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
Sign up for my newsletter: The Internet Personified
25 August 2005
Bimbodom's new Bridgets
Chick-blogs are rapidly gaining in popularity Stephanie Klein (right) writes an alarmingly explicit blog about her life and sexual escapades
KANIKA Gahlaut Mumbai
Chick flick. Chick lit. Now, it's chick-click. WithStephanie Klein, 29, an art director in New York whowrites an alarmingly explicit blog (http://www.stephanieklein.blogs.com/) about her life and sexual escapades, now having got herself a much talkedabout publishing deal, the www woman is finally claiming her status as bimbodom's new Bridget. Blogging, the daily dairy format, has lent itself to musings on chocolate, calories and other neurotic ramblings ever since the advent of the Net.
However,the faithful readers chick-blogs are attracting Technarati, which tracks hits on blogs, puts Klein in the top one percent of all bloggers has to do with a twist they offer to ya ya sister hood.A recent entry on Klein's blog reads: "So even thoughI sometimes wear a tiny black shirt that claimsotherwise, it's really not all about me. There's Abdul of course, who gave me a hand job in the cab, and thenthere's the crush I have on Kim and her tarot cards. When I'm near her, it's all about her."
Chick-clicks worldwide have all the qualities of their predecessors. She suffers from an acute attention-seeking disorder. She is perennially singleand single-mindedly self-indulgent. She is grammatically challenged and confuses similes with punctuation.Yet, her candour is seen as "fresh". Her directness has a lot to do with the medium she writes in. She's the Internet's answer to reality TV, with a lot more sex thrown in. Desperate Housewives can rev up the raunchiness quotient. Bridget Jones will put on extra calories just thinkingabout it. The chick-click scores because she's real, not made up.
In India, where a dress code for college-going girls still calls for heated national debate, blogs are as much a form of catharsis as theyare an outlet for attention deficient females. The mouse, with the anonymity it allows, has them describing one-night stands, vomiting out intimate details with married men in the office. The compulsive confessor (thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot.com), a blogger from Delhi, uses Torquoise Cottage as a hunting ground for hot men and comes home to daal chawal. On her blog, which gets about 200-300 hits per day,she types out memories of her first kiss, "when there's a pause in the conversation that can only be filled by his lips on yours" (it sucked apparently) and an ex-boyfriend pops up in her entries consistently like an Alkaiser pill ("Off to TC again..Even if He Who Shall Not Be Named will be there in allprobability and now we are "friends", K and I whichmeans he has the license to weep to me about his NewGirl, who is tall and fair and has Lisa Loeb spectacles"). Balaji's Tulsi would throw a fit in her Kanjiwaram pallu.
Consider the profile of Bridalbeer(bridalbeer.blogspot.com), a blogger from Calcutta:"Single, 20s, was briefly in love. I was in New York long enough to miss it. Now I am in India, training tobe a wife-for-life to a relative stranger (not a stranger who is a relative, we don't do those)." Onediary entry states: "Every week, like an accountant'sclerk's secretary's intern, I take stock of myWould-Bes."The inventory is stagnating. The most recent Would-Be was a Good Guy. But I knew if I marry him, he willidealise another's wife, a lucky another's maybe unlucky wife, who cooks Home Food for her husbandeveryday."In the sweat of watching the curry cook, shetestifies her love, devotion. I dislike competitionwhen it is so inferior."Political blogs get the highest hits, but niche blogs,such of the chick-click genre, have their own following for the voyeuristic pleasure they offertrackers. Indian chick-click blogs are if you look beyond the grammar and skip over the purple prose a case study on the schizophrenic nature of being young and working in India. It is about being a Sex in the City girl in a Kyunki Sas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi world.
And if Smugbug, a marketing executive from Chennai,fantasises of "meeting a studly Mallu type" on flights ( "sigh, I need to become a frequent flyer to findromance"), another advertising professional fromMadras ( thatonly.blogspot.com), tells her readers, abit needlessly, that "Alcohol is such a strange thing." She continues: "What is it about it that makespeople behave differently? People say what soberness conceals, drunkenness reveals. I'm not so sure... WhenI get drunk I sometimes talk to people I would not even bother saying Hi to otherwise. I bond and laughwithand hug people whose phone numbers I don't know.It makes people I hardly know shove a piece of Lime down my throat. At the same when I get drunk I thinkabout all the people I love and wish they were with me. I think about the men that have broken my heartand feel the pain so intensely and wish they couldfeel how they made me feel."Of course the ranting invites attack.
