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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15 February 2007

A profile update is forever

Most people I know now have switched over accounts from Orkut to Facebook. Why? Because, well, Orkut started out as being more "exclusive" and everything, but in the end, the hundred different people wanting to do "fraandship" with you, with names like hotboy4u or sachinsexysmile just got annoying. On an average (in a random poll taken by two of my friends and me) if you're a girl and/or you have a photograph up, you'll get at least four friendship requests a week.

Moving on then to Facebook. Even though it's open to everyone, and you have photographs liberally scattered everywhere, most people leave you alone unless they know you. Or you know them. The format is slightly harder than Orkut, less wheee-cyber-sex and more minimalist, and the best part? You can't read other people's "walls" unless you know them. Which means you can snoop on your immediate circle, but can't, say, stalk your exgirlfriend. (or exboyfriend, in my case, as I see from my home page that he is now "friends" with many of my friends. It's like we're playing the staring game, I'm not adding him first, and I'm sure he's not going to extend an invitation for me, so it's basically about who caves first.)

The thing about Facebook, and about Orkut as well, I suppose, is the relationship status indicator. With Facebook, once you log in, you get a screen telling you what all your contacts have been up to, uploading pictures, changing their status messages and so on. And every now and then, you get a little indicator saying So-and-so is no longer listed as single, with a little red heart next to it. It's such a big deal, changing your profile indicators, almost like getting a joint bank account or moving in together. It's a mini-announcement, after which there is no turning back, and you need to think about your relationship status carefully, because if you change it again, bingo, up on the homepage comes an icon of a broken heart saying So-and-so is now single. It's a binding commitment, and enough to make you want to shoot yourself.

Orkut doesn't make it so painfully obvious. But, right up there on your profile page is a little space marked for your relationship status. You could be either single or committed or in an open marriage or married with kids and so on. Single screams out from the profile page, leading to more "fraandship" requests, but the smug committeds are left alone.

There is, of course, the choice not to show your relationship status at all. But that's like saying, "No comment" to a loaded question, everyone knows the real answer.

My mother calls Orkut my "dating website", as in, "Are you on your dating website again?" Even though I try to explain the concept behind a social networking site, the sociological implications, the six degrees of separation, the finding old friends again, the next time we have the conversation, usually in front of someone else, she'll say, "Oh, yes, eM was telling me about this dating website she met an old friend on." Leading to embarrasement and explainations from me, and the other person's raised eyebrows as they back away sloooooowly from the socially retarded girl. (Can I say retarded? No, right? Okay, socially challenged.)

When would I change my profile from SINGLE! SINGLE! SINGLE! to a quiet "in a relationship"? It would probably take some doing. A year or two of dating perhaps, before I was ready to make that kind of commitment.

EDIT: You might have missed the little box on my left sidebar directing you to vote for me. I've been nominated for my first ever Indiblog! Woo hoo! The only thing that confuses me is that I've been put in the category "Best Topical Indiblog", which is odd, because as far as I can remember, the only topic I write about is, um, me. So unless everyone else is waking up to the fact that the universe does in fact revolve around me, I'm at sea for an explaination. But dude! Seriously! Little ol' me with an Indiblog nomination! This is so exciting. If you enjoy this blog, (or if you're a troll, and think of how much trolling pleasure you could get if I actually won) then go on over here and vote. If you'd like *sigh* a view of who else is nominated so you can make a fair chance, blah blah blah, then the list of nominees is here. Vote for meeeeeeeeeeee. You know you want to.


  1. Have you tried myspace?
    and friendster?
    and bebo?
    and fropper?
    and minglebox?
    and yaari?
    and yo4ya?
    and jhoom?
    and apnaydesi?
    and humsubka?
    and saffronconnect?

    Every citizen must have an account on each of them, and then we can have so many fraandships and so many fraands!!

    Wow! that will be such a perfect world to live in, wont it?

  2. I get 4 friend requests a DAY! Insane.

  3. Interesting perspective on the Orkut community...and yes i agree with you, it does help old classmates again...:)

    ...and it appears to be built for snooping on other people !!!

  4. I am hotboy4u!! Why did you reject my fliendship?

  5. I read the other day that the next inetresting thing around the corner is a Crush Alert. So you can send it to someone you fancy but get this - they will only get it in the case of them sending you one as well. So no chance of rejection!

