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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8 March 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

I'm here! I'm in England! Writing this at 7.33 pm but my laptop's still tuned to Indian time so it might just show up as Monday's post, but don't be fooled! I'm still writing this from Sunday.

I've been an absolute ball of stress and nerves and bad temper. I always get very antsy before I travel, but this time I was going to do it for TWO WHOLE MONTHS. And what would happen to my cat and my flat and my city in my absence? (Ans: Friend, maid, and I have no idea.) But once I was on the plane--rent paid and things taken care of, and visa gotten and bags packed and so on, I began to actually relax a little bit. And now here I am, day three, having been woken up this morning by sheer SILENCE (and man, silence can be really loud when it wants to be), curled up in bed and writing, the only fly in my ointment being that I can't smoke when I want to, but instead have to put on many layers and go outside, which is sort of a blessing because I smoke a lot less, but still. I didn't realise how integral a cigarette was to the whole writing process. It feels very odd to have nothing to inhale at while I ponder my next sentence. But it's so damned cold that even though I have now written myself into an absolute CRAVING, I'm resisting going out again. Also, cigarettes are very expensive and we omitted to buy any at duty free and so we're smoking roll up cigarettes, which I can't make, but JC can, and so I am dependant upon him in a way.

Wow. Deep breath. I have so much to tell you, evidently. Today we went for Sunday lunch at the Polo Club, owned by the drummer for The Who, and THEN, Ronnie Wood walked in. (I'll give you a minute. Did you hear crickets? I did.) Ronnie Wood is one of the guitarists for The Rolling Stones and okay, so it wasn't Mick Jagger, but it was still quite exciting. JC's mother pointed him out to us, with his very young girlfriend and do you mind if I segue into a little rant about the English girls I've been seeing with very bare legs and shoulders and how I look at them with horror and envy, half wanting to be them, confident that it isn't really thaaaaaaaaaaaat cold, or be that age again, when vanity took precendence over comfort.

Last night in the train back home from Brighton, so many twenty somethings, eyes shiny with drink, talking about their kids and why in a country that has so many choices would you go ahead and have kids that young? One girl staggered through our compartment, dressed in a cowgirl outfit, and followed by a man dressed as a Native American. She turned to us and said, "It's my 24th birthday!" I tried not to stare at the sores around her mouth as she went on about her daughter and how her boyfriend had left her and how all men are wankers and so on, until she staggered away into the distance. I'm trying very hard not to be judgemental, and of course, people have babies at a very young age all over the world, but it was still rather odd for me to see a side of this country that the books I read didn't speak about to a great detail. When you think England you think Austen and Wodehouse and so on, but there's parts of it you don't hear about, like the football fan dad, on another train we took, encouraging his ten year old son to chug from his can of beer.

JC's mother has a WHOLE SHELF full of chicklit. I have basically spent the last two days curled up in bed and reading. Can you think of a better way to spend a weekend? I can't. Of course, we did go to Brighton last night, to meet a friend of JC's for drinks at  a lovely pub, and I felt all English-y. Later, we picked up some booze and went back to his house, where I introduced them to the joys of this video and this one. I'm all about spreading the culture.

We haven't done London yet, we're going up on Wednesday, when Small is getting married. It's true. We're all grown up. But I think in my two months here I should be able to get an understanding of this country, in a way I've never been able to do before about a place that isn't India. It should be fun and it should be a learning experience. Watch this space!


  1. I love England, it's like second home to me. I'm glad you're there with JC and having a great time :) Brighton is lovely too, love the sea side!!Wish I could spend a whole two months there without worrying about anything..sighh!!So you there for just a vacation or work?? And if you say vacation, dude I'm going to be sooo jealous!! Anyhow keep having fun and keep us posted :) :)

  2. believe me, it is not the age, IT IS COLDDDD!!!! Just the other day my teeth were literally chattering in Central London, in London where it is comparatively warmer!!! But the cold is marginally better, atleast during the day time, the spring sun has started showing his face,if only for a while...

    And the girls here, I have been wondering (both silently and aloud)how the hell can anyone go about in short skirts n shorts, often not even without a pantyhose in this country of sub-zero temperatures... I am freezing my ass off here in 3 layers of clothes!!!!

    hey gudluck with ur writing,ur travelling woes...look fwd 2 ur uk experiences. btw wr exctly r u put up,the place i mean???

  3. I was unable to find the OUTPUT of this blog...
    If at all you have time, i'll be more than happier to know...
    @Maryann: Dude, how much a weekend matter to you when you are on 2-months-long vacation?

  4. Brighton makes me think of Lydia Bennet! Did you see any officers when you were there (kidding). I guess this is a good time as any to tell you I loved your book. Happy writing.

  5. Awwww ... Jane Austen? Bless. I mean, we still have the countryside and the pretty houses with thatched roofs and sometimes it can look quite picturesque, but yeah ... this country is kind of morally devoid of values. The mini skirts in winter - well spotted. It's usually the first observation any foreigner makes when they come here. Also, the UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the Western world - despite that fact that you can get every kind of contraception for free from various clinics. A lot of the girls here just have very little respect for themselves and will "sell themselves" very cheap. It's sad. I've been here 8 yrs and I still don't really know why they do it. I suppose it's because everyone is so liberal, and because the men are really scared of committment. But don't worry there are plenty of normal, wonderful people too! You'll have a good time. :o))

  6. splendid start to your english spring. i daresay it is comparatively better than how things were 2 months ago.
    as far as the dresses go, it surely is bewildering. haven't been able to figure out what are the girls on so as not to feel the cold?
    the sun over the weekend was completely deceptive. it was bright n sunny and yet cold. played tennis for an hour didn't really sweat... bugger!!

  7. and i take it when you said polo club you meant the hurtwood park polo club in surrey.

  8. Should be fun to read what you make to the U.K. Yes, its not all Austen and Wodehouse is it now - its more Irvine Welsh sometimes(Teen pregnancy, beggars on the street, drunken street fights.) Its a class thing.

  9. Haha. My boyfriend is American and I showed his family the same 2 videos. Have a dashing time in England!

  10. I laughed my ass off after watching those videos :)
    Have great time.

  11. OMG !! Just read this.
    You were in Brighton?
    I LIVE in Brighton. Sigh.

    Gimme a shout if you are down again and looking for company. A drink by the beach would be much fun !



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