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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11 July 2006

Everything but the girl

I might be getting too old for this, I thought on Friday night, gazing around at all the people milling in the garden going, "Hiiiiii-how-war-you?" Amulya--a friend from college (who also complains I don't blog enough about her, so here ya go)--was having a party at her house, her parents were out of town and she always has parties in a BIG way, with a bartender and pretty blue and pink test tube shots which always, in comparision, make my own BYOB and don't forget the paper glasses and chips parties look very tacky. Amulya's parties are therefore always a success, and mine, meh, it's usually touch-and-go.

Everyone was dressed up, including me, though I had just come from a long stretch of work and no dinner, but I borrowed an apricot summer dress from Small, with what I thought was a halter neck, but it turned out was a cross-back. It's a gorgeous dress, with white batik flowers on it and I thought I looked pretty nice, especially when Taz, brother of another friend from college, wound a string of jasmine flowers around my head. (It didn't look as goofy as it sounds, actually, coz lots of people asked me where I got the flowers, and by the end of it, two friends stole it off my head. But it's a short hair look, really). Amulya looked fabulous as well, in this very opening-credits-from-Sex-And-The City dress, white with a poufy skirt and little white heels and a white bag.

But this was like going back to college, first year or something, I remember Amulya's parties from then--they were pretty much the same huge affairs--usually with someone either crying or throwing up or making out, or all three. (Not the same person, you understand, that would be hard even for my multi-tasking generation). Well, since we're all more grown up now, I don't think there was any of the crying and the throwing up, but it was bizarre seeing the same people in the same place doing pretty much the same thing almost, woah, six years later.

I went with Small and Lily, who I don't think were having as good a time as I was, because despite the whole deja vu thing, there were still some fun people who I hadn't seen in a while, and who share a part of my history---however briefly. So the two of them left around one thirty, but Iggy, who had just arrived said her and her friends would drop me home (I heart living in South Delhi, by the way), so I stayed.

Total headcount by the end of the evening, two men, one woman.

*I've got the power! Dum-dum-dum...dum-dum-dum, I've got the POWER!*

Or maybe it was the flowers. Who knows?

Strangely though, I think it was about three in the morning, Iggy nowhere to be found, boys who were giving me a ride not looking like they were anywhere near leaving, chatting with another boy who it turns out I've known since I was five (!) (Delhi is so small, I'm getting sick of saying what a small world), I realised how this party was different from a similar one six years ago. (Wait for it, revelation moment coming up)

It wasn't them, it was me.

So meeting the same people many years later, looking up through the same dropped eyelash look you perfected when you were seventeen at an old flame now, throwing the same blue shots down your throat and nearly gagging, it wasn't the same because the shot-throwing, eyelash-dropping girl was well, not the same. Does this make sense? It doesn't look like I'm making sense even when I'm writing this, but it's really hard to convey what I felt, how I felt, like I was on a swing, pointing upwards, looking backwards to where I came from. Like looking at something from the wrong end of a telescope. Smaller and within context. Life's greatest moments are when you realise things in context.

In context then, I got home as the sun was rising, too tired to change into nightclothes, stripped out of the dress and passed out in my underwear. I had to open the door for the maid in my towel and had a ferocious hangover for three days, but still. In context, it's all good.

ps: This post was written BEFORE the Mumbai blasts, or possibly, just before I knew about them. We all have friends and relatives in Mumbai, yesterday the network was jammed trying to get through to them. Desi Pundit here has a better round up of the links than I can offer, just know that Bombay is a city I admire deeply, despite all my digs at it (in a versus Delhi battle), so my fingers and toes are crossed for you guys. Terrible times.


  1. In a strange way, it totally makes sense... The problem would have been if u had felt exactly the same way all over again 6 years later...

  2. I have been reading your blog from two days, actually took me two full days to read all the archives. very interesting.. life you have.. i have been partying the same way as you from 16yrs of age and it is 9yrs now, but off late, i dont enjoy it so much(still enjoy it though). reading your blog makes me feel that you go through this feeling sometimes too... I know that this does not sound like a comment but an observation..(TRUE/FALSE)

  3. Your post before this one was brilliant. Especially the abrupt last line.

    Horse is good too.


  4. "I felt, like I was on a swing, pointing upwards, looking backwards to where I came from. Like looking at something from the wrong end of a telescope."


    Maybe, you should start writing a book or something - seriously. Your write's just good.

    here' a request: cud u put up ur professional pieces online? On a diff blog or anything, if u want your confidentiality maintained?


    pls, pls, pls?

  5. Hi eM. I have credited you for the post. Yes, it was your post that gave me the idea for the list. I am sorry for not doing so earlier. It was just a silly slip on my part. Will not happen again. Ever.

  6. *Life's greatest moments are when you realise things in context* That's so true. Anyway, doesn't it feel weird to see things are probably the way it was nine years back? For me things are not the same at all. So sometimes I wish I could experience the same things once more and feel the same way as I did before...

  7. i love mumbai. i cannot tell how isolated and vexing it feels to be stranded in this bland, shackled, sheltered faux existence here in the uk. i mean aiims campus hasbeen the hotbed for revolutionary activity the past months, that's my home! now these bombs. i'm not saying i want to be in on the action because only an idiot uses phrases like that but i don't want to be here. i want to be home. i ant to be in india. i don't want to read affronting westrn newspapers that have one article on the matter. if we were a richer, whiter country perhaps they'd care. i want to be where people share the same anxieties and aspirations. not in the uk. not in usa, though nyc sparkles in my dreams every night. mumbai shines brighter. mumbai is the birthplace of independent neha. i'll tell you why in person. so now i'm going to stop compulsively scouring blogs and newspaper for information or answers. i understand my restlessness. the attack on the mumbai local is an attack on that very freedom i tasted on my first local train ride, alone finding my way to an address i couldn't even mentally map in my head. and it was exhilarating. someone has attempted to tarnish that memory and that possibility. to insitll this 'just in case' weariness in us. yet again. the just in case weariness alludes to thinking twice when u go to a movie theatre on indpendence day or any public holiday or waking up every morning to be innundated with news of bombs and strife and then walkign around crowded public spaces thinking, damn what if someone burst a bomb here.......and someone did.

  8. eM -- the same Amulya I know, or is this another one?

    Speaking of the blasts, I hope things are back to business as usual. That's the biggest insult of all to terrorists, when you just take care of your wounded and dead, and then act like their actions are just a drop in an ocean.

    I always thought that the best thing America could have done after 9/11 would have been been to rebuild the towers exactly the way they were before, as quickly as possible. If the whole country had brought it's resources to bear, in a focused manner, those towers would have been rebuilt in a year. Think of what a psychological blow that would be to any terrorist. Here they are thinking they struck a mighty blow against the infidel, and lo, shit is back to normal, lickity-split.

  9. Were you not the party before the party started?

    Or was that just Barakhamba road?

  10. This isn't relevant to the last entry...just wanted to say its been a pleasure reading your blog (warranted me putting aside a rereading of "East of Eden" which should beread as a compliment)and that reading your blog makes me miss Delhi a lot and I can't wait for the time until I fly home for the last time...


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