Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"You're Reading What?"

Commuting to my job each day is usually a three-hours-in-total nightmare. So I like it when I get to spice things up a little.

Like the morning, when I'm minding my own business, eyes glued to my copy of the Kama Sutra. The what?! Well, if you're going to write about the author of the Kama Sutra, as I am in writing Rule of Love, you may as well know what he was talking about in full detail. So I purchased a TEXT-ONLY copy of the Kama Sutra and have delved into it. This particular copy, compiled by Alain Danielou, is wonderful for being a detailed translation and providing information about the life and times of the Kama Sutra's elusive author. While graphic in detail, the Kama Sutra is more than a manual of sexual positions. No, I'm not making that up - all those modern Kama Sutras in the bookstores have very little in common with the goal of the traditional Indian text (though that is a little titillating too). The Kama Sutra contains rules to regulate behavior and morality and teaches about the path to spiritual enlightenment. The theory goes that unless your basic wants are fulfilled -food, money and of course, sex - you can't concentrate on seeking a spiritual path. Makes perfect sense to me.

But of course, to the easily frazzled lady and her teenage daughter sitting next to me, the Kama Sutra is just a dirty book. So when the daughter is trying to peer over my shoulder as discreetly as she can (and failing miserably), I do my best to ignore her (and fail miserably) and read my TEXT. The mother catches her and sharply barks, "That's rude, don't read over other people." This is until she catches a glimpse of the book's title.

The look of horror that overcame this woman was beyond priceless. My response upon catching the look and the hurried gesture she made for her daughter to move closer to her? "Don't worry ma'am; there aren't any pictures."


Anne Gilbert said...

I don't know anything about the Kama Sutra other than it was "big" in the 1960's and 1970's as a "manual of sexual spirituality" or something like that. Thus, it had a kind of tittilating reputation. But heck, why not read it? People read all kinds of things! And if the lady hadn't been so flustered, it might even have made for a good conversation!
Anne G

P.S. Your blog looks awfully interesting! I'm going to add it to my ever-growing blogroll. You can visit my blog, if you care to, at

The Writer's Daily Grind I comment on various writing-and-medieval/historical related stuff there.

Anita Davison said...

Scandalising people on the bus,what fun Lisa. All in the name of research, and it does sound totally different, and more interesting than the one we hid in our desks in school!!

Michelle Gregory said...

i hadn't read this post until now. what a great response. wish i could have been there to see her reaction.

Lisa Yarde said...

Michelle, that is one of my favorite memories about Rule of Love. The look on that lady's face was just priceless.

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