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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3 June 2005

Now you just say 'Oh Romeo, you know I used to have a scene with him.'

I like being single, I discovered last night in a drunken moment of clarity. Has there ever been a time when you're so very, very drunk that you're actually very sane and very wise and things around you start to make sense suddenly? This is usually the point in the party where you crawl towards the nearest available wall, to just lean against it, feel the cool plaster against your cheek, murmur sweet nothings to the paint. Before there was a wall, there was a boy who stood there patiently while I crash bombed against his chest, his hand supporting my back, his mouth smiling. But boys are complicated. The walls never ever expect me to behave in certain ways. They don't get pissed off if I stagger from them to other walls. They don't snap at me and say, "You know I really have to get home." They don't get all cold (well, I suppose they already are) and moody and silent and move away from you. The walls are just always there.

K was a little bit like that. He was always there. This is the season I miss him most, well, actually, this is my first summer in two years without him. Last night, almost I called him, and then reminded myself that it wasn't K now that I missed, it was K then. And my phone is pretty cool and all, but it doesn't call 2003.

Why do I like being single? Well, for one, I love the endless possibilities every day can bring. I love the fact that I make plans and break them as I please, without having to worry about hurting someone else's feelings, I love the fact that I can go out in a large group and just focus on me and on enjoying myself, without always having an eye out for someone else. I like being Just eM, not eM-and-anybody-else.

I realised at the beginning of my period of singledom, that I don't really know myself at all. If I were my friend, I'd have no clue how I'd react to a situation, say, or whether I'd like someone I just met. And now I do. Now I know myself and as narcissistic as it may sound--I like myself most days.

I still get lonely. I still yearn after people. But once I realised my essential fear was not being lonely, it was being alone, it got better. I recognise it for what it is, and I try to meet it head on. I would still like to meet someone special and be happy, but I don't want to go into the little bubble of isolation that seems to surround all couples. I like being with the crowd, being me and being absorbed by everything around me, not just one person.

And so, yeah, maybe the break up was the best thing that ever happened to me.


  1. And so little one, like the mighty eM, you too shall one day attain a level of zen that shall be the envy of all. Fear not, train yourself and your thoughts. Follow eM, for she has laid open her path to nirvana for all to see. Be the keen disciple and one day, even though you are single, you shall still be happy.

    Now, go young grasshopper, and conquer this world.

  2. Boys are not that complicated, really. The sad truth is that if you're always left confused and unsure if a boy likes you, chances are he doesn't. Boys who are in love, well, they're pretty obvious.

    You've already listed so many good reasons for being single. Enjoy it while it lasts, because one day you'll look up and there'll be a boy in front of you, ready and waiting to be your wall.

  3. just stop fooling yourself.

  4. was that really Jay?!
    Tip one (of 100): Never sleep with phone. Then will never text sentimental miss you message at early morning hour and feel silly next morning. And... good for you :-)

  5. Boy! It seems I need to learn a lot more about what women want.

  6. I know I shouldn't comment on a comment but I love Jay's line ..."ready and waiting to be your wall". We all need walls for support, doesn't mean it has to be a boyfriend. Some of my best, lean-against-someone-for-support has been with my best friend.

  7. I like the way you put it and I totally agree. Life can be so less complicated without a man!
    You are in TOI today. Congrats!!!

  8. This brought back so many unpleasant memories for me. I can relate to the sudden clarity thing, and I still remember my mind snapping back to me-as-a-functioning-human-being mode. But not without lots of hurt.

  9. Lemme rephrase the last sentence for you.."maybe getting dumped was the best thing for me"

  10. Quite amused at your blog. I suppose we shall wait until you become a thirty something to see how you really feel about being single.

    Blame 'Times of India' for this comment!

  11. Vignesh: First, stop smirking. Second, inner zen cannot be learnt, it must be bestowed!

    satya: What? And I don't write about sex at all!

    jay: Oh Jay. Love your comment. Wish your comment was a blog of its own. When shall I find my wall? *sigh*

    mangs: Thanks for the tip. I do still wake up and check my phone for senti messages. *sigh*

    toe knee: Zats what my blogs here for!:)

    mint: My friends have always been spectacular walls. I love them dearly, I do.

    anumita: Ooh thanks! And please please send link to TOI article, coz I can't find it anywhere!

    box: Awww... sorry, didn't mean to bring back memories. Hey, remember, that WE move on and they stay amoebic forever.

    keep walkin': Thanks. But it might be kinda hard to kiss me though, no?

    anon: Thanks I think! And if you're reading this later, please send me link!

  12. Rom 7:12 So indeed the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
    Rom 7:13 Then has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But sin, that it might appear to be sin, working death in me by that which is good; in order that sin might become exceedingly sinful by the commandment.
    Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
    Rom 7:15 For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.

  13. Office blocks TOI and most sites to keep us working diligently! It's on the 5th page main paper bbay edition. Story by Peter Griffin. You can go to this link and check. You will need to do a quick registration.
    Let me know if you have problems accessing it.

  14. How could you compare men to walls? Were all your experiences with men bizzare? Cmon, there is light on the other side of the moon. There is a saying, "good apples always grow on tree tops". You have to try hard to get hold of one ;)

  15. tama: Why Pink Floyd quote?

    Anumita: Thankfully, my faithful site tracker caught the epaper link! So I just used that. But thank you anyway! :)

    saurabh: Think I'm going to wait for apples to fall down instead.

  16. You don't need to be half of a couple to be a whole person.
    heard that on Oprah.
    great post, eM.keep going!

  17. >sigh< all this is very complicated. When girls say "i like being single" they secretly yearn for more, and it causes a lot of complications. But this might be different, since you had that thought under the clarifying influence of alcohol.

  18. hi im back!

    and trust me girl, singlehood is the BEST! but then im not really a relationship person, so maybe i shouldnt talk.

    and i agree with mint. girlfriends are much better when you need support.

  19. The other half of the saying ... "The ones you easily get are always rotten" :) All the best

  20. Hey eM, congrats for the TOI thingy!

  21. angel: Hope it was the Oprah making you yawn and not me :)

    fingeek: I've heard that a LOT too. But I don't belong to the school of thought that believes in saying one thing and meaning another!

    vishnupriya: Hi, welcome back! And I think I'm rapidly becoming a "non-relationship person" too!

    tama: Ooh now I get it. But I'm not comfortably numb, unfortunately!

    saurabh: Thanks!

    Raxterise: I've had Bridget Jones and Sex And the City, but never Harold Robbins! Why the comparision?

    elf: Thank you! :)

  22. I (hic!) really liked the way you spoke of (hic!) the momemnts of complete (hic!) and utter (burp) clarity that inebriation often brings. And sometimes, being able to write them down in that state is an endless source of any one fothe following the next day:

  23. eM, one more reason why the break-up wis good for you - you seem to write at your best when you're on this subject.



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