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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10 March 2014

eM’s Spring Wedding Lessons for the Wedding Attendee

Tis the season to get married,
Fa la la la la la la,
All around me brides are harried,
Fa la la la la la la,
Punjabi music fills the air
Fa la la la la la la,
Five drinks down, and I no longer care,

So, January, February, March. Three months, four almost back-to-back weddings. This was an unusual year for me, I think I've last done so many weddings in a row at the end of my twenties, when everyone was looking around themselves frantically and thinking, "You'll do!" Then there was a breather, with one to no invites, and then suddenly, the second wave.

The second wave hits when you think your days of wedding revelry are behind you. Second Wavers tend to have met in their 30s, and have fixed ideas about the kind of wedding they want. The Second Wave couples tend to be relaxed about most of the nitty gritty, not exhausting themselves with too much tamasha, an eye for the littler details, no doubt picked up from years of attending weddings themselves. Marriages of the Second Wave are usually attended by the Perpetually Single, the About To Get Married Soons and the New Parents. Some of the Second Wave have very fixed ideas about how they want to do the ceremony, the others are more go with the flow about it.

I also attended the wedding of another wave that's going to be rolling in soon enough: Your Friend's Younger Sibling. Yes, the child that followed you and your friend around, the teen you passed on life lessons to, the closest thing you had to your own younger siblings are now (sniff) all grown up.

Lessons I have learned from weddings:

1) Find your people: An average Indian wedding lasts about three days. You need to identify your "group," because you will be seeing these people a LOT. Spend the whole first Young People's Gathering or whatever making friends, so you're not awkwardly standing around bobbing your head to the music all alone.
2) Find your drink: Cold = rum, whiskey. Hot = beer, cocktail. I mixed wine and lived to regret it. Big mistake, since weddings tend to run evening-morning-evening, so you need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next day.
3) Phone battery is crucial: Also, ask the bride and groom for their Instagram hashtag. What do you mean they don't have an Instagram hashtag? They need one to collect all the photos.

5) Fuck the fancy clothes: Listen, have fun with your fashion choices. If you like your long dress, wear the goddamn long dress and don't worry that everyone else will be in a sari and dripping with gold. Are you a dripping in gold kinda person? You are not.

6) Identify your wedding LOVAH: Assuming you are single. The Good Thing is a great wedding date, but he also gets a home-free pass from me, because poor thing didn't sign up for Delhi Social Season when he signed up for me, so he gets to stay home for the second thing or the third thing. (He does like the food though.) But from watching single friends, you'll have one boy/girl you'll gravitate towards, and then set it up and be a Flirt Monster, except make sure he's not coming to the next wedding you have to go to, because awkward! By the way, I did this once, several years ago, and THEN, after three days of CAREFUL setting up, the boy turned up with a DATE for the reception. So there's that.


7) Wedding snacks & wedding food: The snacks are usually what will fill you up and keep you. Identify the caterer as soon as you can, are they better for a particular kind of cuisine? Most wedding hosts like to have a variety of snacks on hand to fulfil the needs of all their guests, but as a special snowflake, and one who's read this list, you know to zero in on the best item. Eat that item. Ignore all rest.

8) Plan for downtime: There might be a week to four days between each wedding (I had two weeks off before the last one), and then you're going to want to catch up with all your friends, as well as spend a few days just in your pajamas. Try and do both or by the time the next one comes around, you'll be ex-haus-ted. No one likes a tired bunny, plus you need the same level of enthusiasm for each wedding or else it wouldn't be fair.

Have any more thoughts and suggestions? Leave them in the comments!


  1. The identifying the caterer bit is something I always do. I had this kind of a year almost around 2 years back alongwith my own wedding.. but now it just comes in phases.. very soon there'll be a lot of baby showers happening im guessing

  2. This is a great post. I love that you take your wedding revelry so seriously, and that you don't believe in dripping gold, even though it has a leprechaun association that no metal can really boast of. Are you a silver person? Because the nicest people are, and you seem like one. :-)

    Weddings are terrible for people that don't drink. The mocktails are a big, neon-coloured joke. The very-drunks get all tactile and want to nuzzle your neck and muss your hair and tell you just how much they love you. Very loudly. Me, I go only for the food.

  3. @Rajvi: Ugh, at least at weddings there's booze. :) @nerdydevi: Yes! I do wear a lot of silver, but these days I'm also enamoured of the fake gold antique kundan stuff that looks like your grandmother (who was a princess) passed down to you. Also your blog--which I just checked out--is v. fun. :)

  4. If only all weddings had booze! Come down to the South. No alcohol, no meat, no dancing. At least our weddings are shorter...

  5. Anon1, not all south Indian weddings! Coorgi weddings are mostly alcohol, pork and dancing!


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