A book on marriage in modern times

Published : September 07, 2019 14:04 IST

BJP leader Mahesh Sharma (left) at the release of the book “Seduction by Truth” along with its author Mukul Kumar. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the age of post truth, we have an author who has penned Seduction by Truth. What’s more, he believes that the story, part reality, part legend, dares the reader to solve mankind’s oldest puzzle: marriage. Penned by Mukul Kumar, a civil servant, Seduction by Truth was released recently at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. It is Kumar’s second novel following As Boys Become Men that hit the bookstores in 2016, and aims to look at the crests and troughs of marriage in modern times.

Says Mukul Kumar, “I did this book because I experienced marriages around me being redefined. There is a change in expectation from marriage as far as women are concerned, whereas for some men marriage is still about stereotypical roles. I have tried to address the subject of gender equality in the book, how there are different yardsticks for men and women.”

The book starts off as the story of a normal, middle-class couple married long enough for boredom to set in despite all the trappings of a successful marriage. There is depleting passion though the bank balance might be rising.

In our society, a man who is not loyal to a partner is often dubbed a Casanova, whereas a woman who strays from her marital bed is dubbed a woman of low virtue. “I have highlighted the struggle between the husband and the man when he discovers that his wife has not been loyal to him. There is a struggle between the man and the husband. As a man he can rationalise, he can think there was little passion to hold them together. As a husband, he finds it difficult to accept his wife’s adultery. He expects his wife in a stereotypical role in modern times. There is a conflict, … there is mid-marriage crisis with the spouse.”

Yet, Mukul Kumar tries to bring the partners together. “It is easy to understand. After a while, these spouses realise that the child needs both parents. So even if the man is torn between dharma and desire, and the woman feels likewise, they come back to each other for the sake of their child.”

In between, Mukul Kumar takes a detour into the world of polygamy, and the ill-advised idea of bringing two women under the same roof. The result is predictable.

Not as predictable has been the book’s success. Already a head-turner at literature festivals in Mumbai (where it was launched by actor Manoj Bajpai), Pune and Kolkata, the book was launched in New Delhi by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mahesh Sharma and was the subject of discussion at the India Habitat Centre. The success is hard earned. Mukul Kumar, whose first book was semi-autobiographical, worked hard on this one. He finished his first draft in four months. Then went back to work on it again and again. Thus chiselled, he submitted the draft to the publishers only after a year. “It is not easy to pen a work of fiction, though this novel too is derived from real life instances around me. There has to be a continuity of thought and a certain constant flow to the narrative. I am glad it has worked out well,” sums up Mukul Kumar.

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