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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10 June 2005

Coz you're there for me too-oo-oo

To diffuse the tension and all from the last post (and boy, there was a lot of tension!) I think it's time for a happy post. A happy post about good people.

I could write for instance, about my friend Leela, in London now, but my soul sister and comrade for many years. Leela's an Amazon--her 5'11" dwarves my 5'3" effectively. And she doesn't walk like some tall women do, all hunched up as if a little ashamed at just how tall they are. Leela strides and when I walk with her, I feel like striding too. We've known each other technically since we were about two--my apartment building bordered hers and we'd walk to nursery school together-- "a tall baby and a small baby" as my mother says when she talks about it now. It was at Leela's house that I have one of my first coherent memories, of staying too long there and returning to find my parents in a panic.

Then she moved and I moved and we didn't see each other for many years. In fact, I had forgotten all about her and when she resurfaced in my new colony, with her twin sisters and their dogs, my "best friend" and I privately thought she was a snob. Then, by some quirk of fate, it turned out that my friend's parents and Leela's parents knew each other and she had to go there for dinner. She came back raving about how nice Leela was and how many books she had, which is what made me want to be friends with her. (Okay, I'm sorry Leela, but you already know this. I love you now don't I?) We got along immedeatly, though I wasa little antsy about her reserve and her height and she thought I said 'Fuck' at the end of every sentence. But those things apart, we raved about each other to our respective parents and well, they recognised us even if we didn't and so on.

And Leela is brilliant. She's not a very regular correspondant and she won't bother to call for days or weeks or months, even if we're in the same city, but every time we meet it's like we never left off in the middle. Everyone should have friends like that.

My memories of growing up all involve her--how we sat on the lawn outside her house and listened to a sweet boy who was in love with her play his guitar, how we attempted to make marshmallows out of an old recipe and wound up sticking the bowl, pink mess and all into the freezer (her mom had to throw the bowl out eventually, with the spoon still sticking in it). And how we sat up till late in the night, with two of her friends playing cards, and how we wept about bad boyfriends, and how we can just sit, in two corners of a room reading and not talking.

And now look at us, all grown up. Of course our relationship has changed, but it's a good sorta change, you know? We know the word "best friend" really has no meaning, that the idea of a best friend is not the person who you talk to 24/7 or who you call immediatly after momentous events, but someone you can be quiet with or fight with and know that they'll still like you. Someone who will be" happy for you", and not spoil it by jealousy or indifference.

I am blessed with my friends. The old ones who I am not even aware of loving, because it's like breathing and who share all my stories and the new ones who remind me how many nice people there still are. And who have brand new stories to tell me.


  1. i for one CANNOT live without friends for even an hour. i roam around like a zombie when i dont find my friends at our regular "adda", which is a classroom by the way. :D

    man alive! friends rock! just imagine if there werent a concept called "friendship"!! just sends shivers down my spine.

    oops! i commited sacrilege there. some kinda blasphemy. friendship is not a concept. like love, it is better left undefined and abstract.

    and "no anonymous comments"? brilliant idea for ur blog!

  2. im just so glad everyday that i am loved..:)

    friends who truly love you...its like youve found something closer than family.

  3. This post reminded me of my best buddy. He is a towering 6'4" to my oh-so-average 5'9", on the last day of college, he (in a booze induced sadness) sat there on a railway track (not for any reason but to just sit) and cried his eyes out saying he would never be able to meet his best friend again. That was 10 years ago (almost exactly), we're still the greatest of friends and I can't seem to get rid of the pest! :-)

  4. Like 'Dil Chahta Hai', this post of yours evokes memories of good friends and reflects my own experiences.

    'every time we meet it's like we never left off in the middle', yup!

    'how we can just sit, in two corners of a room reading and not talking', yeah!

    'someone you can be quiet with or fight with', bingo!

    Right on, sister! You have nailed that feeling right on its head.

  5. ad: Yes, they most definitely are!

    mandar: You're telling me! Most of my friends are out of town right now and I feel abandoned!

    grafx: Even better than family, coz you get to pick them!

    r: Sat down on the RAILWAY tracks? That sounds like a fun story, do elaborate!

    manish: I loved DCH. I've seen it about a GAZILLION times :) And with my friends too!

  6. Isn't 'almost exactly' an oxymoron? (whoops)

    The details of how we landed up at the railway tracks is kind of murky, when one is sozzled to the gills one rarely pays any attention to minor details. All i remember of that night is looking at the tracks as we sat thinking 'damn the shenkotta passenger is late again' (thankfully so).

  7. Reading through this reminds me of my childhood friend.

    BTW, your last post was highly entertaining! Unfortunately I only read it today.

  8. Good post!

    Friends are easily the best therapy ever known to mankind.

    And I couldn't agree more with you when you say that the hallmark of great friendship is the ability to share silence as well as conversation.


  9. Ah, seems like I missed out on all of the fun of your previous post! :)

    Everyone needs a friend with whom you can go on like you never left off in the middle. An Amazon, 5'11" friend is also good! :)

    And nice Awwww post! :)

  10. I love that the old friends knew the person you were while the new ones know the person you've become. A few special ones know both. Hope the toe is better!

  11. Hope the foot's better :-)
    i had so much catching up to do on your blog for just the one day i was away!


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