Book 3 is coming!

Book 3 is on its way to you. It’s called Just me, the Sink & the Pot. Inspired by my own experiences as an overweight child and teenager, this novella will take you through one girl’s school days. From being fat shamed to wishing for a Valentine, you’ll experience the terrible teens. My first book, What Would I Tell Her @ 13 was another reason I decided that Just me, the Sink & the Pot MUST reach readers. Young girls, parents of overweight daughters, educators – my protagonist’s story will make you feel. It’ll make you laugh and cry and hopefully inspire you to make sure that no young woman feels inferior to others around her.

Available on Amazon soon.

Bookworm

Tapas couldn’t believe it. Moving from a big city to the little town of Golepur had been hard enough already. His mother reminded him, “Babu, we’ll come visit during Durga Puja.” But Tapas was not ready for this news; Golepur did not have a library!

His father believed that his school books were enough to keep him busy. “You can pay attention to your studies now,” he told Tapas. Mother was a bookworm so she understood. Patting his shoulders, she said, “We’ll find a way.”

So Tapas attended school and came home to warm food and a bath. Then he spent all evening doing his homework. Sometimes he felt annoyed because there was no new book waiting for him by his pillow. Every night, he read before bed time. It was a habit that he’d picked up from his mother since she first introduced him to the local library near their house in Kolkata.

Tapas looked at the stack of books on his table. He ran his fingers over the spines, each chapter memorised. He could describe every scene without opening a book. Still, he was bored and used to getting a new book every weekend.

“Mother, don’t the other kids like reading storybooks at all?” He hoped she would say yes. But she shook her head. “Babu, not everyone likes doing the same thing but I’m sure some of the kids here like to read.”

That evening, while Tapas read his lessons and solved his sums, his mother visited the neighbours. Indeed some of the boys and girls spent more time reading books than playing on their computers. She had an idea. So she visited one more person on her way back home – the head of the building committee.

“Hello. I am Mrs. Gita Bose from the 8th floor. May we discuss something?”

The gentleman said yes and they spoke about the neighbourhood children. “I know that we already have a separate area for them to play with a ball and run around, but what about exercising their minds?”

“How can we do that?” The committee head wondered.

“We can build a little library in the common room,” said Tapas’s mother.

She left after five minutes and a cup of tea. Meanwhile, Tapas was done with his studies for the day. He sat by her as they both read books. The phone rang. Mother ran to answer it. She smiled and said thank you. Then she came back to the sofa. “We’re going to make a library,” she announced.

Tapas jumped up. He was excited but confused. Mother told him that he and the other kids would donate all their books to start it. “And some of us adults will certainly have books for your library too,” she added.

So the next day, they carried three large boxes of books to the common room. Father came along. He and another neighbourhood uncle were preparing new bookshelves for the room. When they arrived, there were four more children and their parents. “We may have too many books!”

Father was joking because he knew Tapas would reply. And he did. “There is no such thing as too many books. Right guys?” The others nodded. Everybody got to work. They all munched on cookies as the parents made sure everything was in place. “Time to put the books in their places, kids,” said Rani’s mother.

Tapas and the others took turns filling the shelves with their treasured books. They chatted about their favourite books and authors. Payal loved historical stories as much as Tapas did! Ronnie disliked mystery books just like him. By the end of that day, Tapas had new friends and many books to share. They even created library cards for every neighbour, along with a register to keep track of the books.

“I’ll save up my pocket money and buy a computer for us,” said Tapas. “So will I,” said more voices. The library was already a success.

 First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

Loved Ones

She walked into the room with hesitation. She knew he wouldn’t look the same. His nose had a tube stuck under it and there were scary things stuck in his arm. Her mind did a rewind to the happier days when childhood had hidden the truths of old age and death. Her heart cried for those precious moments when he’d been both a mother and father to her. She managed to smile through the tears that were threatening to come down, because he smiled at her.

Borrowed Books

Her bookshelves decorated the walls. Spines of various colours stood out in the sunshine that came through the windows. She had spent hours here, running her fingers over the titles. If she caught a speck of dust on her beloved possessions, she would clean it away immediately. Only one section bothered her; it was the shelf that had two empty slots. She never should’ve let them borrow her books.

The Little Designer

Vijay loved to draw. The walls in his room were full of his paintings. There was one of a beautiful fairy, one of a cat, and many of his mother wearing beautiful dresses. Whenever his father entered the room, he would worry. “I wish that he had more interest in things that boys his age like,” he said to Vijay’s mother. She did not agree. “All boys don’t have to like the same things,” she replied with a smile. Even at school, the boys teased Vijay. They never saw him play football or basketball. When they tried to talk to him, he just smiled politely.

Vijay carried a drawing book with him. Whenever the teacher was late to class or he had finished his lunch, he filled the thick pad with colour. He used coloured pencils that were a gift from his favourite aunt.

One evening, Vijay’s mother joined him at the desk. “Who is that? What a beautiful dress,” she praised. Vijay blushed. “Mom, this is you wearing a dress that I have designed.” His mother hugged him and asked, “Is this what you want to do when you grow up?” Vijay nodded. She had an idea.

