Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cupid in the court (Interview with authors, Manjiri Prabhu and Sujata Parashar)

Why do people marry? Do you need to fall in love to get married? Or is it the society’s pressure to ‘settle down in life’ that makes people take the plunge? How many marry for the right reasons? And, what are those? If these are some of the questions troubling you, then you might find some answers at a symposium on ‘Love and Marriage,’ to be held today (April 27) at 11.30 am at Pagdandi-Books, Chai, Cafe, in association with Butterfly & The Bee. Writers Manjiri
Prabhu and Sujata Parashar will interact with each other and unravel various threads involved in the subject.
Manjiri is the Pune-based author of astro-detective novel The Cosmic Clues, in which the protagonist, Sonia Samarth launches a brand new business of private investigation using Hindu astrology as a crime-solving tool. Amongst her clients are a terrified bride-to-be and a missing husband with suicidal tendencies.
We ask Manjiri if matching stars takes the mystery and magic out of marriage. Manjiri disagrees, saying, “In fact, I believe that the mystery deepens, because now you have the clues to look for the right partner. Groping in a definite direction is better than groping blindfolded in the dark!”
Sujata Parashar, whose book In pursuit of offence is a contemporary take on marriage, is not entirely convinced about the use of astrology in choosing the right partner. “Although, I am not against the traditional way, I’m also not totally convinced about the astrology’s role in determining the right partner in one’s life. So, I’m very much looking forward to the discussion with Manjiri and the audience.”
What do the two think about the survival of the institution of marriage in times of live-in and open marriages? “Whether it is arranged or love marriage or a live-in relationship, love would determine the length and strength of your relationship,” Manjiri believes. Sujata opines that marriage as an institution will survive and work. But the form will inevitably change.
Her book tries to explore a very important question: Do people marry for the right reasons or just because the society expects it from them? “Happiness is the underlying principle for all relationships. If one is not happy, one cannot contribute towards a healthy and happy society. So, putting pleasure and happiness above the collective authority of society is not a blunder. It’s a requirement,” Sujata believes.
Clearly, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to love and marriages. And the topic will continue to provide fodder for books, poems and the cinematic medium. Agrees Manjiri, “Everyone loves a good love-story, in a book or in a film. The feel-good part, the intensity of conflict, the passion — it is easy to relate to. It reminds you of yourself and that is why somewhere along the line, it becomes your story, either in parts or whole. And that is why, stories of relationships will always find a season.”

I'm sure Sujata has her own time-tested views on marriage and whether we share the same views or not, the discussion should be very interesting. Not everyone has to agree with everyone. You can keep your own views, listen to those of the others and believe in the ones that relate to your experience and knowledge.
Manjiri Prabhu
The apparent incompatibility between the two sides on the issue of marriage will make it an exciting and meaningful interaction. It will present the readers with two completely different schools of thought meeting each other face to face and trying to question, explore and if possible establish a connection.

Sujata Parashar

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