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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24 May 2005

Touch if you will my stomach, feel how it trembles inside, you've got the butterflies all tied up, don't make me chase you, even doves have pride

We've all dated a few duds in our lifetimes, but I think I possibly hold the record. Ever since I first started seeing people, I have had one bad relationship after another. And the few good ones that happened by chance, fleetingly, pausing to caress my soul before they moved on, just showed me how awful the other men I was choosing were.

My friends claim their exes were bad too. After all, exes are only there for us to abuse, for us to squeal, "Ohmygod, what was I thinking!" Okay, p'raps not. I mean, I do have some exes who I am still friends with. But being friends with someone is very different from being in love with them and I have a theory that you can never be friends with anyone you were once in love with. Seriously. Or if you can, you're a better person than me.

Take David for instance. Oh, I loved David with all my eighteen-year-old heart. I loved David with the kind of passion I imagined, and living up to my imagination is pretty hard. Many dates I've had have bombed because the real thing never lives up to the blow-by-blow I've been doing in my head for many days before the actual event. David slouched, he was bohemian in a way I longed to be, he smoked cigarettes with consummate ease and he quoted the Smashing Pumpkins. He was just so cool. And I was fresh out of school, recently returned from a trip to the States and had gotten into the college of my choice and I thought life was pretty good. Only it wasn't.

David had an ex, looming in his recent past, an ex he had dated for some five or six years before she decided to take a break to "find herself." Leaving David growing wistful every time he mentioned her and leaving me to grit my teeth and love him harder. He was a decent guy. He liked me as much as he could. He played Bittersweet Symphony over and over again while we talked because I liked the song so much. He actually got down on his knees to ask me out and then gave me a bubblegum-tasting kiss. He was the one who produced the grass the first time I mentioned wanting to experiment with marijuana. I had never seen him more excited than when he rolled that joint, looking over at me animatedly, smiling as I broke into very stoned giggles.

But he cheated on me. With his ex-girlfriend who was having several flings of her own but couldn't stand the idea of him having any. Or maybe she resented that while she was having only flings, he was looking and sounding happy. I found out about the cheating and broke up with him, only to have him woo me again with promises. And his quirky mouth and his labrador eyes melted my resolve and so I agreed. And the second time he cheated on me wasn't that bad, I fell ill briefly, but soon recovered. I was in college by then and somewhat independant and when he appeared at my doorstep with roses, I found it in my heart to refuse him. But I never blamed him. I blamed his ex instead and when she came to my college a year junior to me, I'm sorry to say we ragged her quite a bit, making her buy us stuff and generally being snotty. I was friends with a popular, influential lot you see, so by the virtue of my connections, I was able to make her a little unhappy for some time. But soon we relented and when she and I interned at the same newspaper a couple of years later, we became good friends. David and I are almost out of touch though. He's now seeing an acquaintance of mine, and I hear that he's doing well, still in college (muahahaha) and still in and out of drugs.

I don't know why I've always chosen men who are unavailable. Tariq, this other guy I had a brief fling with, seemed okay and he knew his Iliad and that was a very big deal for me then. But then one day, just after we finished making out and I lay happy and content in the dreamy stage that always happens when you've been kissing someone for a really long time, I asked him sleepily, "So now what?" And he looked all sheepish and said, "Well, see the thing is I'm kinda in love with my best friend." And what did I do, ladies and gentlemen? Did I dress rapidly and storm out of there? Did I slap him and tell him he was a bastard? Noooooooooooooo, coz see that would've been a sensible thing to do. Instead, I sat there and gave him advice about his love life.

And K with his two-year relationship that I speeded up the ending for, and Golfer Ex who "just wasn't looking for anything" and Yudi, the boyfriend of a classmate who I attempted to seduce, only I chickened out once I thought he was interested. Why am I choosing guys like this? Maybe it's something in my mechanism, maybe I'm setting myself up to be hurt. What else would explain the Boston Boys, the Whippersnappers and all of this world that just seem to fling themselves into my orbit.

Oh well, the good news is that once I'm done hurting about the end of yet another relationship, they make for good stories to tell my friends. And to blog about, of course.


