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 October 2007

The Wedding Chronicles Part Two

You guys know how much I dislike dancing, right? Oh, not drunken dancing, not the under my umber-ella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay gyrating when you curve your arms at the elbow and stick them up and move only the lower part of your body, feeling confident and sexy and knowing that amidst the strobe lights and the smoke and the noise, no one is watching you move except for who you really want to watch you. And it is for them you dance, your hips moving, your mouth singing along, your entire body just saying see, this is what it could be like if you and me got together. That's not the kind of dancing I'm referring to. Drunken dancing, like drunken sex, has a certain loss of inhibition, whereas when you're sober, you're acutely aware of all the awkward right angles your body is making.

I got slightly coerced into dancing for this wedding. The songs are fun, in a nightclub, I'd be grinding with the best of them, but in the afternoon, when your moves are choreographed, it's fear inducing. It doesn't help that two of the dancers are pros and the one we practiced with demonstrated the steps with such ease and with a smile on her face that it looked super easy, until I tried it. I just can't get my legs and my arms to move at the same time, and I'm totally directionally dyslexic so lefts and rights are a problem for me. (Seriously, when I'm giving an auto directions I have to pause before I say left or right just to figure out what hand I write with.) Punjabi weddings are all about the dancing. Not so much in the South, at least, neither of the communities I belong to, and even the one Gujarati wedding I went for didn't have much dancing, but Punjabi weddings would be incomplete if there wasn't a shava, shava thing happening. (What IS the meaning of shava anyway?) Last night was the shagun, which I will helpfully Google and give you a link for, so you're not as confused as I was when I got into the neighbourhood and found instead of the quiet house party I had imagined, a tent, with singers. (Okay, here we go). And there was dancing, more specifically, that song, you know the one where the singers call on different members of the family to do a little jig? I was skulking in a corner, smoking my cigarette and hoping no one would notice me, but no, when the 'friends of the bride' portion came on, I was dragged out there, where I smiled weakly, did my thing and went away as fast as I could towards my Old Monk, only to be pulled back for 'sisters-in-law of the groom'. Then Bani, Maya and I totally got into the spirit of things and when Leela and Ishan finally got their section of the song, we crashed it, but we were shoved away unceremoniously. Hmph. Make up your MIND, I either dance or I don't.

Okay, this is the reallllllllllllllly girly section of this post, so don't say I didn't warn you. Can I talk about my outfits? I really love them, I do, I do. My grandmother and aunt turned up yesterday with all my new clothes, and I have been making loving noises over them. Last night I was wearing my aunt's 36-year-old purple sari, very transparent, in fact so transparent, I wondered why this outfit was considered more "modest" than my jeans and t-shirts. With it, they got me this lovely purple brocade blouse (more like the top half of the blouse, clearly, my family wants me to get some) with beads embroidered on it. Then there's this black and copper salwar kameez that I'm wearing to the mehendi, another naked ghagra choli in white and red for the sangeet and finally, for the wedding, a beautiful pale pink sari with silver embroidery. I'm done being a chick now, so you can continue reading.

Besides wedding stuff, it's been a pretty busy week for me. I met with the Saminder for drinks at Flames.... (minus the apostrophe, plus the ellipses), where we discussed parenting, for some strange reason (it's wedding season, I'm all teary and feeling my biological clock tick tock warningly), I met with Rohini and Fortunata from the old office at The Big Chill (yay! Penne with bacon!) and then a bunch of people later at good ol' 4S. Ah, Delhi. It's so good to be back and this AWESOME weather, slightly nippy, smell of woodsmoke in the air, god, why do I ever leave?


  1. Big Chill. hmph. lucky biatch.

    And weddings. Never kind to me. I remember my brother getting married. The reception was at an Army Mess ka lawns. I was wearing this most elaborately embroidered cream salwar kameez and very high heels. So I got out of the car, walked towards where everybody was, feeling very happy knowing that all eyes were on the beautifully dressed me. In my glory, I missed the step leading down from the path to the lawn. Fell flat on my face in the mud and grass as gallant Captains and Lieutenants ran up towards me to offer a hand, all the while trying not to laugh at my now disgustingly dirty clothes.

    Needless to say I headed straight for the desserts and sat there the entire night, eating one gulab jamun after another.