The next day was Saturday. Vijay’s mother asked him to get ready. He looked up from his drawing book and asked, “Where are we going?” His mother said it would be a surprise. “Bring your drawing book with you,” she only said. Vijay laughed. He never left home without it.

One hour later, after a short walk which had become longer because they had stopped to chat with so many neighbours, they stood in front of the tailor’s shop. Vijay was confused. He never came to the tailor for his clothes. Even mother and father liked buying their clothes at a store in the mall.

Mother held his hand and they walked in. The tailor was a friendly old man who looked happy to see him. He patted Vijay’s head and asked him to sit next to him behind the huge table that had piles of cloth and a sewing machine on it. Mother stood next to them. “What kind of dress do you want for me, Viju?” She did not have to wait long for an answer. “This one is my favourite,” he said, opening a page of his precious drawing book.

The tailor put on his glasses. It was a long blue dress with little roses along the sleeves and neck. “Mother, you will look so nice,” Vijay said shyly. So the tailor was given measurements for the dress. He promised to make it exactly like the drawing. Vijay said thank you and left with his mother. He couldn’t wait to see his first design!

The rest of the weekend was boring. Vijay was too excited to draw anything new. He could not sit still. Mother told him to read a book. He tried but couldn’t. Finally, it was Monday. Vijay would get to see the dress after school. The tailor had called to say it was ready.

The day passed by slowly. Vijay did not hear anything that the teachers said. He kept on looking at his watch. When the final bell rang at 3 o clock, he jumped up and ran to the gate. Mother was waiting.

When they reached the shop, the dress was on a hanger. Customers were staring at it. One of them asked the tailor, “Can you make me one like this, please?” The old man said yes and added, “Let me introduce you to the designer of this dress.” The women wondered if they had heard wrong. “Such a little designer!” They almost laughed.

The next day, Mother wore the dress to her friend’s house. Everybody wanted one! And the tailor had to hire another tailor to help him make so many of them. Vijay was famous.

First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

Ugly Dia

Dia was excited. Mrs. Das had just made an announcement. The school play festival was coming up and her class would be putting up Cinderella. “I will be Cinderella,” thought Dia. She knew that everybody found her beautiful.

Mrs. Das walked over to the blackboard. “Please raise your hand if you want to try out for the role of Cinderella,” she instructed. Dia looked around. The other girls knew that they didn’t stand a chance. Mrs. Das was always praising her. Whenever Dia dressed in pink, she would say, “You are looking like an angel, child. You’re so fair.”

Dia raised her hand. She knew there would be no competition. She would be Cinderella. Suddenly, she noticed something. Maya had raised her hand too. She looked nervous. Still, her hand was up high. Mrs. Das wrote their names on the board and asked the class to raise hands for the other parts. Dia did not hear anything. “How could Maya want to be Cinderella? She was so dark!”

The next day, Dia, Maya and their classmates, were supposed to act out the parts that they wanted. Three boys wanted to be Prince Charming. Raj got the part. When everybody clapped, he said, “I hope that ugly Maya isn’t Cinderella!”

Maya ran to the bathroom to cry. After she sobbed to her heart’s content, she made a decision and wiped her eyes, heading back to the classroom. Dia was at the centre. The whole class was clapping loudly.

“Maya, come say your lines,” the teacher called her. Maya looked down at her feet. She replied, “Ma’am, I don’t want to try out for this part. May I please try out for the evil stepmother’s role?”

Dia jumped up from her seat. “I’m Cinderella! I’m Cinderella!” Raj was happy too.So, Maya tried out for the stepmother’s part. All of her classmates voted for her. One of them said, “She’s the perfect evil stepmother because she’s so dark and mean looking.”

On the day of the play, the parents came to school field where a stage had been set up. Many grandparents came too. Dia’s parents sat in the front row. “That’s my daughter,” her father pointed out proudly to the parents seated next to him.

Halfway through the play, Dia had just come to stage wearing her white gown. She wore shiny silver shoes and a silver bow in her hair. Shreya was with her. She was the sweet, round, Fairy Godmother. Shreya started singing Bibbidi Bobbode Boo but was interrupted by a shout in the audience. “Get out,” a parent said angrily. Shreya stopped singing. The person being shouted at was a poor girl in rags.

Dia was upset. Her play was ruined. She jumped off the stage to tell the girl to leave. “How dare you come here? You are so ugly!” The little girl, who was Dia’s age, burst into tears. The other children came running. Maya walked over to the poor girl and put an arm around her. She said, “Stop being rude. She only wants to watch our play.”

Dia frowned. She said, “Maya, she looks like you. That’s why you are fighting for her.” Then she added, “Black and ugly girls.”

This time Maya didn’t cry. Instead, she took the girl to a chair. She asked all the parents to sit down. “Dia, the play must go on.” Dia followed her because the others looked too embarrassed to even stand near her. “What a mean child,” said one parent. Dia’s father did not sit in the front row this time. He was not feeling proud anymore. The mothers did not praise her after the show. Everybody had forgotten that she had skin like snow.

The evil, dark stepmother was not ugly at all. She was wonderful.

First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)