  1. Nice post, eM...hafta admire your candidness....

    Although I hope for your sake that your next one is THE REAL one and your post about it ends with "happily ever after" (Now, referring to an earlier post of yours, that'd be one helluva cliche!!)

  2. Satya: Actually I'm thinking of avoiding romance altogether, just to be a busy, independant, icy career woman. And what's wrong with the Smashing Pumpkins at 18, may I ask???

    n.a: Well, candidness has never been an issue. (I refer you again to my url! I think that says it all, don't you?) And hmm.. happily ever after sounds nice, but I don't think that's in my destiny, so I'm going to settle for "happily till expiry date or till offer ends".

  3. i had a similar problem. then someone told me "people you seek out are reflections of yourself" so i tried seeking out someone that was not. that resulted in me not getting laid for a long time.

  4. woweee!!!! you have more exes than i can even count. since ive noticed that interesting stories told at parties usually involve exes, you must be the most interesting person alive.

    i only have one ex. he wasnt all that bad. we dated for a year and i havent been with anyone since. not enough material for even one blog post.

  5. We've all had dysfunctional relationships, but you do seem to have had more than most.

    But in terms of degree of dysfunctionality, I can probably match you: I had a boyfriend who, walking home one night, dropped into a local cruising ground and performed oral sex on a complete stranger. Beat that.

    Fingeek: If I dated someone who was a reflection of me, I wouldn't want to get laid either!

  6. I love the Prince quote.

    I had a quick-draw defense mechanism in which I dropped them at the first hint of rejection. My husband is the only one I really let my guard down for. (Good thing because the rest are probably in jail or rehab now).

    (P.S. I think Jay has us all beat)

  7. hey, i kno you might now need me but i might be able to help ya.. my name is faiza.. im me sometimes
    aim: angelpj007

  8. fingeek: I think we all choose ppl who are like us to a certain degree, so don't worry too much about it! :)

    vishnupriya: Yes, thankfully, all these bad exes make for GREAT blog posts! :)

    jay: Okay, perhaps your boyfriend story beat mine. But we'll never know till we get totally hammered will we? ;)

    Mint: Ooh, I do that too! Standard defences I suppose :)

    Faiza: Um... I'm not really sure what you mean actually. And I don't have AIM, but thanks all the same. (hey, I made a rhyme!)

  9. eM, i think u need to be just by urself for some time... quite some time, actually. think about it.

  10. Umm... I could have sworn I left a comment here yesterday, didn't I ?!?!? Anyways, I think I said, *sigh* and mine aren't even blog worthy... or something to that effect...

  11. i'm not worried. BTW the key word was "reflection"... similar to us in some ways, but exactly opposite in others.

  12. * i completely understand what you are going through :)

    * don't give up - there is so much more :)

    * not all guys are bad :))

    i hope you know what i'm alluding to :)

  13. sigh... i dont evenhave words to bring up the past...

    all i can say is that its made me just not have any hope in anyone anymore....

    and...i guess. ... im just trying to get used to a non-romance too trusting... thats the problem

  14. So i was avidly reading this long post and then i hear a little ahem behind me and there's this PR lady standing behind me and she says, "Sorry to distuurb...if i may interrrupt a little bit." all snotty-like. see how i risk my reputation to read your blog :-)

  15. satya: Well, I'm just not like other women ;)

    mandar: EXACTLY what I'm doing!

    sharanya: Thanks! And what batch were you in?

    vignesh: Nope, no comment yesterday. See, the exes never are blog worthy, it's only what you can take away from them! :)

    fingeek: I feel I'm missing something here... :)

    sagnik: I totally know what you're alluding to! But, hey, I didn't say boys are bad anywhere! And I feel your pain too, buddy :)

    grafx: Oh dear. You sound quite upset. Tell eM, the Guru Of Relationships everything and she will remove your pain :)

    mangs: Awww.. I'm very flattered. Only today my features head came in as I was reading yours. She didn't say much, just raised an eyebrow. :)

  16. You should listen to this song
    Smashmouth - All Star. Listen to the lyrics carefully.

    "You never know if you don't go, you'll never shine if you don't glow"

    Vivid post :) Been at your blog the first time & IM impressed. Keep enlighting

  17. My last ex said "You getting hurt is not a good enough reason not to do something I want." And she was telling the truth too.

