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Cover of Urban Shots Edited by Paritosh Uttam

Cover of Dreams in Prussian Blue by Paritosh Uttam

Cauvery Madhavan

Cauvery Madhavan (b. 1962) was born into an army officer’s family. She graduated with a First in Economics from Stella Maris College, University of Madras.Photograph of Cauvery Madhavan

Working as a copywriter in her hometown of Madras introduced her to writing. In 1987, she moved to Ireland along with her husband.

Cauvery Madhavan has written two novels, both of which have to do with characters coming face to face with a Europe that is culturally poles apart from their native India.

She lives with her husband and three children in County Kildare, Ireland.


Paddy Indian

Paddy Indian is a novel about Padhman, a newly qualified Indian doctor, who arrives in Ireland in 1987 and starts as a junior doctor in a Dublin hospital. An only child, he comes from a wealthy and well-known medical family in Madras, India and is in Ireland to train and study for the Fellowship exams, before returning home to join his father’s practice.

In Ireland, Padhman finds himself hating the anonymity of being just another one of those “foreign doctors”. He struggles with unfamiliar emotions: loneliness and self-consciousness were alien to him until now. Just as he manages to catch up with an old flame, Annie Ewart, from Madras, into his life walks the surgical intern, Aoife Gorman: Irish and very irresistible. With Annie he is confident and comfortable with Aoife—he is badly smitten but unsure of the future of such a cross-cultural relationship.

Back home, Padhman’s mother is horrified. Annie Ewart is Anglo-Indian—a potential social disaster. And the alternative is the Irish girl with the unpronounceable name. Padhman would never come back to India if that affair got serious. Her horror is compounded by her helplessness. She is too far away to do what she is so good at: sorting things out.

Padhman has yet to pass his Fellowship exams and that means he remains in Ireland, totally out of her control. It is a situation that calls for her to use all her ingenuity and she has always had plenty of that. This is the story of how Padhman resolves his conflicting loyalties and how Padhman's mother tries to influence the outcome of that conflict.

The Uncoupling

The Uncoupling is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Shankar, a traditional South Indian couple in their late fifties, who have been married in reasonable harmony for thirty three years. Their placid and quiet lives are turned upside down when, on their first time ever out of India, they set off on a 16-day coach tour of Europe. This is the story of the unravelling of a marriage that, like a piece of knitting, needed just one stitch to drop.

For Janaki, a chance remark by her husband is the catalyst for her tentative questioning of the nature of her marriage. Her doubts and regrets gather momentum as various events unfold on the tour. Balu on the other hand, has an awakening of a different sort. A dedicated cinema buff, even as a bachelor he was always obsessed with the popular image of Sati Savitri. In love with the notion of having a Sati Savitri for a wife and having both wittingly and unwittingly tried to mould Janaki into that image, Balu's baggage on the coach tour includes years of self-imposed repressed sexuality. For whoever heard of a Sati Savitri who enjoyed sex?

A two-night stop in Amsterdam at the start of the tour leaves Balu struggling with an appetite for newly discovered sexual possibilities with Janaki that his hitherto Sati Savitri-type expectations of her completely precluded. The Uncoupling tracks the disintegration of the Shankars’ marriage as their coach tour progresses through Europe.