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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2 October 2019

Bombay recommendations (which you probably know) & Delhi ones (which you may not)

 Do you hear that? It's the distant sound of me sniffling and wheezing. To be fair to Delhi though, I think I picked it up in Bombay where I was for a few days this week [EDIT: THIS IS OLD NEWS, BUT EVERYTHING ELSE IS STILL RELEVANT], having meetings and running around in Ubers like a high flying executive. Should have worn heels for maximum effect. On the flight there from Delhi, several people coughed and sneezed right on me without covering their faces, which, like, gross and then on my way BACK to Delhi, I noticed that one of my lymph nodes right under my jaw was quite swollen, and so I've been sniffling and coughing to myself, and laying off the cigarettes, and generally being quite grumpy, but the swelling has mostly gone down now and I'm self-medicating with rosehip tea. Which brings me to the first of this week's recaps!

This week in grocery shopping: An oldie but a goodie, and besides I didn't have this newsletter the first time I visited Roots: The Organic Store, which is literally down the road from my house. Imagine a small general store that carries everything, and everything they carry is GMO free, or organic or something. Even the socks. We went to pick up some environmentally friendly washing powder for the machine (otherwise all that Surf and stuff goes into the drain and eventually mixes up with your ground water, which you eventually drink, so not good all in) (that being said, I do love my fabric conditioner, but I only use very little of that, she says defensively). We also bought similar floor cleaner, and then, errands done, I think we bought half the shop. The rosehip tea I'm drinking now, for instance. Cereal-y things for K. Cheese. Cooking oil. Spirulina spaghetti they threw in as a sample. If you live nearby, it's a great store to use as your local kirana.

This week in motivation: No coincidence that the word "motivation" has "moti" in it. I have gotten on the fitness band bandwagon, and purchased a Mi Band 2 (Xiaomi) in the hopes that this little silicone handcuff will get me up off my ass more. This explains why I walked down to the grocery shops yesterday, when I usually just sit on a couch and get everything sent home to me. My step goal is 8000 and even with pacing about the house, going to the shop and back, walking around the newly refurbished Ansal Plaza (more on THAT shortly), I only managed to do 2.5 kilometres or 5000 steps. At this rate, I'm never going to make it. The Mi Band is a cheaper version of the FitBit, and has all the features of the fanciest FitBit, you've gotta love Chinese ingenuity. I'm also kind of obsessed with it, much like David Sedaris was. Unlike David though, I actually once got a little statue of a man sleeping with the words "World's Laziest Person" on it for a birthday present, and I was PROUD of it, I displayed it for YEARS, so I'm fighting against all that conditioning.

This week in Bombay food, drink and retail:  Between meetings, I was stuck in that Bombay thing: having to sit at a coffee shop in the 'burbs for several hours because you have to meet your friends in Bandra and going back to town where your hotel is just doesn't make any sense. The "cafe" for me was Birdsong, which is great to sit and chill, but the food is not that good, so I'd suggest just sucking it up and going to Starbucks. I like the vibe at Birdsong a lot though--very hipster, very pretty, lots of people, but you do feel compelled to order something every thirty minutes so they don't judge you, whereas at Starbucks, I feel like I could hide from everyone in that one couch with one coffee and no one would care. Something to be said about corporate owned chains.

After Birdsong, I had some time to kill (MORE time) and so I decided to check out this export surplus shop I used to go to a lot when I still lived in Bombay called Cotton On. It's still there, but the prices have gone waaaay up and customer service has gone waaaay down, or else they were just as rude seven or eight years ago and I just didn't notice because I was in my twenties and coated with a layer of self-assurance no one could touch. I did buy a pretty black Banana Republic dress though since I was there and all, but I will not be going back I don't think.

Post, met a friend at a new Bandra bar called It Happened In New York with PCO-style food and drink, ie expensive! But good. Even if I did have to tell them that I preferred my Bloody Mary salt rimmed. Also went the next day to a lovely place I was taken to the LAST time I was in Bombay for a bit called Eddies Bistro, no apostrophe, which makes me wonder if there are several Eddies, since Eddy-singular traditionally ends with a "y". Eddies Bistro, so everyone who goes there is called Eddy? They only serve Eddy? I spent a long time gazing at the sign and wondering. 

This week in airport sightings: Way in: Kangana Ranaut, wearing a lovely camel coloured coat. She's much taller than I expected, but I didn't gawp properly, because I was doing that thing where you ignore celebrities and expect them to notice how cool and ignore-y you are. (She didn't notice.)

Way out: Two gorgeous golden retrievers called Peppa and Sunshine as part of a new programme bringing therapy dogs to airport for nervous flyers. "Do they help?" I asked the handlers, and they said the maximum amount of people who stopped were people whose flights were delayed and they needed something to do, so bored flyers more than nervous ones, but they DID put me in a very good mood, so there's some therapy to it after all. (At Bombay's international airport on the weekends, three hours in domestic, three hours in international.)

This week in cats: Speaking of animals, our three are great, happy to have us home and everything but SO FAT. I had posted a link to an article on our Whatsapp cat group (Kool Katz, four members) about  how to make your indoor cats more happy and engaged by making them food puzzles--essentially making them work for their food instead of just laying it all out for them. So while I was in Bombay, K set about training them to get their food differently. Quite easy: we had already bought a thing called a Kong Feeder which is essentially this hollow rubber dummy you fill with treats and then your pet has to push it over to get the food out. It's supposed to slow down eating, a problem we were having earlier with Bruno. K replicated the Kong Feeder times three with empty tonic water bottles. Bruno's gotten to be quite a champ at it, pushing the bottle whenever he needs it. Squishy just lies down with his mouth to the mouth of the bottle and sucks on it until the food comes out, and Olga is really not very smart at all and needs one of the boys to upset the food before she can get it. I thought I raised her more feminist than that.

This week in birds: Birdwatching continues! Not as exciting as Goa, but I did get a chance to make three new entries in the Notes section of my Salim Ali. The first two: the common myna and the Alexandrine parakeet. Bo-oring. But the third was the spotted owlet, a whole fam of them, hanging out a tree branch right below our house and chilling in broad daylight. Ol' Salim describes them as chilling by ruins or in trees in groups, but if they think they've been spotted, they very peevishly fly out, making clownish sounds. Quite a zoo.

This week in Delhi food, drink and retail: Went out with the Kool Katz to Delhi's newest Bombay import, Kofuku, which is this AMAZE Japanese restaurant I used to LOVE in Bandra. Like, every time I visited, had to have at least three meals there. The Delhi version is also damn nice, and it's in Ansal Plaza, which is a total blast from the past. I remember sitting at Geoffery's and The Buck Stops Here for ages, watching some kind of World Cup with friends from college and drinking all afternoon. Plus, there was a Reebok store where I bought my first and only pair of floaters that lasted me a good ten years I think, until I lost them. Also Ansal Plaza has a shop called Decathlon, which is a very large shop catering to every different kind of sport, which means they have some really cool products like these "rambling" pants I bought, with pockets, super comfy and easy dry so they're perfect to wear when you're traveling. Or like pollution masks in packs of three. Or excellent fleece jackets. We were there for badminton rackets, having left our set in Goa, but we also got sidetracked with all the other things.

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