A Cage of Desires – Shuchi Singh Kalra
‘There’s kind of love that makes you go down on one knee, and there’s the kind that brings you down on both. You don’t need the latter, because no matter what you do, you cannot make anyone love you back.’
There are many such thoughts that are worded in this book with irony that makes you think ‘So true.’
A Cage of Desires written by Shuchi Singh Kalra talks about protagonist Renu – a middle-aged housewife who has two kids and stays with her father in law. She has a typically mundane life where her husband Dev does almost not exist most of the time since he has his job in another city.
This absence makes Renu feel restless, unloved, and uncared for. Her childhood had been rough as her parents had separated during her school days. After separation they never took interest in her personal life, making her feel lonely. She seeks solace during the night by penning down her thoughts – a catharsis for her and to fulfill her sexual urges she indulges in sexual fantasies and masturbation.
Renu is the subdued one and then we are introduced to Maya, another bold and intrinsic character who writes erotic novels taking the Indian literary world by storm! Each and every book of hers are a bestseller and are been read by one and all. No one knows who Maya is since she has preferred anonymity and not stardom.
Renu’s loveless and dull life starts to become interesting when she gets attracted to Arjun’s masculinity and good looks. What started off as just an innocent meet then rakes up into a huge storm waiting to tear apart Renu’s strength and mental sanity similar to that of a Phoenix who burns to death only to rise up from the ashes. By the way, the book is also dedicated to all the Phoenix who rises from the ashes.
The first half of the book is interesting, it isn’t an erotica book as the name suggests but portrays Indian Women, who always fall for emotions, are not allowed to have sexual desires or fantasies. How women are also looked down on even reading or writing such books. As if men had only taken charge over sexual orientation.
The second half may seem a bit slow and rather filmy but the author claims that she loves such twists and turns. I wouldn’t mind reading through it since it’s a chic-lit at the end of the day.
But trust me when I say this if you have the patience to go through Renu’s journey from being the ordinary woman to how she has evolved. By the end of the book, you would want to stand up and clap for her and will be saying, ‘That’s how a woman should give back!’