The Hindu - Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas is more than a chick lit
The true-blue romantic
Madhuri Banerjee's Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas is about finding the one true love — yourself
A title like “Losing my Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas” might lead one to certain conclusions. But the adage “never judge a book by its cover”— or its title, in this case — ought to be applied here. For Madhuri Banerjee's debut novel may be categorised into chick-lit, but it really goes way beyond that. “The book isn't about losing your virginity, but about understanding who you are.”
Madhuri describes herself as a “non-judgemental and boundary-less person” and her book, though fictional, is a reflection of her personal journey to self-realisation. “I studied in a convent school and an all-women's college,” says the Delhi-based writer, “I was surrounded by women's issues and dealt with some of mine too.”
Always a high achiever, Madhuri recalls how her parents read her book and exclaimed, “It's not like an Amitav Ghosh novel!” she laughs and continues, “This is who I am. My story also reaches out to men and women to understand relationships and their own fears and desires.”
Kaveri, a prim-and-proper intellectual, is 29-going-on-30 but hasn't ever kissed, leave alone lose her virginity. Tired of her non-existent love life, with the help of her feisty friend Aditi, Kaveri begins her search for her “Great True Love”. He does come, after a slew of failed dates, in the form of the Adonis-like Arjun. The euphoria of their whirlwind romance doesn't last long when Kaveri learns that Arjun is a married man. The book traces Kaveri's journey thence that takes her from being a translator to even making an appearance in a reality show. Eventually, she finds herself.
Madhuri says that “Losing My Virginity…” is about how women can break free of the roles society imposes on them. “As women we suppress our sexual desires. We only have sex to have progeny, and we need to challenge that. Society should be like a rubber band that stretches beyond its limits.” But she also argues that we ought to give men credit for pushing women beyond their comfort zones. “The one true love is with yourself. The men are ephemeral. Unless you love yourself completely, you cannot love another person. Moreover, we are born into this world alone and die alone, so it's important to love yourself,” says Madhuri, whose documentary film “Between Dualities” won the National Award in 1999.
A year after the launch of “Losing my Virginity…”, Madhuri has completed two sequels of it. “It is Asia's first female trilogy,” she informs, with a characteristic charming smile.