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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23 January 2007

Woman is a social animal (a post in two parts) (and one very outraged update)

Part The First

My friend Sarnath who recently broke many hearts by getting married is releasing his book on Wednesday, January 24th at the British Council, New Delhi. It should be a fun launch and it makes me most homesick and heartsick to think that I will miss it, but c'est la vie I suppose. Anyway, for the rest of you lucky Delhizens, The Barn Owl's Wondrous Capers is being launched with The Barn Owl's Abandoned Opera, with live performances and audio visual presentations and oh dear God I do not think I can go on any more without impaling myself on something. It's 8 pm on Wednesday, to get in you need to print out a copy of the invite, which is on his website. (I've been trying for a while to get images to appear here, but something's up with Blogger). He will, thanks to dire threats from me, be launching it in Bombay too, I think, but I don't know the deets on that yet. Still, there will be pretty people and cheap wine and canapes and BC launches are always my favourite. (The Habitat launches aren't so much fun because they never serve alcohol). I've seen bits and pieces of the graphic novel because Sarnath's other great redeeming quality is that if you're nearabouts his neighbourhood and he's home, he will give you (well, me, at any rate) a glass of wine or Old Monk and Coke and a pile of comic books and jazz in the background and work on his stuff while you happily read, curled up into a chair, stopping only when the two of you are rather buzzed to make high, philosophical statements. So, it's a good book. And go, do. The more the merrier.

Part The Second

Going out in Bombay is similar to going out in Delhi. Except even Tuesday nights have crowded places. And the roads when you spill out alcohol full and last-ordered are still busy and bustling. Which is nice, especially when you're going against your essential Delhi girl reflexes and climbing into an auto past dark--past midnight. Maybe that's the reason women in Bombay look so much more confident, they walk differently too, arms swinging, chests out, hips sashaying, as opposed to me, who still walks with my arms crossed over my chest, ready to swing around and slap anyone who tries to get fresh. But, I think defensively, as I pass these creatures, they wouldn't last a week in Delhi.

I've lost track though, of the things I've been doing, since I have been going out practically every single night. Let's see, if I go backwards, maybe that would be easier. So last night, me and my friend Sameer decided to go out for dinner. He called just as I was awakening from my second nap of the day, thanks to being up till five the previous morning. Sick and hungover-y, I still managed to crawl into a cab and crawl out into his house, but the pizza place we were aiming for had like an hour waiting time and so we walked (he walked, I hobbled, somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday evening I seem to have dislocated my hip) to look for some place that didn't have any waiting, but yeah, Sundays. So we went to very nice (but VERY expensive) place called Indigo, where we sat in the longue upstairs, and listened to the very animated man across from us, giving his friend the details on the last time he saw his lover Charlie, before he died. Sameer and I were too busy eating the carrot and cucumber sticks that were on the table to talk to each other, so by the end of it, I knew all about Charlie. Including that his sister was lesbian, making me wonder whether it was like a genetic trait or something.

It wasn't my only run-in with gay men this weekend though. The night before, me and the Boys (because my new friends in Bombay with one notable exception who I will come to in a bit) are all male. Which is nice, because I enjoy being the token girl, but it also means I now know faaaaar more about how men think than I really wanted to. Some amounts of mystery should be preserved, don't you think? We were at Zenzi, sitting by the bar, twirling on the bar stools (okay, just me) and getting happily minding-our-own-business drunk. And this bunch of men behind us were trying to get the attention of the bartender. (And this may have been said before about Zenzi, in fact, I'm almost certain it has, but the service SUCKS. I had to stand on my stool to get attention and even then, our drinks were very hard to hunt down. Maybe they're understaffed? Also, it seems to be the firang hangout in that neighbourhood. True?) Anyway, they ordered a bottle of Rose and took a look at the Boys. "I hate straight men," said one, "They drink beer!" "True," said another, "But we're richer than they are." Then one leaned across to Sameer who was trying to pretend like he wasn't listening, and said, "You're far too handsome to be hanging out with them." I, of course, found this entire thing most amusing, because in typical heterosexual male fashion the three men I was with looked like they were going to run screaming, "Cooooooties!" out of the place any second.

The night before that, I had a DATE. Okay, perhaps not so much a date-date than two single people of the opposite sex going out for a drink, but isn't it so much easier to just say date? Yes? I just joined a book club, and my first ever meeting was Friday night and it was immense fun, only I didn't have anything to do after, which on a Friday night and in my world is unforgivable. So, after some texting back and forth the night before, the Date and I decided to meet up the next day and go to this newish place called Aurrus (single r? Double r?) for dinner and drinks. It's a really nice restaurant, with a porch like area outside right on the beach, which you can go look at and admire the moonlight and the planes passing over your head and so on. We talked for quite a bit, avoided looking at the hypnotic wallpaper inside (because if you look at it out of the corner of your eye it looks as if the wall is coming straight at you, which makes you think you've drunk more than you actually have), and yes, Friday night date night went well.

