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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28 June 2013

How wonderful life is, now you're in this world.

"You’re not going to see name plates decorated with gorgeous calligraphy on any of the dinner tables that I’m in charge of. And I’m not sure everyone had matching silverware. That’s not my area of expertise. What I CAN do is provide a place and an atmosphere where people, both friends and strangers, can gather and forget about all that other stuff for a few hours."

From this post on Dooce.

After a long time of being unhappy in my old flat, I had the chance to move into a home I'd been eyeing since my friends had it back in 2011. Because it's such a gorgeous place, my friends were loath to give it up, but I made sure that I was first in line if they ever did.

The nice thing about moving into a home that you used to love as a friend's home is that it's still filled with their good vibes. I can sort of sense the love that was in the flat, it welcomes me home when I turn the key, I can see their echoes in the bedroom, pottering across the kitchen, sitting in the large airy living room, it's been inhabited by people I care about, and so the house has sort of taken on their aura. There may not be such things as ghosts, but surely people leave behind a little of themselves in every place they are in a for a while?

From the balcony, looking in
The problem with moving into a NICE house, a comfortable house, is that you feel at home almost instantly, which means there was very little reason for me to unpack my boxes for oh, like TWO WEEKS.

I've become something of a serial mover, and all within the same neighbourhood. I can't even sing the praises of Nizamuddin West over other South Delhi neighbourhoods, but for some reason, this is essentially home. There are many crappy things about Nizamuddin West, not as posh as East across the road, parking, with the basti becoming prosperous and having no place to park, the little residential colony is overflowing, which leads to bad tempers, and shady elements. I almost got followed home at 8 pm the other night when I walked to my local market. And someone tried to accost me and make conversation with me in the middle of the day a few feet from my home. There are too many young men in Nizamuddin with nothing to do.

So, that's the bad part. The good part is that there's lots of random beauty. We have a tree, a massive neem, which reaches into the balcony and is full of birds and squirrels. It's attached to a Shiv temple downstairs which also has a cowshed. Yes, a real cowshed.

Cows next door

Another feature is how close everything I like is. The Good Thing thinks a good neighbourhood is one with a market IN the 'hood, but I disagree. I like markets to be at least 10 minutes away, easy to get to, but not so close that all the traffic is clogged up and there are people everywhere. I know, I used to live in Bandra and one of the lovely things about Bandra is that you basically had cupcake shops and cigarette guys living next door, but in Delhi, I'm beginning to enjoy a certain remove. The Good Thing is beginning to have a strong dislike of Khan Market so I've introduced him to other places next door--the superior Cafe Turtle in Niz East, Pig Po and Steak House in Jor Bagh, Bhogal Market for day to day. I still like Khan Market however, and so I'm glad I'm only ten minutes away.

Morning sunlight
It is the Good Thing's birthday today, and to celebrate, we had a little housewarming-meets-birthday party last night. This house has such a good vibe--I'm not joking--it truly does, that it felt like the kind of house you want to have your friends round a lot. They've been coming over the week and last night we called a lot in a collective bunch. It was a Thursday, and yet, the last people left at 3 am. We had forgotten to buy paper plates and plastic cups and yet all my china and wine glasses are intact (the only casualty was a beer bottle). All the smokers automatically stepped out on to the balcony, where I've placed a little round table and two cane chairs. This morning, the only mess was the empty glasses and plates and once those were cleaned up, I'm back to sitting in my living room as if nothing ever happened last night--except for a wine headache, but hey, you can't win them all, the house is nice but not MAGIC.

I looked around me at people being happy and drinking and eating and celebrating a random Thursday, and I was filled with a sense of well being. My parties may not be the best organised parties (everything is pretty much last minute, but it seemed to be working, the aura of the house and the people combined.

My last house made me unhappy coming home. The stairs were depressing, it was too small--actually, it wasn't that small, but it felt like it was closing in on me. I had a few parties there, but I never looked around with a sense of well being. After a while, I didn't even feel like entertaining, and I entertain a LOT.

I'm so happy also that the Good Thing was there from the beginning of this moving process. It sort of felt like co-ownership, "our" house, even though we have two different leases in two different cities. It's been a good year for us, and now we're settling in.

Cropped to protect identity

I got him this cake specially made from Ipshita's Cakes Mamma Bakes.

A friend had brought over one of her cakes for my thirtieth, and it had been really good, and I had something special in mind for my Good Thing. His all time favourite children's book is Where The Wild Things Are, and I liked the idea of him as Max sailing across the world to meet the wild things. I thought it was a good birthday wish: "many wild rumpuses!" and something to keep in mind for 32, when you're meant to be buckling down and steering straight and all that.

{The inside is red velvet. It's all finished, and that makes me sad. But, excellent cake, and she does a super job with decorating it and what not, so you should give her a shout the next time you have a special occasion. Or just want cake.}

My Good Thing. My new home. I'm almost afraid to breathe in case this will end as soon as I exhale.

You guys, I'm happy.


  1. May the euphoria never die. Amen.

  2. Sometimes
    by David Budbill

    Sometimes when day after day we have cloudless blue skies,
    warm temperatures, colorful trees and brilliant sun, when
    it seems like all this will go on forever,

    when we walk in the woods every evening over fallen leaves,
    through yellow light, when nights are cool, and days warm,

    when I am so happy I am afraid I might explode or disappear
    or somehow be taken away from all this,

    at those times when I feel so happy, so good, so alive, so in love
    with the world, with my own sensuous, beautiful life

    I know in the next minute or tomorrow all this may be
    taken from me, and therefore I've got to say, right now,
    what I feel and know and see, I've got to say, right now,
    how beautiful and sweet this world can be.

  3. Will it be too weird to say that I don't know you personally (apart from zi blogpostz), but somehow I find myself feeling happy for you? :)Good going

  4. Good and bad things come in cycles, so that life doesn't get boring. But for now, exhale, relax, this will last a long while.

  5. Your joy and excitement can be felt across my laptop..enjoy!!


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