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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6 March 2015

What I'm Reading: Link List #4

Happy Holi, you guys! I've skipped a week of this feature and as a result I have a reading list a mile long for your long weekend pleasure. In other good news, I have FINALLY finished the edits of my new book, a collection of short stories called Before And Then After due out this year with Westland. I hope you'll all love it and buy it in vast quanties and shake the assumption that "no one reads short stories." Please? Thank you.

Let's get right into it!

Latest first, I did an op-ed for Economic Times thankyouverymuch on the documentary ban. I finally watched it last night. It was fucking powerful and needs to be watched. An important part of the dialogue but not the whole dialogue. I hope you'll get your hands on it somehow.

Whose modesty are the Delhi Police — along with our venerable members of Parliament — trying to protect by prohibiting the broadcast of the documentary? Ours, or their own? Are they ashamed that this creature from Tihar speaking without shame or guilt in Udwin’s film crawled out from the underbelly of a city they claim to watch over ‘with you, for you, always’? And whose thoughts is Mukesh Singh spewing in the interview? Just his own?

Presenting another side, here's women's right activist Kavita Krishnan (someone I admire) on why it should be banned.

Many are asking, why has the courts and the government restrained the Indian media from airing India's Daughter? Is India "wishing away" bad news, shooting the messenger? Rape culture exists, Mukesh SIngh and his lawyer and their odious views on women exist, so why not let everyone see and hear them?

Well, first, Indian women's movement activists have appealed to the media too, not to air the film yet. Why? A letter by these activists to a media channel states, "Airing the film India’s Daughter at a time when the appeal [in the December 16 rape case] is still pending, is counter to the culture of law and justice and the rule of law, which we defend for all citizens."

Nat Geo Traveller India knocks it out of the park with this super fun guide to where to get awesome cheese in India. Yum.

For a glimpse into Sikkim’s pantry, spend a few hours browsing through Gangtok’s Lal Market. The women selling nettles, spices, and all manner of fermented pastes, are always chatty, and happy to explain how the produce is used in their own kitchen. It’s a great place to stock up on pickles, and cheese. Look out for the leaf-wrapped cultured yak butter, and the churpi(both young and aged). 

There's a monkey called Chunmun who is richer than you.

Chunmun is a monkey who lives in an air-conditioned room at the home in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, of Savista and Brajesh, who have willed all they own to him.

Savista says she saw the monkey's mother fall to her death while delivering him and brought the infant monkey home. The couple did not have children and raised the monkey as their own child. 

Dustin Silgardo writing for Mint really really doesn't like music festivals:

Most campsites now feature deluxe tents, with attached bathrooms and power supply. At some festivals, the soi-disant rustic set-up seems nothing more than a pretentious attempt to have well-off urban people play at being intrepid. The goMAD festival, in Ooty, for example, says it provides a camping experience “in the wilderness”, but the campsite hosts a special “pampering area” where girls can, among other things, get their hair straightened, presumably to create a comfortable bed for their flower crowns.

 Jonathan Franzen continues the impression that he'd be absolutely insufferable at parties.

SL: There’s been heated discussion lately about the uptick of adults who read literature written for young adults. Recently in Slate, the journalist Ruth Graham declared that adults should be embarrassed if what they are reading was written for children, and that it would be a shame if readers substituted “maudlin teen drama” for the complexity of great adult literature. What are your thoughts?
JF: I don’t care what people read.
SL: You have no opinion on the question of whether or not readers might be cheating themselves if they’re reading YA lit?
JF: If it’s a loss, it’s their loss, not mine.

India Real Time did a super fun story on Delhi's very shiny sweater-vests and the history behind them. 

Most of the sweater wearers we spoke to had wives, aunts and sisters who had been busy with knitting needles to create their winter body warmers. This bike, below, loaded with yarn belongs to a man named Jai Prakash who calls himself “the wool wala,” which means the wool guy. He sells shiny wool—on the top row here—door to door for around 80 rupees, or about $1.30, for a skein. His sales of sparkly wool are up 50% from last year.

Here's a blog I came across with a very young voice that sort of (can I say this?) reminded me of me back in the day. It's fun, young and Delhi, if you're missing that sort of thing over here these days.

I am now significantly aware that I am one of innumerable ‘cheapie-types’ that frequent the pretentious little lanes of this debauch Delhi hole. I am of that imposter elite, that which the authentic elite furrow their designer brows at while they sit at some obscure winery, sipping a 1859 Bordeaux (these are just some words. I’m a wine philistine. I prefer a good 2015 Tropicana Grape). 
Oh, Air India, Air India.

In the video, a young female passenger was seen crying and begging the staff to let her board the flight as her mother was ill and in the hospital.
The Air India staff however kept flaunting the rules and refused to let anyone board the flight.
You MUST check out these historic photos on someone called Lakshman Bisht's Facebook. It's a public album so you can see them all. My favourites: 

Hung for the revolt of 1857

The last photo of Gandhi

Sarla Bajaj, the first Indian woman pilot

And finally, here's a post I did for Huffington Post India on how I finally learned to embrace my Crazy Cat Lady-ness.

In my thirties, as in everyone's thirties, I began to get more comfortable with the parts of me that I had always swept under the carpet. It began with a sudden overwhelming love for my body--not a fit body, not a fat body, just a regular human body that I was used to gazing in the mirror at, dissatisfied. This extended into embracing the curly hair I had spent my whole life denying, even getting a new haircut that made it stand out around my face in the very same haircut I wept about when I was twelve. Slowly, I started to confront my personality--I was okay with things, I liked being me, I sunk into my skin like a person kicking off high heels to wear house slippers at the end of a very long night, I could almost feel my soul saying, "Ahhh." And in all this, my distinctly uncool, not fitting with my glamour image, love for animals just decided to come out and party.


  1. What happened in Dimapur is a result of the very lethargy that your favourite activist condones. People will take the law into their own hands when justice is delayed and thus denied. Every time an incident of sexual violence is reported, Hindus suddenly remember that the Sharia kills rapists without the fanfare of a fair trial. But the moment something else takes precedence in the news, everyone and his brother is talking about how hypocritical Deepika is by attending the AIB roast after protesting the publication of her cleavage on the front page of Bombay Times. I was watching BBC World Have Your Say last night and heard a woman in Delhi take particular offence at being called a "sick society". Is it healthy of a rapist on death row to claim that the victim would have escaped had she not resisted ? I don't know what we are anymore because I am afraid of answering that question. On most blogs, people are stalking or looking for a Rega Jha to (read "ride online") offload their frustration on. Perhaps, India's Daughter cannot be helped.

  2. Nice post, I like the bit about embracing your crazy lady-ness. Have you read the book The Guest Cat
    by Takashi Hiraide? It's very short and cute and I think a cat-lover like you will appreciate it.


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