Storm in a C-Cup today: Of the Madonna Whore Complex

I wrote about the Madonna Whore dichotomy that women are viewed through in today’s Storm in a C-Cup.

“The founding father of psychoanalysis, Freud, called it the Madonna-Whore complex. Like the name suggests, it is a complex where a man can see a woman only in dichotomies, the virgin or the slut. It is when a man can have sexual congress, to use the delightful terminology of yore, only with women he perceives as ‘degraded’ (Whore) and cannot sexually desire a woman he considers ‘respectable’ (Madonna). Identified under the rubric of psychic impotence, Freud wrote: “Where such men love, they have no desire; and where they desire, they cannot love.”

Read the entire article here


Storm in a C-Cup this week: Are we ready for open marriages

It was the stuff of urban myth, discussed in whispers at kitty lunches. Swinging, it was called. There were more Chinese whispers about the couples’ getaways, where the holidays were more exchange parties than actual holidaying. Then there were the stories about couples, with one or both of them with relationships apart from their spouses, and accepting about it.

Today, swinging is called open marriage. Often defined as a marriage or relationship in which both partners agree that each may have sexual relations with others. There’s another kind, polyamory. There’s a tad but important difference between swinging and polyamory. While swinging is primarily about getting it off with someone other than your betrothed and not caring if you saw the other ever again, polyamory is more about emotions, and accepting that one could have feelings for more than one person.

Read the rest of the column here

For the Juggernaut blog: The unrequited love story of Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore


On 21 April 1884, Kadambari Devi, Rabindranath Tagore’s sister-in-law, committed suicide with an overdose of opium — four months after the poet-laureate married Mrinalini Devi. Kadambari Devi played an extraordinary part in young Tagore’s life, inspiring him to write many poems, but their relationship has been shrouded in secrecy. What is known, however, is that Tagore was distraught after her death. ‘She, my Queen, has died and my world has shut against the door of its inner apartment of beauty which gives on the real taste of freedom,’ he wrote in a letter

Here, author Kiran Manral writes about the relationship that could have been, had it had different circumstances:


I must confess that I am a complete sucker for love stories. I love the thrust and parry of the initial attraction, the declaration of love, the rush of emotional catharsis that reading them give me. But unrequited love stories, they’re different. They conjure up all the repressed emotions of being rejected, of heartbreak, of losing out to the prettier girl, of the break ups that didn’t make sense when you think about them years down the line, or the persistent beat of the ‘What if…” that lingers on in a ghostly chamber of the heart. We all love a love story. But we love an unrequited love story even more.

There is a quaint pull to a love story that has no happy ending, where the lovers, drawn together by the dictats of their hearts are forced apart thanks to dictats of circumstance and society. The bitter aftertaste of the What Might Have Been tinges the story long after The End has been read, a niggling disquiet in one’s mind, a wanting to rearrange circumstance and happenings to make the fates conspire.

When researching the love stories for the series of True Love Stories, the little known story of Kadambari broke my heart. Kadambari Devi, the wife of Rabindranath Tagore’s older brother Jyotirindranath Tagore, is a figure wreathed in shadow and mystery. We don’t know much about her. All we have to go by are the sketchy details put down about her by the poet laureate himself, and the grainy sepia prints that searches on the internet throw up. In these, her face is pensive, looking aside, unwilling to make eye contact with the camera. She’s dressed in a dark saree, draped in the fashionable style of the times, edged with lace, worn with a full sleeved blouse. Drop earrings in her ears, a slight curl along her hairline, evidence of feminine vanity at play. Yet there is a sadness in her expression, or perhaps is it my gaze that attributes a sadness to her?

Read the entire post here

Storm in a C-Cup today: Bringing back the pillow talk

“Like most married couples who’ve passed their sell by date, the spouse and I have reached a comfortable bed time routine where we both pray that we fall off to sleep before the other does, so we aren’t inflicted with a sleepless night thanks to the other’s snoring.

Pillow talk, as you might guess, has long been dead and buried. Resuscitating it would need more than the kiss of life. Were we the only ones? Were other couples our age getting giggly and talking x-rated stuff with their long time spouses and partners while the dirtiest our pillow talk ever went was when we discussed bills and EMIs?

Do you talk dirty with your husband, I asked a friend, also in a marriage which recently crossed the two decade mark. She looked at me kindly. “The last dirty talk we had was when the kitchen drain clogged up on a weekend and there was no plumber. That was one hell of a filthy conversation.”

Read the rest of the column here

Storm in a C-Cup today: Coming out late

“A study conducted by the University of Utah found that as women got older, their sexual preferences were more likely to get ‘unlabelled’. Interestingly, a comprehensive study of female sexuality done in 2010, found an increase in the number of ‘Late blooming lesbians’, namely women who’ve switched their sexuality post 30.

We’ve had recent celebrity cases of late blooming lesbians. In September 2016, author Elizabeth Gilbert (of the international best-selling memoir Eat Pray Love, in which she famously wrote about going off to discover herself after a miserable divorce, and finding love with a hot Brazilian man) announced that she was ending her marriage because she was in love with her long time best friend, who just happened to be female. As she wrote in her 2006 best-seller, “It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated.”

She has a predecessor in the literary world. Writer Virginia Woolf had been married for a while when she fell in love and began an affair with Vita Sackville-West, also middle-aged, married and a writer. There’s also actress Portia De Rossi who was married to a man before she fell in love with and married talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 2008.”

Read the rest of the column here

“A hell of a story and it packs a punch…” Switcheroo reviewed by Inderpreet Uppal

This is of hell of a story and it packs a punch! It is a perfect short read with a good mix of spice and surprise. It is a story of a woman, Dimple Bhalla looking for herself, the eternal struggle of women to stop time, to keep their looks, their beauty and just be alluring forever. She is rich, beautiful and middle-aged, a perfect setting for some introspection.

