The picture of a seven year old girl, hiding a small notebook when she goes to her class room, just to jot down whatever comes to her mind was like stating the obvious. No other vocation would interest her but writing. Besides, by bequeathing a strong legacy of writing, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan could not be anything else but a woman of letters.
But surprisingly whenever she wrote she did not hesitate to take a detour from her parents’ style. Unlike her father, the veteran writer, N S Madhavan who loved to fathom the depths of literary fiction and mother Sheela Reddy who always delved into non-literary fiction, Meenakshy loved to ferret out the possibilities of commercial fiction. Ask her why, she says “I realised that no writer talks about a woman like me, a metro and urbane woman whose heart is global but has not lost the link with the tradition. I wanted to explore the pull between these two extremes,” she says. And because of that, there are no clashes as the family has three different genres of writing, she adds with a mischievous smile.
With her third book Cold Feet hitting the markets, Meenakshi was all excited and was in Kochi as part of its promotional tour conducted by Penguin books. The book is all about the lives of five women who live in the metropolis - Mumbai and an account of their daily lives. But primarily it takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. “I have also talked about a character who is a lesbian,” she says.
The author appeared extremely happy when I told her that I came to know about the promotional event of her book from her blog Compulsive Confessions.
“I should update it more often,” she says with a grin.
Incidentally, her father N S Madhavan who carved a niche in the perceptions of the Malayali readers with his renowned work Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal, translated as Litanies of the Dutch Battery, was born and brought up in Kochi. Meenakshi says that she is all excited to be here for her father always said it has one of the prettiest bookstores. “It’s right on the sea front with a huge glass window and you can watch the ships sailing through,” she says. I have been to Kochi several times and I love Fort Kochi the most, she adds.
With more than twenty lakh visitors for her blog, she says that she never expected such a huge response and is happy that she could maintain it for the past ten years. “I started the blog with a pseudonym eM as I was a bit bothered about how people would react to the kind of stuff I was going to write. But in no time, the readers identified and I had to come out of the cocoon. But I am so happy that I could maintain it for such a long period,” she says.
About her parents' reaction to her blog, she says, “They were ‘super supportive’. They like my writing. Hey, I am their daughter, they will definitely not discourage me!” she says.
Asked why is she often referred as the Bridget Jones of India, she says “Honestly, I have no idea. Since you are the one who put this question, I have to seriously think about it.”
Most of her stories were centered in the two metropolitan cities - Mumbai and Delhi. As the author lives shuttling between these two cities, she says that most of her writing contains the pulse of them. “Both cities have different feelings. When you land in the Delhi airport, the waves of tension starts hitting you, unlike Mumbai. When Mumbai is crowded, Delhi gives you privacy. But you just can’t take auto in the middle of the night relaxingly in Delhi as you do in Mumbai. You know the kind of stories we are getting now-a-days from Delhi,” she says. She also cautions to stay safe when I said that I usually leave office very late.
Apart from writing Meenakshi is the editor of Brown Paper Bag.