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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21 November 2009

Around the world, a-r-ound the wo-rld

Hello, my darlings.

I have been in Sri Lanka on a family holiday (which was MADNESS. Absolute bloody madness.) I can recap Sri Lanka in a nutshell for you which would basically read: fourteen people, one tour bus, perhaps not the best idea in the world. BUT, surprisingly, I had a good time. It was nice to see the Cousins again, chill on a beach and in the bluest possible pool and be a grown up among people who have only known me as a child.

ANYway. You get the basic idea. So, ever since then I have been sitting at home trying to recover from my vaycay. This weather isn't exactly brilliant for my productivity. But after a long spell of dragging myself out of bed and then putting myself back to bed again, I feel slightly more invigorated. Plus, I have two MAJOR projects to do, and nothing enables the old blogging like a good healthy dose of procrastination. I know, I know. I should just quit while I'm ahead and delete everything and begin anew. But this blogging less and writing more has actually been working for me. Besides, I have less to feel guilty about because I make no money from this online journal. I do it for me. I do it for love. Even if at the end, I come full circle and wind up just talking to myself all over again.

And I FINALLY changed the old 'About Me' section which was looking a little worse for wear after having been up for close to five years. I think the new one reflects who I am right now a lot more than the other one did. I'm still going to be going out pretty regularly with my large groups of friends, though.


So, it's almost December. My favourite time of the year and also my most anxiety filled. This year, I turn 28. Can you believe it? It seems like such a huge old age. Like I've lived forever. JC will be back for my birthday, he says, and that's one good reason to look forward to it. We've sort of, barely, but sort of, made a plan for our Future, with a capital 'F'. I think it's going to involve a lot of commuting, which means wheeee, more travel for me, but also, boooooo, more expenses. Either way, I think I might be in the UK early next year for a sustained period of time--maybe a couple of months? More details when I know more.


As part of the Celebrate Bandra festival, I had a panel discussion yesterday at Olive. It was on women writing, and I chose to wear this purple dress which I love, but also *ahem* highlights certain parts of my anatomy, especially if I am sitting down on the skirt of it, therefore yanking it even further down. Now, I didn't realise that the spot I was sitting on on stage was basically the most lit up and so I (and my mammaries) were in FULL FOCUS, apparently. Couldn't have asked for better light, etc. At some point, I started to feel the collective gaze of the room, you know how you can feel these things sometimes? And I really, really, wanted to look down to see if there was anything, like, visible, or at the very least, yank up my dress a little bit. At some point I started to obsess that I hadn't shaved my legs and people could see the stubble in the light. But, like picking your nose on stage, I'm guessing adjusting your dress (or doing that thing all women do in tube tops, the sideways-chicken-yank-your-dress-up dance) is not very good manners. So I waited (and I really had to pee) and then, as soon as the thing was done, I dashed off stage to the loo and emerged to be greeted by my friends and their various catcalls. Hmph. But, they very sweetly said that my words eclipsed my other assets, so it's all good. Next time I dress pretty for a reading or a launch, I'm leaving the push-up bra at home.

We all traipsed back to my house post that for Stolichnaya (duty free rocks my world) and dissection of people and panels past. Good times.


My amateur photography has reached new highs. I realised upon going through my Facebook friends list the other day that four people, count them, F-O-U-R, are using my photographs as their profile pictures. This pleases me greatly because everyone knows that people only use pictures that make them look nice/interesting and everyone knows it takes a decent photographer to do that. I've also been experimenting with black and white stuff, can't do it on my little point and shoot, but I can fiddle around with the settings on the Windows Photo Editor, and black and white just makes things come into clearer focus, plus looks a lot more arty and deliberate than a colour shot. I'd show you some, but they all have people in them and you know, I don't like identifying characteristics. I also realised that the best way to become a better photographer is to take more pictures, much like the best way to become a better writer is to write more.

My friends are amused and bemused at the way I have taken to photography, but it's so fun. Plus ever since my hobby (writing) became my job, I've been feeling a distinct lack of something to do in my spare time. Photography sort of fills this void, because it's easy (no expensive stuff to buy except a camera and even then you can work with what you have), it's creative (getting a good shot is about as satisfying as writing a good sentence) and it allows a lot more people to connect with you than they normally would if you're just writing. Because I am not born to it or trained to it or even have a special skill for it, I feel such a special thrill when someone "likes" a picture on Facebook, because it's like getting a complex maths problem right, something I have NO talent for and yet, I did it, me, me, me.


