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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21 December 2005
The horror! The horror!
My back hurts. My tummy hurts. Little rhinosauruses (rhinosauri?) are dancing up and down my shoulders. All I want to do is go back to bed, and curl up quietly under my blanket and die.
See. most times I love being a girl. There's nothing cooler. I mean, hello, what's not to love about being of the "fairer sex"?
I'll tell you what's not to love, buddy. The time when your body says, whee, let's drop out half the contents of your uterus through that little hole! Wheeeee! And oooooooh, what does this muscle do?
Twelve years now. Twelve years of "being a woman". Being a woman, my ass. How come no one told me when I signed up for this how painful it was going to be? If you're a guy, you're lucky. You don't feel fat and unattractive and oily skinned and bloated once a month. You don't weep at commercials. (No, really, I've been doing this. That diamond ad where the little kid draws a picture of his mom with some seven arms? I cry like a baby every time that comes on. I even caught myself sniffling at American Pie 2 last night.)
I remember being twelve and back then it was like a competition with me and my friends to see who'd get "down" first. So many nicknames. Down, chumming (Which I hate), that time of the month, (feel free to add more if you know them). And three of my friends alreayd had, including my best friend who came scampering over after school to tell me the fabulous news. We read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Have You Started Yet? only I HADN'T. And I was pissed off. Every morning I'd go to the bathroom and check and nooooooooo. Nothing. Nada.
My mom told me not to worry and that when I did actually get it I wouldn't enjoy it very much, but who listens to their mothers? I didn't. And every morning I'd crawl into my parents bed and tell her, "It still hasn't come. What if it never does?"
Oh, but it did. And for a while I felt grown up and cool and my grandmother sent me money but then, it just became a pain in the ass. Literally. Getting stains on your school skirt was annoying, not being able to swim was annoying, those horrible bulky sanitary towels just interfered with everything.
The cramps started when I was about sixteen, horrible, painful cramps that feel like someone's punched you in the stomach and then goes on and on and on punching you even when you curl up into a ball and whimper. They got so bad I went to see a doctor who said I wans't getting enough exercise. Exercise??? Did she not realise how much effort it was just to crawl out of bed to go to the bathroom?
Screw the exercise, I thought and discovered this fantastic painkiller called Cyclopam which erased the pain in about 15 minutes. Only it was really strong so it made me quite groggy. And I was popping about two or three a day.
My cramps finally vanished around third year college. Well, not vanished, but lessened. Now, all it took was a hot water bottle across my stomach and oh, a hot shower.
Grah. I hate Mother Nature. If after all this I find I am unable to have children, I will sue.
UPDATE, UPDATE!: It will mean all sorts of choices for the next generation of adolescent girls. It will mean being able to customize their cycles to suit their lives. (Maybe she's an athlete who doesn't want to bleed during swim meets. Or maybe she just likes to wear white cotton capris.) It will mean no more tampons, panty liners or maxi pads with wings. No more Midol or hot water bottles. No more feeling not-quite-fresh -- even after a shower.
Thank you, Manu J.