Forget Twilight, abandon Fifty Shades of Grey, and don’t waste your time complaining about how the best bits of True Blood are edited out when the series airs in India. We’ve found you the vampire-erotica fix you need: a Mumbai coven, which is mostly made up of vampires who are expats led by a bisexual named Daniel. Tales of the Mumbai Coven is written by Remittance Girl, who runs a popular erotica blog of the same name. While there is some local representation in the figure of Latika, the key players are foreigners and they lope through neighbourhoods like Sewri and Mahim, engaging in dubious activities that rate from PG-13 to NC-17. Fair warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted or conservative-minded. Expats, if you find people staring at you curiously after today, blame it on Remittance Girl’s erotica. We interviewed Remittance Girl about Tales from the Mumbai Coven, which she says is a work in progress. Edited excerpts:
How would you distinguish good erotica from bad erotica?
Do you want the long answer or the short one? If one accepts that erotica is a form of genre fiction, then I guess the answer is that there is no “good erotica” or “bad erotica”; there is just good or bad writing. The problem arises from society’s ambivalence towards sex, which results in lumping all sexually-explicit material in one pot. So, often what people call “bad erotica” is simply perfectly good porn. For me, there’s a bright line between erotica and porn. They serve vastly different functions. Erotica is a story form. It can be sexually explicit, but it needs to adhere to the rules of good storytelling: well-developed characters, believable plots and compelling conflict. Who in their right mind wants conflict in their porn?
What is it about vampires that makes them so attractive to us?
It’s pretty well understood that vampirism has always served as a metaphor for unrestrained sexual desire. Even with Bram Stoker’s original Dracula. However, my particular interest in writing vampire fiction is focused on their longevity and the fact that they are characters who must live on the margins of society in order to fulfill their needs.
Is there a reason that you decided to create a Mumbai coven?
I wish I could say that I originally conceived of a Mumbai coven, but the truth is a little less dramatic. My first story in the series “Midnight at Sheremetyevo” was written as a stand-alone story, inspired by a stopover in Moscow’s old Sheremetyevo Airport on my way to Ho Chi Minh City, via Mumbai. It was the cheapest flight I could get—through Aeroflot—and a memorably bad flight. But my heroine, a female vampire, had to have a destination, and so I decided to make Mumbai her home. I thought that Mumbai would make a great home for a vampire. It’s close to the equator, so you don’t have the dramatic shift in hours of daylight between winter and summer months. And like all huge metropolises, it hosts a transient population of poor migrants who don’t have family in the city and are less likely to be missed if they disappear.
However, once I’d decided to make Mumbai her home base, and as I started writing other stories in the same story-world, I realised that I’d made a very happy choice. Because some elements within Hindu lore can be creatively re-interpreted as vampirism. Especially the Goddess Kali legends. There’s a fair amount of blood drinking and strength gaining going on during legendary battles. I thought that it might be tantalising to explore the fictional possibilities of a primordial Goddess-warrior who was the mother of all vampires.Tags: Books, Remittance Girl, Tales of the Mumbai Coven