By Melanie P. Kumar

Matters of the heart and the word “love” are guaranteed to attract attention. The panellists and the Moderator of this session make sure that they kept their audience riveted with their various takes on the subject.

Moderator, Nandita Bose, brims with humour, as she takes the panellists through the topic, while the listeners are eating out of her hands. She contrasts the violence of the outer world with the “four deviants on the stage, who want to speak of love.”

Preeti says her books go beyond love and relationships, but producers want to slot it in the category of Romance or Chick Lit, for sales.

Milan Vohra says she has always been the recipient of stories of the heart, from people around her. And now that she is known as a writer, the stories are flooding into her mailbox.

Dr. Vijay Nagaswami, a psychiatrist-turned writer, says that couples kept turning to him for advice on the fadeout in their relationships. He also found that his books had started being gifted for weddings and anniversaries, though he is not so sure that his latest one on “divorce,” would fit that category. Now, some of his fans could consider him to be “sleeping with the enemy!”

About the philosophy underlying their writings, Milan says that despite the break in relationships, she is an optimist and believes that people need people. We all need to share things with someone. There is no point in believing that one can find a perfect man or woman.

Preeti believes life is too short – there is no point to getting involved in petty conflicts. They just come in the way of an otherwise happy marriage. Her motto is: “value and love each other and live life to the fullest!”

Dr. Nagaswami feels love will always work in a marriage-obsessed country. Without wishing to burst a bubble, however, he attributes emotions to chemical reactions in the body, though the particular chemical varies between the sexes.

There is a general consensus among the panelists that love, as a feeling, is experienced differently by men and women. Dr. Nagaswami adds that romantic love is too intense an emotion to last forever. Intimate love is far more enduring. Apparently, both sensitive men and women deal with this better than Alpha males and females.

To the comment that men have a physical approach to love and cannot resist turning around to look at a beautiful woman, Dr. Nagaswami quips, “even women will turn around to look at a beautiful woman!”

The session does a good job of offering tips on marriage, relationships (including the risks of extra-marital ones) with trust, intimacy and equality figuring as the important factors for maintaining a healthy marriage.

The number of questions that follow, reveal the preoccupation with personal relationships and matters of the heart. Little wonder then that these authors’ books are doing so well. Any of them could qualify as a Love Guru, though they hasten to add that the opinions voiced here are personal and not necessarily the views of their characters!