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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9 June 2006

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1) Before I begin, I'd like to point to this post by Vishnupriya, which I absolutely loved. The best backlash to He Who Shall Not Be Linked To, by me anyway, that I have seen so far. These games, speaking of the Troll Under The Bridge (I'm loving the different pseudonyms I'm finding for the Bird Of Prey, though more vulturesque than Noble Bird if you ask me) are fun and all, but I can't help but get the feeling that he's not very sure what he's going to do with the "teams" once he's got them together. I think the main idea was to get us to fight with each other for his brilliant feathered trophy, whatever it was, while he sat back like a Puppet Master and watched us. But, no, really, Mr. I Can Shit On Your Head, what makes you think we feel any other emotion but pure, plain and simple amusement?

2) Also, Jabberwock has already pointed this out, but do, do pick up this month's First City for a lovely, pink-templated interview with little old me! (And of course, some superhero type writers and bloggers, but still.. me!) What can you expect? Here's an excerpt:

First: wot do u say when ppl say, 'so u're eM!'

me: i say, "why do you sound so surprised?" :)
i guess they expect me to be superhot, coz i had this one friend i met at a blogger's meet actually and he told me he expected me to look like a "delhi girl"

First: a lot of the times u KNOW ur readers, right? that weird? or cool?

me: a little weird

First: wots a "delhi girl

me: coz i'll be talking to someone and saying something and they'll say, "ya we read it on your blog" i think he meant your stereotypical armpit-bag streaked hair, slightly pear shaped women

First: wots the worst thing abt blogging? s\'thing u wish u cud wish away?

me: ooh good question. i wish sometimes, but only rarely, that it wasn\'t so ACCESSIBLE, that only people with a certain personality and wavelength would be able to see it. like magic.

Fun, no? Read the whole thing.

3) And, ta-dah, presenting eM's all time favourite emails EVER recieved on this blog. (Coz I suck at replying to them, although, I HAVE replied to some, only coz it was the kind of day I felt like replying to emails and I know I'm terrible and I'm SORRY so please don't stop writing to me!)

From: ineffably dumb: You're gorgeous :)

Not surprising why this one makes the cut, now is it? :) Flattery will get you everywhere!

From: Charlie Brown

you asked for a whisper ..

somewhere someone
to play
the song

the wrong song

at the right time
and we
out of a rut
and into the night

of falling stars
your constellation
i believe
was called


so obscure
when i rang
your number
and the
voice said

after some time

you were
trying on some
new shoes
(the blue shoes)
that i pretended to like

the footpath was so hot
that i just
for the cold marble floor
of my
bed room


right pop song
with the
"ooh la la
ooh la-la-la"
in the background

i'm not sure why i'm sending you this.


This was beautiful. Even better on re-reading. Thank you.

From: izzy stradlin

hey, i'm a guy along with a few of my friends (all guys) - we were kinda looking to get into TC, coz they dont let u in unless u hv a girl on u, and we're sick n tired of going to tgif, and for that matter, dont even know too many places otherwise.
cud u sneak us in - say , saturday night?

This one made me giggle for a WHILE! Original. :)

From: broken down

i'm a confused soul, mostly coz i went to an all boys school followed by iit n then iim. hence a loser on the chick front, well, not exactly loser, but low on understanding certain kinda stuff.
had a question - u mentioned a guy u cud watch a dvd in ur pyjamas with and a guy u'd want for a fling. whats the difference between the two? and what kinda guy wud u fall in say, love with.
err - i'd like to state that i'm not trying to hit on u, or make conversation, infact i'm miles away from delhi, and i kinda hv a girlfriend, just that we've been in different countries for abt a year - and now strain's beginning to show.

Oh, I feel bad about not replying to this one. Honest. Open floor, what's your take?