    Good luck with you though. :D

  2. I thought everyone would be knowing the meaning of "shava" and it is one of those questions never to be asked...
    like maybe Voldemort's name!

  3. "...I'm totally directionally dyslexic so lefts and rights are a problem for me. (Seriously, when I'm giving an auto directions I have to pause before I say left or right just to figure out what hand I write with.).."

    I swear its ditto wid me..i always always have to think abt which hand i write with (i actually try holding an imaginery pen ;)) i thought its a kinda handicap that no one else in the world has got..but yay! someone suffers from this as well ;)

    n the wedding..Freinds wedding r always super fun..!

  4. god created fire, then he created fire extinguisheres,

    god created love, then he created marriage

    a famous arabic says



    is up on you

  6. i never thought about what shava shava means... who cares anyways what the lyrics are after booze sets in

  7. “..I'm totally directionally dyslexic so lefts and rights are a problem for me. (Seriously, when I'm giving an auto directions I have to pause before I say left or right just to figure out what hand I write with.)”


    Then again…I have a weird thing with spellings of long words….people start to spell out stuff for me and I go completely blank…seriously…

    Someone: “blah blah blah… cognoscenti…blah blah”

    Me: Hang on…that’s cog-nos-cent-i right?

    Someone: Yeah…”C-O-G- (mental fog descending)-S-C- (Grand Funk Railroad songs playing loudly in my head)-T-I”

    Me: Fuck all that. I got “cog” and “nos”, then it’s “cent” as in 100 cents to the dollar followed by a single I, right?

    Someone: Huh? Let me spell it out for you…C-O-G-N…hello? Hello?

  8. ah!! wud love attend a punjabi wedding someday... have always heard abt it!!!

  9. i miss delhi :(
    big chill, 4S
    TC doesnt exist anymore, right?

  10. Oh my god, that awkward angles thing spoke right to the depths of my soul and stuff. I have that EXACT same problem, just in opposite circumstances as yours. Choreographed sequences are absolutely cool, its the extempore stuff that paralyses me.

    Dancing at a wedding sounds like so much fun though. I thought that only happened in movies!

  11. You sound so much like a blend of
    Sasthi Brata and a great-grand daughter of Shobha De....

  12. hello hello! Delhi! I'm visiting after like eons myself, and everything's pretty much the same.

    the woodsmoke and nippiness? spot on! I even posted something about it a couple of days ago hehe.

    wedding! didn't know - congratulations! I did hear on BloggersCollective about a book you're doing - which should make for interesting reading, when it comes out I guess :)

    Sheesh, this is what happens when I disappear from the blogworld and miss out all the hot news! oh well. :)

  13. Hey eM! Im actually new to your blog (as well as blogspot) and i have to say i find your posts very funny and thought provoking, so keep up the good work!

    Oh and as for the meaning of 'Shava', i always thought it was taken from the word 'Shabaash', meaning 'bravo'?

  14. Hey I'm new to your blog, read few post.. they are realli gud & interesting, made me come back to it again & again & again...

    Its nice to observe that you happen to blog regular, gud job... I did the same few months back.. & now I wonder what to blog about at times... weird it sound!! so to me :-P

    Weddings are kewl, esp. a friend's wedding its like awesome, just the very thought makes me happy & excited, so many thoughts & ideas flow in, and sad part never attended any friend's wedding.. in between my friends are yet to get married ;-) hehehe

    Reading the dancing part, reminds me of onli one late night New Year party i had attended ages back, when i had fun, danced danced, carefree, had lil fun, flirted lil ;-)

    You are doing a gud job, even I am one of those waiting for your book

    And Yeah who doesnt wanna be the center of attraction??

    Right & Left .. alike me !! I have to think which is the my right hand and left while giving directions.. wondered it's kinda weird to still not remember your right & left, never knew they are many ppl alike me! :-D

    And the meaning of the word'shava' never realized... just thought it to be a fill-up

  15. You have a positively lovely blog! Wish I'd discovered it earlier. Spent a couple of hours reading your archives today. Found it while searching for places in Delhi to get tattooed...

    The weather is quite nice na :) much better than Bombay, I was there last week and was disgusted to find myself sweating...


  16. Hurry upppp and post about the wedding itself! I'm getting impatient.

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