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A new leaf for women

Love is an emotion for all seasons. Sandhya Mulchandani tells us how to make it more meaningful with her new book, "Kama Sutra for Women". ZIYA US SALAM flips through the newest fruit of Vatsyayana's labour.



Sandhya Mulchandani... reinterpreting Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra for modern men and women. Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

THE MONSOON has made a belated arrival. The grass is virgin, the leaves fresh and untouched. There is an inviting cool breeze which evokes desire, and as the sun plays an enticing game of silhouettes with clouds, it is time to yield to passion. Time for tender touches, warm embraces. Of course, there is the timeless Kama Sutra. Flip through a page every day, and every moment has a new meaning. Life is a song, and lips the best instrument to play it. Telling us so much is Sandhya Mulchandani, who has come up with a new version of Vatsyayana's timeless work.

What women want

Now, what can be new about telling a man how to do what he has to do? Well, plenty. So far the world had talked of pleasing a woman, setting the mood right, attaining fulfilment. Remember all that talk of "women being of tender nature wanting tender beginnings"? This time, we have a woman telling us just what tickles a woman, telling other companions just how a woman can please her man. Says Sandhya who was working on "Love and Lust" with Pavan Varma when the idea for "Kama Sutra for Women" struck her: "This book looks at women and their own sexuality, their own emotions." Though others like Lance Dane might have come up with more attractive editions of the book, Sandhya claims her Roli publication has not come a day too late. "The book talks of sringar which is not an outdated concept. Look at the saas-bahu serials on TV. Everywhere women have bindi, kajal and the like. Life has come full circle. More and more women are conscious of their looks and behaviour. This book is for women's empowerment, it celebrates their empowerment, how they should please men. It is important for women to know this because any union is never a one-way thing."

Gamut of life

If there is no limit to human desire, there are very few which shackle Mulchandani when she talks of her labour of love. "Just learning about Kama Sutra does not make you promiscuous. Sex education does not make you a person of loose morals. Kama Sutra looks at the entire gamut of life, making a note of all patterns, people with their own preferences. It does not condone them, it does not condemn them."

And everywhere men and women are listening. "Ours is a society in transition. Some 10 years ago the Censors would not have passed films like `Girlfriend' and others. Coyness was a mark of respect in the past. Now, it is like if you have it, flaunt it. The society was more tolerant of people in the past. Now, there is an attempt to sensationalise everything, even depiction of sex. They are playing to the gallery."

She may not be in a position to right such social normlessness, but she has been making a small contribution. In the past she has authored "The Indian man: His True Colours" and is working on 16 extant Sanskrit manuscripts that cover the bulk of the Kama Sutra texts. Says Mulchandani, "This book is an attempt to strike an equilibrium. Thus far people only talked of a man's desire, everything from a man's point of view. This is more in consonance with the times because today women are more articulate about their needs and this book sets out to do just that."

Beyond the physical

She has a parting shot for every man who feels he is the king of all that he handles, and his partner as nothing more than pliable property. "Every man should read my book to know what women want. They want to go beyond sex, beyond the physical part. They want attention, care. They want love." And we thought all that men succumb to is lust!

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