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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25 October 2013

I ain't fraid of no ghosts

I love, love, LOVE a good scary story.

Growing up, I had exactly ONE encounter, and in retrospect, it wasn't much of an encounter. We lived in a building society, where I was block E and most of the other kids were on the other side, blocks A or B.  So, when it came time for us all to go home after play, I had to walk alone. No big deal, because I was in the same society, right? WRONG. You try being a little girl with an overactive imagination trying to get home at night. I had read too many books to be completely oblivious to things that went bump in the night. PLUS, I had a crew of boy cousins whose sole mission in life was to scare the crap out of me (and each other, but that was less sport, as one was an easy crier.) Anyway,  so there I was, one evening, going home at a faster than normal pace ("what? I'm not running, I'm walking fast.") when I hear a low praying sound coming from right next to me. I freaked the fuck out. That moment is when I understood the motivation that makes people in horror films GO INTO THE HOUSE ALONE because instead of running, I decided to investigate the sound. It sounded like it was coming from behind a car, so I put my head down to peer under the car. There was no one there. AND, ANDDDD, even freakier, as I looked, the praying turned into a cackle. "HAHAHAHAHAHA" said the disembodied voice, and I found my feet and scampered home.

Later I realised, with the clarity of daylight and no spooks, that the voices and the laughter could have very well been coming from the park behind the car, separated from us by one wall. So, there you go. No ghosts.

This year, charmed by the annual Jezebel thread, I'm asking for your stories. Did you have an encounter more inexplicable than mine? Want to scare the pants off the rest of us? Put it in the comments and I'll post them on the blog.


  1. Yes, I had one ....actually I am not sure if it is a night I had a feeling that somebody is trying to wake me up...and i heard my name whispered... i was not asleep ..i was lying with my eyes happened in my hostel room and my room mates had gone I was alone in my room..i felt someone patting my shoulder..nudging me to get up..i was too scared to turn behind , I just pretended to be asleep....this is crazy I know..but it really happened to me...

  2. Yup it happened with me either. Once I was riding home from my friend's place at late night. I was half way through when I started getting some uncomfortable feeling. My bike felt heavy as if someone was sitting behind me. I didn't even dare to look back (even through the mirror). I kept on riding till I reached home. I parked my bike and without even a little bit of hesitation climbed the stairs to my flat. It was indeed a spine chilling experience...

  3. You should totally feast on Jezebel's annual Halloween feature:

    You're welcome!

  4. Uff I stopped reading at the end of your story ("No ghosts.") and didn't realize you'd already checked out the spookfest on Jez! Sorry!

  5. Oooh I love ghost stories, though not actual ghosts, pardon me. I don't know if you can call my experience ghost-related but it was definitely spooky. We were three of us sharing a terrace room at a remote farm house in Sainik Farms in Delhi. All of us, at different periods, were witness to some kind of nightmare (not similar) which would always end with someone screaming at our ears and waking us up. I particularly remember one girl's dream (as told by her) where she was trying to escape from an obnoxious person and was hiding on the top bunk of a 3 tired bunk bed when that person's head suddenly appeared by her side and he whispered 'I got you!' loudly in her ears. Strangely, another friend of us who had spent one night with us had left the next morning saying she felt there was some 'aatma' in that area...


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