The society's attitude towards women has visibly changed with time and now is not a very pleasant time to be a woman in India, says author Shobhaa De.
"From the time I was a middle class daughter to the time I began playing the role of a mother I find that at present it is rather difficult time being a woman," said De on the sidelines of the ongoing Penguin Books Spring Fever Festival.
"It is not a very pleasant time to be a woman in India. You have to be constantly walking with your elbows out and looking over your shoulders to see who is trying to brush past you, who will make a comment which is nasty, dirty and disgusting", said the novelist.
Reference of the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, the author says," Not that it wasn't happening before. But today they can do it and get away with it. Today, also when I step out, I have to face eave teasing and dirty comments. If that can happen to me at 65, I definitely have a reason to be concerned about my daughter."
"It is kind of foolish in today's age to be telling your daughter to cover up when she wears short skirts, because its not what she wants to hear or what she should be told. But there is no other way, we have to be cope and deal with it in a way we can," she said.
However she believes that there is an effort required from women's side also to tackle the patriarchal attitude of the society.
"It would become a different place to live, if women remember that they are women and they do not try to clone the male behaviour be it their leadership qualities or any other aspect," she said.
"What I have observed over the years is that women who acquire power feel obliged to clone the male behaviour and they become honorary men," added the author.
Quizzed by Mahesh Bhatt or not the popular notion that sexual women dominate men is correct, Shobhaa said, "Today women feel more comfortable with their sexuality and that is what terrifies men and they often misinterpret women to be dominating."
Talking about a similar character 'Amrita' in her latest novel Sethji, Shobhaa said, "The only way I know to write is how I know to write. I never looked for an escape route from being that middle class girl but the kind of energy and today's girls have, I would have more enjoyed being a 20- year -old today."
Now in its fourth edition, Spring Fever is an annual literature spring festival organised by Penguin Books.
During the day, the open air library at Spring Fever features a complete range of Penguin India books, from landmark fiction and non-fiction titles first published over a decade ago to the latest bestsellers.
The 10-day festival being held at India Habitat Centre from 15th to 24th March will also have sessions with bestselling authors like Vikram Seth, Ramachandra Guha, Mira Nair, Gulzar, Sudha Murthy, Ruskin Bond, Prakash Iyer, Ankit Fadia, Amit Mehra, Vikas Khanna, Restaurateur Monish Gujral, Durjoy Datta and Nikita Singh.