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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3 June 2011


I write this from a friend's flat in Bandra. She's in a high rise on a street full of old style Bandra buildings, so to my left, if I peer out the balcony, I can see tiled roofs and beyond the tiled roofs, even more high rises. In the flat immediately below this one, a group of girls has been practicing a dance performance for what seems like years,  the same music on a loop and I do wish they'd get on with it, instead of stopping at 5..6..7..8 and bursting into giggles. Oh goodie, they seem to have gotten it down perfectly.

I know I haven't written in a bit, but real life is both happening and not happening. Life slowed down and while normal, regular things happened, there was nothing I felt particularly like writing about. Stuff like "oh, I went to a party" and "oh, this is what I bought when I went shopping", nothing very interesting, nothing life changing in any sense. And even though nothing life changing has happened to me on this trip, my "summer vacation" as I'm calling it, the fact of being in Bombay is reason enough to blog.

Okay, so interesting things:

Interesting Thing One is the fact that I am slowly teaching myself to cook. I felt like having a dinner party a couple of weeks ago, a real, where I feed people things other than take out and booze dinner party. I've never been a kitchen whiz, never been a foodie, even, but this overwhelming need to nourish suddenly came upon me. Is this what happens when you're almost thirty? So I went to this food blog and picked out this recipe, served it with L'Opera crusty bread and good butter and it all finished up! Not a leftover in sight, and it was such fun hearing people say I was a good cook, because it's not a skill I thought I had at all. Since I was now hooked to the praise and the feeding, I decided to try something a bit more complicated for my second round of dinner guests and made this. It was a bit more complicated and required lots of prep time, and I froze my fingers trying to mould the semi frozen mince, and the sight and smell of the raw meat and the blood made me gag, but I did it! I was so proud of my burgers, even as they "set" in the fridge, I made everyone admire them before I cooked them and not a leftover again. We even had one left over, which someone ate. And they weren't small burgers either.

So, now, I have a reputation of being a good cook. Isn't that weird? In the past, quite proudly, I declared that all I could do was instant food, cheese maggi and so on. But I think Indian food is a lot harder to do well than Western, also, while cooking simple Indian food is great, I like to experiment. I like to plate my meals, to offer bread instead of roti, to basically only cook the stuff that you wouldn't normally eat at home. Individual portions, measured out per guest. Then, at some point in the future, I will sit down with my mother and get her Andhra recipes, and my father and get his Malayali recipes, but in the meanwhile, I'm enjoying my "fancy food" phase. Up next: risotto with mushrooms, leeks and bacon!

Interesting Thing Two is actually a direct reaction to thing one. I'm moving. I need a larger, less slummy space (and my little hole in the wall is getting quite slummy this summer). In the past, it was winter and pretty with the sunshine shining in, now, with only one tank of water for the whole building and two new families downstairs and a counter top for a kitchen, well, I got to thinking, I should have a space I'm proud of, no? Especially since I entertain so much. I think I might have found the place of my dreams, but since all is up in the air at the moment, I'm not going to blog about it till I actually move and have pictures I can show you.

So, that's my list of interesting things. I'm loving being in Bombay right now, the monsoons sort of started yesterday, my fifth time watching it explode over the city. Might've been a false alarm, because it hasn't rained since. Oh well. Delhi's been nice and coolish too, over the past two weeks, so it's nice. Life is nice.  


  1. the burger thing looks quite yummy! I still think I wont ever reach a stage to cook at all :)
    but hey never say never I guess...

    keep cooking ! :)

    And Delhi seems to be confused about its weather...

  2. I discovered cooking when life forced me to start doing it myself. Until then I too prided myself in being utterly un-domestic. But when I did start, boy, i discovered it make me really happy! And you sound happy, so Im happy for you :)

  3. Missed your blogging & glad to see you're back, even if there's no Big Stuff to write about -- you've had enough drama this year already. Looking fwd to reading your next post & photos.

  4. Quick (silly?) question....are we talking raw mangoes or ripe ones?

  5. Great recipes from great blogs ! Even cooking is my new found love. Nice to hear the same from u .All the best with ur new place !

  6. Maybe people were just lying to you that you were a good cook for whatever their motives were.

    Talking about meat, its interesting to eat every non-endangered species once - but thats all. Tick it off the list. Human meat should be the ultimate one. Once one has ticked it off, there will not be any need to tick off any other creatures. One would have attracted enough attention to himself by announcing at a party that he/she has eaten human meat.

    Remember an anthropologist working with some tribes in Indonesia mentioning eating human meat with one tribe.

  7. hey I long time reader. I know you have thousands of readers, but more readers is always good :)

    Your blog could reach thousands more of Mumbai readers. Interested?

    A one time submission of your blog RSS url in is all you need. Then sit back and watch how automatically brings Mumbai readers.

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  8. Hey, first visit to this blog and I admit I haven't read your book yet. Though I have flipped through it in Crossword many a times.

    I was expecting something heavier than cooking and weather but this is fine too. Bombay rains can make any writer lose his/her words to the weather.
    Anyhow, that coffee cup on the header is extremely tempting. Will come back again :)

  9. Plzz post often! its just been a week since I started looking up ur blog and am all ga ga over it..

    Jc / Tc /small make my drowsy work hours splendid :P

    Boss if u are reading this,I still do keep up with dead lines :P

  10. Hey eM, good to know you've started cookin! I took up cooking some time back and yes, it feels great when people praise your food! :D
    I like making all the 'fancy food' only so you might want to check out my blog:
    I made a seven course meal stretched over seven days - one course each day. It was fun and din't stress me out! You should try doing it!
    Good luck with your new apartment! :)

  11. i love cooking for friends too! Love the compliments and the "mmmm" noises! :P

    I'm looking to move as well, and all I can think about is my living room, filled with people, just chilling and enjoying themselves.

    *fingers crossed* (for you as well!) Good luck!

  12. cooking always gives pleasure nd makes u happy....m saying so based on my personal experiences,so keeep up the good work....practice makes man perfect;)

  13. Hmm. Nice yummy posting.


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    its interesting to eat every non-endangered species once - but thats all. Tick it off the list.

  15. I've been meaning to try the recipes on this blog, and think it might be right up your alley:

    It has Indian-Mexican fusion recipes and they sound awesome.

  16. I have always been a foodie and love cooking but while in college found very little time except on Sundays...then moved out and relied on outside food...but finally after many years, now i have set up my own kitchen and i love experimenting with dishes.
    Even i have this urge to feed people, so whenever i cook something special give it for sampling to my landlady and she praises it dil khol ke :)


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