The alarming rise in ‘teen’ crimes have encouraged me to look at my role as a parent in a new light. There is no denying that prevention and awareness are only sure ways to keep our children safe. But over-protecting our children or forcing them to stay away from the world is no way going to ensure that they stay safe.

In the years gone by, TV shows like Saavdhan India and Gumrah  have helped spread awareness and also alertness about the crimes happening around us. Though I am not a big fan of watching such shows, but my family does watch them and we discuss the cases often to stay cautious in our day to day lives.

Recently, I chanced upon the book “Gumrah – 11 Short Teen Crime Stories” by Ira Trivedi. The blurb on the back of the book read:

“…if we are not careful about who we trust, we could be used or even harmed.”—Chetan Bhagat, from the Foreword
Drawn from real-life events, and based on a popular tele-series Gumrah by Star India Pvt. Ltd this book holds tales revolving around adolescent crime, deceit, treachery and bad judgement. In ‘Soulmate’, a case of sibling rivalry leads to disastrous consequences, while in ‘Heartbreak’, the dark side of the nicest of people is exposed. ‘Naaz’ reveals how cultural differences can sometimes lead to danger and ‘Double MMS’ shows a college girl’s stabs at popularity going horribly awry.
Written by bestselling author Ira Trivedi, Gumrah: 11 Short Teen Crime Stories is a must-read, with every story revealing the consequences of wrong choices. Like the show, the message of the book, aimed especially at the younger generation, is: ‘Be aware, be prepared, be safe!’

While watching crime TV shows with their sensationalism and often gory graphics I am often left panic struck or at best avoiding watching these with a kid in the house. I was fascinated by the idea of getting to read the stories from the popular series as a book.


I was well aware that Channel V’s intriguing ‘teen’ crime tele series, Gumrah- The End of Innocence had stunned the nation and astonished viewers with real-life thought-provoking youth crimes. That had taken my interest in reading the book based on it, notches higher.

My Review –
The book cover has a picture of a pain-struck, depressed, troubled teen sitting in the centre of tracks painted in blood-red conveying the crime theme of the book well. The book opens with a foreword from Chetan Bhagat underlining the importance of the fact that there is no definite set of rules that one can follow to remain safe, and yet enjoy a good social life.

The stories, as promised, reveal the consequences of wrong choices made by the teens in a variety of scenarios. All eleven of them tap on a different problem and the most important similarity in them is the fact that it takes just one moment of weakness to make someone go ‘Gumrah’.

Each of the eleven stories are written in a simple, easy to understand language fit to be read by parents and teenagers with equal ease, facilitating understanding the circumstances well. The narrative is engaging and the book makes for a breezy read but every story leaves the reader with a view to help teens differentiate between perception and reality of the real world. The beauty of the book lies in the fact that it avoids a documentary approach keeping the narrative interesting throughout.

The book however fails in delving deeper into analysing the situations in a way that the reader (especially the children reading the book) could see how the situations could have been handled better or in a more sensible way in the given circumstances.

In more than one story where the perpetrator of the crime has been shown to narrate from a mental asylum the one notion that rises commonly is that such crimes are committed by those suffering from mental ailments. Those are the moments where I cringe because though there is no denying that a criminal mind can never be thought of as normal, but who possess it is not written on people’s faces.

These kids who are now criminals were once just like any other child of their age. I would have appreciated focus on areas (or at least a mention of the areas) where the parents or families of these children could have acted differently to change the course of events.

There is no denying that most of the stories are chilling, gruesome and even horrific but they make for an important read for parents and young adults to give them a scoop of the reality of the world we live in.

The stories shall stay with me for a long time because they’ve been drawn from real life incidents, they’ll serve as a constant reminder of not making the same mistake of not letting my child be made aware of such happenings around us.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading short crime stories  and especially all parents and teenagers because this book is more about being prepared for the unknown dangers lurking in known people around us.

About the Book :

Title –  Gumrah – 11 Short Teen Crime Stories

Author – Ira Trivedi

Publisher – Rupa Publications

Genre – Fiction

Pages – 186

Price – INR 195

ISBN – 978-81-291-3955-9

About the Author – Ira Trivedi is the best-selling author of four books, most recently of India in Love, a seminal work of non-fiction on India s social revolution and sexual violence. She has been called one of India s most important youth voices. She recently won the UK media award for her story on bride trafficking and was honoured at the House of Lords in England.

Rating – 3.5/5

Buy the book online –  Amazon or Flipkart

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20 thoughts on “Gumrah

  1. That’s a great review. I would love to read the book but I agree that it’s important to share what led to a criminal behaviour – was it a troubled childhood, abusive family or something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Each story does briefly talk about the sequence of events that led to the crime but doesn’t go beyond to analyse how a teenager could have acted differently in the given scenario. Being impulsive, driven by peer pressure and lacking in experience and maturity, young adults reading the book need to see these heinous acts in a guided view than just being told this is wrong or right.
      Thank you Parul. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fabulus1710

    I remember watching one episode of Gumrah, and I just freaked out. Never watched it again.
    But I think I must give this book a go. Will check it out soon 😊


    1. Same here, I too tend to freak out watching such shows. And to me the written word always has a lasting impact, I’d recommend you to give this book a shot for general awareness 🙂


  3. I’m often left dumbstruck with stories like these. It proves that truth is stranger than fiction.
    Someday when I can muster the courage to read them, since reading can be more traumatising as per my experience, I will definitely pick up this book.


  4. parijat shukla

    Great review and i am happy to be able to comment here which i wasnt due to some technical issues..


  5. I have little patience with the shows though I do see the importance of raising awareness about sensitive teen issues. Most of the shows only serve to sensationalise the episode. I like what you said in your review. A deeper understanding of how/why things happen or why kids behave the way they do would of course be useful.


    1. Welcome to my blog Obsessivemom 🙂
      I totally agree with you. The sensationalism inspires me to avoid all reality shows & crime shows. But, reading books like these every now and then do give me a needed dose of things to be extra cautious about.


  6. That’s a great review! But it sounds like a deeper analysis of the motives and strategies for dealing with situations would have been good additions. Also, mental health issues do not always equate crime – if the book portrays that (as it seems to from your review) that is quite a fallacy.


    1. No the book doesn’t equate mental illnesses to predisposing factors for a criminal personality.
      It rather hints that criminals on many occasions suffer from undiagnosed or left untreated mental disorders. All criminals mentioned in these stories are juveniles who were sent to correction centres but many amongst them needed treatment in mental asylums to help them recuperate and understand the gravity of their heinous crimes.
      Thank you MG for liking my review 🙂


    1. I totally agree with you Archana. I too used to shy away from books like these but have changed after realisation dawned over me that perhaps reading these isn’t as disturbing as watching the TV shows slathered with sensationalism.
      Thank you so much for the award, hoping over to your place right away 😀


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