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Review: The Habit of Love

Author, publisher and co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale (right) gets candid about The Habit of Love, also the name of her latest book.

books Updated: Mar 13, 2012 06:28 IST

Author, publisher and co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival,  Namita Gokhale (right) gets candid about The Habit of Love, also the name of her latest book.

The book, which is a collection of 13 short stories that were written over the last few years, was released in January but Gokhale did not promote it at her own festival. “I was a part of the panel discussion. Promoting my books at the fest makes me feel guilty,” she says.

Love is an emotion that baffles and attracts all at the same time. Has she been able to de-code it? “I’d say if it hurts, it’s love,” she says. Ask her if love has changed for the fast food generation, and she says: “No. Love is a changeless human emotion. Romantic love makes you feel special and vulnerable like nothing else in the world. That is why it is most intense during youth. Though, I’m not too sure about sexual love. One can have sexual joy without feeling the vulnerabilities and oneness of love. It’s more of an oxymoron.”

Gokhale admits having a distinctly feminine voice in most of her books. Her latest book narrates the story of 13 women and their love lives.  “I tried getting a man’s perspective in some of my earlier books such as A Himalayan Love Story and The Book of Shadows, but I like to write as a woman,” she says. Does Gokhale agree with the cliché that men and women love differently? “Traditionally, women had more time to dwell on love and emotions than men. We all have the yin and yang in us. So, one can find nurturing men or dominating women around,” says Gokhale, who is currently enjoying her stint as an advisor at numerous festivals like Mountain Echoes in Bhutan, Kathmandu Literay Jatra and The Hay festival in kerala. “South-east Asia is finally waking up to the reading habit and producing fresh talent like Chetan bhagat and Advaita Kala,” she says.