I have a long list of pet peeves starting with the three dames of TV news Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghosh and Nidhi Razdan. These three are the grand dames of media hysteria (never mind that I watch them every night because my husband curses them and yet listens to all their drivel!).
My peeve today is far removed from the world of vision, tele or otherwise. It is about bonkbusters.
The Oxford University Dictionary defines ‘bonkbuster’ as: ‘a type of popular novel characterised by frequent sexual encounters between the characters’. Many modern women call it the most glorious fun reading of fiction genres. They are commercial fiction: sexy, glamorous and utterly escapist and meant merely to entertain the reader.
One publisher defines this type of book as “The perfect bonkbuster should be sexy and have a glitzy, cosmopolitan background. It should feature strong, powerful heroines, bad-boy alpha-male heroes and villains, at least one super bitch and, yes, lots of sex!”
I used to read plenty of Mills & Boon in my salad days. The stories were mushy romances that featured tall, dark handsome men. the women were sweet, kind and good-- heroines who were ordinary girls—stenos, nurses, teachers, housekeepers, nanny’s cooks, shop keepers and just ordinary girls from daily life. They met, they had misunderstandings fuelled by femme fatales or other Adonis and then finally walked into the sunset arm in arm. I learnt a lot about Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, England itself and some exotic locales in the desert as well apart from the story itself.
Recently with nothing else to read, I bought an Indian version of an M&B in a supermarket and I could not even read 50 pages of it. It was so lurid that I just threw it away like a rotten tomato. There are so many books out there with good stories that get obfuscated with lurid sex. In fact I remember people being shocked that I was reading Harold Robbins in my late teens. Frankly 79 Park Avenue was much more readable than this trash.
Sex seems to have taken over every possible forum—even Swami’s!! Just look at this ad on my Scrabble page:
“We are bringing Sexy back to Economics, one Demand Curve at a time”.
Good Grief! as Charlie Brown would say.....