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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7 July 2005
Daddy come quick, the dreaming tree has died, I can't find my way home, there is no place to hide
It's been one of those weeks. Hell, it's been one of those months. Nothing really concrete, but still a sort of restlessness fills my soul. But really, who am I to talk of restlessness? What have I done, what have I forsaken, have I even any right to unhappiness? In the larger scheme of things I'm nothing, not even the dust speck, nothing. Who have I even made a difference too? And don't say my family, because I'm sure if I hadn't been me, if I had been someone else say, a boy, or a twin or something, I would have been equally loved. My being loved by my family is only because of a quirk of fate, because I happened to be born to them. And other than that, I can think of no one who it would supremely affect, whether I was on this planet or whether I simply never existed. And that is what is sad.
Forgive me the introspection. It's been raining a lot, usually just a steady damp drizzle and it's the sort of weather where your emotions are set on yo-yo mode. Sometimes driving along with the music high I feel happy-happy-happy, other times I'm all about the romance and I look at everything with liquid eyes and then there are times like this when I'm terribly morose and think about the whole who-am-i-and-what-am-i-doing-here.
Friends return this month, many friends and a cousin and her family will come to stay in our tiny apartment on Monday. She is my only girl cousin and she is supersmart and I think is studying medicine. Of course, you must know that I am probably the underachiever of the family, choosing not to do engineering or medicine or even be a pilot or do a double degree at Wharton but satisfied with my little B.A from my little Indian college. Luckily, this cousin is from my dad's side, where I am the oldest (she comes right after me, age-wise) and so the rest are all too young to be thinking about career moves etc. But I am assured that they are all very smart and will in all likelihood choose a profession that makes them money, rather than something like mine. A distant uncle asked me once at a family gathering how much money I made and really, what makes it okay for people to ask questions like that? I don't know him, sure, he might have once held me when I was a baby, or been at my parent's wedding, but still I don't know him and therefore it's not okay. It's not okay even from my own immediate extended family, but there at least I know they're asking me out of some modicum of concern, not because they want to use it over the next club meeting or something, looking up from over their Scotch and going, "Oh you know, so-and-so's daughter? The one who lives in Delhi? Well, she only makes this much money," and a whole variety of old men will shake their heads over my fate and congratulate themselves that their own granddaughters are married to NRI's with a six-figure salary in *hushed whisper* dollars. (In case you're wondering, I didn't tell him how much money I made. I used an old trick I had learnt in Reader's Digest, about when people ask you personal questions. I simply smiled at him and said sweetly, "Why do you want to know?" Unfortunately, this was too subtle for the old man, so he pushed some more. This time I switched off the smile and said, "I earn enough" and then my grandfather came to my rescue saying, "Now that's not a polite question" and all the other old men agreed.)
Tonight I go for an art-and-fashion-show, a concept which I haven't figured out yet. So you have serious stuff, like paintings and you have frivolous stuff like clothes and yeah, in what world do you club them together? (In a world where you want publicity from all sorts of media people, that's where) It's at some new mall, or as the invite says, "Delhi's newest entertainment centre" which is (hold your breath) right here in East Delhi, my side of town. I can't imagine designers here though, or the p3p type so used to their South Delhi cloisters actually venturing here or telling their drivers, "Lakshmi Nagar le jao". The drivers, who probably live in this part of town, will be amazed and awestruck that their five-star Madams are venturing into their territory.
And last night, very bored I went into a Yahoo chatroom where I spoke to three boys, all of whom wanted to have sex with me and I played a little game to see how fast I could get rid of them. The first one was easy, he asked me my "hight" and I said, "4'3"". There was a long pause. "And ur size" was the next question. "Large" I typed back and he vanished. Boy 2 wanted to know if I had ever had sex. "Have you?" I asked him. "yes" he said proudly. "Oh good for you!" I applauded and he said again "Have u had sex?" Persistant sort of chap. "Actually I'm gay" I told him. "But u said you were f!" he typed back alarmed and when I said "so?" he vanished. So much for them. Boy Three was a little harder to shake, he asked how old I was, I said 24, he said "married?" I said, "yes twice" he asked how that was possible when I was only 24, I said my first marriage was at 14 and my second at 20. Then I said it was part of my community. He asked why I left the first husband, I said because he beat me. There was a long pause and then he asked me hopefully whether I had ever had sex. I said no, my family didn't believe in sex. Then I added, "We're Catholic". "Oh" he typed and then "Are you virgian". What's a virgian?" I asked. "Someone who hasn't had sex or even mastyrbate". And then I left. Still two out of three isn't bad.
Now I feel a little more capable of facing my day. I think the venting helps. By the way, the picture was taken this morning, on my balcony, when the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I quite like it.