On to Thursday. Thursday, me and the previously mentioned Gal Pal, X, did a girl's night out, which we had been promising each other for quite a bit. We went to another place looking over the sea, one of X's most favourite places in this city-- Vie (which looks like it should be pronounced 'vy' as in to vie with each other, but is, in actuality pronounced vee, like the letter. Both names make not much sense as the title for a nightclub, but hey, what do I know about these things.) where all the waiters knew her and it was nice having everyone stop by and say hello and drinking our LIITs and bitching about boys and talking about our past relationships and oh, women are the best. We realised how spookily similar we are (read: we both discovered the inner psycho in the other person) and did the ultimate gal pal accolade, that if one or the other of us was a boy, we'd totally date.

Wednesday, Wednesday, did I go out Wednesday? Oh, of course I did. Shark Tooth and I did flatmate bonding and went out for dinner and drinks (the number of times I am writing "and drinks" in this post is beginning to frighten me a little) where we discussed the pros (mainly) and cons (hardly) of living together. It's going well, the two of us, even though we barely see each other, seeing as he's up before I wake up and I'm home after he goes to sleep. In fact, the last time I saw him was Saturday. Hmmm.

Tuesday, Sameer and I went out again (or since I'm going backwards, it shouldn't be again, right?) to Not Just Jazz By The Bay, after spending a hectic evening bookshopping. We went to Strand, which is a lovely bookstore, and where I found this set of books I've been searching for for nine years--the Bharati Vidya Bhawan publication of Krishna Avatara--a set of seven, very easily written and if you find it and you're into Hindu mythology you should totally pick it up. He works quite close to where I do, so we rendezvoused.

Ah, finally Monday. Monday was most exciting, because it was my first brush with Bollywood Glitz when we went karaoke singing. And there in the crowded little restaurant was Malaika Arora Khan and Arbaaz Khan and Amrita Arora and they played Chaiyya Chaiyya and Malaika Arora Khan got up on the table and danced and it was so cool! I felt most touristy. Oh, and we sang Bohemian Rhapsody and I nailed it, holding the mic, singing like a pro and people gave me thumbs up from across the room and I felt like a star. Lalalalala. (I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me, he's just a poor boy, from a poor family, mama mia, mama mia, mama mia figarooooooooo)

So, that's been my week. And this week, I relax and detox. And maybe, just maybe (fingers crossed etc) I get to go home for the upcoming long weekend.

THE OUTRAGED UPDATE: We wuz robbed! No really, look at this! I insIST you examine it closely. Here's the link again. Looks familar? Of course it does! IT'S BLOODY ME. What am I doing on Dusk Diary, whatever the fuck that is? Does no one believe in someone's own property anymore? More importantly, how can I bring this bitch DOWN? Any suggestions? Reader, I turn to you in my moment of angst.

I feel so... used. *covers up with towel and scurries indoors*


  1. Hey, Strand is having an awesomme book sale happenin @ C'gate, check it out while you can if u havent already...some neat stuff there...

  2. yes, the number of times u write "and drinks" is worrying me too! and the fact that i worry about an unknown eM who I only thru her blog, is worrying me even more!

  3. Cooooool!!! I have been reading ur blogs like crazy and expecting more... So you say i will get to know where i shud go if I come to Mumbai. I have become obsessed with Delhi after reading your blogs and now think I will be of Mumbai..

    Keep Writing!!!!

  4. This looks a good place to drop bye and get to know about all the coolest place in Mumbai. :)

  5. Yes, you are a social animal...:)

    Glad to see you are having fun...soon you can post a review on the best places to go to in Mumbai ... :)

  6. totallement happening. qui peut dire que tu n'es pas une Mumbai-ite.
    Inspite of all the years in Mumbai, I have myself not been to all the places mentioned. The next time, I will.

  7. yes, considering i chanced upon your blog six months back whilst searching for Delhi-tattoo-parlour-reviews, during my short-yet-eventful sabbatical in Delhi (whyforidontknow)...*whew*...and of course, just loved you, rather your delightfully quirky take on life, which made my stay there just a bit more fun...AND now that I'm back in Bombay and for a strange reason am so glad you're here & I will revel in your cynicism and not so cynicism in the Bombaiyya context...yes..
    live it up and spread the joie de vivre!
    p.s. keep the insights on places going

  8. woah! which Karaoke place was it where you ran into Malaika Arora Khan?? I thought Jazz by the Bay was the only Karaoke place in town..

  9. yay you lived a week. ok double yay coz you managed a bollywood sighting. :)
    now how about a fun post?

  10. ooo sarnath's stuff seems awesome. you shall source it for when (and if) i come to mumbai meri jaan. iggy, benny and i have decided to move to the city next year fo shizzle before all the lay-dee-dahs get married off for one year of grand single living. after which it shall be back to europe for me. i've decided eM i can put off this phd for only so long. i enjoy being a professional student you know.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. oh for the love of god. where are all these trolls coming from? are they all just one troll? or is my being in bombay attracting multiple trolling? go away, trolls.

  13. Yay! And I'll be coming home soon. Have plugged my nostrils in anticipation!

  14. damn, woman.
    i love this city but the way you describe it, it sounds even more fascinating.