  6. I use facebook obsessively (I study in the states, and it's pretty much how over half the campus communicates.. from homework to party invites,etc.) and I have to say, it's really interesting to see how our social lives are defined by facebook.. The moment there is a question about anything in anyones life, the standard reply is "Let's check fb!" And the most amusing part is, fb seems to make things official.
    "No they're not dating, idiot. She's single on fb."
    "No, don't bother. He's only looking for random play. It says so on fb."
    "Oooh, they're in a fb relationship. So this is serious now!"
    etc. The list is never-ending.
    Oh, life!

  7. With regards to snooping on BF:

    .. continues from the awesome scribbleamus

  8. Like the first comment here, just HOW MANY of these sites have come up?

    Oh, he missed by the way. Thats the first one I joined. Orkut was the second (and the last, thankfully).

    I have had a million different photos up at different points of time but in about 2 years, I have received ONLY ONE friendship request - from a scary looking chick. But then...I'm a guy!

    Saw your blog on the Indiblog awards site nominated under "Best Topical IndiBlog". Shradha ( once suggested a blog with a similar URL but I am not sure if its the same one!


  9. smug committeds? nice and bridget jonesey... though I wish the part abt them getting less fraandship requests was truer (sigh!) have tried that ploy too... just started blogging and came across your blog recently...

  10. orkut is gods way of saying
    "idiots like to hang out together, but ill let technology do that for me".
    *sigh*, i was forced onto orkut as well and i can't get out.

    in fact, orkut's like delhi for women, hide your face and you're fine, make it visible and you're shouting out for a virtual gang rape or something....

  11. I left orkut two weeks ago, all thanks to invites and tasteless scraps from SexyJatDhakDhak, and FascinatingGuy4U.
    One week later like a dheet I'm back on it, face not visible kind of pic displayed and everything. I had to create a new gmail account even. Gawd, the desperation to so wilfully succumb to the disease..sigh.

  12. congrats for the nomination.
    you wrote about facebook?!?
    anyway the codes of cnduct on facebook thus far have been different because when it started it was meant for only university students and you signed on to it through your university network. sadly/unsadly it opened up to other networks some time in summer last year. it was understood as having been established for friends to keep in touch. i guess orkut evolved along a different ethical arch.

    watch sholay!

  13. can we really have a proper "social netorking site" in india like say in the west,where you actually meet up people/strangers without any ulterior(motive ? maybe not ,untill then orkut is the place to meet up people from school/coll "blast from the past"

    you will get my vote(very witty blog,write very well),small drop in what will hopefully be a ocean !

  14. I had an Orkut account and deleted it for the same reasons you mentioned. I also had Facebook (I deleted that too) and it's so much a part of a college student's life (at least in the US) that I have been inquired (by several people) if I had dropped out of college because I no longer had a Facebook.

  15. I didn't even know there were that many... I only knew about hispace and myfives... or is it myspace and hifive? Either way... they're a government conspiracy... and I mean the government that runs the world, not the individual puppet governments in countries... yes, that's another conspiracy... there's just not enough left for people to do in a day, so they decided to come up with these hedonistic pastimes to keep people from asking too many questions... keep an idiot busy for hours and you... uh... something dramatic and overused to complete that idiom...
    But still, I'm spreading the love, so here's those guys who wrote the songs for American Desi's take on facebook...
    Facebook Stalker

  16. yeah, see now youve basically highlighted every reason why blogging is better then all the orkuts and facebooks... of course the fact that you can find long lost buddies on facebook types is an advantage, agreed...

    congrats on the nom, hope you win, and since youre asking, well if a guess had to be made, I think youre blog topic is pretty much "single indian girl/woman"...

  17. hey i have a question... i tried to vote for u by clickin on ur "vote for me" link, but that just took me to the main page of the indibloggies...what do i do there? and i clicked on a bunch of links and then it took me to a place where i had to register with my email id and voting that complicated?

  18. In my time, we had six degress. Do I now sound like a crabby old aunt, I think I do. Congratulations on the nomination and I hope you love Bombay now.

  19. I have no friends
    I'm going to sit in a dark room now, and cry

  20. You have my vote!!
    And orkut sucks!! Arrggh!!

  21. ok... i am being mad... but how exactly does one vote for u?

  22. I found your blog lately and have been having fun reading through it.

    Though don't believe that being "committed" gets you out of friends requests - my profile clearly says "married" and I still get a lot of wierdos.


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