Title: Play With Me
Price: Rs. 250
Play With Me by Ananth is a racy, contemporary read on love, lust and sex. The protagonist, Sid, is a successful photographer in Alpha, a boutique agency he co-founded. On the face of it, he has everything; work that he so passionate about, money, a lavish lifestyle, fantastic colleagues, et al. But he is a lonely man. Until a stunning-looking, free-spirited intern, Cara, walks into the office, and into his life. The two embark on a carefree, sexually-intense affair, challenging Sid’s ideas of love, companionship and erotic pleasure.
But before he can even begin to attempt to make any sense of this whole entanglement (pun intended) with Cara, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to another woman, this time in love.
Apart from this, Play With Me offers little in terms of a plot. There is little dissection, pontification or rationalization on Sid’s part. He simply goes along with the flow or rather lets Cara take him along. He would have liked to clear the air on a few occasions but he desists.
While Sid is beautifully etched, I was hoping for a more complete picture of Cara and the other characters. They just breeze in and out abruptly. But they are all contemporary characters; folks you can closely relate to. They get lonely, insecure and elated all in equal measure. Sid is likeable and charming. And you’re bound to find traces of yourself in his isolated existence.
Ananth’s writing is personal, crisp and direct, akin to having a conversation with an old friend. I particularly loved his comments in parentheses, albeit they were far and few. His carefully selected words draw you into an intimate web.
My favourite line in the book reads as follows: “Constantly thinking of someone while being constantly thought of by someone else was a pleasantly warm place to be.” (Page 129)
And right after those words, he indicates a subtle change of events to come, “This chapter is sort of a midpoint, think of it as an intermission.”
Play With Me isn’t flawless. But I enjoyed it in bits (much to my surprise) mainly for Ananth’s writing. I would have liked a stronger plot, some meatier characters and a more coherent structure. It’s like the characters were just hurtling from one incident to another, often abruptly. And there is simply too much romanticism in its pages.
The novel could have done with a slight dose of reality, in instances, and a better editor.
Play With Me is a slightly unconventional novel, aimed at a discerning reader. And it would be interesting see if someone decides to make a film out of this.
Read it to discover the many shades of loves it has to offer, the confusion accompanying most emotional ties and to find a bit of yourself in its pages.
Learn more about Play With Me.