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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26 November 2005

If you could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts would tell. Just like a paperback novel, the kind that drugstores sell

On the whole, I find I quite enjoy being an anonymous blogger. Not that I'm still completely, one hundred per cent anonymous though. Quite a few people know who I "really" am. But, on the whole, as long as you can't get to my blog by Googling my name, I'm okay with it.

People often ask me why I choose to be anonymous. Why don't I just like tell the internet what my name is and what I do and all that and stop being so goddamn mysterious about it? It started off as simply a way to protect myself. I never meant this blog to be somewhere I put down erudite theories on life and politics and all. That's for the real world. The Compulsive Confessor was about ME, essentially, my tiny social circle, my little life, what I do for fun, all that. My personal life.

Sure, it leads people to all sorts of conclusions. Clearly, I must be a very frivolous person, seeing how obsessed I am with living a good life, and good god, why must I obssess about boys so much? To which I say, okay. Ya, so that's the way you see me, that I suppose is the price I have to pay for writing about my personal life online anyway. Sometimes people even ask me in real life, how I handle being so "candid". That's the politer ones. The more frank ones just go, "Uh.. so you have your entire life on display for like the whole world to see?"

Baby dolls, I've said this before, and *sigh* I expect I must say it again. This blog, especially since more and more people know who I am, is barely even ten per cent of what is REALLY going on with me. No really. There's shitloads of stuff actually happening to me, which I don't write about. Why? Because there are some things I can't share, because there are some people I'd rather not write about, because by blogging about something, I'm making it open forum for other people to have opinions about it. And there are some times when I don't want another opinion. I'm good to go with my own.

But enough about me. Let's talk instead about the other breed of anonybloggers who exist in cyberspace. Before, there was just us, us Dear Diary-types, we who spilled all gently and delicately to the www. Now, everywhere I look, for all of the people shyly confessing, there's about a hundred anonymous bloggers saying some very rude things. Nasty things, if it comes down to that. And hiding behind their non-identities.

Oh, the internet is a wonderful thing indeed. It allows you to become from fat chick to swimsuit model, from air hostess to rocket scientist, from someone not very popular to someone with a huge online following.But I fear we may have created something which is just burbling under our fingers, ready to explode in our faces at any second and take over the world. There are no hard and fast internet laws. Therefore, I can have my own little blogspot space and someone who thinks I deserve to die, just for being a woman, can have his own. And we're both allowed to say whatever we want to say. Our only censors are ourselves. And while my conscience or inner wisdom may stop me from telling you exactly what happened to me two Saturdays ago (but, oh, it is a good story), other anonybloggers may feel that commenting on someone's site asking them whether they had sex with anyone besides their husbands was clearly the way to go.

I love being anonymous--even partly so. I love the fact that eM is someone else, someone recognised in her own right, someone who isn't connected at first go, with the real life me. eM has her own scene going on, she can say stuff that Real Me would probably find hard to do in person. eM has some semblance of control, she can even fix what other people are saying to her. And at the risk of sounding schizophrenic, eM certainly seems to have less baggage than Real Me.

And I'm sure the flamers enjoy being anonymous too. Why wouldn't they? Here's a perfect opportunity to bitch slap someone who you probably wouldn't have the balls to say anything to in real life.

Small has been telling me how I don't assert myself enough. How I seem to be lacking in self respect. That, internet, is a from-the-heart confession. Which have been somewhat lacking on this blog lately. What exactly am I scared of? That people will connect the stuff I'm saying here and somehow use it to judge me? Well, there's one thing I've come to realise. People are going to judge you, even if you do nothing and say nothing. It's inevitable. So perhaps I should stop hiding and just own up to being me and be upright about it.

Um.. perhaps not today.


  1. everyone has an opinion... but its upto one to care about it or not...

    although anonymity does give u an edge .. an extra bit of courage to write about anything... but does it lend the same amount of credibility ????

  2. Nice post! I cringe when people who dont 'know-know' me bring up my blog in passing conversations...and I was so happy being anonymous! And the more people who know who you are, the more they judge you and the slower your fingers find the letters on the keyboard...but that phase having already been gone through, I am now in the 'screw you, have blogspace, will vent' mode! Keep rockin'!

  3. aww brother. for a fleeting moment there, i thought you were targetting me and i got all indignant and the like. but then i realised, big stinkin' fuck. you say what you want, i have my own opinion and there are some things which society simply doesn't allow you to voice, which is when the blogs begin to ROOOOL!!

  4. Hey em,

    Very well written post. Keep Blogging..

    Have a nice day,


  5. absolutely love this one!
    The internet is a many splendoured thing.(?) and you know what the best part is, the people who have actually discovered you through your blog, and read all about your life - the whole of the archives (one year i think) - and have begun to like you for it, me example. I don't even feel the need to have to find out bout the rest of you.
    If i came face to face with you, maybe , in all probability in fact, i wouldn't recognize you. Unless you'd put down accurate physical descriptions.
    You are eM. And eM pretty much rocks all the way! So there.

  6. personally i'd stick with being anonymous. it's not like stepping out and telling who you are would make what you say any more the truth than it already is. and i really do think being anonymous online allows u that much more freedom in what you say.
    it really does.

    but i have seen for a fact from the blogs i read that showing the world who you are, inevitably makes readers think they're that much closer to you when they're not, and pple start taking liberties with their judgements and the comments they leave.

    even though my anony-mousity is the same level as yours (my friends know it's me, but the strangers have no idea) i'm sticking with it, anyway.

  7. I agree completely (almost). It's about time we think seriously about Internet legislation. At the same time, however, it's important to realize that legislation, even in its most innocuous form, may endanger the very freedom of expression that the Internet makes possible today. Example? China. Ok, so that's an extreme example.

