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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31 August 2005

Stuff that wouldn't fit in anywhere else so I made one rather disconnected post about it all before I forget

> People I love now include the little kid at the Khel Gaon-Panscheel red light who wiped my windows for me, all the time doing a little balle-balle type jig. I didn't give him money--coz I don't do that--but I usually keep a supply of toffees and chewing gum in my glove compartment for these kids, so I gave him two airline mints, and he sprung up and did the same ecstatic dance all the way down the road. I love the street kids who smile and wheedle, as opposed to the ones that look at me blankly from mucus crusted eyes. Both get toffees, biscuits when I remember to carry the Parle G, sometimes half a plate of sweet potato chaat, but the jokers with their antics get it with my love and gratitude for brightening up a traffic jam. The ones I hate are the ones who ask questions like, "Didi, cigarette?" when I'm smoking and then crowd around giggling, going, "Cigarette-cigarette." They don't get one little thing. Not even love.

> My all time favourite text message on my phone right now is the one Priya sent me. We were talking about wierd Hindi words, and how no one could possibly be speaking pure non-slang type Hindi all the time without giggling and then I had forgotten about this conversation till two days later I got a message going: "By the way the hindi for sex is yawn sambandh...focus on the sound not the spelling... :-)" I love friends who remember messages in context. This made me giggle for many minutes. My favourite text message exchange on the other hand, happened yesterday when Ananya smsed going, "who is hans raj?!?" "A punjabi singer" I messaged back, a little startled. "Are you dating him???" was the next one and I cracked up for so long, I swear my colleagues thought I was a little bit insane. (I had mentioned to Ananya that I had interviewed Hans Raj Hans the other day, but I have noooooo idea why she thinks we're having a scene. Hmmm. Clearly my friends think my job description involves interviewing people in my underwear) Anyway, so I smsed back, going "Absolutely" and she said "Ooh, my parents are going out for dinner, will call and get all the details then." And now she hasn't called, and I'm getting a little worried. I wish there was a sarcasm indicator for text messages.

> House hunting appears to be harder than I thought it would be and I'm most depressed about that so I'm not going to talk about it.

> I'm also happy today because I found an old pair of jeans that I had been looking for forever, my Levi's 567s which are a super fit and I'm wearing them to work and people said they were nice :) Also I found my Milly-Molly-Mandy book which I hadn't read in centuries, so I read that over breakfast. Actually, in my room, under the windows are two built in cabinets with all my kids books in them, so I've been reading all my Five Find Outers and Dog and Mallory Towers books and having an excellent time regressing into childhood. But isn't Darrell a boy's name?

> Speaking of books, I used to have this book, (which also I rediscovered the other day thanks to my wonderful Magic Cabinet and its Time Travelling Portal) called Minou. It's about this little French girl who loses her white cat called Minou and she walks up and down Paris, going, "Has anyone seen Minou? My little Minou?" and it's really, really sad and I swear I cry every time I think of that poor child. And my mom used to do the voice really well also when she read it aloud to me. Anyway, so at the end of the book, that heartless cat has hopped on to a barge and left poor weeping Nanette waiting for her to come back. This is why I'm a dog person.

> Psst, I'm probably heading this-a-way on Sunday. You should also.


  1. Stream of consciousness, I swear. How do you do it?


  2. Okay, anon comments OFF. I forgot to earlier.
    And J.A.P.. thanks :)

  3. ohh! nothing beats finding 'that' old pair of jeans...!

    umm, umm, I didn't quite get the 'sambandh' sms, I am getting old...!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Oh that cat book. My favourite too. Another one was a dog so small - Puffin edition, author Phillipa Pearce... a kid cant have a dog so he has an imaginary dog, then when he is gifted a puppy he cant love that puppy cause he loves the imaginary doggie (till of course warm puppy love wins him over). I still cry when I think of this book. I am a dog lover too. Anyway, why am I rambling, just wanted to say - Glad you are in good spirits again. Next two months will be bad for me (workwise) and I shall miss reading your blog. Take care eM - hope to meet you someday when I next visit Delhi.

  6. coincidence! coincidence! found three old blytons and a tattered copy of hojoborolo--er, anyone heard of it?
    and an old, very nice skirt.
    weird, this.

    er, m? you didn't get the 'world famous in india joke, did you? it's a rather obscure favourite of my friends...

  7. ohh, now I feel lost and away from India. I miss the sms jokes, I really do. You are right, it is world famous in India, my 40 year old cousin knew it !!

