Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Times of India on Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas

‘Women are very judgmental’

‘Women are very judgmental’
‘Women are very judgmental’
Times of India
... says writer Madhuri Banerjee of her own sex, in a chat with us

Chick lit is nothing but a novel with a strong female protagonist that follows her life, through her ups and downs, with a happy denouement. Over the years, chick lit has come to mean fluffy writing of no consequence. But ask novelist Madhuri Banerjee if she thinks chick lit is on its death bed, and she quickly defends the genre, saying, "I am scared to think of it. But I doubt it is dying. I believe chick lit is evolving. It should be more about women's issues and their relationships with people around them. It ought to evolve to involve their children too." Madhuri emphasizes that chick lit will never die because many women would still want to read about themselves. "They'd want to read about how other women deal with their issues," she says. So hopefully, her words turn out to be prophetic. But what does it take to become a writer? "I've been writing every day since I was young. I keep a personal diary. I document everything that happens to me every day. When I started writing my novel, I read my diaries again to understand how I was and felt at a certain age. It also helped me understand how I have grown as a person. Writing helps me evolve as a person," explains Madhuri.

However, to be a writer, you have to inculcate discipline, explains Madhuri. "You may be born a writer. But once you are at the writing table, you must train yourself to channel your thoughts. This is to get a clear picture of where your novel is headed and how your characters are taking shape," says Madhuri. Ask her how life has changed after her novel was published, and she says, "I have always been a gregarious person, but I was very reserved in large groups. After my book, I became more confident and learnt to let go of my inhibitions."

Being a woman does not mean Madhuri has the best things to say about her sex. "Women are very judgmental about each other - whether it's regarding the weight, sex, careers and other things. We are our worst enemies when we should be our best friends. Only then will we have true women's liberation," she signs off.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

From my personal diary: A thought on Friendships

Today I was noticing how I haven’t partied with my girl friends for so long. Then I got to thinking, maybe I didn’t have as many girl friends as I thought. I looked around and saw so many of my friends have been partying with their girl friends but not with me. It made me feel like I was missing out. Where have all my girl friends gone?
A friend went to Delhi and landed when my event was there but she didn’t come to see me, even though it was important to me. She went with her friends to Big Chill to eat and drink.
Chanda didn't come for my first event cos she didn't want to upset her other friends who she invited but couldn’t come so she decided not to either. Then she has a whole gang of friends in Delhi who she meets regularly.
Naina told me recently she did a girl vacation with two of her other friends/ colleagues and they went on a spa vacation. But her old best friend has been cut off her list forever.
Do friends come to us according to our needs? When we need them? Or do we cultivate them so that they can be there when we need them?
If we cultivate our friends and invest in them, then why do so many friendships break up even after years of being friends whereas new friends seem closer to you than family?
It’s a strange universe of fickle friendships. At one point I felt I had so many friends that I could barely keep up with them. People who I could have coffees with surrounded every day. I could spend time with a new female for breakfast, lunch and dinner, chatting and catching up.
Then work stopped. Friends moved on. New people through twitter came into my life. They were tweeple. They weren’t friends. Old friends found new friends. Then I was alone. I wondered if I had “invested” enough? Hadn’t I done what was needed to rely on them? Or was it another expectation from life that was being tested for me to understand that one cannot have ANY expectation. That maybe “friends” are like the weather. You can’t predict when they’ll be sunny and when they’ll be moody.
My mother though seems to have several women friends from work, from the couple gang that she and my father have and even from 40 years ago. Is she doing something different that our generation hasn’t understood?
We have come into an era where friends are there according to what we need from them. So friends from work will be thick since they share common environments, moms with kids will bond since they have a common topic to speak about, and women in yoga classes will speak since they can philosophies together. And married women will crib over their husbands and this bonds them as friends. We are all aware that these relationships might not last forever. But we also know that we grow as individuals and it’s probably for the best to have some friendships dissolve.
There is no need nowadays to "invest" for the long term. We all don't have time to give so much of ourselves. With extremely busy lives, we're just happy to have a few hours with people who are free at that time. That constitutes friendship nowadays.
Can we count the number of friends who have known us for more than ten years and we still rely on? Probably on our left hand. Out of those, can we say we still have something in common with them? The number becomes less. But when you’re sure of that number, those are the people who will attend everything that’s important to you, those are the people who will love you even if you change and become completely different from them. That number will always stick. And that friendship will be far more important than any family you’ve ever had.
The world is opening up so many social platforms for us to make friends. The truth is we are all still alone.

Love Guru Advice: Traditional Woman vs Modern man

Dear Love Guru,
I’m 35 years old. I’ve been in a relationship for the last 3 years with a very sweet man who loves me dearly. The problem is that I am a traditional Indian woman. I want to get married, have children, and look after a house. The man wants me to have a career, be economically independent and doesn’t want to be the sole provider for the relationship. What do I do?

Dear Radha,
A large percentage of men in India still desire a traditional role for a woman. Unfortunately you went and fell in love with the opposite percentage. The man has a point. Women today do need to work and feel self satisfied with their lives otherwise they will depend only on the man or their children for their economic well being and emotional stability. You may not want a career, but you need to have a hobby that keeps you preoccupied enough to be somewhat independent. Alternatively, you need to make him understand that opposites can make it work! If he doesn’t get it, take a one month break from each other where you promise to be celibate and faithful to decide whether you truly need each other. This entails as little communication. Write down what you feel with and without each other. Taking the entire month off is very necessary since a few days won’t give you an entire perspective. It will be hard but it will give clarity! In the end, it is ok to be alone than be in a marriage where you had history, but have no future.

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...