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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Book Review: The Wildings

Author: Nilanjana Roy

Publishing Company: Aleph Book Company

Pages: 310

Price: Rs. 595

The Wildings, albeit, has a red-eyed cat on the cover page, but it makes it captivating to be grabbed to your study room. I picked it, headed toward the counter while reading the back cover, & then put it back to the bookstore shelf to turn later anytime as it costs Rs. 595. But, months later, its apparent applause made me turn my step backward to the store to not to make any delay to reading this exquisite piece of narration where you are bound to envisage the characters in real, & try to contemplate the details of the plot with every page.

When any narration intrigues you every time to turn the next page, & when its characters get alive & starts wallowing in your mind even with an imaginary plot, then it’s worthy of an applause.

The Wildings is a captivating phase of a clan of cats dwelling in the labyrinthine alleys of Nizamuddin, an old neighbourhood in Delhi, where they were intimidated by the ferals- despite being one of their species. Before this sinister episode, life had been a thrill for this band of cats & other tribes as the parity of existence was the prime principle. No one used to fear anyone, & anyone could do what they please. Cats & Cheels, though, are born to kill & eat their prey, but that kill should be just for the survival & not for the enjoyment.

This clan of cats has their own linking network, just like Facebook & Twitter, where they may chat with a distant one with the help of their whiskers. One day this clan of cats got sendings which made them frightened of an outsider with powerful sendings, a Sender- who could ruin their lifestyle. Everyone was just alarmed & panicked with the existence of this Sender, as a Sender takes birth only when there is any perilous signal; but everything seemed quite safe, then what this Sender was here for? Their panic made them take a decision which would have erroneous consequences that they would bear at a dear cost.

What this clan would do with this Sender, & whether they would get success to shield themselves from ferals? How & who would help them in this crisis, & who else join them in their battle for existence? Read & unveil the emotional journey these wildings went through.

I am afraid of dogs, & was never befriended with any cat or any other wildings. But, this story of wildings, especially cats, will surely make you fall in love with them, & you would get eager to know the emotions lying behind their faces, whenever they are around you. Nilanjana Roy, who lives in Delhi with her cats, has made a deep analysis of the gestures of her housemates.

I have found this book a poignant piece as these wildings’ different emotional faces & behavior patterns have been put here where you would find them behaving like you, and yes, would learn something too. I liked it when Mara got scared with Beraal’s look & remembered her mother just as we do: “…why are you making that face? That’s really scary! You’re frightening me! You are a mean old ugly cat, and you were supposed to be my friend. I want my mother NOW!!!!!” I liked it where Southpaw pretends to not to afraid to the predators to get away with the critical situation. I liked the way one fights for another companion, or any innocent tribe.

The author demonstrated their belief in not contaminating sacrosanct sites.  I loved the way Mara stammered ahead king of kings: “I’m just me, just a Mara.” And, then made the cub correct it: “Please, call me Mara. That’s my real name.” Tantara- the langoor- showed off her tail- with which she could do so many things- to the kitten, just as we do when we have something special in our kitty. Just like we were taught by our guardians to stay away from the evils, Southpaw had also been taught: “madness & evil have their own stench, like rotting flesh, and it’s best to stay away from the stink.

Life isn’t about being inside always and exploring nothing, and no one approves it. So, Southpaw rebuked his friend for the same. Again, when your own friend calls you a freak, how does it feel? How do you feel when your own child has been taken away by someone? Miao’s disappearance made the whole clan frightened & worried, just as we couldn’t bear the pain of our loved one being away. I liked the Kirri’s revenge: “The right paw was for the mice. The left paw was for the birds.” And, the way Tooth- the Cheel- nodded with Miao during her last breaths.   

Now, didn’t you find them as emotional as like us? Agreed?

Here, Nilanjana differs with us. She doesn’t consider them different from human beings. So, she just didn’t imagine their feelings, but felt them too!

It’s a great piece of narration- apt for the recommendations & acclamations. Only one thing which refrains it get reckoned as a literature piece is a few of grammatical mistakes, esp., in terms of punctuations & statement modifications (e.g. at last paragraph on the back of cover: She lives in Delhi with two cats & her husband. It should be: She lives in Delhi with her husband & two cats). I felt like two/three editors had gone through the editing of this piece which isn’t a good sign.

What I liked most about this book was that Hindi words like ‘bevkoof’, ‘achcha’, etc. were given equal significance as that was given to English words. They weren’t italicized as we often do. Also, every character, even human beings- as Bigfeet, was adorned with beautiful names; but that becomes little difficult too to memorize what they were referred to (except main characters) as there were too many of them. Also, there are beautiful pictures, illustrated by Prabha Mallya, which you would surely love to click & save.


Nilanjana Roy has extended her imaginations up to the boundaries of international acclaim which might win her loads of accolades. Fingers crossed!

It’s a book recommended to every age group- what children or adults. Don’t make any delay, even if you were never befriended with any animal earlier. 


  1. Will try to find it in library. Looks like a good read.

    1. It won't make you disappointed, Saru! :)

    2. Oh! I read 'Coming Out' by Danielle Steel last week and I cursed myself for picking it. I am reading 'A body to die for' these days. Will find this book online today.

    3. Go for this one, for sure! And,do tell me how did you find the 'A body to die for'. :)

  2. Nice Review. I will try to grab the book soon. :)

  3. The review sets in the mood...
    You have touched upon every aspect quite neatly and this is what makes it valuable for the readers...

    1. And, I'm touched with your feedback. Thank yo very much! :)

  4. Very neatly written review...

    Also glad to come across your blog, thanks to indiblogger :)

    1. Thanks for your praise & beautiful words, pranav! :)


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