A Cage of Desires by Shuchi Singh Kalra
The book tells us the story of Renu a middle-aged house wife who is undergoing existential crisis. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she is torn between her duty and desires. Renu also harbours a dark secret, one that threatens to destroy her marriage if it comes out in public. She writes erotica in a pen name and has managed to taste success, albeit under guise. Destiny throws her a challenge when a young tenant in her house, disrupts her otherwise normal life and teases her desire like nobody has.
Having read all of author’s works so far, I love the way she creates her characters – bold and fearless, more like her writing. She has a unique voice, strong, unwavering and opinionated which reflects in her writings as a well. However, she never lets that voice dictate your thoughts.
The story of Renu is one that resonates with many Indian women today, staying in a marriage for the fear of society, abiding by all the norms for that is what is expected out of you and killing all your desires because you have been taught this since childhood. A woman is supposed to be invisible and yet be omnipresent to fulfill all the desires of the men in her life in the form of father, brother, husband, son, father-in-law etc.
With relatable characters and a plot that seems so close to reality, this story was an engrossing read, a perfect page turner in every sense as you are curious to know what happens next. In many ways, the author talks about many taboo subjects through her book. Her heroine not only has desires, she also masturbates and writes erotica, most of which are her fantasies. This is something our society is still struggling to accept – a woman with physical needs and one who knows how to quench them too. Hats off to the author for managing to write about all of this with grace, beauty and oomph in perfect dosage.
Written in a engaging tone the story warms up your heart with its narrative. The author shares the stigma attached to a woman writer choosing to write erotica very strongly. Unfortunately, her fears are all true as we know how the society perceives women who are vocal about their desires in real life as well.
It is enjoyable and encouraging to read how Renu a.k.a. Maya follows her passion, listens to her heart and does what all it takes to be happy. It is refreshing to see a heroine who is not a clingy damsel in distress. She is one who is totally in charge of the situation and is willing to take that extra leap of faith if her existence is threatened. I really loved the ending. So much hope, so positive and such a powerful ending, one that makes you feel inspired in real life as well. Though there are intimate scenes vividly written throughout the book, all of them are aesthetically done, none come across as vulgar or crude. Rather each one bringing out the beauty of sex.
May this book and Maya be the motivation for all the Mayas in the world to embrace their real self and follow their dreams.
Namrata is a lost wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. She lives amidst sepia toned walls, fuchsia curtains, fairy lights and shelves full of books. When not buried between the pages of a book, she loves blowing soap bubbles. A published author she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words and is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story. Connect with her on Twitter: @PrivyTrifles
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