MAY 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Book Reviews By NITISH S. RELE,

The WildingsThe Wildings: Book One of The Hundred Names of Darkness” (324 pages; $18.95) by Nilanjana Roy; published by Random House Canada (

Cat lovers, this one is for you. A treat, indeed. A small posse of cats has lived peacefully in the intricate passageways and vestiges of Nizamuddin, a neighborhood in Delhi. There’s the astute Siamese clan leader Miao, much-feared Katar, the great fighter tom Hulo, good-looking queen Beraal; and a kitten Southpaw. Enter Mara, an orange-colored kitten with extraordinary “sending” powers to turn the world of the wildings’ upside down. “Calico cats, tortoiseshell cats, pedigreed cats, strays; neighbourhoods where cats roamed on vast manicured lawns; areas where their territory was a twisted mass of bylanes brimming over with filth and abundant life; old scarred fighters’ faces, blinking kitten faces, furry maternal faces; she could hear them all as a distant, humming noise in the background.” But it is not Mara who is a threat but feral cats in the Shuttered House occupied by Bigfoot (humans) for whom the cats appears to have scant respect or regard. “Mark it well: it’s the smell of age, and decay, and sadness,” says Miao. Or as Mara believes, “Poor things. They can’t smell very well, or see very clearly in the dark. You have to be very patient with Bigfeet.” An ode to cats, this is a brilliantly written book of endurance and fighting back against one’s fears. We are looking forward to reading its sequel “The Hundred Names of Darkness” in the near future. Stay tuned.

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