Twisted games of online predators
Review of ‘The Wildcat’ by Taanya Sarma
Imagine reading three books at the same time where between ‘Why I am a Hindu’ by Shashi Tharoor and ‘Woman to Woman’ by Madhulika Liddle happen to the one that I have decided to review first, that is, ‘The Wildcat’ by Taanya Sarma. I guess one needs more time to review the witty insights of Tharoor as well as the deep dives into emotions that Madhulika’s stories offer… and so here I am quite literally struggling to reach the surface for some oxygen because what I have just finished reading has an overdose of porn websites, dating apps, cam pranks, smoking, snorting, pills being popped, private channels, chat websites, and everything else about the social media platforms that parents have nightmares about.
By the way, if any of you think the book is some kind of a scientific or analytical inquest into evils of this heady mix of sex and online communication that has the word contemporary surrounding it, let me add that with characters like Cobra and Phantom the book steps away from the way an academician would treat this subject. Instead, we have Taanya Sarma who feels that ‘the genesis of The Wildcat trilogy stems from her desire to warn naïve young women about the pitfalls of the online dating world’. The author has definitely done this in her own special way and by the time one has read the book, one is certainly not a stranger anymore to what bots, kinky apps, and pornsites can really do. These naïve young women would then know the devious ways adopted by the villains in the real world and so when they read about the way ‘older men lured young, naïve girls to do things on the internet that they wouldn’t normally do in private, let alone in public’ they are in some ways preparing themselves.
So yes, these are Machiavellian times brimming with online lustful searches for ‘not just one single woman, but rich single women’ who would sooner or later discover what ‘shuddered with delight’ means when probing fingers seek to ‘infiltrate her panties’. The book quite literally has half of it dedicated to couples who hop from one sex position to another until they finally ‘passed out in each other’s arms’. Some readers must be finding such narratives titillating as this is probably why such books are being written. I mean books where even a person like me who has read a lot of books, discovered that something like this: ‘…so the guy and the girl lay down side by side and bend as the guy spoons the girl from behind. It looks like two 7’s. It’s like doggy style on your side, laying down…’ is actually talking about 77, another position to know when you are besieged by all things sensual. So yes, even this book did give me some vital information that I was unaware of. Though let me add here that this bit is not enough to make me wait for the next two books that might follow this one from Taanya’s proposed trilogy.
I did read someone call this novel a thriller, and I must say it isn’t unless you find rather long-winded lascivious sequences of inconsequential chats to be thrilling or be similar to what spies do all the time. They don’t, let me say. Thrillers have a lot to do with racy narratives that are subliminal in nature and not just gonadal giggles. This said, let me also say that the author did mention somewhere in the novel that ‘sex will only take you so far in a relationship’ which simply proves the point that best-sellers aren’t really about some ‘kinky, sex-deprived man who dreams about sleeping with’ all shades of women. So the novel isn’t a thriller but does have multiple walls of eroticism built into and around the plot that ends with the word ‘bang’ written twice!
The story doesn’t matter. The names of the characters is really not significant for books in this genre. But if you’re still waiting for some lead, let me simply copy a part of the blurb here that says: ‘A conman named Sam ensnares Aaron, a handsome investment banker, into his ploy and uses him as a pawn to lure women into doing things they normally wouldn’t do. Sam then exposes their personal information as well as their images, sometimes in the act of cyber-sex, and posts them on a very successful porn website that he owns. Tanya’s encounter with these two men evolves into a long, winding road, with each turn bringing irreparable changes in her life.’
To pick up a sentence written by the author, let me say that the book isn’t really a ‘no charmer, rather a very rough and crude sack of shit’ unless what you are looking for is a book that will give you more than just reading pleasure of a certain explicit sort or alternatively one that will fill your mind with information that may come in handy later. A story based on twisted games played by online predators does have the potential to rip apart the surreptitious intrigues that happen online and remain undetected… but this plot slipped into the easy temptation of using seemingly unending sequences sprayed generously with smutty smudges. The long narratives that lacked verve and literary nerve erroneously assumed that readers would remain busy searching for the next gonad tickler… but hey, this doesn’t really happen. At least not with me.
Title: The Wildcat
Author: Taanya Sarma
Publisher: Invincible Publishers
Price: Rs 299/- (in 2018)
26 February 2018