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 June 2006

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne


Saying goodbye to friends is tough. It's a little better when they're moving somewhere within the country, like Bombay or Bangalore, because then you know you can call them when you want to, or the trip there and vice versa is just a few hours away. And the ones elsewhere have family in the city, who they'll have to come back and meet anyway. And as a consequence, meet me.

When they move out of the country though, it's worse. But, luckily, in the past, with friends like Leela, her mum is here, and her sisters, so she returns about once a year to say hello, so I know I'll see her as well, eventually. But when Urvashi announced her plans to go to DC and do an MBA, it was startling. For one thing, she has no family here, which means no incentive to return. For another, our friendship, even though we're really close, is pretty new and I don't quite want to give it up just yet. Oh, I know there are emails and occassional trips back and forth but it's just not the same thing. I want all my friends to be right here in Delhi, a drive away, available for coffee and confidences.

So Urvashi leaves this Friday, and the farewell party was on Saturday night. We spent about the whole day organising it--well Urvashi and Iggy did--I just sat in the car and made unhelpful suggestions like, "Ooh, balloons! You should get balloons!" I think all the bustle and the food-ordering and buying the coke and the booze and getting ready and so on was a really good thing because it distracted from the purpose of the party. This was it. The last Saturday night. The last party where we got very drunk and swapped locker room stories in a corner.

Urvashi began getting weepy around midnight, which didn't help bolster my general mood either. I'm seeing her tomorrow, perhaps once more before she leaves, but this is heartbreaking, these long, prolonged farewells. I wish I could've just said, "Okay bye" at the party and not had this list of finals. The Last Cigarette. The Last Hug. The Last Coffee. The last time pulling up to her flat, climbing up those six flights of stairs, sitting in that room, being comfortable and cross-legged.

I wish things didn't have to change. I wish I could press a pause button, to just stop people from going anywhere or doing anything so drastic that they're not the same anymore. I know Life is about Moving On and there's no Growth without Change, but good god, does it always have to be this hard?

I have lists of friends, the inner circle and the outer circle. At this moment, my list of very, very, part-of-my-body-and-mind close friends is about five people. Out of which one isn't here, one is moving and another I see about once every six hundred years despite the fact that we're in the same city. I have new friends sure, but it's nice to be around people who love you. My new friends may like me a whole lot, but they don't love me.

I'll always be here to return to, though, which is a comfort, I suppose. No matter how many people dance in and out of my life, I refuse to change. I'm going to be here in Delhi, at the airport, smiling at the arrivals lounge, with new stories and big hugs.

So hah, universe, you think you've won, but you haven't.

EDIT: In all this saying goodbye and thinking about life and feeling sad, I completely forgot that the blog turns two this month--the 16th to be exact. It's interesting that my life has turned full circle from last year, around this time I was saying just this same thing: I wish I could pause some parts of my life. Not quite full circle I agree, but I do think this year has been momentous for me, in several personal ways. I'm calmer now (I think) more centred (I hope) and just, in general, I feel like I know Me and eM more this year.

I hope you guys stick around till the next anniversary. :) It'll be fun, I promise.


  1. My friend just left too. I wrote about it. And someone commented that going aways mean coming backs too, and the going away makes the coming back more precious. And I know it's a cliche, but it's true. So, drink to the coming back. And all the "lasts" will soon just be a series of many "firsts".

  2. I fucking loved the way your post ended. With your permission I'm going to use it sometime! :)

  3. i'll look for you when i come to the delhi airport the next time round, stranger.

    i miss my urvashi too.. it's been a long time

  4. Poignant to say the very least. As you get older you will find change sneak up on you without really noticing it - and most of it is good stuff, like new faces, places and activity. For the bad stuff you can always kick the universe in the bum!

  5. Used to be part of a large group in PV, Gurgaon which disintegrated when some people emigrated to Australia and Dubai,while others went to the UK and Canada to study..

    The few that remain rarely meet and never show any inclination to either..
    even the msn group that was founded lies in abject negelect

  6. They come back, too. Not just for visits, but for good.
    Hold on to that thought. And hope YOU are here when they come back.

  7. Aww that's ok *Hug*

    I like the last part. Reminds me really of the lines -- "Men may come and men may but I go on forever..."

    And remember that you have a Small in your life. The Smalls in my life are not even there with me. It feels bad.

  8. been reading you and always will.

    I have parted from my best friend too. She was in BAngalore and in another city now in India. She is waiting for her visa to join her husband in the States. I know I'll miss her terribly but I pray that the visa gets done fast enough to dismiss her from this country.

  9. Heylo! I've been dropping by your blog for quite sometime now...I've just started working and since there's not much to be done, I sometimes go archive reading....don't mean to sound like ms.prying eyes, so thought I might as well crawl out of my sneaky existence and say heylo!! :)You've a neat writing style( how do u tell a person he/she has a nice blog?)I for one, don't know!Will keep dropping by.

  10. I left home five years ago .. all my heart -soul friends are home.. together with my brothers.. I have made a life away from home.. but however beautiful it seems.. U wan to be with pple whu can be yourself with .. Pple whu know what is happenin when u say hello ..actually in a roundaabout way, I am saying.. tt friendships last ..they change .. but they last .. good luck with the changes..

  11. awww!!! my friends left too :( we studied in delhi and im the only one left here now.. sigh.. your blog summed it up perfectly... although im worse off - i wont be around in delhi longer than a year myself.. so then i'll meet all my friends in sixty thousand years :((

    oh well. life's live that! will be back, loved your blog :)

  12. Nice post... Reminded me of when I got a job and moved away.

  13. You are blantantly honest. I love it, will come back later to read some more.

  14. "I wish things didn't have to change. I wish I could press a pause button, to just stop people from going anywhere or doing anything so drastic that they're not the same anymore. I know Life is about Moving On and there's no Growth without Change, but good god, does it always have to be this hard?"

    I identify wid this :(


  15. all power to your writes.

    I've been a compulsive reader, and do quote you often, unintentionally though.

    Lage raho.

  16. I'll always be here to return to, though, which is a comfort, I suppose. No matter how many people dance in and out of my life, I refuse to change.

    That's a beautiful sentiment. Your friends are very lucky to have you, no matter where they are!

  17. aah..its funny I was thinking on the lines of how things change so the circle of friends keeps changing..the harder we hold on to the old ones..the quicker they slip away...!

  18. which circle do i fit in? i'll be back in saddi dilli this sunday. woe is me, i thought i was flying back on saturday and then yday blear-eye and drunk i peered at the ticker on m comp and counted. thursday's the 13th,which means (the wheelsmoving ever so slowly) friday's the 14th....saturday (still hoping that it wld miraculosly be the 16th) is the 15th. pause. reflection. tears. fighting back tears. and then uncontrollable giggles. imagine landing up in burmingaon airport on saturday at 7 am with nowhere to go!! and then grief another day here. i am so restive. the blasts have fermented this desire to return. a year abroad is enough. i need to live by myself of course but i can't be here anymore. the uk is so tame in comparison to india anyway. by the by, martin saga continues, will come and pour my venom into a glass of wine and billows of smoke. i promise.
    ou'll be surprised by how much your new friends love you. you're vexing at times, but you're you and we all have our personality flaws. they don't call me mad-eye mehra for nothing! ;)

  19. I'll leave for another country soon. I don't know what I feel. Almost every day I stop and think about whether I made the right choice.


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