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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14 January 2014

Why are we so angry?

Yesterday, a man was killed for using his cellphone in a movie theatre. Like, actually killed. Not just people grumbling, "Oh my god, please shoot that guy." Someone shot him.

Part of this problem, I think, is our rhetoric. Words of violence tossed around casually: KILL. ME. NOW (about a slow moving traffic jam), can someone please strangle the child having a tantrum in the middle of a mall? All of [shitty locality] should be bombed. If you're a language person, it's likely you'll be more careful about the words you use, insert a "In my opinion," or "seemingly" to distance yourself from the words of hate and anger and violence. If you say, "Please shoot [person annoying me]" often enough, you're sending a message to your brain, over and over again. It's okay to kill people. 

Oh come on, I'm not that stupid.

Aren't you?

The other half of the problem is the idea of time being money. This is bandied about often enough for it to become a truism. I want to deny it: time is not money. Time you spend working towards making money might be money, but it's still not an active currency. I can't trade you an hour of my life for a new cellphone for example. The worst that will happen if you miss the green light and have to wait a minute is that you'll be a minute late. That doesn't mean Rs 20 is debited from your bank account. Which leaves us at: where are y'all going off to in such a hurry? What's the emergency that makes someone blare his horn at the car in front of him if it's not rolling the minute the light turns green, like some kind of race horse? Who is dying, how much money are you losing that just the idea of waiting, chilling for a second brings upon such teeth-gnashing, pull out a gun and shoot someone in the face anger?  

And the third bit of this idea is property. I had a very interesting argument with someone recently who claimed theft could never be a crime. Obviously, I disagreed violently. I mean, I love my stuff, someone who takes my stuff should be jailed, but she said that for her, the only good thing that could be done would be the restoration of her stuff. You get your things back, and why does the person taking it have to be punished further? This argument could be argued till kingdom come, and I'm still not entirely in agreement, but it brings me to the idea of property. When else do we get angry? When we perceive people as invading our space (not the video game, although that would be quite cool). So, the girl bullied on a Mumbai local train by fellow passengers for being in "their" train,  Delhi's daily parking wars (mine included), kicking out impatiently at beggars who grab your legs, getting so furious at people for being there.

I'm prone to being short tempered, and god knows, I've had the odd violent urge every now and then (weekly). So angry with stuff that sometimes life is just a blurry mess and I want to rage and be Godzilla, trampling all over the city with rage. I'm trying to let my reasonable brain take over, however, not being a sociopath, I have access to a reasonable brain, and I'm working through anger by analyzing what makes me so mad. Why is this a trigger? Why am I frustrated over things I cannot help? And I find as I think through these things, two things happen--I get much calmer, and much more tired, worn out like a rag doll, but not Godzilla anymore. 

The serenity to accept the things I cannot change.



  1. I propose a different saying that you want to do things, you are venting out. So, a person who keeps saying "i'll kill you" is least likely to kill you. On the other hand, the one who is silent and brooding is more likely to vent out his anger about you on someone else (possibly through a gun).

    Time is indeed money...If a doctor is late by a few minutes to his surgery, it may lead to loss of life. Similarly, a lot of people who have to be on time to earn money think time is money. Don't you know of workplaces where they actually deduct salaries when you are late? It may not be the case with you...but there are a million people in this country who actually have to reach their places of work on time to earn their bread. These people may not be in the swanky cars that are parked in your parking lot, but they are on the two wheelers that try to wriggle out of a jam.

  2. Guess, we get flared up with the slightest emotions and become all charged up..passive violence leads to active violence.

  3. I guess it's because it is easier to spew venom rightaway than to take a deep breath and allow a moment to let things pass. The all encompassing ego we wear on our sleeve comes in the way of stepping away from the mess to evaluate our reactions.

  4. I believe the technological progress that we are making every day is to fast and it compels us to be along with it. On the other side we are unable keep a pace with technology. And that's the frustration which turns into anger.


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