I picked up this book while browsing the book shop solely for the title and cover page. I read few pages and discovered the content is for mature adults, as duly mentioned on back cover. I smiled and put the book down. Then I thought why did I put the book down? Was it for the adult content? Was I bothered that when people see me reading this book they will form opinions about me? Wasn’t I silently affirming the same stereotypes of the society that I want to break by even having these questions? The answer to these questions was ‘yes’ and consequently I purchased the book. The sales person of the shop (I am regular there but this guy doesn’t know that) did not react at all. He gave the book as a usual transaction. Was I looking for some reaction there? May be he wasn’t aware of this book just like he is, or may be, unaware of 50 shades of grey. Why was even I bothered about the same? I am a reader and I have a freedom to read any book and to make such choice. I started reading the book in bus and metro. People saw the cover of the book. They didn’t bother. I didn’t bother. Why should anyone be bothered? Because of the stereotypes we are bound to?
The power of any book or for that matter education and knowledge is to raise the inquisitive nature of a human being and challenge the intellect, the wisdom, notions the human being has so far gained. For me this book challenged me to think whether I am truly capable of even breaking the stereotypes or I am just being a hypocrite. I will come to this question later in another blog. First, let me provide a review of the book per se.
This book is second from Shanaya Taneja. She becomes the first Indian author this year I read. The book is intense with detailed explicit descriptions of passion, love-making and feelings therein. The author has made a considerable effort in presenting that this love-making is not a mechanical things but a lot goes in mind during those sessions, and the effort pay offs. People often enter into purely sexual relationships for different reasons. When it comes to sexual desires and coupled with feeling of loneliness and not be desired or wanted, people often break restrictions-whether self-imposed or societal pressures. But what happens when you add the need to continue to live an extravagant life one is accustomed to? This book is answers this question. All 5 protagonists, Sanjay, Bharathi, Abhinav, Trisha, and Ankit, enter into each other’s life, deceive and betray each other for money using unfulfilled sexual desire as the ammunition. Until we reach 15-20 pages towards end, the book is full of descriptions of intense love making and the various thoughts that cross the mind during and after love making. The author has done a good job by portraying the conflicts that play in one’s mind when one is not following certain human rules (not societal rules). The conflicts can only be understood only if the passion is understood and the passion can be understood if the conflicts can be understood.
But after reading some sessions in the book, I truly felt bored reading about them. May be the reason was “too much of anything takes away the pleasure in itself”. The end was twisting but I was disappointed. The common thread among the 5 protagonists was that all of them were deceiving and betraying at least one person. However, rather than giving success of Trisha and Ankit, who plotted the entire scam of luring and robbing Sanjay using Abhinav and Bharathi, success should have been given to Bharathi, who could have been portrayed as strong yet cunning woman who took revenge from all those who exploited her, in a typical “revenge is best served cold” manner. The book steers clear from being preachy and presents the story in as-it-is basis. The book cannot be compared with “Adultery” by Paulo Coelho, as both authors are different in handling these conflicting human states and emotions. Frankly, Adultery was very depressing and too preachy in my opinion. This book, on the contrary, touches and presents the dark emotions and related conflicts. It would be great to see if the author is able to explore these dark emotions on a next level that moves beyond sexual desires and plays with intellect.
Overall the book is one time read. Appreciation must be given to the author, who despite having the Indian back drop, did not the make the book sound like “Hinglish” or “translated from Hindi to English”. It was out and out an English fiction with Indian Backdrop.