Akash Verma plots his page-turning crime thrillers around the intense theme of spousal infidelity. We were curious to know his own feelings on the subject.
Many of your key characters struggle with matters of the heart. How do you perceive love?
Akash: Love is ever changing. You can never typecast it. It keeps taking different shapes and colours based on societal changes, people’s evolving perceptions, their feelings, and the situations they are in. Love can sometimes transform into sacrifice and worship and can also easily slide to hatred, envy and anger. When two individuals fall in love it also matters a lot what they expect from it. Is it just the satisfaction that they are in a relationship or do they see themselves as growing together in it and becoming better individuals? Many a time physical and emotional compatibility is seen as an indicator of love in our society i.e. ‘Look how much in love they are, they have been together for the last ten years, they are really there for each other.’ How often does one hear such comments? But is just being together for ten years an indicator of love? Think about it.
Complication in love comes in when the expectations of these two individuals start differing after some time, once they figure each other out physically and emotionally. Once that suspense is over, and you find out that there is nothing else left to discover in your partner.
Your stories deal with the consequences of finding love outside marriage. Your take on infidelity?
Akash: Somewhere down the years, two people realise that they had expected much more from their relationship than they have received. And then they start wondering that with a lot of life left ahead, how long can they carry this excruciating load which is growing heavier each day. At that point, any bright spark that enters from outside and promises to change your morbid life, seems welcoming. Infidelity starts there. Many times it’s not degraded moral values or a mere physical attraction that results in infidelity, but the mere excitement and promise of a whole new experience when your earlier relationship has gone stale. Especially in today’s times where most of us think we have one life so better to make the most out of it, rather than watching it fritter away just because we fear ending old relationships.
We desire love and companionship but we don’t want the hassles that come along with it. What do you think a modern man/woman actually wants from a relationship?
Akash: A modern-day woman definitely expects equality, which is hard even in today’s times. I think she would readily and happily accept a relationship in which she is sure that her partner would shoulder responsibility equally. Most of the men I feel are emotionally fragile. They need an emotional anchor in their lives and if the woman can be that, then that I feel is what they need most. Besides these, there are some desires which are pretty much generic for both men and women : personality, honesty, stability—both financial and emotional, family background and set of values, temperament and behaviour.
India or Southeast Asia in general is uniquely placed in the sense that the society has a huge say in matters of the heart. In your book A Broken Man, the guy is from a Dalit community. In Only The Good Die Young, the man chooses family over love. How do you think love in our region is different from love everywhere else?
Akash: The theme of love and its nuances is common worldwide. My belief is that love is independent of any regional biases. So what happened in my book—The Broken Man, because of caste differences, may happen in any other part of the world because of racism or social inequality. The difference in status and wealth is a common theme that runs pretty much across the world and doesn’t let the two lovers come together whether they are in Lucknow or New York. Same way, in You Never Know and Only The Good Die Young—the extramarital relationship does happen, though the lovers are unable to cross social boundaries. Not just in India but anywhere in the world and in most of the cases when it’s time to make the choice, the married man or the married woman chooses their family. The emotional trauma that comes with letting go of your family is too high; not many have the guts to make this tradeoff. It’s again a common theme worldwide which has appeared in hundreds of films and books.
Meet the Author
Akash Verma is the co-founder of a fashion startup centered around Indian designs – www.chokore.com, and a national bestselling author. Akash has authored six books till now. His writing journey began in 2008 and he has been covered by national media and has appeared at renowned literature festivals and interviews. Akash lives in Gurgaon with his family. His parents are award-winning Hindi writers.