers away giggling*

  10. I hate lizards with a passion. Actually, I hate all reptiles, but as I don't run into crocodiles or snakes that often, it's lizards that bother me the most.

    Let's see... keys, wallet, mobile phone and now a pepper spray. -sigh-

  11. Oh shit you found that Rajneesh guy, the owner cute???? Is the lady who christened your lizzy Shrikanto P?

    The last part was rather scary. Now my plans of buying an auto and converting it into a fancy car seems to be on the backburner.

  12. Hubs named this lizard that used to appear in his room, Kalimpo, and conversed with the creepy thing regularly!
    Hey, scary thing, the car incident. Better be careful. Have to look for pepper spray in bbay...

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

  14. I hate lizards. I squish them on sight. I have a special shoe. Smash !

    "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I call this 'Lizard entrails on wall'. Starting bid, 5 rupees".

    Talk about meeting creepy people over the weekend, I met a handful. Makes me uncomfortable to talk about said individuals, so I shall not.

    Hope you bought that pepper spray, dearie. Don't be afraid to use it !

  15. great post.
    smiled a lot, and then had that sinking feeling as I read about the bus stop thing. Delhi, my Delhi, totally kills me on this one thing...

    As for in your face affection (which I don't have anything against), I look away, and am sure I look quite distracted, spaced, foolish, uncomfortable or a bit of all of these.

  16. Babe..u rock..came across your blog via India Uncut...great writing style..
    there was a time i could proudly claim that my Bombay was way better then Delhi...when it came to treating women with respect..but the recent spate of incidents has shut me up..
    neways...If u r ever in Bandra or thereabouts, I insisit on getting u drunk ...all drinks on me...
    AND what's up with the musician long haried attractiveness thing... give us tall clean cut cropped hair guys a chance..

  17. And though I normally don't respond to comments on old entries, thanks to India Uncut (Woohoo! Thanks for linking me, if you're reading this, Amit! I'm linked by a "serious" blogger, I feel so much less frivolous!) I shall. :)

    Anurag: Nope. Afreen and Dum Mast is about all I've heard. Magical voice though!

    satya: Hmm, you're a muscician with long hair? How you doin'? ;)

    mint: You should listen to some Rabbi too, I think you'll enjoy him.

    lubu: Unfortunately for us impoverished journos, no company cars!

    grafx: I know! I was really strongly reminded of that story too :)

    jay: You forgot smokes. Something I check for before I leave home.

    AB: Shhhhhhh... you're giving away my pseudonyms!

    anumita: Okay Kalimpo is even wierder than Shrikanto, I think.

    vignesh: You lizard killer, you. :)

    vague; Yes and it's getting worse too. A friend was followed home by a bunch of guys ina Santro who kept drumming on her windows.

    daniel: Ooh, exciting offer! Most definitely will take that up when I'm in Mumbai this December!


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