“I don’t write to inspire. I write to entertain.”
I was at the Hyderabad Literary Festival the other day attending the panel on ‘Happily Ever After’ and the question and answer session that followed took a surprisingly acrimonious turn. An audience member queried the panel on whether their stories could really be called original and why their focus was on Kama (lust) and not dharma. This isn’t the first time romance as a genre and romance readers/writers as a group have been disparaged or looked down upon.
I say this often in interviews, “Not everyone reads everything.” So why do we feel the need to judge people who don’t like the same things as us? Who don’t read the same genres as us? I don’t read horror but that doesn’t mean I think the whole genre is rubbish or that writers who write those books are terrible. It’s my personal choice and I see no reason why the whole world needs to endorse it.
So why does everyone hate the romance genre?
a) Because they feel people will judge them for reading books that don’t look and sound intellectual?
b) Because they’d rather feel superior dissing something they’ve never read than read it and have an educated opinion?
c) Because they want to sound as cool as everyone else who says they’d rather read literary fiction than this crass, hormone ridden stuff?
d) Because they think they’re funny? Is it peer pressure?
I’m genuinely curious. To me, reading is about pleasure. Stepping out of your reality and entering a whole other world. I love feel good books and nothing makes me feel better than a ‘happily ever after’ or even for that matter a “happy for now’ ending. A good book, a good story is a portal into an entirely different life. A magical one. Can it not just be as simple as that? Enjoy the magic that calls to you. And allow others to do the same. Read romance, don’t read romance. Enjoy it, dislike it or ignore it. It’s your call, your decision and your choice. Own your choice and let others own their’s. Can we bury the judgement and celebrate the joy?