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 June 2008

Life Lessons 101: We attempt "being ourselves"

Being in a brand new relationship (three weeks yesterday!) is wonderful for the most part, but it also has its pitfalls. When you've been single as long as I've been single, there are certain things about your dating life and your dating vocabulary that have just become part of your mindset. There are certain Single Girl cues that you take without being very aware that you're taking them. Like letting out sardonic laughter with your girlfriends about some ruinous man in some ruinous situation. Fantastic. But with your boyfriend around, perhaps not quite the impression you want to make.

I've been single-ish for close to four years now, and I don't regret a moment of it. Oh, sure, there were some drunken mistakes, some "I really don't know what I was thinking" moments, but I always have justified them as being part of "character development" and "helping me to grow" and all the other The Girl Who Sold Her Manolos jazz. But this morning I was lying in bed, watching smoke tendrils drift to the ceiling and wondering, "Just how much information is too much information?" (It was also a very SATC moment, and I'm having a bit of a SATC revival, having watched the movie earlier (TERRIBLE) and then, yesterday, making JC and Yamini's boyfriend sit and watch Season One, just so they could see what the fuss was about. Both boys loved it. Hmmm, I think I'LL rewatch season one tonight with some daal-chaawal.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I have friends who have had a crazy wild past as well, and I have friends who don't really have very much of a past at all, and what these friends have in common is not sharing either of their pasts with the person in their present. "I just want him to get to know me better before he judges me," said a friend to me, the other day. I, of course, took the opposing point of view, ie, how can someone know you without knowing everything that went into making you who you are today? So, that weekend soujourn with a married man? It should be shared so a) there aren't any unhappy discoveries later and b) the worst stuff is already out there so everything you say post that just makes you awesome. (Hypothetical situation, by the way, for all my concerned readers.)

On the other hand, there are moments like I've had last night where Old Acquaintance came up to us and said, "Hey, eM, how's it going?" "Oh good," I said, "You know, same ol', same ol'." "Another day, another dude, eh?" he said, at which I smiled and said through gritted teeth, "This is my boyfriend, JC, Old Acquaintance, Old A., JC." "Hey!" said Old A. (where the 'a' is now standing for many other things in my head) "You lasted a week! Good for you." Now Old A was being a bit of a retard and doing the whole "I'm so weary in this city of single people and I sense you are weary too" banter. The sort of banter I've done in the past. But the point is, I really, really did not want my person to be listening to this aspect of my life. I have been honest with him, and hey, he does read this blog, so he kinda knows my Deep Dark Deeds anyway, but there are times when I wish I hadn't said anything. That I had remained coolly mysterious, and eyelash lowered and demure. Well, perhaps not demure, but enigmatic. Sexy. How can someone who is aware of my *ahem* relations with people we now meet and air-kiss at bars still think I'm all that?

On the other hand, I still feel slightly defiant about the whole thing. Chin up, body language taut, every posture screams, "I'm not done, there's more, I've done a whole bunch of shit, you still wanna stick around, punk?" (And, heh, I admit, sitting there sometimes going macho-ly in my head, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!") But what I had failed to factor in was "selective truth telling." The kind other women do so well. I should have waited till he was a complete eM-addict before springing it on him. (Well, perhaps not, because I have this ol' blog but still.)

But you want to know the awesome thing? He's still around. And he hasn't shown any indications of leaving. I feel like Maria in The Sound Of Music.

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood, perhaps I had a miserable youth

But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past, there must have been a moment of truth

For here you are standing there loving me, whether or not you should

So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good

Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could

So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.

Fingers crossed!


  1. so I shouldn't say "oh JC is still on the radar?" and raise my eyebrows in surprise ;)

  2. tsk. no faith. and you're my FRIEND. :P say something nice fast to make up for that.

  3. so is this your way of signaling to your boyfriend that you've told him everything

  4. Haha... Satyameva jayate, as we say at home.

    Ruinous, good word.

  5. There's the truth and there's the whole truth and lots can come in between. In a relationship ,I've learnt, truths are irrelevant. Only the whole truth matters.

  6. em
    Good caption..We attempt "being ourselves"...
    To whom except U?...
    again u r rejuvenated Em some new young relationship.....

  7. past not so important...
    future very important!

    trust & honesty, key to happyness.
    wishin u a lot of smiles....


  8. Food for thought... maybe the truth is 'out there' 'cos no one wants the bastard 'in here' - smelling like a dead rat under the floorboards... In a world of gossip, posturing and bullshit, loose lips most definitely sink ships. Discretion is King, and she who can keep a secret is Queen.

    My favourite phrase is 'classified information.' Your Mr. A was on a need-to-know basis, and he most definitely did NOT need to know about any past escapades. I'm all for disclosure to partners/lovers/spouses, but 'tis better to peel the onion than drop a stinkbomb, eh? (Or worse, have some A in a Hole (Zenzi, presumably?) drop one for you! My two paisa.


