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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16 February 2015

What I'm reading: Link List #3

Spent yesterday having several Bloody Marys in honour of Scout! Who is getting married! She's maybe one of my only "blog friends" who made it to a legit IRL relationship and attending her wedding I think adds a whole new layer of legitimacy. Read about our adventures in Singapore here and here. And Hong Kong here. Happy wedding trails, Scout! May all your troubles be little ones! (Honestly, I just re-read our Singapore adventures, and goodness me, how far we have come.)

Onward to the reading list! It's HUH-YOUGE this week, so maybe bookmark this and come back when you have a little time. 

* Ramchandra Guha in The Telegraph has a fantastic piece on the self love of the Indian male, starting with The Coat and going on to scientists trying to name traffic circles after themselves.

 Mashelkar is a former director general of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and much else. He has not, so far as I know, had a circle or building named after himself. Yet his conduct in public is scarcely less boastful, as witness his editorial in a recent issue of the journal, Current Science. Entitled '"Indovation" for affordable excellence', it is mostly about the author himself.

* QZ has a photo feature on Delhi's smog which looks rather lovely and post-apocalyptic until you realise you're actually breathing that air unfiltered. 

The city’s air has become so toxic that US president Barack Obama’s recent three-day visit to the capital reportedly shortened his expected lifespan by six hours.

* Related: in The Economist, how our life spans are lower because of our bad air. 
In theory, at least, every Indian city is now supposed continuously to measure air quality. But state governments are slow to enforce national orders, while the Central Pollution Control Board, India’s main environmental agency, does little. Mr Javedekar promises “aggressive action” to improve fuel standards, which would cover those belching lorries coming into Delhi. In March the Supreme Court may anyway order standards to be tightened, by reducing sulphur, as well as instructing carmakers to cut vehicle emissions.

* Ooh I had another article in Scroll on Valentine's Day when I deconstructed six "romantic" love stories from Indian mythology to point out how secretly sinister they were. Super fun to write.

The Story of Ahalya and Gautam OR Love In The Time Of Godly Body Doubles
Ahalya was super-hot, and her dad, the god Brahma, decided to have a contest to see who would marry her, which is always a great way to pick your future life partner. Indra really wanted to win, but the old sage Gautam won by using some lawyerly logic. Indra disguises himself as Gautam and rapes Ahalya. Other sources say that she saw through his disguises but had sex with him anyway. Who can blame her, being married to a pedantic old dude? Gautam is super pissed and curses both of them, and Ahalya is turned into stone, only set free after the Lord Ram touches her with his foot. She and Gautam live happily ever after.
Why it’s sinister: On two levels: one, if she was raped, it’s one of the earliest bit of victim-blaming in Hindu myths. Two, if she was seduced, it was probably because her husband was old and boring. Poor Ahalya. She didn’t have a chance.

* From Gawker, How ISIS Makes Its Blood Sausage, a story showing how they get their videos produced and out there. Interesting--and super-chilling--read. 

In terms of fidelity and graphics, what ISIS is able to produce is on the same level as something you'd see on ESPN—Alkhouri speculates militant studios could be using pro software like Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Suite. Gone are the days of grainy Bin Laden recordings that look like they came from an attic.

* Also from Gawker, a dated, but still cool old article: On Smarm  and niceness versus sarcasm on the internet. (Personally, I vote for the latter, at least it's a more interesting read.)

It is also no accident that [Dave] Eggers is full of shit. He is so passionate, and his passion has such rhetorical momentum, that it is almost possible to overlook the fact that the literal proposition he's putting forward, in the name of large-heartedness and honesty, is bogus and insulting. Do not dismiss ... a movie? Unless you have made one? Any movie? The Internship? The Lone Ranger? Kirk Cameron's Unstoppable? Movie criticism, Eggers is saying, should be reserved for those wise and discerning souls who have access to a few tens of millions of dollars of entertainment-industry capital. One or two hundred million, if you wish to have an opinion about the works of Michael Bay.


In 1993, Farrell published his full-throated manifesto,The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex. The book tackled a number of pressing issues affecting men. It also took some bizarre turns: At one point Farrell pondered whether the American male was the new "nigger." ("When slaves gave up their seats for whites, we called it subservience; when men give up their seats for women, we call it politeness.") He took a sledgehammer to bedrock feminist ideals, claiming that women have themselves to blame for unequal pay, that domestic violence is a two-way street, and that government programs to benefit women only exacerbate inequality.
* The Pune Mirror runs a lovely column by Mitali Parekh called Pet Puja about the city's animals, and this week it featured a pig, an animal which is both delicious and very smart. 

Mini is most active when she's in heat. She'll steal blankets, laundry and towels to make a nest. Once she even stole hay used to feed horses, and piled it knee-high in her kennel. Things get a little dangerous for Amit, who works in the office. He is the object of Mini's focused affection. "Mini will not leave him alone. She follows him around and looks at him pleadingly. He doesn't leave the office when she's in heat," says More.

It's not that her parents haven't tried to set her up. They took her to meet a boar in the neighbouring piggery, but she tried to bite him. They lived together for a month, but there was no chemistry and Mini came back a virgin. Once a boar broke into the farm and they engaged in loud adult play for three days and immediately after, the boar bolted.
* Speaking of delicious and cute, an Indian restaurant in London is serving squirrel curry.

Rajasthani spiced grey squirrel has been put on the menu at the Cinnamon Club by head chef Rakesh Nair.
For the speciality dish, squirrel legs and shoulders are marinated with coriander, cloves, garlic, chilli and pineapple juice, before being cooked in a tandoor oven.
While the belly is braised and turned into a kadhai-style stir-fry with peppers and onion.

* And finally (I have more, but this is already ginormous so I'm saving some for the next post), Isaac Stone Fish on gay cruising in Modi's India.

The travel website Cruising Gays called [Nehru Park], which is named after India’s first prime minister, the “grand dame” of New Delhi’s cruising places. “On Sunday evenings, the gardens are rocking with over a hundred men hanging around, waiting, looking and just checking out the scene,” claimed an undated post on the site. “If you are a novice and looking to meet other men, this is the place you should start with.” The technique, the activist told me, was simple. Stroll, keeping your head up, and make eye contact with men who walk by. If someone catches your eye and smiles, walk up and say hello.

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