Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

Heartbreak, Sadness and Vampires

Love isn’t easy like Sunday morning. Seventeen-year-old Gehna Rai has normal friends, goes to normal school and belongs to a normally dysfunctional family. Everything about her is normal – except for the fact that she is also going to be a mom.

Erma is a nerdy high-school drop-out and dreams of becoming a poker pro. He also takes care of his dad, who has Parkinson’s disease.

Meet our latest favourite millennials in the excerpt below!


Gehna Rai was a girl who flirted with sadness.

She was tempted by it the way a person with vertigo sometimes feels drawn to the edge. It free-floated around the periphery of her days and she was aware of it following her always. When she was younger, and didn’t fully understand its nature, she would turn to meet it and it would squeeze her heart, seeping into her bones like a cold fog. In those days Gehna was optimistic: she believed that the sadness was a mood and, therefore, that certain distractions—like listening to music or going for a swim—could make it go away.

Wiser now, Gehna was no longer sure that she had any say in the comings and goings of the sadness, but she still held hope of ducking it. She had drawn strict boundaries, drip-feeding herself the pop songs about heartbreak and the tragic movies she loved, never exceeding a ratio of one part sad to nine parts happy. She stopped watching historical docudramas on the Holocaust and got Eram to screen her books before she agreed to read them.

‘I don’t get it,’ he had said the first time she asked him, shuffling through the pile of new books on her desk. Gehna was sitting on a floor cushion as far as she could from the books while still being in the same room. ‘You want me to tell you what happens in the stories?’

‘No. I want you to tell me what doesn’t happen.’ Eram steepled his fingers and nodded intelligently. ‘Right. It all becomes clear to me now. You’re saying, read the books and tell you what doesn’t happen in them.’ He lifted, with his thumb and forefinger, a book from the pile. ‘Now, this, for instance. Ian McEwan’s Atonement. I haven’t read it but I can tell you—just judging from the cover, mind you, and the fact that it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2001—that vampires don’t happen in it. No vampires at all. Or exploding sheep. It doesn’t enlighten us on the dark and bloody past of shipping insurance. Also, it only touches on the oral sex techniques of the natives of Bora Bora but doesn’t really—

‘Stoppit,’ Gehna cut off his riff. ‘Like, children dying. Or nice people. If any children or nice people die in a book, I don’t want to read it. You know what I mean.’

Amidst the quirkiness, author Arjun Nath gives us some very heartfelt moments like these to remember.

Caught between a sincere friendship and something more, Eram and Gehna give us a story that is #litAF!

More from the Penguin Digest

error: Content is protected !!