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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9 August 2010

Right back where we started from

Ah, back to my favourite city in the whole wide world. This may be surprising to people, but sorry Bombay, sorry London, you didn’t take me into your hearts when I was three weeks old and continue loving me ever since. See, Delhi is more my city than it is of the aggressive men, of the scared women, of the crimes. It’s my city because I love it, and it loves me, and when I am here a huge part of me just feels comfortable and relaxed and, and, home. It is of hot afternoons with the AC on and old books read, curled up in bed. It is of the incredibly stylish women, matched down to their shoes, it is of old haunts revisited and new ones discovered. It is walking into a Sunday brunch at a restaurant and being able to table hop, people looking up and smiling and saying, “Oh, eM, it’s so nice to see you again.”


I realise though, speaking of stylish women, that my own personal style has evolved far more than I had imagined. Now, I bum around the city in summer dresses and my silver calf length gladiators, very “Bombay”, as someone described them to me the other day. I didn’t really think a shoe could be one city or another, but as I look at them now, I see what he meant. Bombay loves OTT styles, the bandana, the bright belt, the quirky accessories, Delhi is equally stylish, but in a more put together way, cotton is worn in the daytime, jersey or lycra in the evenings, earrings are small, feet are in pumps or strappy sandals. This particular pair of shoes just beg for attention though, even in Bombay, they are not the norm, but while in Bombay, someone might say, “Nice shoes!” over here, they are given the eyebrow, maybe a subtle cough, but mostly ignored. If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all, eh? Sadly, my beloved wedge heels, SO comfortable and SO “normal” have finally given up, and eroded, thanks to me wearing them and splashing around in puddles. I need a new pair of shoes—affordable but nice, comfortable but with heels. Where can I go?


Oh, but. I’m off to my favourite shopping place EVER—Sarojini Nagar—tomorrow, where I shall shop and shop and shop and come back resplendent with new things.I even brought a half empty suitcase for just that purpose. I hope the clothes are nice though, it’s purely a luck thing, some days you get brilliant stuff and on others, it’s quite boring. Also, since I am DONE with the empire waistline, but shopkeepers don’t know that yet, I’m hoping to see a lot more A-line and fitted things.


I managed to get a few of the much beloved Delhi houseparties done as well. I hold them up as a standard of living to people in Bombay, when I sigh and go on about how much I miss the house party, not just fifty people crammed into a tiny apartment, but one with loads of space and (sometimes, if you’re very lucky) waiters and a bartender and loads of food and interesting people. I went to two this Saturday (one of them actually with the fanciness I mentioned earlier) and I think I spent about half an hour at each place going, “Wow. You have so much space. Wow.”


I’ve been lazy about taking pictures, but starting today, I’m going on a photography spree. I basically called up everyone a couple of days before I left, with my planner in one hand and a pen in another, and I made plans for the entire week. I thought that was very organised of me, because mostly I get here, and I send a text and then, you know, people are busy, time is limited, etc etc. Now, I get to see everyone I wanted to AND it’s all written down neatly and managed in advance. Except for the daytime. Then I’m completely free, which on a day like today, when I’m sort of tired, is cool, but I want to get the most of this trip, so tomorrow I’m just going to take myself into South Delhi and sit at a coffee shop with a book if need be. On Friday, I’m off to Hyderabad, to see family and launch my book, so if you’re in that city, come to the Landmark bookstore in Somajiguda on August 14th at 6.30 pm.

Off now, to laze some more. I sense a lot more blogging (especially after I get all my new clothes tomorrow!) so watch this space.


  1. :) I feel exactly the same way about Bombay! There's something about cities where you spend the first 2 decades of your life, isn't it?

    Happy Shopping for tomorrow! :)

  2. Oh eM! I love people who love Delhi! The poor city gets a lot of flak all the time from everyone who doesnt belong here.

  3. @ Shruti: I know what you mean! People take some kind of sadistic pleasure in trashing something you love in front of you! I get that a lot for Mumbai as well!! hmph.

  4. ii love your blog. and i LOVE delhi. i miss it sooo much, and even more with this blog post /:

  5. Hello eM,

    I have been a loyal reader of your blog for years now, but I'm delurking for the first time.

    This post inspired me to write about something I had been giving a lot of thought to, of late. Its about my relationship with Delhi. Maybe you could take a look too.

  6. I miss Sarojini Nagar here, no better place to shop. And yes Delhi does have life of its own, those who live there will know what I am talking about

    Also wanted to check is it possible to ship your latest book outside India? I really want to put my hands on it

  7. Read your blog for the first time and am glad its about delhi, its been 5yrs that since i've left Calcutta and I still write fondly about it while I point my fingers at delhi :) So i'll the treat the city with more respect next time :) Nice one.
    Btw,dont miss the fair at the Blind School next to Oberoi's around diwali.

  8. Whenever someone mentions Delhi mi mind throws up an image of Katrina Kaif in a Salwar or whateva in the middle of a dust storm with the Taj Mahal in the background.

    Probably tis cos I've never been to Delhi n dats how it comes across

  9. Delhi...I get a lot about this city; both good and bad. But I want to wait to form an impression now because I will be relocating soon and its going to be my second home. Loved your post. And yeah...happy shopping!

  10. Hey was lookin fwd to ur post about shopping.. Any luck wid tat????

  11. Hey,

    I am writing to you from Namibia and today picked up a brochure about India and saw your picture in an article about Jaipur Literary Festival - what a small world!

    Been reading your blog for several years. I have enjoyed reading it. Just saw your pictures on flickr and figured that the guy with the beard and glasses is J. This is none of my business and please delete my comment if it offends you but I feel he was a wrong choice. I believe that looks reveal a lot about people and J just does not look like someone mature enough for a lasting relationship. You are intelligent and cute - I hope you make a better choice next time (someone less sloppy looking for one, in my opinion).

    Keep enjoying your book tours and life!

  12. How did you manage to market your blog this much?Kidding-Jeleousy,wt else?

  13. I never thought I would say this, but I Miss Delhi. I miss the fantastic fashion, the food, the winters, the shaadis and the baraats, all that jazz. I miss it all. This post of yours brought back all those lovely memories of Delhi!
    Good stuff! I have read your "You are here!" and since then have been following your blog. Great work! All the best!

  14. well feel exactly the same nothing could replace the unique sense of ownership one feels for certain cities...all the splendor and magnificence seems like nothing in front of this feeling and no time is better than the time spent there...throwing glimpses of the enjoyable past and subtle smiles which in no other way can brought upon....
    lovely writeup :))


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