Sucharita Sengupta
LIKE SMOKE: 20 TEENS, 20 STORIES by Paro Anand Penguin India, 2017, 217 pp., 250
November 2017, volume 41, No 11

Over generations, teenage angst has been one of the toughest  issues to deal with. Perhaps the use of the phrase itself might be a dangerous dismissal, obscuring serious matters. Childhood ends, removing the protective covers from a murkier reality, leaving youngsters to cope with issues that they are yet unable to fully comprehend.

Tough as this phase is, it is also a wonderful opportunity to mould young minds to be sensitive, and to take decisions that will make them better citizens and kinder human beings. Paro Anand’s book Like Smoke: 20 Teens, 20 Stories treads in this difficult territory, offering teenagers a window into a less than palatable world.

The stories deal with horrifying images of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, insurgency in Kashmir and loss of lives due to terrorism, communal tensions that appear without violence but break social bonds nonetheless.

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