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 2016

WHY IS IT SO HARDDDDDDD (that's what she said)

Reader, I'm moving.

No, no, not from this space. I'm moving house next week, and as usual, I'm in a torpedo of stress from decision making (or things moving too slow) to really enjoy it for what it is—the end of one chapter and the start of a new one.

Arguing with the Good Thing about what to keep

While being in a new house is great, what is not so great is the actual getting stuff from one apartment to another. I hate moving. I don't know how many times you've done it, but I've lived away from my parents since I was 21. Fourteen years and eight homes later, I've been a rolling stone all right, but one that has gathered plenty of moss. I used to be happy with just a mattress on the floor—the mattress became a single bed, which became a queen sized bed, and finally now, a four poster which reminds me of being on a ship, so wide and vast and heavy is it. And it has to go down three flights of stairs and up another four.

Beds aren't the only thing. Our bookshelves were deconstructed to make wall fittings, but our books lie in piles on the floor, so many of them that we could make them into independent furniture units of their own. Everywhere I look, there's a book! I don't even remember buying them all, and each time I wade through them, I find another five I haven't read and don't have any recollection of owning. It's like magic.

Navigating piles like a boss

When the Good Thing and I married our households, we didn't get as much extra stuff as you would think—I am a hoarder and he is just the opposite, but what we did get was kitchen things. Now we have two of everything in the kitchen—sometimes five, and most of them in not great shape. Only one of our four non-stick frying pans is actually non-stick, only one of the pressure cookers is big enough to cook for two.

And now to my biggest dilemma: getting rid of stuff. There are several ways to do it in this internet age, and I've tried most of them. Number one is all the classified websites, your OLX and Quikr and whatnot. These are useless, and I've had no luck the two times I've tried them both. No one reads the ads carefully, so you're subject to a lot of calls and messages asking questions to things that are listed right there, and people bargaining with ridiculous numbers, asking you to slash your asking price by about 90 per cent. 
This is the face of my internal monologue

The second way is to post the items for sale on your social media: I have the best luck with Facebook. I cross-posted all my things on both my personal page as well as groups known to people who are looking to buy second hand things. There are a lot of time-wasters on these as well, so really your best bet is do the transaction with people you know. The third, and most traditional option, is to sell to your local second-hand furniture guy. Delhi has a thriving market for secondhand goods, where you can both buy and sell used furniture. The only problem with this, as I can see, is that you won't get the price you want, and you'll have to settle for selling it at peanuts. Which, by this point, you're inclined to do anyway, because you're so desperate to get rid of your things.

I don't know why classified websites like Craigslist or Gumtree don't work so well in India. In fact, I know that most people still go down to the second hand furniture market to buy whatever they need, instead of online. Maybe it's a paucity of people who share your taste? Maybe because you feel more confident bargaining with the men at Amar Colony, more than you would with an expat leaving the city and selling all their things. Or maybe it's just because you think second hand means there's something wrong with it, or why would you be selling your things just to move from one house to another?

I even found a website that sells used furniture online and allows you to post pictures of your things so they can come by and give you a quote for it. Sadly, they never replied to me, so I was forced to slash prices on my Facebook, and wait for someone to gather their own moss while I roll on.

(A version of this appeared as my column on

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