The name of this session itself acted as a magnet for the audience, hence resulting in an overwhelming response to this discussion. Durjoy Datta, Preeti Shenoy and Ravinder Singh, all of whom are famous authors of today’s age, made for an interesting combination of panelists moderated by Nandita Bose.

According to Ravinder Singh, the ‘New Age Romance’ is a movement from ‘love at first sight’ to ‘love at first like/comment’; it can be described as a beautiful chaos. Durjoy Datta said that he never had the concept of old romance; earlier, villains would probably be your parents, but now, it is your own self.

Nandita joined in to say that the social structure and geographies that supported romance in the past do not hold water today. She countered Durjoy’s statement by saying that all those who don’t want to get married have a mild envy towards the togetherness of other people.

On what makes a marriage work, popular author Preeti Shenoy said, “If you and your partner have grown hand in hand, parallely, then a marriage lasts.” Ravinder added an interesting tangent to the conversation by saying that relationships last longer in smaller cities; they are fashion statements in the big cities.

Nandita brought up an unavoidable topic attached to relationships – infidelity – by saying that she never uses that word because she thinks it’s a judgement, it’s also an extremely personal choice and as an outsider, it’s not anyone’s business to comment upon it. Ravinder Singh said, “I would love [us to] reach an era where spouses can share their thoughts and point out that it naturally comes to me, like how it came naturally to me 10 years ago, when I met you. Can we reach that mature age?”

When asked how they saw ‘New Romance’ as writers, Preeti Shenoy said that “technology has permeated every aspect of our lives. It can be a boon, and it is not necessarily a bad thing.” Durjoy Datta said, “As far as communication is concerned, I don’t think logistics have changed. Now, people want to be happy, and when you’re not, you can move out of it. Now, we care about ourselves first. I define the relationship, not the vice versa.”

Once the podium was left open for questions by the audience, the panelists answered all kinds of doubts and queries thrown at them, from explaining how the intensity of love is just because of the happiness of the moment that we attach to it, to discussing that one person can be in love with two people at the same time, but most of the time it is attraction, and not love.

Ravinder Singh ended it on an interesting note by saying that a litmus test would be if one would make equal sacrifices for both these people in question, to differentiate between love and attraction.

By Jijivisha Ghosh