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

Sign up for my newsletter: The Internet Personified

21 June 2010

In which you learn that I should really not be allowed out in public when I’ve been drinking

I am in a domestic funk. My maid, previously wonderfully reliable, has taken to bunking one day every week. I love this particular maid, she’s friendly and chatty and I can rely on her to look after the cat while I’m out of town. BUT, lately, I get the feeling she’s taking me and my lackadaisical ways a little for granted. Most times she takes the day off, she doesn’t even bother calling and this is annoying especially on a Sunday where the Saturday before you’ve had people over and then you wake up late on Sunday morning and you remember there are people coming over for a workshop in your house and it looks a mess and you hurriedly run around making the bed, washing the dishes, putting the wine bottles away, scrubbing the surfaces—and yes, I realise that in any other country, I’d be doing that myself anyway, but in any other country I wouldn’t be paying someone to do it for me.
Now the dilemma is, what should I say to her? She’s taken today off as well, which means it must be a genuine problem and not just her being lazy, but I feel like I should have a word with her for the future. I swear sometimes her excuses are: “Oh, I had guests.” Should I threaten? Cajole? Weep? Sack her? I turn to you, in the hopes that you are better with managing people than I am!

Speaking of the workshop though, it went really, really well. I realised I’m actually not bad at this whole workshop thing and some very talented writers showed up and we all had a good time writing and talking about writing. It went SO well, in fact, that I have decided to make it a regular-ish thing. The next one will be in July sometime, I’ll keep you posted.

Oh yes, was asked for the People Magazine ‘Most Beautiful Party’ at Tote with a GREEN CARPET, dudes and I was hugely excited and thrilled. (Bubble was burst when I told a friend all about it and she looked a little puzzled about why I had been invited and then her face cleared and she got an a-ha look on her face and blurted out, “It’s probably about INNER beauty too!” Heh. Nice that I can always count on my friends to keep me grounded.) I usually get one of my friends or the other to come along as a plus one, usually the person who asks me first, but then I guess that’s not entirely fair because I meet some people more than others so next time I’m going to draw lots and ask them in that order. (This should make alllll my other friends, including the one who works at (good morning!) very happy.)

Anyway, back to the green carpet. I had asked BB to begin with but she had to cancel and so Ira was next in line. I might have micromanaged her outfit just a leeeetle bit, but it was worth it because she looked super hot in this red bandage halter dress. I wore a thrift shop find—this maroon silk sheath and had my hair ironed and went for simple but elegant. I think it worked, sorta. No one took our pictures on the green carpet (hmph) but we did drinks LOADS of yummy watermelon caprioskas and at least seven hundred glasses of wine. We did not say hello to Sushmita Sen, though we did stalk her (and she smokes! Which makes me love her even more! I always thought she’d be one of those militant anti-smoking types.) I also had a very awkward exchange with Aatish Taseer (swoon), which I shall reproduce below:
Me: “Hi! I loved your book!” (Well, the introduction. I’ve been meaning to get back to it, really I have, but I’m drowning in unread books at the moment.)
Him:(Looking handsome and suave) “Thank you.”
Me (Looking  sort of like a crazy lady, humidity already taking its effect on my ironed hair):  “Errr. I really only wanted to say that.”
Him (Gives a manly laugh): “And what do you do?”
Me: “Youareheresinglewomaninindiablahdiblah”
Him: “Oh, the book with the map on the cover?”
Me (with surging confidence): “So, what are you planning to do while you’re in Bombay?”  (Smooth, right? I KNOW.)
Him: “I’ve actually lived here before.”
Me: “Oh.”
Me: “But you MUST see the sights! The sights! You MUST!”
Him: “I’ve.. lived.. here.. before.. oh never mind. What sights?”
Me (AHA. I WILL BE CLEVER AGAIN): “That depends.” (Low laugh, toss hair over one shoulder) “What are you into?”
Him (obviously finding all this very amusing): “Movies?”
By this time I am so shocked by not being able to construct a simple sentence, I grab Ira and toss her to the wolves. She works in movie marketing, so I figure she can say something clever for both of us.
Ira: “Oh you should watch [obscure Telugu film]”
Me (in my head): “Really?”
Him (Obviously relieved that ONE of us can make intelligent conversation): “Oh, I will look that up.”
Pretty girl: “Hiiiiii” (At us, girl head nods, where you acknowledge someone and take in their outfits at the same time.)

