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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7 June 2021

The Internet Personified: My favourite letters to you

Miene liebe Schweinhunden,

Hallo from Germany! Side note: do you not just LOVE that “hello” in German is just “hallo”? “Hallo” is incidentally how a schoolfriend of mine used to pick up her phone, a short breath, and then her nasal, unexpectedly sexy voice, “Haan-lo?” I haven’t talked to her in decades, but I still remember her voice saying that particular greeting.

It is 9.19 in the morning, and because we have taken to going to sleep as soon as the sun sets—10.15 pm most nights, so weird—we are also waking up bright and early at 6.30 most mornings, and since today was my therapy day, it worked out well for me.

Oh yes, I have a bunch of new subscribers! Hello! Or HALLO, if you prefer! You probably came over here from the Splainer shout-out, I’m doing a q&a with them, and they are excellent (I just renewed my subscription) so please subscribe to know more (about the WORLD IN GENERAL, not just me and my q&a in beautiful non-jargon-y language. Worth every rupee.)

Today’s edition is more of a short one, to celebrate our five year anniversary! Congratulations to you if you have been reading this from June of 2016 and also congratulations to you if you just subscribed and you’re like “oh yay more reasons to celebrate!” and of course, congratulations to ME for sticking to it and sending out little notes from my life etc etc. The next letter I send you will be about my German experience and Indians abroad and so on (J IS FOR JOURNEYS!) but this one is just to mark five years so if this was a TV show, this would be the clip show episode (which I never loved but some people must’ve, so I’m hoping that some people is you?) (besides only about 28 of you (hi friends!) started reading this when I signed you up in 2016 and we have so many more people here now). You should all say hi to each other in the comments! I bet you’d all get along. (Did you know I know a couple, happily married and with a BABY, who met in the comment section of my old blog? No, truly!)

I started with 28 followers and now I have, as of this minute, 1,218, which is not a lot in terms of other social media figures, but I like this space so much more than any of my others, so there’s that.

Started from the bottom now we here

I really did not know what I was doing with the first post I sent out.

By July though, I was sort of getting into my stride and I sent out a guide to being fabulous in Jaipur.

Where to drink: **Steam at the Rambagh Palace is inside a literal TRAIN and this made me very happy. Unfortunately I was feeling slightly under the weather so could not linger for very long, but I loved it. A TRAIN. I like bars---as I told S later--that have special theme-y things, more props if they're actually built INSIDE a replica of the theme. This may not be very adult, but drinking is adult, so I feel like that makes up for it. ** Bar Palladio at Narain Niwas is a revelation, it's all blue walls and pretty lights. The wait staff stuck us in a brightly lit back room at first, but we made a fuss and so they grumpily moved us to the front and after we ordered a bottle of (excellent) wine, they were positively cheerful. Lovely place. Very Wes Anderson. **

In October of that year, we decided it was time to move to Goa. (This phase of part-time Goa lasted about a year and a half, but the upkeep on the old house was too much work.)

This week in Things That Are Inconvenient About Goa Should You Choose To Live There Full Time: 'coz you've gotta take the bad with the good, guys. Thing one: garbage collection happens ONCE A MONTH in villages like the one we're living in, even if said village is home to many bustling restaurants and bars. Most people drive their garbage over to a literal hill of garbage on top of another hill, but we intend to compost + separate. Still, is a pain in the ass. (Alternatively, you can pay Rs 20,000 a month for a private garbage collector to come.) Thing Two: Everything. Is. Very. Slow. That's people, services, even your spotty Airtel signal. Prepare for patience, and not being able to get any work done involving other people between about 1 pm to 4 pm. Thing Three: The wild is waiting. And the wild is usually winning, too. Abandon your house for the monsoon and sunnier climes and come home to mystery smells, crawling creatures and things that go bump in the night.

Oh, but the sky is so blue.

Posts that still make me laugh all these years later:

Joining a dance class (October ‘16)

Hectic social life from my hectic social life days. (RIP) (July ‘18)

And deep dives into various rabbitholes and fandoms:

What my own particular time travel adventure would look like (November ‘16)

Living in Martha’s house in Goa and discovering a bunch of her old letters. (December ‘16)

My first Best Books I Read list. (November ‘17)

The Mitford sisters. (June 2018.)

The Made In Heaven tv show on Amazon Prime. (March ‘19)

When I realised You’ve Got Mail is full of flaws.

Revising my opinion on Mrs Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.

Achievements and announcements small and large:

Started drawing comics! (Feb ‘17)(I have left my Wacom behind in Delhi but kicking myself now.)

Ram Lal, our amazing gardener, joins our lives. (June ‘17)

We got burgled in September 2017. (This isn’t an announcement OR an achievement, but it didn’t fit anywhere else and it had a major effect on me and I’m still working through some of that trauma, so I feel like it fits here.)

The month after that we got married. (Unrelated. I think.)

The best of the travel letters

Panjim holiday guide. (June ‘18)

My Asian Odyssey, part one (and I had part two and three also but Substack seems to have swallowed them? Very weird.)

I realise I have definitely repeated myself over the years, so thank you for putting up with me so sweetly, and here’s to BRAND NEW STORIES, Meenakshi, don’t be lazy.

I am also only in 2019 by now, but this newsletter is going to be FAR TOO BULKY if I keep going (plus how will you read all of it?) so I will stop. Everything is in the archives, you can also tell me what your own favourite posts are. All right here in the comment section. (I am really desperate for you all to start chatting to each other, like a nervous host at a party, I just want everyone to get along!)

Also if you have any questions about starting and building a newsletter, I will be happy to help. Remember I don’t get paid for this though, so I can only advise from an “I enjoy doing this as a hobby” point of view.

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Have a great week! I will write to you sooner than you think with regular programming but I might also be quiet for a while, who knows? It’s all part of the mystery of life.



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Where am I? The Internet Personified! A mostly weekly collection of things I did/thought/read/saw that week.

Who are you? Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, writer of internet words (and other things) author of seven books (support me by buying a book!) and general city-potter-er.

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