On romance and love-making
The crowd on the eighth day of the Spring Fever Festival, which concluded recently, was more than one would expect in a literary festival. And not without reason. Four young writers - Madhuri Banerjee, Nistula Hebbar, Chanchaldeep Sandhu and Ravinder Singh discussed ‘Romance and sex in books’ in a very interesting session titled ‘Kiss and tell’.
Moderated by none other than radio jockey Sachin, the audience was in splits throughout. The festival was held by Penguin India, between March 16 to 25 at India Habitat Centre, as part of their 25th Anniversary celebrations.
The session took its name from Nistula Hebbar’s book Kiss and tell published in 2012. She is a senior assistant editor with the Financial Express and is a self-confessed addict of pulp fiction.
The discussion began with Sachin asking each of the authors what inspired them to write their respective novels. Nistula described Kiss and tell as the story of her friend who was a virgin till the age of 30, “Her journey to finding love after this realisation inspired me to compile it in a novel.” Madhuri also admitted to finding her story in the experiences of a friend. Chanchaldeep candidly confessed to being flirtatious in college initially and ultimately finding a soulmate in his wife.
“The idea for this book emerged from my own as well as my college friends’ love lives,” he added. Ravinder informed that his book was his own story of meeting his girlfriend on a matrimonial website and losing her in an accident in 2007. This was just five days before they were to be formally engaged. “Though it was sad, I found it a good way to remember the pleasant times we spent together,” he observed.
The discussion then came to its most awaited aspect: writing the love making scenes. Nistula expressed that she was very conscious, almost scared, of writing the sex scenes.
“I was extremely worried that some pervert somewhere might read my book and judge me by those scenes.” Madhuri, on the other hand, described them as the most difficult part of novel-writing.
“They require a lot of time to write and then perfect. They can not be crude or sleazy. But they cannot be written in a boring way either. It is essential to find the right balance.”
On tips for beginners on how to write them, she started, “First you kick the child out of the room. Obviously, with kids around, how can one pen sex-scenes.” On where Chanchaldeep looks for inspiration to write love-making scenes, he quipped, “Khushwant Singh’s books.” With this, the audience could just not stop laughing.