In this story, the author has managed to keep the suspense of what has actually happened and keep the story moving smoothly as well. A few places drew chuckles from me due to the apt description of what we women do. Just pick it and read on the Juggernaut App, I am finding some good books there.

Another thing, the title of the story gets so clear after you have read the story and it is perfect!! Just say it slow and think in the typical way Mrs Bhalla would!! 😉

Kiran manages to have the writing and style like her previous book All Abroad – graceful. I found SWITCH-E-ROO by Kiran Manral to be the perfect story for a fast, uplifting mood change especially when short on time.


Read the original here

Guest post for the Readify Books blog: Of e-reading apps and the mobile phone

Let me confess at the very outset that I am a dinosaur. I love my print and paper with a passion and eschewed all things digital for the longest time. When the e-reading revolution happened and people ran arms outstretched to e-reading devices, I was the one snarling in the corner, saying Over My Dead Body.

The screen I thought, was too small, the light too distracting, the constant notifications from messages too intrusive. And then I had an epiphany. It came during a doctor’s visit. Like all specialists in India. The appointment was just a token number. The actual time we would be ushered into the hallowed presence of the doctor was anybody’s guess.

And so we sat and waited. And waited. I could feel the roots grow out of my rear end pasted to the seat and reach down into the plastic seeking food and water. At one point, I had run out of conversation and was watching the huge screen set on one entire wall which was helpfully set to the channel with a daily soap that the receptionist at the clinic was watching with her jaw half way to her knees.

I fished out my mobile phone as a last refuge to stave me off from immediate boredom and certain death. On an impulse, I downloaded a reading app on the phone. I found an old classic I had long wanted to re-read and settled down to it. When we were called in to see the doctor I almost snarled at them for breaking into my reading.

Read the rest of the post here

You can download my latest rom com Saving Maya on the Readify books app on Google Playstore. You get free credits on installing the app on your Android phone, which you can use to buy Saving Maya.

Storm in a C-Cup today: How often do you think about sex?

An urban myth goes that men think about sex every seven seconds. That makes it approximately 8,000 times in a day in the waking hours, and we’re not factoring in wet dreams here. Blame this myth on the F1 levels of testosterone careening through the blood stream. Or on Alfred Kinsey, who was probably misquoted from his 1948 study on male sexual behaviour and the improbable statistic, like one of those urban myths, stayed put in the collective consciousness.

I put this to test with my in-house, all-purpose respondent for surveys concerning the male species, namely, the spouse. “Do men think about sex every seven seconds?” I ask. The spouse snorts derisively. Yes. I married a keeper.

Read the rest of the column here

Karmic Kids review in ZenParent: Karmic Kids: a parenting book that tells you only the truth with a twist


Maitri Vasudev

Karmic Kids: a parenting book that tells you only the truth with a twist

What is breastfeeding really like, you wonder aloud when you’re pregnant. Nothing can compare with it, you mother informs you sternly, as she massages your swollen feet in the last trimester of your pregnancy. It’s where the mother-child bond begins. It’s the most beautiful, natural thing in the world – the foundation of all the love that is to come. But what about the pain, you ask. When your breasts get so full because she won’t drink enough. And when she grows teeth. Won’t they bite? Dhat! she responds in a trice. How can you even say things like that?

Well, where your own mother won’t answer your questions, Kiran Manral does, in her book titled Karmic Kids: The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You. The first time she was expected to nurse her child, she says:

A nurse was sent for and the doctor on duty, because well, you might as well have an appreciative audience while you try to figure out which part of you should curl up and die, when you have to reveal in a public situation a breast that is suddenly gigantic with what the mater casually informs you is ‘the milk coming in’…two massive boulders on your chest that might need a couple of wheelbarrows under, if you plan on moving out of the hospital bed ever and navigating the earth again.

No mother who’s ever nursed her babies, she continues, will ever look at her breasts as objects of sexual desire ever again. And why would you ever want to have sex again when you have a human mouth latched to the boobies for more than 12 hours a day?

Author of All Aboard, The Face at the Window and Saving Maya, Manral ventures for the first time into the realm of non-fiction. Karmic Kids is not really a parenting book as much as a tongue-in-cheek account of her experiences as a first-time mother. It explores the narrative of motherhood through non-traditional eyes, accounting for details that those innumerable great-aunts, who cluck time and again about how they got married when they were 17 and had had five kids by the time they were your age, never tell you about. Her talk of mammary glands, libido and mother’s guilt would make even your favourite senior citizens cringe because, behind all that humour, Manral looks social convention in the eye and rejects it by embracing the mother as a human being, instead of as a milk dispenser.

Read the rest of the article here

Storm in a C-Cup today: Of Birth-gasms

The other day I came across a news clipping about a new mom who claimed to have had orgasms during her delivery. I was intrigued. All the retellings about the birth experience from friends and acquaintances have been stories that would make it straight to a horror anthology, blood and gore included, with some so terrifying they could be used for birth control propaganda. Orgasmic childbirth would be an oxymoron, right? Perhaps not.

French psychologist, Thierry Postel, conducted a study asking 956 midwives about the birth experiences they had witnessed. The midwives stated they saw mothers showing signs of pleasure during childbirth in 668 cases. Barry Komisaruk, professor of psychology at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, who studied orgasms, reports that the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal during childbirth might in fact block pain, even though the stimulation is non-sexual. A medical paper, ‘Birthgasm’: A Literary Review of Orgasm as an Alternative Mode of Pain Relief in Childbirth, by Mayberry and Daniel, explores the potential of orgasm as a mode of pain relief in childbirth and outlines the physiological explanations for its occurrence.

Read the rest here