"Sensuality is the sacredness of a good erotic novel": Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu has been a lifestyle editor and PR head, and is now a fulltime novelist based in Delhi. Author of two novels, Faraway Music and the bestselling Sita's Curse, she is currently working on a political tragedy titled Rahula.
You Have Got the Wrong Girl was published on Wednesday, 10 Feb 16 in Kolkata.
Kulpreet Yadav: A man spends a night on a blind date. Years later, he wants the same woman back. Interesting plot! According to you, sex for an Indian male, as he tries to discover love in today’s world, is it a roadblock or a freeway?
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu: The very concept of sex today is very different from what it used to be as it doesn’t come with the promise of a long-standing commitment, neither is it bound by marriage alone. This is an age of instant gratification and quick, no strings attached casual sex and hook-ups forged on easy dating apps, so the very concept of intimacy is being questioned, in my view. In this book, the one night of bliss Dushyant, the protagonist shares with a mystery woman forces him to look within – and changes him at a very sublime level and three years later after he’s become a best-selling writer, after having penned a book about that night, he’s forced by circumstance to revisit that magical night and therefore embark on a deeper journey of self discovery and decoding what love really means. Sex in today’s time is often viewed very superficially, but honestly, it’s the most beautiful and natural connect between the sexes. Something that the book celebrates.
KY: Sita’s Curse was about a woman who felt trapped in a love-less marriage and was attracted by a family guru among other things. It was about corporeal desire and the fine balance that erotica has to tread in India between love and lust. She wanted to be loved but couldn’t find it. In You Have Got the Wrong Girl, from what I could make out from the video, a man seeks unrequited love? Do you think the Indian men deserve any such luck?
SPK: You Have Got the Wrong Girl is about a man’s journey to understand his own heart and the tumultuous adventure it takes him on. Written in a lad lit style, it is laced with wit and sharp twists and turns, and is about a modern Indian man who’s as complicated, as he’s courageous. As sexually promiscuous and experimental as he’s an old world romantic. As commitment phobic, as wanting to settle down – it’s a man’s emotional rollercoaster ride – a look into his head space for a change.
KY: How do you see the future of erotica as a genre, particularly when written by the Indian writers?
SPK: I think erotica is a space that should be filled by quality writers who give importance to the craft of eroticism and not try to titillate the reader by writing a sensational book. The sensuality is the sacredness of a good erotic novel, and that lyricism should be retained as it is something that is also our cultural heritage, if you look at the long association of erotica with Indian literature.
KY: Traditionally, an Indian male sees the woman not a part of the nucleus of a successful relationship, but circulating around it like an electron. Do you think this attitude is changing? Your comments about the Indian males and their understanding about sex and love.
SPK: I think the gender rules are being reversed and today men and women are in a competitive sport where women too are happy to fly solo and wary of commitment and also no longer willing to be a doormat. This knowing one’s mind with absolute clarity has probably made the finding true love more challenging, especially given the times we live in. But, I think the Indian man is also misunderstood and sometimes lacks a voice as an equally emotional and vulnerable creature given the ambience of shrill feminism that exists today. Dushyant Singh Rathore, the protagonist of the book echoes that mind space – where his true voice is unraveled only through his quest to know and find love.
KY: How did you conceive this plot?
SPK: I am deeply inspired by Kalidasa’s Abhigyanam Shakuntalam, and always wondered what if we saw the classic from the viewpoint of the woman instead? If Dushyant was the archetypal romantic hero and if instead of the stereotypical suffering in love, ever pining, ever waiting heroine in love, Dushyant could be shown in the midst of all the typical clichés one associates with a mushy, romantic novel. The idea that a lad lit written by a woman can break the gender shackles was inspiring to me.
KY: You have been a vocal supporter of the LGBT community. Do you anticipate a radical shift in the society to accept them? What role can literature play to make a difference?
SPK: My next novel, Rahula looks at a homosexual relationship and I feel very strongly about this. Emancipation of the mind, soul, and body are unanimous and I feel it’s high time the archaic Section 377 is decriminalized so that sexuality is one’s own individuality and same sex love is morally not regarded as a sin of some sort.
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