Nikita Singh on Love in the Time of Millennials

The author of 'Letters to my Ex' on love and romance in the new-age.

There’s a very universal appeal in Nikita Singh’s books when it comes to love and relationships – the couple in her latest novel Letters to my Ex (HarperCollins, Rs199) have Indian names but could well be anywhere in the world.

Born in Patna and raised in Indore, Nikita worked in the book publishing industry in New Delhi for a few years before moving to New York to study creative writing at The New School. While her family lives in Ranchi, Nikita is currently in Manhattan, where she does digital content and marketing for a solar energy company.

She has, so far, authored ten novels and has edited two collections of short stories so we were curious to know her perspective on love and romance.

Do you believe millennials the world over now share similar experiences in terms of love and romance? I do believe so, yes. When it comes down to it, emotions are less geography and more human. And today, when the world is so well connected, and we know everything that’s happening in the opposite part of the world as if we’re living the same reality, I do think millennials all over the world are connected through similar experiences. There are variables that come into play, but there may be more similarities than dissimilarities.

The definition of love seems to change with every generation. How do youngsters today define it? It’s divided on a personal level. Everyone sees it differently, and wants different things from it. Which is good – you’re likely to be happier if you know what you want!

How different or similar are the aspirations of the younger people in small-town India versus cosmopolitan cities worldwide? People who aspire to bigger things are the same everywhere. People in bigger cities like Delhi and NYC hustle more visibly (there’s no other way; survival of the fittest) but even in smaller town, even though it’s harder to dream, people who do dream, do it just like a New Yorker would. At least I did, having lived the majority of my life in small towns like Indore and Ranchi.

Being a successful author must come with some kind of “pressure to perform” each time you sit to write a new book! How do you deal with that? In the beginning, there was no pressure at all. No one knew me, so I had nothing to lose. But slowly, as I started getting recognition, I began to care more and more about what people thought of me and my work. Now, it feels as though I’ve come full circle. I truly do everything I do for myself, and am unbothered by haters. It would be a shame to care about them anyway – insulting 99% of my readers who love me, by only caring about what the 1% who don’t have to say about me.

Is marriage an outdated concept? Are millennials moving away from it? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s true of arranged marriage, but I see that happening everywhere in the world, and people seem happy! Most of us have grown up with close-knit families (since divorce rates are so low in India as opposed to the West) and I do think that millennials don’t make a rushed decision when it comes to marriage, but that doesn’t reflect an opposition to marriage as an institution itself.

First published in the March 2018 issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here.

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