Book Review Treat: 18 Via Teen by Shreyasi Rhittika Phukon

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When adults have to make an opinion about teens, it usually zeroes down to rebellious kids and raging hormones on pessimistic side, and happy, carefree times full of laughter and fun on the nostalgic side. But Shreyasi Rhittika brings out the actual face of the teen life. The good and the bad. The raw and the uncut.

This beautiful anthology containing 23 stories is a pure delight to read. It throws a light on various emotions felt by teens of this age and how complex modern times affect their thoughts as well.

I will be discussing few of my favourite ones full of color and emotions. Though it would be fair to say that none of the story fail to pack a powerful message.

The book starts with the story “The Different Barks”. It is about Shristi who faces eve teasing daily by a guy on her way back from school to her home. Shristi compares the eve teaser with street dogs, albeit the sensibilities. Shristi faces the same sort of terror, disgust and helplessness that all girls experience in such a situation but she takes a brave step and teaches the guy a good lesson. This story is gripping and gives the message of fearlessness to girls of all ages.

“A Treat to most familiar stranger” is a heartfelt story of fulfilling others’ little wishes and being thankful for the little things we have in our life. The protagonists of this story are Aarti, a 11 year old poor girl filled with dreams and with a very simple desire of eating a burger at McD. The other protagonist is a college girl student whose only problems in life were bad grades and breakups. This was not only a story of sharing your privileges with others but also about how we end up complaining so much in our lives that we forget what we have. It is also a story of two strangers forming an instant bond.

“Thanks for Nothing” is a very emotional story of a teenager who has never seen her parents ‘not’ fighting and how it creates a dent in her personality. We often think that our parents must be having it all together. However, when parents become kids and kids become counselors, then the equations are changed. This is the story of a girl who could never be normal like others’ of her age.

“Shades Of Humanity” is about a girl who faces the dreadful fate at the hands of few animals when she was returning back from office late at night. But what pained her the most wasn’t the act of few anti-social elements but the nonchalance of the same society which values its morality so much.

“Full Stop” is a girl who was having the time of her life at her school with her friends when slowly life started falling apart and she had to move to a new city, new school and make new friends now. She had lost all hope from her life until she had a supportive teacher who taught her about full stop.

“Desk Friends” is a sweet story of two incomplete teenagers finding completeness in each other’s heart. It is also a revelation that you don’t have to be perfect to fall in love. Rather, your imperfections can be your biggest asset when it comes to finding your true Soulmate.

“Pyaar Hua…..Chupke Se” is a story of whimsical, romantic rose-tinted notions of love among teenagers. It is about the innocent love that all of us miss having once we grow up.

“A Fight For Herself” is about a brave girl Riddhi who had been repeatedly harassed by lecherous men in her school- one her teacher and another a co-student. To her surprise, neither her mother nor her counselor understood the gravity of the emotions and asked her constantly just to take it easy. This is a good commentary on the mindset of the cheap society we live in and how as women we are not supposed to endure such things under any pretext.

“Justice Doesn’t Mean Satisfaction” is about a girl who is strangled between hate for her younger brother’s killer and her parents who made her feel unwanted all the time. In between this struggle, her hate exploded her heart until it was too late.

“The Psychology Of a teen” is about a boy Varun whose life takes a new turn when he’s made to shift to a boarding school, leaving behind the close bonds with his family and especially the comforting presence of his mother. Years later the pain of separation still stings his heart, despite him having been a bright student and enjoying a good job.

“Inner Silence” is story of a boy Parag who takes a drastic step after being constantly dominated and pressurized by his dad to only focus on studies and not his dreams. This little act affected not only his studies but also gravely ruined his personality, taking away all the light and life he had within him.

“I returned for you” is about two guys with immense love and bonding between them. When Aniket is rejected by the girl he loved the most due to him failing in his studies, he commits suicide but the letter full of pain, desperation and weight of betrayal he leaves for Dushyant kills him from inside too. This is until his friend’s soul comes back for him to realize the true love he’s been distancing from in his life.

Shreyasi’s writing style is simplistic and very relatable. It is good for a light read but each story comes packed with strong emotions and even stronger messages. This book reveals how complicated are the lives and emotions of teens and why everything is not so hunky dory or easygoing as the adults like to believe. Some of the stories are really very impactful when they talk about the bond between parents and children and how upbringing affects the actions of the teenagers so much.

© 2016 Mind Pickles

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