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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17 January 2008
So. Now you guys know what I look like sometimes and what I sound like sometimes. (That was my I-am-an-expert voice, apparently) In real life, off camera, I guess I'm similar if not the same. Of course, in real life, I'm not always worried about what I look like or even sounding very smart. But when there are cameras on you, suddenly, you're all aware of your bodies and the way you nervously bite your lower lip and what on earth you're supposed to do with your hands. Seriously, I watched all the other panelists and I was like, "Oh my god, how can they be so UNRUFFLED?"
Although watching myself was strange too. You have this moment where you're looking at the TV, you know like how sometimes you see yourself in a mirror unexpectedly and you do a double take before you realise it's really you? It's the same feeling. Initially, the first shot of my face seemed really FAMILIAR to me, like, "Oh, I know this person" before the "Oh, that's me" happened. Do I really sound like that? Is that what my eyebrow does when I'm trying to make a point?
But, I should begin at the beginning. It all started one evening when I got a phone call saying that NDTV would like to fly me down to Delhi to be on We The People, but I don't think I heard another word after "fly you down to Delhi." I proceeded to call every single person I know and tell them that I was going to be *ahem* making my television debut (I've been on TV before, even on a features story about blogging, but this show felt like a much bigger deal for some reason).
The fun actually begun happening on Saturday morning when a car and driver came to pick me up and drop me to the airport. I suppose I COULD have taken an auto, but they gave me an option, so naturally I picked the chaffeur driven one. (When in doubt, darlings, ALWAYS pick the chaffeur driven one. It works for everything. "What movie shall we watch?" "The chaffeur driven one." "What friend shall I meet?" "The chaffeur driven one." Think metaphorically and not literally, and you'll be able to see it) I get to the airport and join the very, very long Indian Airlines queue, till a guy offers to assist me with the instant check in thing. "Sure," I say, always happy not to have to stand in line. Lalalalala, and the instant thing isn't doing my tickets. Crap, I think, I must have printed out the wrong tickets. The guy tries a couple of times and then turns to me. "Ma'am, are these executive class tickets?" "I dunno," I shrug and it is beginning to dawn on me how much I had underestimated the coolness of this trip. Executive class? They wouldn't. They didn't. Oh, but they did.
Ah, the joys of a queue less counter! The joys of that little key to happiness--the invitation to the executive lounge! The thrill of a waiter bending down to ask you what you would like! The oddness of having to remind yourself that you're in an airport! And when you board the plane, there's a movie playing, there's food served with a TABLECLOTH. And there are actual courses. Once you go first class, you can never go back to the squalor and cramped spaces that is economy. I watched Jab We Met and read my free new magazine all shiny and new smelling and ate my heated food, served to me in individual portions and charged my cellphone and basically, yeah, I was quite sorry, for the first time ever that the plane was landing.
It gets better though. There was a guy holding out a placard with my name on it, which has been my dream since I was a kid. (I search the signs each time I land, just for fun, and just in case. It always seemed like such a cool thing to see your name being held up and other people watch you and wonder who you are and how come you're such a big shot and so on.) And I get driven home where I change, nap quickly and then head out again for the shoot.
All the other panelists were sort of chilling outside with coffee and things when I got there. I think I was the only one nervous, they all looked very calm and composed. My stage fright was killing me. I couldn't even sit still so I drank gallons of water and of course, had to pee almost instantly. One thing that surprised me though is that the studio is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. And quite cold too. We sat hunched into our woollens and Barkha Dutt came on, and told us that we the panelists (ahem, ahem) were fitted with mics so we could speak whenever we wanted to and didn't have to wait our turns. I was sitting next to a young psychology student, who looked most amused at my nervousness. "Be prepared," she said, "If you believe in something, it shouldn't be hard to stand up for it." True. Wise words.
I don't remember much of the actual programme (the NDTV site has a video up if you search for it but I warn you, it's very slow). I remember though, the Hindi blogger saying, "Oh the difference between English blogging and Hindi blogging is, that we write about SERIOUS things." Right. Like the contents of your neighbour's fridge. And there was this mother-daughter pair behind me who were all holier than thou. In fact, I think all three of us, the personal bloggers were under attack for pretty much the entire show. Dude. I was sort of expecting it to happen, but still, I wish they hadn't edited out the bits where I talked about how not all blogs were as selfish as they were being portrayed to be, what about the tsunami blog and so on. But I guess they needed to fit it into show time.
Being on TV is fun.
And then we went to the new TC, which is a major DISAPPOINTMENT. Oh my god. They still had the Opus signs up, the music was the same though, but the prices have gone up and it just didn't have the charm or the feel of the old TC. The old TC was dim lighting which felt all warm and nice, this TCOpus thing was DARK and smelt funny. Sigh. It's like the end of an era.
Anyhoo. There's my rub with fame for you (I'm so broke my outgoing calls are cut because I haven't paid my bills, so I'm not saying fortune). My internet is also cut so I'm cyber cafe-ing it till the end of the month. So much for the TV-featured-blogger, eh?
Although, ooh! My new tagline is totally: 'As seen on TV.' Heh.
UPDATE PIMP TYPE PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Because now we're like all recording our movements. So, this weekend I'm off to watch the very underrated Pakistani band Strings, which plays some seriously cool music. They're playing along with Parikrama and Saif Ali Khan is also going to be performing. I mention it because my friend Chitgo (who is also very comely and charming and would be my boyfriend if his girlfriend was not also one of the nicest people I have ever met. Hmph.) is organising it and he says it's going to be very cool and when he says something like that about music, I generally buy it. So, I'm going and it's at the Andheri Sports Complex, Sunday the 20th and in Delhi at the NSIC in Okhla on the 27th. Tickets are available here. (I don't know where offline, though. Chitgo?)