    In my opinion, the law shouldn't decide what one can or cannot say but should instead enforce responsibility for what you do decide to say (or do, or blog; you get the picture).

    "Therefore, I can have my own little blogspot space and someone who thinks I deserve to die, just for being a woman, can have his own."

    Ugly, yes. I hate that as much as you do, but how and where should we draw the line between what is acceptable and what isn't? More importantly, who should be making these decisions?

    You? Me? The government? An independent third party? I dunno.

    Perhaps self-censorship is the only viable solution.

  8. A blog for me should be a place where I record the events of my life and the way they may have affected me, what makes me think, and anything else I find relevant to my existence. As such, I may write about anything and anyone I see fit. I can write about what a jerk I am, I can post your notes to me and dissect them if I want to, and so on. No one can tell me what I can and can’t write about. If, somewhere along the way I happen to display “writing genius”, then all the better.
    -HOWEVER-The fact that I knowingly post those thoughts in a public forum for anyone to read makes me a fair game for review. I would lock my diary if I don’t want creeps and critics thumbing through it with their sticky hands and bad-grammar-pointing-out-fingers. I don't get pissed if you don’t agree with me, or that you think that I am a big shithead. I think your point will be better taken if you'd leave your name (unless you are my brother or something and you are just trying to get a rise out of me, in which case I’m telling mom), but I do welcome all criticism and opinions even if they are diametrically opposite mine. After all, we do live in extremely opinionated times.

  9. From one anonymous to another: are you a lawrencian? I know that's the sort of question that you don't want to answer (given the self-confessed attempt at being anonymous) but I had to ask. The coincidence of mentioning Lovedale in your blog (I mean, who else has heard of Lovedale?) and rediscovering letter-writing in boarding school....I had to ask. And this will be my only question.

  10. Hi eM, I love reading blogs, urz being one. Have got hooked to the extent i dont finsih my day without going thru one of em. I envy the ease with which u guyz put onto blogs all goings-on in ur head, happenings simple and wierd around u...(and am not only talkin bout diary-type confessions). I have tried blogging and failed MISERABLY (miserably uttered with utmost conviction). And now, I am totally content with just readin wat u guyz publish and leaving comments on and by. U doing real goood eM :)...

  11. What a well written post!
    Keep going eM...

  12. well anonymous blogging can be therapeutic also. you can vent out your frustrations, trash someone or some idea, over-come your complexes, exorcise your demons etc etc. surely it helped me a lot when my girl friend dumped me, i was all of that & more of which she accused me that i was lacking.......

    i have been reading your blog for a very long time now & i am posting my comment for the first time. it rocks i have sent the url to lot of my friends. TCs is my fav place as well & i have shifted out of delhi to down south n miss it like crazy man. would love to see more stuff on TCs (its been quite a while u have mentioned TCs)

  13. lalit: I don't think so. On the other hand, if you've been consistent enough, it probably will give you SOME amount of credibility, from people who don't care what your real name is.

    wishfulthinker: Ah, that's a good phase to be in. I sorta entered that phase and then just as quickly exited. I'm thinking time for a re-entry now :)

    delhi's deviant: targetting you? Why? Should I have done? ;)

    traveller: Awwww.. see comments like that make my day!

    ashwin: Hello! And thanks for not being anon! :)

    molcano: I know! And it's like there are so many people who know like so many things, things even my friends might miss, until I remind them, coz it's all there for viewing pleasure :)

    anantya: Exactly. I think so too.

    ragesh: The thing is, like you pointed out, who gets to rule the internet? Not the US surely. And it would be pointless, like in China where they censor everything, because that would just ruin the fun. Who gets to rule the internet? Anyone who wants to, I suppose.

    chameleon: Ah yes, the whole "why talk if you can have a diary" debate. But while I like some of the criticism and I'm all for healthy debate, I don't know whether I should allow vituperative comments on my blog. It is mine, after all, something I put a fair amount of energy into, something I have been building for a while and possibly the only committed relationship I've had this year. Why should I let any old person just ruin that, or a post I've taken a long time over, just so he/she cam get their rocks off?

    anonymous: *sigh* Yes, yes I am. I suppose the Lovedale reference was a red flag! And you? :)

    deepahnika: Oh don't give up! It's good fun! Anyone can do it, all you need is a regular internet connection and an opinion :)

    sunrayz: Thanks! :)

    anon2: Oh I didn't realise anyone missed my TC posts! Yay! I actually haven't been to TC that often recently, but I HAVE been in a social whirl recently that I will blog about soon.

    docs dope: I blog therefore I think

    ttg: Shush! And re: help wanted, while I'm not volunteering, I hope SOMEONE does, coz I'd like to come :)

  14. People are going to judge you, even if you do nothing and say nothing.

    how bloody true. the thing still is, that despite telling yorself that a hundred times, you STILL hold back, take stuff lying down, apologise for everyone else's fault...'cause you're conditioned to it by this time? i am, any way.

    very accurate post, eM. and eM's good enough :)

  15. i guess the whole thing centres around how much you really care abt wat ppl think and say...priorities more than anything else...and as u said, owning up will make the difference...either way...

  16. My blog is not anonymous, and very edgy. Sometimes I pine for the comfort of anonymity, but showing myself has it's advantages too.
    We all have to follow our hearts in these pages.

  17. I dunno why people take issue with anonymity anyway. Telling you my name and my full address wouldn't improve your reading experience.

    But it would affect the way I write - and not in a good way.

  18. yes ...if u write things which people relate to then def ...
    ur reply to Docsdope does raise a question or two ... u know wat I mean


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