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Vishesh Unni Raghunathan

By Samit Basu
Year 2016, pp. 113, Rs. 195.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

We meet our hero Subroto Bandhopadhyay, Stoob to you and I, on a holiday in Thailand with his friend Ishani and their families. While we expect the sun, sand and surf to keep the twelve-year-old occupied, it isn’t turning out to be as relaxing as Stoob would like—he has an embarrassing story to narrate, an incident, which involves a girl, Mala Kapoor. Stoob is turning out to be a fun and engaging series. Stoob, Ishani and Rehan are such well chalked out characters, with lots in common, yet plenty to set apart one from another. Rehan is your typical nerd who googles everything and seems to know way lot more than what everyone else around does. Ishani is the pivot around which the other two function—smart and sensible. Stoob isn’t your typical nerd, but neither is he just another boy, he remains a person who can achieve whatever he sets out to do as long as he can put his head to it, as we learn time and again in the series. Twelve-years or thereabout is when most children get their first taste of romantic love. Cupid, or at least those hormones start playing in our heroes’ lives. When Stoob is forced into one of those summer camps, he convinces Rehan to join him. They bump into a girl, and surprise-surprise, the two best friends fall in love with the same girl. The essence of humour lies in timing, and Samit Basu has a good measure of it. The story line may seem as Bollywood as it can get, but it takes great effort to pull off something which is both entertaining and funny. Stoob and Rehan find themselves applying their best talents to win over a girl, who not only seems smart and share their common interests, but somehow has time to watch movies and dance. There are moments which make or break friendships and as individuals we get to choose. It is here that the friends turn out to be as emotionally sensitive to each other as they are smart. The writing is well complemented by the cartoon-eqsue illustrations by Sunaina Coelho. Her work remains quirky and funny adding to the overall reading experience. The references throughout the book are most certainly to what kids nowadays make adults feel, like one of those large uncomfortable creatures which roamed the earth not so long ago. ...

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