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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15 February 2011

Vignettes From Bombay

*Two signs point to this being a good year for love. One: the heart shaped balloon that broke away from its companions and drifted towards me, dodging traffic and electric poles. I am standing, amidst fairy lights and stripper poles and interesting conversation and I watch it as it drifts towards me, taking its time. And then, when it’s about a foot away from my grasping fingertips, it winks and drifts away again, leaving behind the promise of potential. I look away for a second and when I look back, it’s gone.


And the second sign? The fact that my berth number on the Rajdhani train home is 69.


* Crosslegged at a friend’s flat, I look around me, at the girls I love, and I feel a sense of deja vu, so strong that it takes me by surprise. Here we all are, sitting the way we used to, having similar conversations, swatting away mosquitoes from our bare legs, and yet, here we are not. You can never go home again, says the old refrain, and yet, we are happy and fulfilled, we are drinking coffee then, in the next blink, at an old favourite coffee shop, we are drinking a glass of wine, we are interrupting each other, each of us with different stories of me! me! me! and we are happy that the others are happy, we feel, resonating within our systems, a sense of well being that we have made the right decisions, and yet, that we are in Bandra, all together, looking well, feeling well.


*Passing by the house I once lived in, the house I once loved, I strain my head to peer out of the rickshaw up the floors till I catch sight of my old bedroom. And oh, the lights are off, no one’s home and I miss it, I miss my house more than I miss any other part of my relationship, is this odd? I miss my house, I miss the way it smelt and felt and was, I miss the everythingness and the nothingness of it, I miss hungover Sunday mornings and rainy Tuesday afternoons and the doorbell ringing and running up and down the stairs and the particular click the key made in the door.


* Oh, but. When someone asks me why I miss Bombay, I don’t even have to think about it. “My friends,” I say, “I miss Bombay because of my friends.”


*It is in Bombay that I make the decision to go speak at the Manipal Media Students Convention, and it is also in Bombay that I decide that while I’m down South anyway, I’m going to take myself off on a solo beach holiday (the first one I’ve ever done) to Gokarna, which is right next door. (Details: In Manipal on the 17th, speaking there on the 18th, off to Gokarna for a couple of days after. If you’re in Manipal, come say hi.) Bombay makes me adventurous and up for (pretty much) anything, when I die, I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered off the tallest building, so each person inhales a little bit of me and carries it across the city that I love.


*And today, a rainy spring day in Delhi, when I clean up and potter about, I think I shall spend the day looking out at the roof tops around me and dreaming.


  1. Have a good trip eM. :) I'm sure you're going to love Gokarna. The stars seem so much closer and bright from there. :)

    - Pzes

  2. I have seen some of your nostalgia posts and I'm left mesmerized everytime.
    The way you describe your past has a thing or two about it.
    Also +1 on scattering ashes from a tall building. Beautiful expression. :)

  3. gokarna! nice place! but, you know, sits on the brink of those discovered places, almost too crowded with firang-types but not enough...
    you're so right about missing the house that youve lived in... and don't u miss the way it smelt??oh, u mentioned that...
    anyway have fun!!!

  4. wistful... hopefully, i wouldn't have to think of london the same way - ever!!

  5. Those who love Mumbai LOVE Mumbai. I now think its one of the most cultured Indian cities, very unlike Delhi where I stayed for long

    Enjoy Manipal, had been there eons ago for an interview

    And yes there is promise of love, especially 69 variety

  6. I hope I was in Manipal when you come, I lived there but I am in the States now and I miss home more than ever. Always nice to read your blog :)

  7. you end up interpreting signs as you want to really.

    It's good that you're seeing it in a positive light. :o)


  8. oh my god MANIPAL. and then GOKARNA.

    I study at manipal and gokarna has been one of my favourite weekend getaways. replaced recently by Palolem beach in goa.

    yes, gokarna is touristy, but tolerably so.

    I SO WISH i had been in manipal so that i could have met you, but im currently on vacation in delhi. sigh.

    please carry a powerful torch to gokarna. it tends to get REALLY dark. which is why you feel like you can touch the stars. but, please, torch for safety.

  9. Your posts are too good.

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  10. Was awesome having you here in Manipal, eM! Thanks a LOT for making Article-19 happen. And thanks even more for chilling with some of us. Hope you had an awesome time, and wish we get to meet again sometime soon.

    P.S: My brother will cherish the autograph for a long time to come. :)

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  12. You have a very good site that the main thing a lot of interesting and beautiful!


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  14. Hey the way you describe your experiences has some sort of a chill factor. It reminds me of this song "Those were the days" - By Mary Hopkins. What a song it is!
    Why don't you write a novel or something??
    You could be the next Chetan Bhagat - You never know!
    Could I have you featured on my blog -
    In whatever way you wish to. I will be highly honored.
    Shikha Barasia

  15. hi your article is really good remind me of hostel days WELL FRIENDS EVEN I HAVE WRITTEN ARTICLE IN MY BLOG JUST CHECK IT OUT IN, your critics are most welcome, byeee....


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