articles by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

Life

Mythology For The Millennial: On the elaborate adventures of Indian Cupid Kamadeva, and his enterprising wife, Rati

Since we are so conveniently placed between Valentine's Day and Holi, it would be a good time to talk about Kamadeva, the Indian Cupid, god of love and desire, or his enterprising wife, the goddess Rati, who also rules over sex and sexy feelings, but like many happy marriages, her story is entangled deeply with his.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On the origins of Kali Yuga and the vindictive gandharva who led us into a dark age

Some of the trademarks of the Kali Yuga are that rulers will become a danger to the world, humans will be angry with each other and that there will be climate change. Kali, the cause of this age of darkness, pops up every now and then and causes trouble by possessing someone or the other. He's the colour of soot and has a long tongue

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: From feisty goddess to earthly river, navigating the rich lore of Ganga

Ganga came into our universe thanks to that little meddler, Vamana, who we last saw torturing Mahabali and making him give up his entire kingdom and die because the gods couldn't handle his success. While the Vamana was counting his steps across the sky, his toenail poked the edge of the world and a hole appeared in the universe, causing a divine ocean to flow out and become Ganga as soon as it reached our atmosphere. The river, not yet a person, stays in heaven until an enterprising guy called Bhagirath asks for it — now her — to come down to earth and wash away people's sins and what not.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On the absurdity around karwa chauth, and blaming women for every wrong

Karwa chauth is sanctioned romance, a way for a woman to be the centre of attention in a way that she is not on every other day of her life.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On Mahabali's fate, and the politics at play behind the story on the origins of Onam

The gods in Indian mythology frequently show up as more human than human. In the case of King Mahabali, son of Virochana, grandson of Prahlad, yes, that Prahlad, the same one who invented Holi basically, he was, unfortch, also an asura.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On Shakuntala, Dushyanta and the one ring that bound them both

On Shakuntala, the heroine of perhaps one of the best-known love stories in Hindu mythology.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: How Lakshmi, a fierce, Beyonce-esque creature, was transformed into a 'good wife and mother'

Lakshmi was the first Indian woman to be exploited by men — in one of her creation stories, she emerges from the creator god, Prajapati, only to dazzle all the other gods by her beauty and power, who immediately want to murder her and appropriate all her gifts.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: From Gujarat's folktales, a strange fable topped with backwards feminism

As someone who likes to look up old folktales, I can tell you all stories are the same, whether they're from Greece or Britain or France or India | Read Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan's new #MythologyForTheMillennial column

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On Devyani, a sage's daughter, and Kacha, an undying man who would not commit

This is the story of one emotional f*ckwit, all the way back in ancient India, when the world was divided into devas, the gods, and the asuras, the demons.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: The magical power of an old woman's story, and a baby girl who heard it

In this edition of Mythology for the Millennial, a look at a Telugu folktale about an old woman telling stories in praise of the sun god — and the consequences of not listening to her. Ramanujan's English version is called A Story In Search of an Audience but really, it could also be called You Too Could Be An Influencer, Just Follow This Easy Step.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: Narada may be a trickster, but he deserved better than a life of illusions

While the Norsemen have Loki as their trickster, Hindu mythology has its very own Narada, not a god, but a sage hobnobbing with the who's who of the divine world.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: On Aravan, Arjun and Ulupi's son, who is celebrated by the transgender community in India

Aravan, a young man born of a clever mother and an absent father, who decided to give up everything, just because he wanted to help his family.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: Why Kaikeyi, the Cersei Lannister of Ramayana, is the epic's most interesting character

Kaikeyi is a flawed woman, the most human of all the characters you encounter in the Ramayana.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: From vetalas to chudails, terrifying supernatural creatures abound in Indian lore

I love a good scary story — and I think this is universal, because mythology is full of random supernatural beings who are legit terrifying. I took a closer look at some of the more spooky ones, because apparently, I'm a sucker for punishment and now I might never sleep again. Here's my list of the most horrific creatures in Hinduism:

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: This Holi, it's time to re-examine the story of the seemingly villainous Holika

The myths around Holi have a lot more to do with hubris than with evil women, and yet the festival is named after a wicked aunt whose only crime was to help her brother get what he wanted.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: The image of 'angry Hanuman' does a disservice to his vast and varied mythology

You can't divorce Hanuman's simian nature from his godliness. In fact, the very thing that makes him such a perfect ally to Ram in the Ramayana is his monkeyness; his long tail, his ability to leap great distances.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: The rise and fall of Sarama, dog of the gods, or why you should feed your neighbourhood stray

Sarama rose to fame when a gang of robbers called the Panis, stole Indra's cow herd, and she helped him get them back.

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: Anasuya's story deserves to be told, not forgotten in the margins of myths

Anasuya is one of the Chaste Women of Hindu mythology — so pious, she became kind of magical in her own right.

Life

The One Who Had Two Lives: Read an excerpt from Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan's book on Amba

The story of Amba and her two sisters is one of the most interesting ones in the Mahabharata, and is retold in The One Who Had Two Lives

Life

Mythology for the Millennial: From Shurpanakha to Mahishi, angry women make for better stories

It's really all because of Shurpanakha that the Ramayana even became an interesting story, if you think about it