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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2 February 2011

Back into the battlefield

You know Jezebel’s one of my morning read websites, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. I came across this article today in my browsing, and it made me think that I could whip up some rules for love too. (Stop. Go read that first and then come back to me.)


There are things I’ve learnt in my 12 years of dating history, god, has it been TWELVE WHOLE YEARS? Nothing like a little back calculating to make you feel old. Anyway, in this time, there are also things I frequently forget. This list is sort of to help me remember, now that I’m firmly back in the dating pool again, trying, and getting up, and being bruised and vulnerable and stomach flutters and disappointments and everything.


Now is also a good time to tell you guys about something weird (and kind of wonderful) that’s been happening to me. For the last month, I’ve been receiving anonymous, hand delivered presents. One for my birthday, and one for Christmas. There are a number of possibilities, a friend trying to make me feel better, someone playing a practical joke (but who cares? PRESENTS!) or the most thrilling, a secret admirer. I’ve always longed for a secret admirer, and of course, I’m DYING of curiosity, but at the same time, I also don’t want the anticipation to end. Reality never lives up to what’s in your head. There, that’s rule number one. I have quite a vivid imagination, one phone call from a prospective, and already I’m imagining us on the beach somewhere, doing a holiday, walking hand in hand, having cozy nights in, when all the poor guy usually wants is to meet me for coffee. My brain gets ahead of itself frequently, and then is all “awwwww” when stuff doesn’t work the same way in real life. Maybe I just need a fantasy boyfriend.


Rule number two, and one I’ve learnt the hard way. I’ve just come out of a pretty long, pretty serious relationship. Now, the problem with that is that you expect the next guy to pick up exactly where you and the old guy were when you broke up. Start at square one. Remember he’s not in love with you (yet). Remember he doesn’t know all your stories. Remember this is new territory, and you, even you, are a whole new person.


My friend and I were having this chat about boys the other night. Do we ever outgrow chats about boys? We’ve been doing the same thing since we were sixteen, and now, all aged and weary, career women etc, we still like nothing better than a couple of bottles of wine, and talking about boys. She said it was important to have some unbreakable expectations. In the sense, what are the things you will not and can not compromise on? Him calling you back after your date? Him showing an interest in your work? You need to figure out what the things are that work for you, and what doesn’t, so that you save yourself a hell of a lot of heartbreak later on. (Again, lesson learnt the hard way.)


Don’t be afraid to be alone. No one likes a needy person. I’m actually having the time of my life right now, living entirely on my own for the first time ever. I love it. I can’t imagine sharing my space with anyone at the moment (though the house right downstairs just got robbed last night, so now I’m a little scared). When you are comfortable in your space and your body then people will be comfortable around you. You know how dogs can sense fear? Well, we humans can sense neediness. It’s hard to control, I know, I’ve had moments of drunken despair, where I just want to throw myself at the first pretty boy I see and take him home and get married and have babies, but do I really? Having been “together” for so long, I’m not really in a rush to be “together” again.


And finally. Aren’t we all a little old to be playing games? I know I am. I’ve tried and failed miserably. I don’t want to go through the whole “guess what I feel!” thing again, and I’m weary of men who want me to do that. If I like you enough to suggest meeting up, if I like you enough to spend an evening with you, must we go through the whole yo-yo thing? I’d appreciate it far, far more if people were just straight: You were great, but I’m just not interested. Simple. No need to do this dance.


  1. glad to see you are not anonymous anymore, as sometimes I doubted it being a Truman blog.
    Things seem so coherent that cudnt refrain such a thought.

    Lovely post! Agree with everything mentioned and also trying to follow them as I distance myself from my recent past.
    Bahot kathin hai dagar panghat ki.. magar. Tujhe chalna hoga.. tujhko chalna hoga..

    All the best! and God Bless!

  2. 5 rules are easier to read and remember (and far less Cosmo-ish) than 12. Well played. Although I think just 1 and 5 would've sufficed.

    Anonymous presents is quite something. I've never tried so hard for anyone... and if I did, I wouldn't want just coffee at the end, I'm sure. Beer, at the very least...

  3. i've actually never thought about unbreakable expectations...interesting, perhaps I should :)

  4. Anonymous presents! Super interesting! Way to go girl!

  5. Now if only things were that simple. Sometimes the song n dance routine, the guess what am on about routine seems to refuse to get out of the way.... hate that!! especially when the other person is a friend so makes it tricky waters to navigate!! buggered!!

  6. Unbreakable expectations are just things you can't compromise on. But its different from expectations out of a relationship. Often we expect the other person to behave in a certain manner, and if they don't, we are disappointed. So I say don't have any expectations at all. Just accept the other person as they are. Don't try to change them by acting in a manner you want them too. Be yourself and expect the other person to be his own self as well.

  7. Now from where did this post come? It sounds more like a 16 year old writing her diary (btw I read your latest book, finally) rather than work of an accomplished lifestyle blogger. But anyways keep it coming, as long as it sounds good

  8. Good post... Even I don't understand why people play games and not just in dating... even, generally? Why beat around the bush when you can get a straight answer

  9. 'You must be having plenty of secret admirers'
    You can sleep on that.

  10. Excellent post.So well thought and such good observations brought out very well. Enjoyed reading it.

  11. Aha, it made me feel like this was exactly what i wanted to know... :) it makes sense to read something that guards you against the similar situation u r facing... thanks for this post

  12. yeah, rules of self-sustenance :)
    nice post. I guess a smart human mind figures out the ways to satisfy itself in all states.
    But, I would double on the fact that being single is amazing, especially when you have sucked at the last fling :P

  13. Hi, I never miss any of ur posts! I feel so connected to the things you write...esp in this post. M 25 years old and got off a "serious almost there rship" and now that i want to date ppl, the men i meet are how do i say, still wanting to play games and i feel they do not take me seriously and i have this fear that I am gonna end up alone. Not that I come from a city to have lots of options too. No one takes me seriously and I m fed up giving the guy I like a nudge.
    In any case, when i read ur blogs I know that there is a chance maybe somewhere in the future!
    Bcuz no matter how much i might hate men, we can never live without them!
    keep the blogs coming up and inspiring my frens and me as u have been doing till now :)


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