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Anhad Hindal

By Poile Sengupta
Puffin Books, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 199, Rs. 195.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 11 November 2006

Good Heavens is the name of the book, or the feelings of shock that came over me as I finished it? Do Indian authors really think that 10-12 year old read stories about elephants named ‘Elphie’ or wasn’t that meant for five year olds? Are Indian children really that juvenile? My advice, please write books that are really for the pre-teens and teens of our country and not for the ‘kids’.   My favourite story out of all of them was ‘A Christmas Miracle’, though Sengupta could have been a little more creative with her imagination than copying Harry Potter and A Christmas Carol. A story about a young girl whose parents die in a car crash and is sent to her “Hitler” aunt and uncle and her fat, ugly, utterly and completely spoilt son, Junior (Dudley Dunsely incarnated). Junior has a bad dream and is comforted by the girl and the narrator who tells him about the story of the giant and the garden, and then the story of Bethlehem. Soon the ‘Durselys’ miraculously become kind-hearted and warm with a little help from the spirit of Christmas eve. (Christmas Carol?) And they become a big happy family. I liked this play as it teaches us the importance of relationships whether it is with our family, friends or any one around us. Definitely something for the youth of today to think about!   Good Heavens is a little too confusing for my taste and I thought that some characters need not have been there. Otherwise a good plot. I am a great fan of music and I thought that ‘Hamswadhani’ really teaches us the importance of music and how it brings the world together in peace and harmony. I can also relate the child to myself when I used to think classical music was boring. The play, ‘No, not I’ was (in my opinion) not very well thought out. True, imagination should run wild, but the scripts were dragging and again, these were some useless characters.   ‘The White Elephant’ – (sigh) Pass!! ‘Stone soup’ was again a bit confusing but that is what it is all about, I want to ask Sengupta, was this real life in a fantasy land or the real world with (just a little) chewing gum wanting tails and aliens. Fascinating!   Dearest readers, by reading this you may not want to buy this book, but don’t go ...

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