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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18 February 2012

In which I save millions on therapy and basically just fix myself

It's Saturday night and already, even though it's only 7.50, I'm late for a party. It was meant to begin in the afternoon, I see that now, but since I'm used to skimming invitations, I fondly placed my leaving  time at 8 pm, and now even though I was going to be early for this evening party, I'm late for both. But, in the throes of a head cold from hell, I'm procrastinating, my heater is on, singeing my stockings to almost-unbearable-but-too-cold-once-you-turn-it-off, and I'm procrastinating. There's a lovely hot cup of coffee on my desk, the shreds of snotty tissue, now there's a delightful image, and a couple of cigarettes still left in the packet I begun a couple of days ago. Or was it yesterday? My plan is to quit smoking this year, hopefully in the next month or so, but this is always my plan, especially when I'm ill, so even my own brain takes that with a pinch of salt.

I've settled down in my home once more. The other day I cleaned, from top to bottom, or at least, whatever I could see. A pink and white checked tablecloth is on my dining table, giving it the air of something that belongs in a French bistro or something. Or so I tell myself. It's been a while since I was at a French bistro. The other day, tired and bored and blue, I ordered a hair iron off Flipkart and that's become my new hobby--hair ironing. Does this all sound very dull? I suppose it is, any activity that doesn't involve anything but yourself is quite dull to read about, but it gives me a certain feeling of nesting, as it were. I feel settled. I feel at home. This week, I spent making phone calls to friends I hadn't seen in weeks and I tried to meet as many as I could. This week, I bought vegetables, and rinsed out my wine glasses. This week, I organised my cupboards, and hung my dresses up. This week, I run on single drinks and allergy medication, and I sniffle and fill up the fuel tank of my car in preparation for all the evenings I'm sure I'll have.

Basically, what I'm trying to explain is, that inside me, where chaos has always reigned, is a new era of calm and contentment. I am who I am, and that's what I am. For better or for worse. Often, last year, and for a few years before that, I found myself wondering if I'd be friends with me, if I knew me. And often, the answer wasn't yes. I didn't know, you see. I didn't know if I'd be friends with me, because ultimately, I didn't know who 'me' was. I knew, okay, I knew the basic stuff. Hates ketchup. Loves kindness. Tends to get weepy during her period. But that's easy. I could give you a list like that, and you'd know me inside out. And when friends said something  like, "oh,  I think you're so __" I'd have to stop a second and look at them. Really? Was that who I was? But how could I be that and not Friend B's description of me as a "___"? How could I be both?

This year, though, I feel... okay, this is weird, so bear with me. I feel ready. I'm not sure what I'm ready for, it's not like some big life changing event is looming over my head. Nothing is happening, which means everything is happening. But I think I will recognise the circumstances I'm meant to be ready for when they come along. I have the answer, but not the question, and so on.

All this calm and contentment doesn't mean I'm all zen, by the way. But it does mean when I have a mini meltdown, I'm able to pinpoint where it's coming from and what I'm doing in the situation and basically, I'm very well informed about what's going on in my own head. Off with you, confusion! I know pretty much always what my motives are, and when I get confused, I'm able to say I'm confused! Isn't that awesome? I think it's awesome. Maybe in ten years I'll be able to isolate cause from effect and be super zen and never lose my shit again, but for now, I'll take what I can get. Self awareness is a very self-help book thingummy, but it's a cool place to be. I highly recommend it. 


  1. confession is that we do so often go through this questioning, but kudos that you're at the 'im okay with what i'm seeing' stage, some of us seeing ourselves have the angst and expectation of something, we dont know exactly what we want and why we want!

  2. i know exactly what place you are in. Apart from occasional loneliness it's a very happy and a very 'me' place !

  3. With great age and wisdom, comes great responsibility! Nice post, it spoke to me.

  4. Looks like you're entering the age of wisdom & confidence. I hope this happens to me one day. :o))

  5. ahhhh... nothing like being at peace with yourself. you are your own soulmate. love the post.

  6. I think I can second most of your thoughts here. :) Take care and occasionally, attend a party or two.

  7. Confessions of a newly domesticated Goddess!

  8. That's a good state of mind you are in! Glad to know that you are on your way to achieving inner peace...


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