One case is incidental, two indicate a trend, three are a story, goes the old feature-writers’ mantra. In that case, with the publication of two books back-to-back on the same subject, sex in India can be definitely deemed, at the least, a “thing". Significant overlaps notwithstanding, the two books—Sally Howard’s The Kama Sutra Diaries: Intimate Journeys Through Modern India and Ira Trivedi’s India in Love: Marriage And Sexuality in the 21st Century—couldn’t be more different from each other. If Diaries is a wham-bam affair, quick but satisfying in its place, Trivedi’s tome is an extended effort in desperate need of a little blue pill. For all the huffing and puffing, the experience leaves you wanting.

Both writers seize a moment when, perhaps more than at any other point in the country’s history, gender issues occupy centre stage—or nearly—in the national consciousness. The 16 December 2012 rape case in Delhi was the turning point, triggering protests across urban India, prompting high-level rethinks on legislation and transforming sexual violence from something we don’t talk about into a talking point. Reams of newsprint, hours of television talk shows discussed the subject and its allied issues threadbare; the book—and here I refer to India in Love, the first home-grown pop-sociological take on the “sexual revolution"—was a matter of time.

India in Love—Marriage And Sexuality in the 21st Century: By Ira Trivedi, Aleph Book Company, 416 pages, RS 595
India in Love—Marriage And Sexuality in the 21st Century: By Ira Trivedi, Aleph Book Company, 416 pages, RS 595
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