When I saw Shobhaa Dé, last week on the cable, she was extemporizing an interview. I thought it was yet-another-talk-show where they ask questions of national importance like this, So what’s your advice for teenagers or Why men hate feminists. It wasn’t. A little better.
Shobhaa Dé spoke in length about marriage, infidelity, love, sex and what not. Only today, when I saw this page on rediff that her latest book in five years, Spouse – The truth about marriage, has been released on the Valentines day and that cable interview was a marketing effort. Rediff report describes the book as, Spouse is a personal and insightful take on the institution of marriage and offers special love tips to make your marriage strong.
Even as a teenager and much later too, I liked Shobhaa Dé. I thought she was probably the most daring writer about sex in India. The hidden agenda is that you could rightfully read a Shobhaa Dé book at home without being mistaken for reading a porn magazine and yet manage to read all the vivid sex in it. As I found better writers, I mean in the real sense, I had given up reading Shobhaa Dé. She doesn’t even feature in my list of favorite authors. The last I read of her was a book called, Shooting from the hip. I stopped reading it after the first twenty pages and threw it from the balcony.
What makes Shobhaa Dé stay in limelight even after some not-so-indepth-writing ? Probably the arena she chose to write about. Her columns are mostly targetted for the urban lot and their issues of life. My only crib here is that those are shallow. If you are an urban man/woman living in the corner of some metro of India, this writing would appeal to you. You can write tons pages about love and sex life and generalise it. It may not be completely right but readers would still not crib as you are treading down an unmanned path. Easy job. Imagine, if you get a VIP ticket to those Page 3 people’s wild parties, you could just write about the true world inside dream factory and still be politically write. Easy job again.
I have this good/bad habit of watching a film even after the reviews say it is bad. This time the reviews for her latest book says, It’s good. I am not doubting the reviews but I am going to read it for myself to get some tips on, How to write a superfluous and successful book ?
P.S – Rediff did a ‘better’ marketing effort. Shobhaa Dé’s love tips -SMS SHO to 7333. Rediff guys, give me a break. Stop such SMS gimmicks.