From: Aveek

Dear eM,Hi, Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste...:)Thought I'd start with a little line from a song considering thats how you start you post, almost all of which I have read and I have enjoyed to the 'mostest'. I've read it like a story book, all your adventures, your love-life tales, your happy times, the sad times, the flings, the dumps, the parties, the people, the world as you see it. I felt as if I was there, that by some ungodly means I had a sex transplant and I was a woman. That I had a boyfriend and I felt the pain you went through. When you were happy, I smiled. When there was a funny moment, I'd laugh looking at the monitor and someone would think I've finally lost my marbles. Most of the good book I've read have been written by dead poets and the ones that were written by live authors aren't something to write home about but when I read your blog, I feel the writing as if i have written it.Seriously. And I know its weird but that just goes to show what an amazing writer you And for that, I want to thank you. Thank you for your blog and I hope you never stop blogging, you'll always have a reader in me.

i really don't do such emotional letters but you deserve this. you totally rock.

This made my century. Marry me.

From: Sindhu

Hey there Compulsive Confessor, Ok, I'm not sure to what extent you entertain mails from total strangers [especially when they're not from the opposite sex :) ] but having followed your blog for quite a while now (I think I've read pretty everything you've posted so far), there are quite a few things I've been wanting to say in response. This isn't specifically directed at you actually - a better place for this would probably be your blog but I doubt this would fit into the rather economically-sized comments section. Besides, I don't usually do this - write to total strangers, that is. In fact, I've never done this before (not counting that South African pen-pal I once had) so well, this is the first of its kind. Here goes.

Oh, but before I go on, this is going to be long, so if you're not in the mood to read long mails now, just keep this for later or something. I hope you won't just delete this off because I've put quite a bit of thought and time into this. Perhaps a little introduction is in order. I'm a girl about your age and I wish I could say I were a journalist too, since that's one of the things i've always wanted to do but well I'm not so .. phooey.

I'm Indian, though i've never really lived in India. I've grown up mostly in Singapore, where I'm writing this from (yeah i'm one of those visitors from Singapore that really neat visitors' country tracker thing on your blog shows). So here's where I start getting to the point - Having grown up away from India, I've had a very unenlightened perspective of how young people grow up there. I was under the impression that kids in India were generally very sheltered and grew up in suffocatingly conservative households where even normal things like dating and hanging out too much with friends was considered immoral or something (and my mother still makes me wear only salwar kameezes when we visit chennai).

Sure it's hard to generalise, India being as huge and diverse as it is, with people in the different strata of it's multi-layered society having to contend with different issues and problems. Unfortunately, as foreigners we get little insight to what things are really like for people living and growing up there. All we have here are newspaper headlines and of course bollywood, which I suppose is hardly anything to go by, seeing as how it portrays foreign Indian girls as uber-modern-to-the-point-of-slutty chicks that would readily pounce into the laps of any men with laps empty enough to be pounced upon.

So you can imagine my, well, taken-abackness upon having my eyes opened to how much the culture in some parts of India has evolved to accommodate such liberal-ness (I'm sure that isn't a word, but you get the point) towards sexual practices. What happened to the traditional Indian morals or whatever that we foreign girls are constantly accused of not upholding? Well my intention here isn't so much to question the deterioration of Indian morals in India. Personally, I think the whole concept of "Indian Morals" is just blatant hypocrisy and denial meshed together to form some sort of veil to obscure the truth, so I don't care much for upholding indian morals just for the sake of it. After I got over the reality that indian youth aren't as sheltered as I had always naively thought they were, other issues started bothering me. Like sleeping with people you "fancy the pants off of". I don't mean to sound too affected, but you guys do that? However I look at it, it doesn't seem right. Flings, one-night stands ? Not cool man. It's not about morals. It's about attitudes towards people. Yes, we all go through phases of feeling low, being in rebound, being in need of constant external validation, and sometimes just wanting to do something outrageous. But the trick lies in braving it out and drawing strength from yourself to get through it, doesn't it?

What challenges do temptations pose when you just give in to them most of the time? It's natural to go throw spells of rapidly getting close to people and then growing apart just as quickly. Sometimes, circumstances just grab you by the collar and shove you to places you didn't think you'd go. But I think this use-and-chuck mentality which makes people think it's ok to sleep with someone for the sake of wanting some temporary outlet is, in my humble opinion, quite unhealthy. So is relationship-hopping, which seems to be frighteningly prevalent there. I'm sure no one does it for the sake of it, but I'm unable to understand why people don't put a little more thought into something as serious as relationships.

