That four-letter wordhttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/that-four-letter-word/

That four-letter word

What three bestselling authors of romance have to say about love and heartbreak.

From L to R: Durjoy Datta, Nikita Singh and Ravinder Singh.
From L to R: Durjoy Datta, Nikita Singh and Ravinder Singh.

Nikita Singh
Love is…
When the presence of a person helps you take on the stress and strain of everyday life, that’s love. Think about it this way — if you have 10 things to do in a day, it doesn’t become the 11th responsibility. Instead, it makes the 10 things a little easier.

The greatest lesson you have learned from heartbreak.
That the way a person treats you says much more about them than you.

Pyar ke side-effects?
You take care of yourself more. But you sleep less, so that kind of balances things out.

Your favourite romance novel/author.
The Graduate by Charles Webb. I think being together is the easy part. What you do after is the real challenge.

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What are the ingredients of a successful love story?
A strong but flawed protagonist. Stories about real people are interesting.

Your most memorable date.
We went ice skating at Bryant Park, NYC. I made it seem like it was his idea, but I’m sure he regrets it! I was a hot mess in the rink. They don’t let you hang out by the rails for long, so he had to hold me the entire time. It would’ve been romantic, but I fear I might have pulled his arm out of the socket or something.

A love story you wish you had written?
Lily Potter and Severus Snape’s.

Ravinder Singh
Love is…
A powerful emotion. It has the ability to drive the most positive or the most negative change in you. I have come across so many people on both ends of the spectrum — people who have been transformed by love or those who have been let down by love and embraced its bitterness.

The greatest lesson you have learned from heartbreak.
That eventually it settles down and that it’s not something you can’t live with. All one needs to do is to recall the life one had before and strive to go back to it. It may not be the same, but it’s not impossible.

Pyar ke side effects?
When you invite a new person into your life, it changes so much in you and around you. You don’t realise it then, but you are no longer the same person. The changes can be positive or negative, the odds are equally balanced. It involves a lot of adjustments and sacrifice; if the relationship materialises into something enduring, it’s worth it. You could leverage the good and negate the not-so-positive side effects over time.

Your favourite romance novel/author.
Erich Segal’s Love Story. I quite liked Oliver’s Story, but Love Story is my absolute favourite. It’s very close to my heart because that’s the first book I read in my life and it also gave me the idea for the title of the first book I wrote — I Too Had a Love Story.

What are the ingredients of a successful love story?
There’s no set formula. The fundamental essence of being in love remains unchanged — the sense of belonging, the sense of sacrifice, the idea that if you truly love someone you have to set him or her free. The only thing that has changed is that it is no longer about boy meets girl and sparks fly. Love can happen between a boy and boy or between two girls, and considering that we are now fighting against Section 377, it’s important to realise that one chief ingredient of love is equality.

Tell us about your most memorable date.
It was ages ago. I can’t quite call it a date — we were already committed to each other. It was when I first met Khushi – the woman I was in love with then and about whom I wrote my first book – after a really long time. We had a long-distance relationship and were living in different cities because of work. I still remember the joy I felt when I met her after months of being apart.

A love story you wish you had written.
The Fault in Our Stars (by John Green). It’s a fantastic book, I loved it. It has everything that I would want my books to convey.

Durjoy Datta
Love is…
It’s hard to define it in a few words when many have tried encapsulating it in books. But I believe the definition of love undergoes a constant change as people grow.

The greatest lesson you have learned from heartbreak.
That you can fall in love again? And just because you got your heart broken doesn’t mean it wasn’t love. Also that to be in love is one of the greatest feelings ever.

Pyar ke side-effects?
Heartbreaks!

Your favourite romance author.
I’m not sure they can be called romance writers, but John Green and David Levithan.

What are the ingredients of a successful love story?
Good, relatable characters, the need of the characters to be together and to stay together, and a story which can hold even without the romance in it.

Your most memorable date.
All those college dates when I used to be stone cold broke and borrow money from friends to go on one! Those used to be fun.

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A love story you wish you had written?
Love Story by Erich Segal. I think that’s what started the trend of all the tragic love stories we get to read today.