The cats of Nizamuddin caught author Nilanjana Roy’s attention and she translated their tales into her first book — Wildings. The author caught up with Anita Roy on her book which hit the shelves on 29 August.
‘I have not been writing about cats for a long time. The idea about the book came when I got a cat shortly after marriage,’ said Nilanjana, who wrote Wildings taking a cue from her own cat.
‘Our cat Mara was found in a gutter by my aunt. She needed to be rescued from the dog my aunt was living with. Therafter, my own association with my pet and cats increased,’ said Nilanjana.
Where did she get the idea from? ‘ Mara lived with us for a long time, and one day as I was looking for my cat under the dining table, I suddenly realised how the apartment looked, it felt very different from there and it struck me how the cat would have a seen the world through her eyes. This is where it began’, added the author.
As a focussed professional, does she find the process of writing fiction a different experience? Nilanjana says that it is all about deluding herself that she is not conciously doing it. ‘The way I got through writing this is by telling myself cunningly that I am not writing a fiction, and carefully in the next few chapters am not writing a fiction,’ she said.
‘Having read so many classics, it can get intimidating until you get back on your playground but what I loved about this book is that the world of Wildings came first. Right from the start, when I was sitting under the dinning table, the idea was so sharp,’ she said.
Anita said that the neighbourhood of Nizamuddin is clearly reflected in the book. Was it deliberate, she asked the author.
‘It was not just a question of the neighbourhood of Nizamuddin, a place which is both endowed in history and has a contemporary buzz arround it. But it is clearly a reflection of my own experiences of Delhi. Coming from Calcutta and residing in Delhi for about a decade and cursing it more and more for what it is, I eventually fell in love with it as the city also has a soft side,’ said Nilanjana. ‘Here, no matter who you are or where you are from, one gets accepted and adjusted into the society,’ she further added.
In the story the animals have a clear sense of space and what they are doing.
The author has explained places through the eyes of the cats. Without giving away too much, Nilanjana said that she is already writing a sequel to this book.
‘This first book Wildings concentrates more on the entire clan of the cats, while in the next venture I would be bringing more about the world links of the universal cat the Goa assasin, the Sikkim cat, which will be fully explored,’ said Nilanjana.