Celebrating Womanhood : Shobhaa De

In conversation with Nandana Sen.
In conversation with Nandana Sen.

“Nobody asks a man if he has experienced all the sexual experiences he has written about, but people always asks a woman “How many of those sexual experiences have you been through?”. ”

This was a session named “The Venus Factor” Shobhaa De, novelist and columnist talks about womanhood, writing and more. She talks extensively about her life, right from her childhood and then afterwards.

Shobhaa De talked of how she remembers writing as having been an integral part of her life ever since her childhood. She talked of how “a child has a right to choose” and how the education system imposes too much regulation and disciplinary measures on children and in the process kills creativity. She was compelled to take trigonometry and maths although she never found any interest in them. She thus expresses her desire for the education system to become more relaxed.

She talks of how writing is like getting “rid of a headache” and should contain the same amount of intensity. You should feel, before you write. She emphasizes, that it is not the gender of the voice behind the pen that matters, but what the voice wanted to say. She talks about how the mindset differs and there are often too many questions about why she used sexuality in her books. She observes, women are asked more questions in this regard, than men. Most of her works are a reflection of the society as it is. Readers often appreciate woman writers more, because they feel women are suppressed and thus write more forcefully, but this can hardly be a generalization.

She was one of the most outspoken and honest speakers I have heard in a long while. She was proud of all her writings, proud of being a woman and proud of boldly depicting sexuality in her work. It was a pleasure listening to her.

Up next we’ll have Zeenat Aman and Usha Uthup on stage!


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