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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4 October 2006
In which one realises one's life is not so bad after all, and this is mostly because my cold has gone. Hallelujah!
Anyway, excellent weekend. Saturday spent on furniture shopping (well, sort of, we looked at furniture) with the flatmates, and then for very fun housewarming party of friend, and then Sunday went for concert at the Qutab (Minar, not Hotel) with the qawwali, which was all cultured etc and then quickly degenerated into dance party when Shankar Ehsaan Loy took to the stage and sang "Where's da pardeeeeeee tonight (somewhere down the road!), where's da pardeeeeeee tonight (on the dance floor!)" Which was fun, I admit.
I was thinking about being single this past weekend, mostly because there's this new book of essays out--my mother is one of the contributors, on single-marrieds, which is nice--on singledom. I can't find the link now, but as far as I remember, it's called On Living The Good Life. But. BUT. My one grouse with it was that all the contributors were old people, talking about failed marriages-blah-blah-Suhel-Seth-sex-bathrooms-alone and all that. And by the time I reached the last essay, I was, well, rather depressed. This was not what I wanted my life to turn out to be, a sort of rant against the system, oh poor me, I'm a single woman, but I have friends, and my ex and I still sleep together and you know? If this book was meant to justify that singledom was cooler than coupledom, it didn't really serve the purpose, because the first thing I wanted to do was go and get married.
"You make me miss being single," said an old colleague to me, when I staggered in one morning, still a little pale from the night before and drinking water like it was going out of style. But, not really. For her, missing being single, was missing the all night binges, the possibility that lingered in every evening, the gal pal bonding, all that. But at the end of the day, you receive no validation for being on your lonesome, for running your household by yourself and so on. Another ex-colleague said something once about how we (the single girls) had no excuses for not getting more stories. After all, we had no responsibilities. And, sadly, though I looked daggers, though she took it back etc, I'm sure she still thinks that. Oh, look at her breezing in at noon, all perfumed and low waisted jeans and hungover and oh look at her leaving, all excited about some night out when I have to go home to kids and husband and responsibilities.
Another thing I get a lot of is, "How come you're still single?" It's not that I don't meet boys. I do, really. After a bit, after college anyway, where the only criterion for dating someone was you thought they were hot (seriously, ask most people about their worst relationship ever, and they'll point you at a college/high school romance), you realise that sometimes it's better to be alone than to be with someone you can't talk to. Or hang out with. Or can't imagine introducing to your friends. And so on. It's gotten really complicated now, and mostly, yeah, I prefer my own company, or the company of the smart, intelligent, funny people who I have a platonic relationship with, ya know?
So, there are many things about being single I don't like. It's true. But, as the years go by, and I see that this year, 2006, marks TWO WHOLE YEARS of being pretty much, more or less, on my own, I was thinking this morning of all the things I will miss about being single. I will miss coming home tired and not having any plans, and having the only whisper in my bed from my comfortable lilac flowered comforter which snuggles up to me and lets me sleep without worrying about whether I'm supposed to do a little snogging or, even worse, whether I'm sleeping with my mouth open and there's drool all over my pillow. I will miss watching television in my nightshirt, eating something, and just chilling and knowing my phone isn't going to ring in a bit. I will miss dressing up for me, because that's what I do now, and don't tell me I can still do that when I'm with someone because I know subtly or otherwise their tastes will somehow influence what I wear. I will miss (okay, perhaps only a little) getting to places on my own, and (a LOT) making my own agenda with what I want to do with a free day, and not feel guilty etc about spending time with someone else. I will miss not agonising about someone else, not playing games, feeling grief free and guiltless at all times. This last one, I think I will miss the most.
As for not having reponsibilities, I may not be dealing with family type shit, or parenting, but I do do stuff. I make sure, for instance, that the maid cooks in the morning. I make sure she doesn't make anything the other two don't like. I keep an eye on the groceries and see when we're low on stocks. I check how much water we have in the fridge and always make sure our reserves are okay, when we run out of boiled water. And so on. Small does the technical stuff--getting plumbers, electricians, reminding me when the rent is due and the maid and car cleaning guy need to be paid, remembering at Diwali time that everyone needs to be tipped and all that. Tall has no responsibilties yet, but she's quickly doing grocery type things. And furniture. She's making sure we have more to our living room than just two beanbags. We look out for each other, my flatmates and I, and we may not be married or have given birth to each other, but still, we're, you know, family. And in a single person's world, family is important.