Needless to say, if I ever encounter him in the future I am going to hide. You’ll find me in the bushes.  And before you judge me let me just say when a man is handsome and smart and a really good writer YOU WOULD BE TONGUE TIED TOO. Next time, I will REHEARSE my conversation.

At about this point, the evening became drunkener and drunkener. A model danced up to me and shoved a test tube shot down my throat. Ira got whisked away and whirled round the dance floor by a really, um, exuberant gentleman. We found friends and got a ride home.
Good night, all in all.

Oh and before I close, shout outs to the winners of the Friends Of Books contest! As soon as the books reach me, I’ll sign them and send them forward. Unless one or more of you is in Bombay, in which case, the coffee’s on me.


  1. So cute. :)

    (Glad to know workshop went well! Any chance the next book will bring you to Chennai, then?)

  2. After Oh-So-Long, eM ,I find, is in her element again. I sniggered more than once at this post :)

  3. yayyy i'm one of the winners, so thank you :)

    also, sounds like a VERY fun evening...and hey, who's going to blame you for being tongue-tied around the studmuffin writer? at least you got words out..doubt i'd have managed!

  4. Uh uh, a writer who's handsome and suave ... one does not stand a chance there really, no option other than being tongue tied.

    Word verifcation was 'comic' :D

  5. Back here after perhaps years! Nice to see that you are really keeping up, something I've not done much justice to! Will frequent more.

  6. Once my maid took an off for she had a party to attend!!

    Please have the next workshop in Muscat, I would love to attend

    Your friend has humor and is true-hearted though I imgained your appearance to be much different than what I see in newspapers

    And Sushmita Sen has been a smoker since she was 16...she was a hot party chick in Delhi

  7. Ah, the maid problem. I know that one. Back when I lived in Delhi, myself and my dear housemates had become so lazy we used to have arguments about who is going to wake up in the morning to open the door for our maid. She soon picked up on our laziness and started taking advantage by not turning up. We cut her pay and then she quit.

    Maid number 2 was a different story. We took a week-long vacation in Goa and our Hindi wasn't good enough to explain that to her. When we came back she was gone. Ooops.

    Drawing pictures in the layer of dust on our coffee table became the new party entertainment.

    Does that help you? Probably not. Oh well. Performance management is a tricky science. Take the positive approach: Let her know how much you need her & how important her work is to you. (She will feel bad & turn up? Who knows.)

  8. Hello Hello! :D

    Unfortunately I don't live in Bombay. Pfsh. :( But perhaps if you come to Bangalore? On a book-toury-thingy? Can't wait to get my hands on the book though! :D


  9. About Aatish Taseer.

    @goodlooking - *nods head vigorously*

    @embarassing conversation - *pats arm* He's probably used to much of that happening. And if he isn't...well, he's not likely to forget you now, is he? :-D

  10. tooo too toooo gud.
    Imagine in last 24 hrs I've found two clones of me!! though I always thought I am the only ONE

    hrd bout ur blog from a friend. I guesses lurked here before too. But now its jazzy and much more similar to my ongoing soul story!!

    Lets see how we end up further up the road! All the Best!!
    would stay tuned

  11. sigh. hot, talented man = tongue-tied me too. its expected!

  12. Hilarious, and yes Aatish would have me tongue-tied too :D

  13. why r u girls relying so much on maid??

    Just sack ur maid, and attempt to live independent. I foretell, a great positive change in your lifestyle, just by doing that.

    Oh, I know, how painful it would be, but, worth trying it.


Thanks for your feedback! It'll be published once I approve it. Inflammatory/abusive comments will not be posted. Please play nice.