Killthewomen.blogspot.com is the hawk who swoops in to offer his perspective on the Indian chick click."Westernised women," he says, "have always been thecause of all problems. They make for bad daughters...wives... mothers. Just because they earn some money and are able to snap their fingers at a certain typeof man they tend to assume too much of a misplaced sense of superiority." Compulsive confessor has patented a brand of "semidressed status and high drunkenness."
Smugbug, he speculates, "must be one of those dark-skinned south Indian chicks who uses Fair andLovely on the sly." Bridal beer is "an attention seeking loser."He sums up: "I am just saying that these are a few examples of popular women who need to be publicly lynched as opposed to being indulgent to." You know why, unlike Klein, the Indian chick clicks have not outed themselves yet.
End article, begin me talking
I find it unbelievable that someone could write something like this. I know the journalist, in fact she called me for the story to get a larger perspective on women bloggers. (K, if you're reading this, I'm sorry, but this is what I feel) and I think that she misused it. Completely.
For instance, the whole grammar thing. I don't think I'm Eliza Dolittle. I think my grammar is actually pretty damn sharp. Sharper than saying Turqoise Cottage for instance. And that's just one of the many typos in this article. If you're going to use my name at least use capital letters, let's try it together, shall we? The (capital C) Compulsive (capital C) Confessor. Very good!
And it's all very well writing about first kisses and all. What about the times when I, when all these other fabulous women that have been mentioned write about work? About what stress we face, about being a woman in a country that battles tradition with modernity? About people who hate us for being "modern"? And you're so pandering to that. (Oh it's okay for Stephanie Klein, but as for us Indian women bloggers, oh no, what's that you said, yeah, we haven't outed ourselves yet. Whatever that means) As a journalist, I can't understand the need to prop up a guy who makes a blog out of hating women who are independant and who have a good time.
And hello, this Bridget Jones thing? Has got to stop. I'm so not like Ms. Jones. Do I write about my weight? I do not. Do I write about self help books? I do not. Am I thirty something? I am not. Is my only concern finding a guy or die trying? It is not.
Granted, my blog is frivolous, I'll give her that. I know it is myself. But I thought someone, especially someone who is a fashion correspondant, would get the deeper layers behind the frivolity. Would get that when I write about K., I'm really purging, I'm laying a part of myself on the line. And especially someone who wrote an entire book about a reporter like me.
That's all I'm saying. Anonymous comments are open for this post, it'll be interesting to see if any come in, apart from the usual vitriol that I expect.
UPDATE FROM THE COMMENTS SECTION
Dear CC, My two cents:1. Badly written and largely boring article.2. Your blog does read very much like Bridget Jones.3. You ARE largely attention deficit. Embrace that and deal with it. Denial is not going to help you.4. Whatever she said is (I assume) based on your blogging and not on your writing. It is based on "The Compulsive Confessor" and not on you as a person. Therefore, do not take is so personally.5. Those instances/quotes from your blog are very real. It is something you typed out. You hardly ever blog about work. To a reader, it would seem completely valid. K. is someone you mention ALL THE TIME. You may not trawl TC for hot men, but the blog clearly puts up there for everyone to see, the number of casual intimacies that you've had, lots of them with people you've met AT TC! Lighten up and don't take your blogself so seriously. That is the boon of anonymity.love,An Avid reAder.
Dear Anonymous, Thanks for your comment and much of what you have said is valid and makes sense. It's refreshing to see different points of view on the subject which is why I posted it. Not because I particularly cared for the story, but because I disagreed with what she said and I felt like writing about that.
Seriously, even the rest of you, I re-read this morning and what they say about not writing when you're pissed off is so true because it sounds like I care a lot more than I do, when really the tone I was looking for was cool and cynical and detached. Zen master, I am.
There is another comment I want an answer to though, Annie's take on the whole thing:
Hmmm. Maybe Ms Kanika G would like to answer this - if a 'chick' blogger were to write of other stuff - 'serious' stuff - would their writing still qualify as chick-click? For instance, I'm a young woman writing about work and opinions and my reactions to the world etc. Why do I not qualify as chick blogger? Not chick enough, if I'm not kissing and telling, eh? And if that is your sole criteria for defining 'chick' art (be it movies or literature), why complain?
What IS a chick blog? Any thoughts?