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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27 November 2007
To All The Boys I Loved Before (a soliloquy at two in the morning)
The party's over,
I want to be alone in my head,
In my bed tonight,
You never show
What's it like being around someone you no longer have a scene with and yet are attracted to at some level or another? Really, really weird, that's what it is. I don't know whether you do this, but I have all these porn flashbacks happening when I meet someone I once was involved with. Especially when the last time involved his tongue and my throat.
You must really love her,
You think I don't know,
But I do, yeah it's true,
I think over is over
It's the season for exboyfriends again. Winter does this to me, no matter what city I'm in. Thoughts of what once was, what once happened, thoughts of when I was the happy message on the cellphone, the one whose call you COULD NOT cut, whose calls you always picked up, even if you just picked up to say, "Hey baby, I'm busy, can I call you back?"
I'm right back where I started,
(when it comes to wanting you),
I can't have what I wanted
This is so not about you. Or you either. This is about the disembodied arms, this is about male cologne that stays on my fingers, this is about me sniffing my t-shirt and my palms, this is about me leaning forward to talk to someone that ONCE, once, I had something with and suddenly being assaulted by their boy smells, the sweat, the salt, the undertones of sweetness. The neck I bit, the mouth I touched. And being undone. This is so about me, more so when I think about my shoulder, the one you claimed for your own with a circle of teethmarks, my knuckles that you surreptitiously caressed underneath tables and in taxis. How can you give up a country you conquered?
But I did, I can I was, I am,
Only human, living, dying,
Just like any fool who ever breathed
With mascara-soaked eyelashes, I look up, my smile throbbing at the corners of my mouth. You will (because you once were my lover) touch my cheek, we have a physical intimacy, blessed to people who have been close, you are tender even as you are brusque. You might also kiss my forehead, the chasteness exuding from all pores of you, but especially the way you tuck your lips inwards. It will be as though I imagined it, us being together at all. There are moments, there are always moments. There are moments when I think of everyone I've ever loved--loved hard, loved with every atom of my being. There are moments when you and I exchange a look, or when I say something I think is funny under my breath and you're the only one who turns to me, and your laugh is reluctant, as though I'm forcing it out of you. There are moments where there is "unprotected eye contact" and I catch my breath, but you're always the first to look away.
I know where I'm going,
I'm sliding around,
At least I'm excited,
It wasn't how I planned it
I return home, and I know that till the next time I hear from you, my phone will be silent. We are platonic now, we are all platonic, you probably have someone else, who demands your time. Some of you do, and you're the ones who dance away the most. Some of you don't and you hold my gaze, you lean forward, you let our knees brush against each other. You will point out pretty girls, talk about your sex lives heartily, but all the while you'll have your hand on my shoulder, your eyes will linger over the expanse of throat or knee. Again, as I drink my drink, I will remember you unclothed (that is always mine), maybe you're thinking the same thoughts, but you smile, deliberately snapping the thread you tried so hard to establish when we first met. How am I different now than what I was? What made you want to be with me once and not anymore? How are you different?
Maybe it's the sanest thing,
Or just the sweetest kind of dream,
But love was surely made for fools,
Love was surely made for fools like me
We will laugh about this one day. I will laugh about this one day. Already, the idea of some of you is amusing. No, correct that, already the idea of some of you with me is amusing. But there are evenings, my love, there are evenings like this one, when I play music that is mournful and yearning and I think about you and I remember that I once was someone else, someone who bounced off your vibrations, I remember you were my happy text message, I answered your calls all the time even if I just said, "Hey baby, I'm busy, can I call you back?" I remember claiming you as my own, marking my territory into the hollows of your throat, and the side of your neck. I remember when I loved you, to whatever degree, and then I remember when I didn't anymore. As much as you gave me, I gave you. As much as you took away, I took away too. Here we are now, baby, here we are now. Isn't life funny?
(lyrics lisa loeb fools like me)
(the shoulder-biting, circle of teethmarks seemed very familiar in my head even as I was writing this and then I realised it's very God Of Small Things. So, credit to that as well)