By Shobhan Bantwal – author of THE UNEXPECTED SON
I have no idea when Indian culture turned prudish, but the India I know has always been tight-lipped about sex and anything to do with the man-woman relationship. The belief is that the British brought their Victorian ideas of extreme modesty when they occupied what used to be a free-thinking India.
Now, most Indians don’t even mention the word “sex” if they can help it—except to mean gender.
When my fellow Indians learn that my books have a little romance and occasionally a sex scene, most of them, even the chatty ones, suddenly become silent. But the non-verbal messages are clear: why in God’s name is a 50-something, married, Brahmin woman writing about love and sex? Couldn’t she stick to something respectable like spiritualism, or mother-child relationships, or some other benign topic that would befit someone of her age and status?
All this prudishness flourishes despite the simple fact that India is probably the only ancient culture that boasts a 1,700-year-old primer on the art of love-making, a sex education textbook known as the Kama Sutra. Erotic sculptures abound in centuries-old Indian temples, too. India’s population is well over a billion, about one-sixth of the entire world, clearly indicating that sex is alive and flourishing.
I was always a romance fiction addict. So at the age of 50, teetering on menopause, I decided to take the plunge and write what I liked—women’s fiction peppered with romance. Believe me, there is plenty of romance even in arranged marriage, in all its eroticism and tenderness.
THE UNEXPECTED SON is my fourth novel and the story starts with premarital sex, such a strictly prohibited notion that a young couple engaged in it is often shunned by society. It used to be that way when I was growing up in India, and to a large extent still is.
My heroine makes an honest mistake as a teenager by sleeping with the college sports hero in a small town in the 1970s. She pays a heavy price, not only in the immediate future, but 30 years later, when the result of her innocent indiscretion comes back to ruin her and her family.
A Note From Shobhan – Information about my books, video trailers, contact, photos from India, reviews, contests, and recipes is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com. Enter a giveaway on my website during August for a FREE copy of The Unexpected Son. You can also visit me on Facebook and MySpace. All my books can be purchased at any retail bookstore or online bookseller. For more information about The Unexpected Son virtual tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/02/unexpected-son-virtual-tour/