Granted, few people get it right the first time, but there's got to be some limits surely? When you invest in relationships and then leave them, a little bit of you is lost there. You walk out with more missing pieces than before and hurt and scars and everything. Sometimes it's inevitable, but often it isn't. And finally when you meet The One, you'll wish you'd kept it all for him - your innocence, your affections, yourself, entirely and completely for him alone, because he would deserve nothing less, being The One. And when I say you I don't mean you, personally - just you, in general, you know. Well anyway. I hope I'm not coming across as trying to advise you or something because I totally am not. Neither am I implying that you're bad or anything. If I thought you were, I wouldn't bother writing this in the first place. I enjoy reading your blog, for the most part and love the way I get to see things I'd otherwise never get to see, through this lens you've neatly crafted. Your writing is intelligent and engaging and I find myself identifying with most of your thoughts. It's almost as though i've gotten to know you or something to some extent. Weird. Here ends this long mail finally. On a different note, i'd like to state for the record, that siblings are not solely for entertainment purposes :) I don't know what I'd do sometimes without mine.

And burning urself in smoke isn't sexy, no matter how smoothly or skillfully you wield the cigarrette. I hope you guys don't regret it someday when you find yourself being in a position where you have a lot more to lose. Best regards from this compulsive reader.
Keep writing !

p.s: Vikram Seth is gay ? I love that guy !
p.p.s: I've commented as Sirisha once or twice on your blog. So yeah, that's me

Wonderful. I LOVED this email.

Part two later.


  1. What a brilliant idea for a post! I wish my readers sent me such wonderful emails. But question: do these kinds of mails (i actually mean the last two) make the troll-mails worth it?

  2. Just came accross the First City Interview..

    You are now officially "World Famous in India"

  3. wealth and taste. thats good one. so sad. i'll use it sometime.

  4. Interviews, Well written mails and Team Captain??!! You are such an over achiever!
    And I loved the earlier post. I realize that Moto Razr has contributed significantly to my coolness quotient among my 4-6 year old nephews and nieces. At least in some part of the world I am cool, that must count! :)

  5. oh, I love vishnupriyas' idea!

    and that dumb hawk has not profiled team three yet.....sniff.....sniff...

    I wonder what 'games' he has up his sleeve..

  6. First I would like to answer the question: a guy u cud watch a dvd in ur pyjamas with and a guy u'd want for a fling. whats the difference between the two?

    A guy that I would want for a fling - that would mean that he is someone who I can afford to lose. Even if we never contact each other, I would not feel the sense of loss/devastation. (Maybe a pinch because I am after all a girl who is quite senti) We will only connect for that short period of time. Kind of like fireworks really. Then we move on the next batch of firework if we so inclined.

    A guy that I would watch dvd in my pyjamas with- He is someone whom I am very comfortable. I most probably love him (in the romantic sense or in the very good-friends- sense) I can laugh like a goon with him, I can share lots of stuff with him. He most probably can take my shit, my temper and my moodiness. And if anything bad ever happens to the relationship between that guy and I, I will feel hurt/agonised.

    Sorry for the longish comment.

  7. Ahem.
    Excuse me, there's nothing wrong with giving a 'foul-mouthed youngster' some free publicity.

    This is the 'friend' who thought you'd be a Delhi Girl. Huh!

    And I object to be being called a 'friend'. How f-ing generic. Come up with something better. Sheesh.

  8. So when does part 2 come out?

  9. aw, eM! How could you?! I feel supremely touched and embarassed at the same time. I sent that mail so long ago .... I thought you never even read it!

    And I sound like a total baby, being all like oohhh smoking is bad, sleeping with random men is bad, blah blah blah.

    As for your remark that you LOVED the mail, I can only hope it wasn't sarcasm.

    Now I don't even know what to say.




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