Jaipur Diary – Mama, Don’t Preach
Listening to Sex & the City writer Candice Bushnell.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
She came, laughed, growled, flailed her arms, groped for words and gave relationship tips. The high-heeled and perfectly manicured Candice Bushnell, the author of Sex & The City, was a hit on the penultimate day of the Jaipur Literature Festival. In a session moderated by chicklit novelist Ira Trivedi, Ms Bushnell had a somewhat sobering message to Indian girls most of whom, according to Ms Trivedi, are virgins before their marriage. “Be a person first and a gender second,” said Ms Bushnell. “Experience whatever you can. Get a job, earn your money, make your choices, work hard, be disciplined … it’s a delayed gratification but it’ll work.” And marriage? “Marriage is wasted on the young. No one should be married before turning 35 or 40.” And since this is India, Ms Bushnell, who is married to a ballet dancer, shared her wisdom about arranged marriage. “The idea of having to marry someone you don’t know is a kind of slavery. My worst nightmare was of having to live and interact with someone you don’t love.” Most Indian parents will frown on Bushnell’s talk, but she also added, “On the other hand, our parents know more about ourselves than you know yourself.”
When Ms Trivedi said that one thing that she learned from Sex & The City was that it is ok for women to cheat too, Ms Bushnell guffawed, saying, “I’ll hate it if that’s the message. Whether you are a man or a woman, cheating is a moral issue. If you make a commitment, stand by it. That’ll make you an adult.”
Asked if it’s easier to find good-looking liberal-thinking man in New York than in New Delhi, Ms Bushnell said, “Probably in New York, which is an amazing city for independent women looking for relationships.” But before Delhi girls could crib about living in Delhi, Ms Bushnell said, “You may live anywhere. You will have better chances of finding a good relationship if you know yourself better. You’ve to find your passion, which is what makes you get out of the bed every morning, outside of your relationship.” Thunderous applause followed.
Conscious of the fact that she is twice the age of Ms Trivedi, Ms Bushnell said, “You’re 26, I’m 52. I know what it’s like being in your age. You’ll have too much drink and then something would happen. At my age, it won’t happen.”
Any regrets in life, Candice? “When I was in my 20s, I wish I wasn’t that worried about men.”
Sex & Jaipur
Think chicklit, Ms Bushnell with Ms Trivedi
Glowing in Jaipur