Friday, 1 August, 2008

Mills & Boons

You read M&Bs! :O (Horror written all over the face)
How tacky! (With nose up in the air, it’s a real art the ‘holding up nose’ I tell you)
Ah you are a closet romantic! (With utmost suspicion, like romantics are akin to Al Queda and dawning realization that I am one of them)
Don’t you get bored? (With a yawn and the unsaid air like I never read anything less intellectual than Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, ok too German maybe Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Marx et al.)
How teenage! (With a superior air, like they are eighty-year-old grandmas, my grandma, God bless her, is more sporting than that)

I do read M&Bs. More than that I love M&Bs. If reading M&Bs makes me tacky then I am not only tacky, I am mother superior of all tackiness. Didn’t you know I am a die hard romantic? Ah the feminist grab fooled you, but I am someone who believes feminism and romance goes hand in hand, you just need the right kind of guy. Bored while reading a M&B? Never, unless the author has done a real shitty job. Well I maybe going on thirty one but in heart am still a sweet sixteen. Thanks for acknowledging it.
Once the fact that you read M&Bs gets known this is the general reaction you mostly get. I do know because I have been getting these kind of reactions since class VII. Yes been reading them since then. Don’t remember who introduced me, but my two elder cousin sisters used to read and rave about them, but whenever I wanted access to one, they would be very mysterious and say, “Not now when you grow up”. It was one of the things that you do when you become a teenager. Oh how impatient I used to be. So finally in class VII, I got my hands on the first M&B. Have been severely hooked ever since. Over the years there have been many funny incidents over my reading M&Bs.
I lent a M&B to one of my classmates, her mother caught her reading it and she confiscated it. Not only that, that draconian lady came to school and gave me a lecture on morality (not knowing that her own daughter was planning to elope with a guy and go and live in Assam at the age of fourteen, so much for moral policing). I still remember that day when after school she came to meet me, there was students all around us, having fun, me along with one of my loyal friend who decided to face the music with me, listening to her lectures.
Every night after reading the M&B, while going to bed I would drop the book in the space between my bed and the window, which was just next to my bed. This was my effort not to let my parents know what I was reading. Every morning my dad would come to the room, to wake my brother and me up, open the window and lean over, pick up the book and keep it on the window ledge. So much for trying to hide the books. But he never said anything, never tried any funny censoring. My mom tried once, but soon lost steam and backed off. (That is the good thing about my mom, she looses interest pretty soon.) So with parental non interference I kept reading these books.
Some where along the line my cousin brother in Delhi had the funny idea that I should not be allowed to read M&Bs, so what he used to do was come and snatch the book away. We used to have huge rows over that.
In JNU hostel one of my seniors had a huge stack of M&Bs, which she graciously lent me. Angira my ex room mate and present Delhi best friend is not into reading books and she hates it when I am in the middle of one. She specially hates M&Bs because she feels these are totally nonsensical and worthless books. Once I was deep into a M&Bs and Angira kept on talking.
Listen I think X is really having an affair with Y.
What do you think?
P was saying ABCD is a good movie, lets go on Sunday.
Don’t you have to finish that essay? Get up and do some work. Can’t understand what you keep reading.
Will you kindly take off that horrible book off your face and listen to me?
Mm. (In my head I scream "Yaar my hero and heroine are in a really romantic mood and starting to have hot sex, so will you please shut up!!!!").
Total silence for five minutes. Ah she heard my silent scream. My hero and heroine are done with their sex, sated they fall asleep. I look up. Where has Angira gone? I see her on her bed, curled up with a book. I get up to enquire, she and non study books dont go too well together. She is reading the UN Charter.
“We The Peoples Of The United Nations Determined…”
[Had my mom been present she would immediately get on pet her hobby horse ‘me-bashing’. Dekha (see) this is why Angira gets a first class, because the girl has dedication while you…etc.]
Thankfully my mom was not there and I found the situation was so incongruous that I laughed and laughed.
This is how I have been going on. Lately haven't been getting access to M&Bs and I do miss them. If you have old stock and need spring cleaning, unlike Aatreyee please don’t sell it to the junk man, please give them to me.
May my sweet relationship with M&Bs continue for life and keep flourishing. Inshallah.


  1. I have never read a Mills and Boon in my life. In fact, I have never seen a Mills and Boon book, though I have heard a lot of references to the series.

    Please enlighten me, but is it that boys do not read Mills and Boons? None of my boy friends ever talked about reading one, I don't know why. I cannot think of a reason why, if there is a gender discrimination around a set of books!

    I think I would like to read one to figure out what this entire thing is.

  2. Incidentally, a google on the topic tells me that this year is the centenary of the publisher. So I presume you might want to get hold of some special editions if they are coming out with any.

  3. well m&bs are romance stories...rather typical...m&bs are the publishers...usual books are for 180 odd pages.... man meets woman, initially sworn enemies and then they fall in love and live happily ever after... i like reading them for a variety of reasons...
    1. the romantic in me...
    2. these books have a lot of drama...
    2. if you follow the m&bs closely you will see the gradually changing attitude towards know the old ones like Barbara Cartland (she is a really famous romance author)always sets her stories where a 40 year old worldly wise man (read rake) meets an 18 yr old shy virgin, falls head over heels in love and marries her...of course there is going to be drama in between like jealous ex girl friends, plotting mothers etc...then slowly girls were looking for jobs like secretaries and nanies...midways nurses became popular and then modern women emerged who had careers and were equal to the men they met, they cross words like swords and fall in love...i found this gradual shift very facinating...
    4. working women in m&bs actually inspired me to live an independent life with a career of my own in a strange city...(talk about inspirations)
    boys/men always snigger (yes that is the right word) at m&bs. these are silly books meant for silly women. or are deeply unaware like you. maybe you should try one :)
    yes i know this is their centenary year. but in india we hardly buy m&bs, they are always hand me downs or lended from libraries...

  4. did not consider special editions...the very idea sounds lovely...


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