This adventure features two thieves who accidentally kidnap three orphaned children, and “a failed attempted robbery”.
Young Bala must contend with the “strange, many-headed creature” Bookasura, who demands to be given books. The problem is that Bala has only a finite supply of books.
The cow Nyadosh will has quite an appetite. She “chomps on textbooks, feasts on frocks and devours anything blue in colour.” But she really gets going once she tastes ilish fish – “there’s just no stopping her.”
Nana and his partner Shaddy Aunty bring up the siblings Gosling, Duckling, Dingaling and Dumpling in the Shadow House. The eccentric Nana makes life interesting for everyone around him, but it becomes clear eventually that he is living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Young Muskaan has tried to kill herself. While she is in hospital battling for her life, three of her friends at school talking about her life, and theirs. They speak of what happens at “… school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens”, and try to make sense of life – and death.
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