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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19 August 2014


Too scared to open Blogger after nearly a month and a half away—has it been that long? I’m so sorry, dear reader (for there’s got to be one of you still left right?), and I have no excuses except: writing. And cats. My life has become suddenly extremely full of cats: I went from a normal person with just one cat who sat in the background looking attractive, to bordering-on-crazy-cat-lady person with three. And not even the original three.

The Cats Story: You’ve seen my last “For William” post, and you’ve surmised that there’s a new kitty in my life, but, BUT, in the month I’ve been AWOL, there’s been some mah-ha-jor cat drama (crama!) going on.

Bruno: which is to say “William” which is to say “Suzie”—can I go off on a tangent here about naming cats? It isn’t just one of those holiday games! You were right the first time, Mr Elliot! So, The Good Thing has a theory* that cats should have “people” names, and I saw the funny side of this, and so, we called William, Susan, before his balls dropped exactly eight days later, and then we called him William, as in “Just” or “And The Outlaws”, but then more and more, we discovered he’s basically a really large dog, like a boxer or something, inside a kitten’s body, so Bruno it is. And shall be. Bruntonious Rex, first of his name, sometimes. Bruno was brought in to be a Little Friend to TC, but hello, you don’t have to know TC for six years, to know that that cat basically wants to be fed and watered and left alone. That’s his idea of a perfect life. The occasional pet, when he feels like it. Bruno, on the other hand, just loves him, but since TC hissed and spat, and we couldn’t, we bore the brunt of his essential Bruno-ness. 

*it's not so much a theory, as a thing. "I like pets to have human names," he says. Why not? Why subject another "Cuddly" or "Pimpom" on the world? (Although, I wanted to name one Deadline, just so I could chase it and feel productive at the same time.)

Which is when we decided the ideal solutch to this sitch would be to get another kitten. Two kittens! Playmates for each other! TC left alone! Yay! So, we went to Friendicoes and picked out a teeny tiny little black kitten we named Agni. Agni was super sweet and super small and super amazing, but she also carried with her some kind of crazy strong kitten bacteria, which she passed on to Bruno, who kept knocking her down to wash her vigourously. One day she was fine, the next she was shitting constantly, and by evening she was so sick, we had to take her to the emergency vet, and put a drip in her, and then he got sick, and so on and so forth. Very sadly, she couldn’t battle the infection, and died just ten days after we got her. She was so small, but such a fighter. I miss her still.

For a while, it looked like we’d have no cats kittens (I meant kittens, TC, thanks to his aloofness, remained healthy, touch wood, thoo thoo thoo) at all—Bruno was rapidly deteriorating, he was such a playful kitten, and suddenly he was limp and listless and not eating. We dragged him to the vet too, and got a blood test which confirmed the bacterial infection, which we tried to kill with antibiotics. We did this at home, with a take home subcutaneous drip and shots, and force fed him Lactol, some kind of powdered milk thing for unweaned animal babies. But, finally, finally, he was on the mend, and that’s when his previous caretaker person called and asked if I’d take his sister, newly homeless, and too small and sweet to survive as a feral cat. “Um…,” I said, not sure if we wanted to commit, and so soon after Agni too, but she used a winning combination of bargaining and flattery, and so we captured Olga da Polga from the park, and have not regretted it since. She is seriously the sweetest kitten, likes nothing more than to be picked up and held, and is always searching for human contact. In the absence of that, she amuses herself by catching flies, or lying in the cat hammock (see photo) or chasing her brother, who she furiously hissed at the first few days she was with us. (She also hissed at her own reflection for a while.) She’s named after a book character I loved, and who she reminds me of, but really, she’s such an Olga. I wish you could all meet her. Your day would be that much more improved.

I made this out of an old shirt tied to the bottom of a barstool. It's more succesful than the cat tree that we actually spent money on.

And they leave TC alone for the most part, except Bruno, who seems to still gaze at him with hero worshipping eyes, and will lunge at TC to give him a kiss or a nibble whenever he sees fit, and TC will swat at him, but at least he still has Olga, and all this running around has brought his appetite back, so there’s that.

Cohabiting: I told you the Good Thing moved in, right? Like, moved-in, moved in? It’s kinda amazing. We both work from home, so there was some confusion in the beginning as to how we could both do that and not get on each other’s nerves, but it’s worked out very nicely, with a new high table in the living room (for him and his stuff) and me, still on my desk in one corner of the bedroom, which I like, because it faces a window, and I can dream, and stroke whichever cat happens to wander by. There are lots of advantages to living together, and I recommend it fully.

Cool things that have also happened: I’d been working on this Caravan feature about Miss Malini for like, months, and it finally came out in the beginning of August, and it’s SIX PAGES LONG, and my first thought when I picked it up and looked through it, was, “I wrote all that? All these words? Mine?” PHEW. It was quite hard work too, but felt that much nicer when it came out.

I also spoke at The India Today Women’s Summit, and I wore this long pink gown-y thing from Vero Moda (on sale!), which my mum thinks was way too booby, but which I liked, so there. It was also really cool to be there, and be a speaker, but I wish I had gotten to interact with the other women more. 
See? Totally modest, if a little dressy for one pm.

Oh, I also went away again, with my friend (and her boyfriend and mine) who I went to Ladakh with. This time we road-tripped to Kausani in Uttarakhand. There are several things you should know about Kausani, and I’ll summarize those into easy points: a) the internet LIES, it’s not a “eight to ten hour” drive, it’s a 12 to 14 hour drive, if you take breaks to pee and whatnot, which any human would do, so maybe not ideal for just a long weekend, b) once you’re there, stay in the Himalayan Village Resort, which is lovely, dog friendly, and has excellent home cooked food and c) travelling with a dog is also very fun, if a bit slobbery.

This kinda makes fourteen hours worth it, though.

That’s my news. New book very nearly done, and then onwards to another. Life is good.


  1. I will make this cat hammock for my cats. Maybe then they will acknowledge my presence (I want cat cuddles). thanks for the tip.


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