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30Jun

Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors by Aravind Jayan review – a bittersweet debut

Embarrassing video footage goes viral in this fresh Indian comedy about generation gaps, gossip and the power of the internet

Log kya kahenge?(What will people think?”) is a common Hindi phrase in India, a forewarning of public opinion on one’s personal life. Such opinions are generally understood to be overly critical, a judgment on one’s character and moral compass. The phrase hovers over Aravind Jayan’s humorous and heartwarming first novel, Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors, haunting the eponymous protagonists’ families and lives.

Amma and Appa live in the Blue Hills housing colony in Trivandrum, Kerala. They’re proudly on the road to a comfortable middle-class life, complete with a white Honda Civic – that marker of success and social mobility – when things fall apart. A clip of their eldest son Sreenath and his girlfriend Anita, caught on camera in “sex-adjacent” activities, has been posted to a porn site and is now circulating far and wide, gathering more momentum and causing more mortification with each passing day. This viral video breaks the internet, severing familial bonds and leaving the reader wondering what the ripple effects will be.

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