India's best-selling author of love stories, Ravinder Singh, is waiting for a work that will break through the fairy-tales set on campuses to push new creative boundaries.
"Predominantly, mass market romantic authors in India have a fundamental recipe. The stories are either about campus with happy endings or very Bollywoodish. Creativity is about breaking new boundaries - a point I have been failing to find in the stories coming my way," Singh told IANS.
Singh, the author of the mass market romantic hits "I Too Have a Love Story" and "Can Love happen Twice", is judging a contest, "Love Stories That Touched My Heart", which will bring the best of the new Indian and sub-continental love stories in an anthology to be published by Penguin Books India. The last date for entries is Aug 31.
The contest, also on Facebook, is open to writers in India and other countries in the sub-continent.
"I have yet to come across a love story like mine. I had a story and I had to narrate it. I never thought it would be a best-seller," the writer said.
Singh's books, inspired by his life story, are about losing an old love and finding a new one. The writer, who was working as a software engineer in the Odisha backwater of Burla, sought shelter in fine print after a personal loss.
"I lost my girlfriend in an accident," Singh said.
"I Too Have a Love Story" is the tale of this loss in which Singh lays bare his soul about how the beautiful relationship came to an end while "Can Love Happen Twice" is about finding a new love in Chandigarh after the pain of loss.
Singh says love stories in India are changing. They are becoming serious. "When I started writing my love stories, the trend was campus stories. My publishers wanted a happy ending and my first book with a sad ending was rejected at least nine times," Singh said.
Singh said Indian romance writers still stick to this recipe. "There is no new concept out here. In the land of Sohni Mahiwal, there is not one good realistic narrative story of love. All that I have heard so far is of Romeo & Juliet - a foreign love story," he said.
The writer said his USP is to connect to "the readers first". "I wanted the person reading my love story to live my story. My aim was not to connect to the 20 percent of the niche readers who read literary fiction," Singh said.
The writer said he was looking for "diversity in love stories which were themed on social issues and realities".
"Why can't there be a love story set in rural India, which begins and ends in a remote village? Or love between man and man?" he wondered.
By Madhusree Chatterjee New Delhi, Aug 8 (Agency)