  18. *stamping up and down outside EM's mansion*

    lol..Thangyou!! just for that i shall stuff you in my Tin :D

  19. saurabh: I've heard All Star actually, but no one's ever recommended it to me as a cure for lovesickness before! :)

    satya: It made you LAUGH? Hmmm... that was one reaction I wasn't expecting!

    box: Grarh. I hate exes. Don't you?

    grafx: Tin? What tin? :)

  20. Hi...

    You know what a very good friend of mine told me when my ex broke off with me over no reason other than 'instability', 'commitment'! issues... he said : If he does not realise your worth, its his loss and not urs... so at the risk of sounding extremely preachy... Life is difficult and full of trials but if you fall down, just stand up straight, be confident and say 'Kisne dhakka maara be??!@!' (Who dared to push me down?)

    All the best!

  21. right, but its definitely diff than listening to Bryan Adams - Back to you :)

  22. you so sound like Sarah Jessica Parker. My personal theory is that the RIght Guy doesn't exist, it is (ahem...) A Construct of the Mind coloured by media cliches.

  23. Busy, independent, icy career woman? More power to you I say! :)

    And yup Ex's make for great stories and often lessons not learnt! :)

    Nice post once more...

  24. what about a woman who is neither busy, nor independent, nor icy, and doesn't have much of a career. whats her excuse.

    (kneeling on the ground waiting for the experts to enlighten)

  25. mystique: My friends say the same thing to me also. It's just hard to follow their advice sometimes!

    saurabh: NEVER listen to Bryan Adams during a break up. If possible, stick to Aerosmith!

    atreyee: Really? Sarah Jess? :) But yeah, media contructs DON'T help, especially if one is IN the goddamn media, onesself!

    primalsoup: More power to EVERYONE, is what I think... even if you're in college!

    vishnupriya: You don't need an excuse, my friend.. there's always the gal pals.. much better company and less fuckwittage! :)

  26. Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway' and 'Since you've been gone' - the power break up songs! highly recommended....of course if you don't really wanna let go ( yeah happens sometimes), Enrique's 'Escape' gives you the hopeful high!

  27. Hmm.....another one...GnR - I used to love her :)

  28. eM, Honey,

    You are not alone.

    I have this 'talent' for falling for the silent, broody type (assuming, of course, that silent+broody=mystery+depths-which-must-be-plumbed!) and then being disappointed, because I find out, that silent broody man is only so, because he has nothing to say.

    C'mere you cosmic twin, you!

  29. Hey

    If you are interested in findin and keepin The One, I suggest not be interested at all. I mean, forget abt guys and focus on smthng else, like acing ur job, taking up salsa - anything that involves you and keeps u happy. You never go looking for guys - the guy finds you. Guys are not dumb after all... who'd have thought?! :P

    Meanwhile, be happy :)

  30. I don't know if you'll reply to this, this post is REALLY old.
    I've been browsing through the blog since a very long time. I read 'You Are Here' thought 'story of my life' and ran to the computer to see how i'd be older (I'm 19 by the way).
    What the funny thing is, you might think i'm too young, but I seem to gravitate towards unavailable boys too and vice versa. I've done the making out, being told he was in love with his best friend and giving advice routine with one. exactly the same thing. I felt proud of it at first. coming out of a really long relationship, I felt strong and independent. But now I feel bad about it. Bad about being to nice, bad about not being able to call later when i want and just ramble, about holding hands and just being or reading poetry together. But then I go back to feeling independent and strong. Happy I don't have to think about anyone else but me, rely on no one. If you had the option, now or at 19..between keepers and flings. how would you feel about it? how did you feel about flings like this at 19 and how do feel about the same ones now?
    I'm sorry...that's a really long. But this is something I've wanted to ask for a couple of days since I've been stuck on a incident replaying in my mind. You seem like the person I'd like to ask, if i knew you in person I'd run to you. "how to fight loneliness" and reading other posts seem to get my mind on it even more.
    It'll be nice if you'd reply. It would seem like an older version of me telling me something. Since I tend to believe myself, it would really help. Thank you.


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