|Harper's Bazaar June 2012|
A female scholar once said, "I already know what men think. I'm more interested in reading books by women." It is perhaps keeping this in mind that today's broad literary canvas is exploring a plethora of subjects that deal with the issues of the modern Indian woman. From interpersonal, romantic, and familial issues and personal life journeys, to themes concerning careers and marital and sexual woes, subjects that were earlier relegated to lower shelves are now steadily making it to the bestseller lists. All cosmopolitan stories set in the Indian context and written in a tone that's fun and breezy, these works of fiction point towards a rising audience interest in several issues that pervade society.
Even more striking is the fact that the authors are all mostly first-timers. Though these writers may not be charting new territory per se, they are certainly emphasising the difference in the way women today experience the world. Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas (Penguin India) by debutante Madhuri Banerjee delves into the debate of lust vs. love. A light read, the book taps into the fears of young women who find themselves without partners and are pressurised into matches for the sake of convention. "I relate to Kaveri, the protagonist, because she really sets out to find herself in the unknown, even as forces bigger than herself try to mould her," says Banerjee on what makes her protagonist appealing to today's women. Coupled with an empathetic tone, it becomes clear how the book has become a new bestseller.