Thirty years ago, my daughter Akshata was a little girl who loved to play hide-and-seek with her friends. One day, I went for a shower after keeping my four gold bangles in a small wooden box. I then went to sleep in the afternoon. Once I woke up, I finished my chores and remembered late in the evening that I had forgotten to wear my bangles. When I opened the box, I found only two bangles inside.
Immediately, I started enquiring about the other two bangles with the people at home. Akshata readily told me that she had been fascinated by the box and had opened it to find the shiny gold bangles inside, two of which she took out intending to play hide-and-seek with them. To my horror, she didn't remember where she had hidden them!
I scolded her and then all of us searched the entire house. But the bangles were nowhere to be found.
After some time, I started feeling bad about reprimanding Akshata. So I hugged her and gave up searching for the rest of the day. Over time, I forgot about the existence of those bangles.
Thirty years passed and things changed. Akshata became the mother of two lovely girls - Krishna and Anoushka. During one of their visits to Bangalore, both the children were playing hide-and-seek when suddenly, I heard something smash to the ground in the living room. When I rushed there, I saw Akshata scolding her daughters for breaking a vase. That vase was no ordinary one -it had been with us for the past fifty years. When it was new, we placed it in a corner and kept fresh flowers in it. Over time, we had replaced them with plastic ones. No matter how many houses we changed, the position of the vase had remained the same.
I felt really sorry for Anoushka, whom I fondly call Nooni. In her excitement she had hurried to hide behind the curtains and her hand had unintentionally knocked over the vase. Nooni was upset about getting caught and Akshata was angry because of the broken vase, but I was pleasantly surprised to see two gold bangles on the floor, shining brightly in the afternoon sun.
I picked up the bangles and examined their design. The two bangles on my hands were identical to the ones that had been lost all those years ago.
I smiled and looked at my daughter. Akshata, these are my old bangles! Do you remember hiding them when you were little?'
She grinned. 'Vaguely, but I remember you scolding me very clearly.'
I turned to Anoushka and hugged her. 'Good work, Nooni! You have found my lost treasure. These bangles mean a lot to me -they were handed down to me by my grandmother, and one day, I will give these bangles to you.'
Nooni was thrilled. She was proud that she had found something valuable!
That night, as I lay in bed with Krishna and Anoushka, I thought, 'When a child makes a mistake, it can turn out to be a lost treasure, or maybe an important discovery. Children are unbiased and can easily think out of the box. They have a lot of interest even in little everyday things because of their innocence.'
This simple incident inspired me to write this special book, which I dedicate to my beautiful granddaughter Nooni. She is the heroine of this book - bold, determined, sporty and always in search of new adventures.
I would like to mention a few people who helped me in this escapade.
First, I would like to thank Shrutkeerti Khurana, my terrific editor, for this book. I looked towards her just like I would see Nooni, and explained many things to her--things that are novel and fascinating to a city girl.
I also want to thank Udayan Mitra, Hemali Sodhi and Sohini Mitra of Penguin Books India, without whose constant pushing, I would have kept postponing the book to a later date.
Children, you are very important to me. It is your free spirit that always makes me think young and write more for you.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Children’s Books (1707)
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