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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17 September 2012

On the one night stand as a perfectly viable dating choice

(A version of this article appeared in Outlook magazine about a year ago. Or was it two? Here's to recycling!)
You know, it's not really a man's world any more. In most things, that is.  I can do pretty much as I please, as a woman, that a man could do—perhaps even enjoy some advantages over that gender. The one area, however, where we, as women are lagging behind, is sex. Now, I know there are new age men everywhere, men who like to ask about a bazillion questions before they lay a finger on you: “Does this feel good?” “How about that?” “Is this turning you on?” until you're really ready to go to sleep, but how comfortable does a woman—even if she is a powerful, 21st century creature-- feel about being promiscuous? When words like 'slut' are bandied about like they're going out of style, is it any wonder that I (and my sisters in “sin”) feel very much like we're being guilted by society into feeling something for someone just so we can sleep with them?


release  229/365
I think she's having an orgasm or haunting someone.

I discovered how very liberating this whole sex-without-emotion schtick can be, about two years ago. He was sexy, and I had harboured a crush on him for the last four months, bumping into him at bars, giving him my classic eyelash lowered come-on, until finally my grand plan of seduction swung into place. (It's really simple. Lots of booze, some dancing, some leaning in to whisper, and voilĂ , seduction done. Most men are quite easy like that.)

We wound up back at his, him murmuring French endearments into my ear (of course he wasn't Indian, I am enough of my country's daughter to only associate promiscuous “doing it” with the big bad West.) me trying very hard not to giggle (what? It tickled!) and also restraining myself from reaching for my cellphone as we got intimate-r, to text everyone I knew with my great triumph. I had broadcasted my crush to all my friends, and I knew they'd be thrilled at this development.

At this point, he paused and looked at me, mid-endearment. “You know I'm an asshole, right? I won't call you in the morning.” I looked back at him, wondering what the correct response to this was. Did I slap him and flee? Did I say, “Oh, all right then, thanks for clearing that up” re-button my shirt and then leave? Did I cry and plead and say, “Oh, but you kissed me! And a kiss is a promise! And now you have to call me!”?

I chose none of the above. I had had a crush on this boy for four months, god dammit, and all my seduction was totally not going to go to waste. At that point, I could hardly understand what he was saying anyway, because of his thick accent, and I didn't think it would be a relationship for the long run.  I chose to shrug, and raise my eyebrows at him. “I don't want you to call me in the morning.” He looked a bit taken aback, maybe I was supposed to protest more or something, but anyway, the night progressed as I'd wanted it to.

The next morning, I skipped out of his bed and prepared to equally blithely skip out of his apartment and his life. “Wait, you're leaving?” he asked, lying there. Probably no woman had ever left so summarily before. I smiled cheerfully at him, said, “Errands!” and gave him a kiss on the cheek as I left It was a perfect morning, I sang as I walked down the street swinging my bag. I felt free, I felt light, best of all, I felt absolutely no need to check my cellphone. He said he wouldn't call, I didn't want to call him, win-win.
Okay, so maybe one night stands are soulless. And I'm hardly an expert, this was my one and only experience in that department. But something about that bright sunny day, that feeling of accomplishment, a man who thereafter was unfailing polite and attentive to me when we ran into each other, that's saying something. When your sexual destiny is in your own hands, not tied up in any way to messy emotions, that's saying something too. It's not what you want in the long run—a series of one night affairs—but for a short term fix, you could do worse.

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  1. i so agree. sometimes the baggage less encounters are really what the doctor ordered.

  2. That was Jan 2011, I still have it lying somewhere on my shelf :)

  3. I fully agree compulsive confessor..n why should women be branded as slut..its so passe. As it is we all wanna have some fun in life:)i love d confession and after who wanna a relationship with baggage. Well, I second dat as one night stand is so much fun and gratifying:)


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