  15. you know em, you are the most upbeat and positive blogger i relate to. i'd love to meet you one day, if i come to delhi shall i drop you a line?

    - saira

  16. 'Vie' because it means 'life' in French... I'm totally nostalgic about Bombay after reading your posts, having moved to Hong Kong about a year ago. I guess I feel the same way about Bombay/HK that you feel about Bombay/Delhi

  17. You sound just like my friend T in this post. =)

  18. I have been making wine and having loads of fun at at it for the last three years, and Chivas has been a loyal friend when I needed one..but dear eM you should go see, if you get a chance, at Gunther Von Hagens Bodyworld show. Went to the the one in Scienceworld, saw what a pickled liver and nicotine encrusted lung looks like. Really now reading your posts leads one to think you are out carousing every night...moderation is the key dearie.

  19. i was just in bombay!

    and i think we went to a lot of the same places. in fact, we probably were at the gateway of india at the same time ( judging by your previous post)

    happy detoxing! ;)

  20. sarnath got married? got married? sarnath banerjee? waaaaaaah i'll just go quietly die of spinsterhood right now!

    *rest of the post disappears from vision* *world reels*

  21. we try to live the zenlike life, dahlinks, we really do, but then there's so many THINGS happening, it's clear the universe wants us to enjoy its bounty. sigh.

    vijay: i've heard about this sale! although if i bring home any more books, i won'e have space to sleep anymore. i've filled whatever little space there was left on my flatmate's shelves to capacity and now the two of us are stacking books on floors and on windowsills, where they threaten to spill.

    nags: awww. no no, don't worry, not an alcoholic... yet. :)

    just for me: or you could visit BOTH cities--each has so much to offer, really. (my advice: take a month off to do this!)

    prits: well, let's hope so in the future anyhow. right now i am but a 'umble immigrant.

    jay sun: puhleese, i haven't even found a regular haunt yet, something that is worrisome to me.

    bricks: i wish i knew the first line of your comment--babelfish was rather baffling!

    kay: awwwww again. did you manage to get a tattoo finally? and how long have you been in delhi/bombay?

    anon1: this was soul fry, in bandra, which apparently has very popular karaoke nights. packed to the brim etc. there's also trafalgar chowk on fridays.

    hobo: i'll introduce you when you come, assuming he hasn't whisked off to germany. and yes, you must move here while we're all here, we'll have an excellent time. :)
    and the next post will be a "fun" one just for you.

    iz: yay! and carry air freshner too!

    heh heh: thanks :) an actual stamp of approval from an actual bombay person, really, i must not be doing so badly after all.

    saira: thanks! but sadly, i'm only in delhi in passing intervals (i live in bombay now) so, you'd have to email me and see if i were there. unless you meant bombay? in which case, for sure, i'd love to meet up!

    charmaine: LIFE. yes. thank you. i knew there was a simple explanation. and i think most of us twenty something nomads have two cities like that--one home and one play, both tied up so much with who you are.

    opaline: i hope that's a good thing. say hello to your friend t. :)

    bulbul: thanks, i will. where is this place? (i've always wanted to see a pickled liver)

    sonia: ooooh! well, if you saw someone short flanked by two very tall boys, taking photos, that was me! :)

    tiny black cat: trust me, this was how the rest of us reacted too. :) although judging by your profile you're NINETEEN, so complain not about permanent spinsterhood in front of someone who ACTUALLY MIGHT BE. hmph. nineteen.

  22. Going for the launch; unlike the others, its late in the evening (8 pm). All those good launches at BCL we've had! Wish you were here. Hope you're taking care. Be good! I'm not too worried about the drink-bit, woman is a social animal.

  23. long post to read more so when ur boss is screaming for another round of corrections on the same document which ur trying to finish for last two days...but I managed to read it...achievment for the day

  24. Hi eM,

    I just went thru... that site (which has those blogs of yours).
    To me, it seemed more like they have opened this new website and somehow manipulating to increase their users... want to be famous very soon... And they themselve are creating some Farzi-account and robbing posts from people who have really high no. of hits like you.

    Hmm.. You shouldn't worry about these people... they can't rob your ideas like this.

    P.S. i saw some SQL queries coming out of those pages.. ha ha

  25. They copied you and nicknamed you 's-sobby', that's funny :)

  26. lol. nope. i don't think i saw you.

    and about the nut who's stolen your work, if what "p" says is right, then the first thing you oughta do is NOT link them, since you're only gonna help them get more hits by linking them.

    i'm not sure what kinda copyright laws apply to blogs, but there definitely are laws. you could mail blogger and ask them.

  27. This might cheer you up a tad...
    Don't miss it!
    From personal experience, Shatbhi Basu is nothing short of amazing.

  28. Flagged them for you, but agree with Sonia. You should probably not link.

  29. ohhh, strand book sale! lucky, lucky u! damn, i miss b'bay.

  30. right Sonia, eM is fullfulling their purpose un-intentionally.

  31. "Vie" means "life" in French. You know, like c'est la vie: "this is the life"?


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