The fulfilment of women is at the heart of the experience of sex and the lines between sex and sensuality, as between social mores and individual desire, are indeed fine and must be understood deeply.
That is the basic message author-diplomat Pavan K. Verma tries to send across in his brave new book, "Kama Sutra: The Art of Making Love to a Woman", published by Roli Books and launched at the Hotel Shangri-la here Saturday.
Verma's tribute to the 300 A.D. immortal treatise on sex by Vatsyayana comes at a time when, in Verma's own words, "there is an avalanche of flesh in cinema, TV and magazines".
"The subject is such that it is more than capable of nurturing more than one interpretation," Verma said, speaking at the launch function.
Varma is also the director-general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), a former ambassador to Cyprus and a former spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs.
But why do we need another interpretation of this world famous treatise on sex?
"We need to resurrect the Kama Sutra from its various misinterpretations," he said.
He emphasised that Vatsyayana was clear about one thing: men and women are equal partners in sex and that it is important for the man to ensure that the woman gets her full share of fulfilment.
"This book is not about technique but about attitude and right approach," Verma said, while describing how Vatsyayana laid great importance on the environment in which a man and a woman make love.
Talking about society's prudish approach to sex today, he said, "There was a time in our history I am sure when desire was taken out of the dark and put out in the sun as an essential aspect of our life."
He said that the rise of Islam and the Victorian morality that came in with British rule changed Indians' attitude towards sex forever.
"Why, there was this Englishman who sued Lord Krishna in court for lechery!" Verma stated.
Asked what the book has for the younger generation, Verma lamented that he was sure the young would look at the illustrations rather than the text.
"But please go through the text, it is important to understand why a great sage - a mahamuni - like Vatsyayana wrote a book on such a subject so long ago."
However, Verma seemed to be at a loss for words when a member of the audience asked, "What does the book offer to senior citizens?"
"A good lover has to be sensitive to a woman's needs." This is the message in Verma's interpretation of Vatsyayana's work, excerpts for which were read out by noted theatre personality Lushin Dubey and media professional Suhel Seth at the function.
Author of over a dozen books like "Krishna: The Playful Divine", "Ghalib: The Man, the Times", "The Great Indian Middle Class" and "The Havelis of Old Delhi", Verma had a piece of advice regarding his latest work: "Both men and women should read the book but men should read it more carefully for the benefit of women."