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
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.