  8. sinusoidally: Hate whom? The street kids who ask why I'm smoking? Because they represent all the uncle-jis who satre at me from their windows and think lecherous thoughts. And because it's none of their business.

    menagerie: It was a conversation about hindi words, and we thought it was damn funny that if you only spoke "pure" Hindi, you'd use "yawn sambandh" to describe sex... :)

    lubu; You've read Minou? Really? I know no one who has. And I LOVE Phillipa Pearce. For that reason alone, we should meet up :)

    rimi; I have no idea what hojoborolo is. If someone would elucidate? And speaking of elucidation, an explanation of "world famous in India" would be nice... :)
    But is seems like menagerie knows it, so.. someone tell me inside joke! :)

  9. And if only they were born in more healthy homes where they wouldn't find time to be on the streets because they would be in school learning to be polite gentlemen who would mind their own business...

  10. the anon comment reminds me of this clever take on a spelling thumb rule
    "I before E except after C,
    we sure live in a weird society"

  11. Excuse me for the brazenness but I thought I couldnt help but imagining you as enjoying playing God rolled up in ur comfy car as u rewarded the kids doing that lil jig while being judgemental on kids who u hate coz u think they are being judgemental while noticing u puffin ur cigarette.

  12. Ya, see, THIS is why I knew I shouldn't have posted about that kid. But why the fuck not? It's not playing God, I seriously did love him for brightening up my day. And I'll admit it, I feel no great love for the ones who are pushy and judgemental. I don't, okay? I also hated the beggar who brushed past me the other day and felt me up. And those kids are going to grow up into that beggar. End of story. I believe money, or candy in this case, should be earned, and that dancing kid fucking earned it by dancing.

  13. hey! i re-read james and the giant peach yesterday! aren't kids books the best? so uncomplicated! nice simple words... happy endings... excluding nanette and her cat of course

  14. hojoborolo - sukumar ray. it's a MUSt-read!

  15. I did hink twice before putting that up in ur comments section, mebbe it was something to do with the way u wrote that post (I jut wanted to hear ur side of it) or mebbe it was just me who was being judgemental.
    P.S. I hope those kids dont grow up into that beggar

  16. Wish that you had a camera (or a camera phone) and that you had clicked a snap of that jig.. it is a rarity to find a smile amidst street kids..


  17. vibhu: Have you ever heard that Punjabi remix song? Khud Khushi ki shock ho to kya kare? Good fun :)

    thecure2: No, no. They don't use yawn sambandh? You're talking about the ads with the flowers and all, no?

    shoe fiend: Ooh! Ooh! James and the Giant Peach! And the Twits! And my favourite--Fantastic Mr. Fox! :)

    teleute: Kids book? I'll look out for it.. thank you!! :)

    rohan: I hope so too.

    zofo: I know! It would have made such a fantastic pic too. The ONE day I don't carry my camera. *sigh*

  18. The last time I saw some kids,(I mean really small ones) at the traffic signal, they were doing drugs. I was astonished.

    Like you love memories of Minou, I remember The Adventures of Holly Hobby fondly. Do read it if you get the chance.

  19. Hi em
    The kid doing the jig reminded me of something
    Was in bombay last friday and as my aced cab was making its way through a crowded street, saw under the flyover- next to the 'row bungalow' , that we more often call the bbay slums, a group of street kids getting ready to dance to "govinda alla re" being aired through a loud speaker.
    Amogst them was this one girl who was wearing a prettier rag skirt and had wrapped a piece of cloth around her like a chunni.
    She was dancing more energetically than the rest.
    She was bubbling with confidence.
    She was posing like a princess.
    Brought a smile to my face.
    And did i miss a camera

  20. Awwww it's nice that you give sweets to these streetkids. Are there lots of them in Delhi?

    What I can't STAND are those hooliganish teenagers who run up to you at the traffic lights and insist on cleaning your windshield whether you want it cleaned or not. And if you don't pay them, it's not unheard of for them to snap off your wipers or scratch your car, the bastards.

  21. Yes, Darrell is a boy's name and in fact Enid Blyton's husband's name was Darrell Waters and the Darrell Rivers is a projection of herself apparently!

  22. Hiya eM,

    I faced the dilemma often. If you give money to the kids, you are reinforcing a bad practice. If you don't, well, it makes you feel gulty just the same.

    So I borrowed your idea and bought Chocolates (Perk) to keepin the car for them kids.

  23. Ya, so some people can fuck off. Please. If you're missing the point don't waste my time.

    ab: Drugs? Really? Kids these days, I tell you.

    lemon tree: Don't those things give you joy? I love the fact that they can create happiness out of virtually nothing and we struggle with our advantages.

    luckeyman: Better to give than "refrain from offering any solution" I would think.

    jay: Heh. Here, sometimes kids take out a key and scratch your car if you give them nothing.

    m: Excellent! And they don't have to hand that over to the Beggar Don who takes their earnings also.

  24. nice post, as many of the comments concur, stream of conciousness indeed. I wish i had the option to flat hunt
    BTW, i think i may b headed to this a way on sunday myself


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