I keep thinking of more things to add to this most, the downside of not posting in so long, I guess. Wanted to tell you guys about my Very Fun Thursday Night Where I Nearly Decided To Stay In And Then Went Out After All To Discover To My Great Joy That I Got Free Drinks All Night. Okay, I think that about covers it. Partners on VFTNWINDTSIATWOAATDTMGJTIGFDAN were BB (who is back! wheee!), Crocodile Dundee (who is also back! wheee!) and Other Writer (who never went anywhere but still, wheeee!). We went first to Hard Rock for the launch of a new band called Tough On Tobacco, who had a very nice sound, very Dave Matthews-esque. It was Miss Malini's party to celebrate her having a 1000 (!) fans on Facebook, and so the band and Hard Rock were helping her celebrate and it was awesome fun, and thank you for inviting me! (She has a much better, more informed update on her own blog about it, so that's where you need to go for real information. I'm just going to be talking about how awesome it was that I got free drinks.) That's when I got my first green band of open bar. (The Green Band is an institution in itself among people who go for guest-list parties. The ones who don't have one, the ones who have to pay cover (usually me) are the ones who gaze longingly at those Green Banded Elite, swishing their wrists at the bouncers to get into VIP sections, leaving their drinks casually on a counter, because they can get more, ah, to be Green Banded Elite yourself is like suddenly getting upgraded from economy to first class.) (It's probably so not cool to write about how much you like your green band, but I must. We all love it, why hide it?)

Next, we hopped over to Zenzi Mills, which had this retro revival called Studio 29 after some old disco that used to exist in Bombay in the 80s. Here, the Banding was all courtesy BB, and I walked in and waved my ribboned wrist at the bar and ordered drink after drink of vodka-cran. (My new way to keep away hangovers is to use juice as a mixer instead of Coke. It doesn't work.) All in all, a good evening and a reminder that I should, occasionally, leave Bandra.


Last thing, I promise. I was also on NPR, which is a HUGE honour, and here is the transcript of the show. You can also press 'listen' if you have a fast internet connection and hear how I sound when I'm trying not to go ummmm, and uhhhh every five seconds.


  1. wow such a long post after a long time. cool, and turning 28 is not that bad after all :)

  2. Sri Lanka ROX

    U should've got in touch with me while u were here n we could've got it on :)

  3. I always thought Sri Lanka was an awesome place..nice knowing ur review on it.. :)

    U aint all that old at 28..Happy Birthday in Advance.. :))


  4. Did you really like Sri Lanka. I didn't care too much about it. Felt like a microcosm of Kerala without the houseboat bit.
    Would be interesting to see the pictures that you click, maybe a post on them to reduce the blogging less thingy?

  5. Oh finally....!!!!! I'd almst given u up 4

    how did u like SriLanka?? Personally, I jus found it lak South Indians speaking sinhalese :D.

    Hey lemme knw wen u cme 2 Uk allryt..
    n a request: plz plz plz..write more regularly.

    Cheers :)

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  7. y.o.u.... s.p.e.a.k...reaal....faast!!!...omg!

  8. Studio 29 was the first disco in Bombay, long time ago but a very popular one at that

    You also 28 like me, ahem ahem

    Yeah we become better writers by writing more

  9. Sri Lanka is awesome, I was there five years ago and I lovedddd how green it was and even though it rained the whole time I was there, I loved it!

    Photography sounds like a lot of fun, I am trying to find a class to join to hone my very lazy photography skills.

  10. u did make up for abstinence with a long flow in one go :P

    quite like when one's been holding pee in for a long two bottles of beer, that long time :P

    and when it comes quite the pleasure

    nice read...maybe the lighting person had something in for u...remember to tip the lighting person the next time...who knoes someday u actually may forget to shave and he focusses the light down :P

    with that horror scenario illustrated i think i've done enuf damage for the day


    cheerio :)

  11. Okay. I am following your blog.
    Hurray at me.

  12. my friends and i always watched the green-banded royalty with complete jealousy. and now you're one of them! be prepared for a lot of bad vibes from the aam junta.

    brillo long post. had been waiting for it for a while. :)

  13. Nice to hear about your new hobby! And Bombay is such a great place to take photos too - you'll never run out of material and inspiration. So, is there a Compulsive Photographer flickr stream for us to look forward to, sometime in the Future (with a capital F!)? All the best & take care.

  14. Yes, 'All Things Considered' on NPR. And that is how I discovered this blog. Thanks to NPR!
    That was a great piece by you. And then I had to subscribe to this blog.

  15. guess ur writin skills r far better than ur speakin..............
    In any case i envy u as alwz ;-)

  16. "When did the years start speeding by so fast? Is this an age thing that no one tells you about? Is my life now this, months on fast forward, days on a loop, life that swirls around you?"

    Exactly my feelings! But they say that if you don't know how time flies, you're probably leading a good life. And your year-end post sums it up so neatly!


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