  9. Awesome lines from 'The sound of music'.. I am gonna start reading poems..

  10. eM,

    A Blast from UR past wouldnot make ur JC howl over and get bowled!!Keep it going gal! And from what i see, u r doing a goddamn gud job at giving him Cues about the Blast(s) hez gonna encounter!!

  11. Lil Old Em ,

    Please stop puking more of your great life on others. Please spare us from this torture of repeating silly life lessons. You are just another silly animal who shits and pisses and pukes and blurps every other say. What is in your life that is different from others. Ya I accept you are a wordsmith. But its too heavy a price for the bullshit you throw at us.

  12. The Old A was being a complete asshole. I cannot believe you tolerated a whole conversation with that person.

  13. who is A, how come sameer knows and I don't...why shpould I say something nice when you've made new boyfriends???
    hi sameer :)
    ps: min why is he called sameer.

  14. Lovely ! Really lovely...the poem. After a long time.

  15. these days the only things worth reading in here are the quotes, poems etc....
    Keep it up.

  16. I like how you say 'single-ish for close to four years now'. :-D

    But fingers crossed too anyway, for you!

  17. I can't believe, I'm liking ur post :)


  18. Interesting u accept SATC exists and write abt it, that makes this different.

  19. do people often call the person they're dating their boyfriend/girlfriend after three weeks?
    it's a sincere question. i'm almost certain it takes a little longer in ny, and thought it was the same in india - then again, it's been a few years since i lived in india.

  20. Dear anon (ny)
    Is it time, as in number of days/weeks/month or is it number of dates?, then again what type of dates quality or quantity?
    does any of it matter when two people want to be together?

    There are some people who go out with eachother for years (exclusively) and still don't wnat labels. Its about feeling comfortable I guess.

  21. hoesntly.. the guy shud be able to stick arnd you despite all the crap you've been thru earlier adn accept u for what u are today.. and.. well you got the flow, r8??

  22. I think we all need a formal 'code of conduct' for exs, new girl/boyfriends, long distance relationships, potential guy/girl,first birthday after we started dating, first time after sex conversation, first time 'how do I look' reaction, how to talk about your ex to your current boyfriend... >>phew<< the list is endless... The moral of the story remaining, 'something has to go wrong, no matter what'!

  23. JC JC JC !! You are a Superstar !! Let me know where the party is.... and make sure there's fish...

  24. Hey..reading your blog; starting from the first post. Have read quite a few.

    Phew! quite a life. Do you go back to read your old posts? I like the random ones and the ones about your friend Pooja and well, pretty much all of them. :P
    And I really like the way you write!

    And i dont like K for what he did to you.(loooong back) Bad. Bad. Bad. (Sorry. Too late to say that but its only now that i am discovering him..and you.)


  25. Hugs. So happy for you.
    P.S. You are almost gushing :P.

  26. I'm happy for you eM...

    But i think this blog was written for JC (and i feel a little cheated...but whateva)'s funny how when your in louuuuve, confessions/conversations-that-take-place-in-your-head-with-yourself are really you reaching out n sayin stuff that you havent or will soon say...

  27. fingaz crossed for the relationship? urban girls of the 21st century never cease to amaze me.
    it's so simple, cook, clean & raise the kids. u have a relationship for life! but nahi, hum ko toh alpha male banna hai yaar! :P
    koi nahi, all the best. life is meant to b lived the way u want.

  28. its better to be ourselves..with a pinch of honesty in it..
    its better to be pampered with a pinch of salt(reality) in life...and then we can start dreaming again!
    Isn't it better to be lioness rather than an elusive cat? :)

  29. i'd really like to know (just curiousity) what JC would comment on that blogpost."'tis better to peel the onion than drop a stinkbomb" but peel the onion you must. most guys i know, including me, don't care about the past, but we would like to know.
    FYI - i really enjoyed reading the last 2 posts....
    and BTW... its FOOTBALL... not soccer!!!

  30. hey i was just watching "we the people " by barkha dutt which airs on NDTV... on you tube..n saw u saying abt blogging and from there
    i just searched for ur blog and started reading it coz ur conversation was interseting n gud!!!!! well..nice blog..gud work!!!i seriously loved reading ur blogs!!!!
    take care!!!

  31. hey i was just watching "we the people " by barkha dutt which airs on NDTV... on you tube..n saw u saying abt blogging and from there
    i just searched for ur blog and started reading it coz ur conversation was interseting n gud!!!!! well..nice blog..gud work!!!i seriously loved reading ur blogs!!!!
    take care!!!

  32. I think you are not too proud of your past and also scared that people might leave/not like you because of your past or otherwise.

    And this blog is actually a 'rant'. Do some real writing.


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  34. Allo! As usual, I'm late to catch on and just started to read your blog (Read for 4 hours at work, but my boss is away so who cares!) and I likey your style!

    This "being myself" nearly cost me a helluva lot cos this guy is all "I don't want to know!" and I'm all "My momma says 'honesty is the best policy'" but finding the right balance is a tightrope walk, no? Good luck!


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