Arundhati Venkatesh: Petu and Gang

Arundhati Venkatesh has been the voice for Petu and his gang. Which is funny for those of us who know her, because she is very proper and they are not! To celebrate the fact that Petu Pumpkin: Tooth Troubles, a hOle book, is finally in bookshops, here is an update from Arundhati about what is happening with Petu and his friends.

Petu and gang must have got addicted to the whole being-in-a-book-business, because by the time Petu Pumpkin: Tiffin Thief had been accepted, they were back, clamouring for attention. Parents and teachers who crib about the ruckus your kids make, please sympathise with me. Imagine having five of those kids in your head for just a moment. What if this went on for days and weeks? That’s right. Not an exciting prospect. So there was nothing to do but write the story and get them out of there.

What do they get up to this time, you ask?

I’ve been through my share of tooth extractions and RCTs (For the uninitiated, that’s how us veterans refer to root canal treatment). So I really feel for the little warriors who bravely face the fact that they are going to lose their teeth, every one of them, by the time they are twelve. The saving grace is the appearance of the tooth fairy. And all she has to offer in lieu of all that misery is a coin? A tooth is worth much, much more, considering you have to put up with a Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa in your mouth, a rather a wobbly one at that, for days on end.
Imagine poor Petu’s predicament – he hasn’t brushed for days, even eating is a struggle. He grapples with the thought that he might die of starvation. Doesn’t he deserve more than a measly coin for all that trouble?

Another infuriating part about being a kid (yes, there are many) is that there’s always someone who is telling you they’re bigger than you and know better than you. One has to contend with not just older siblings (and parents and teachers), but also “seniors”. Yes, that’s how these kids who just happen to have been born a couple of years before you think of themselves. Seniors.
They bully you, call you babies and make life miserable for you. The worst part is, they will always be two years older than you. This is a race in which you just can’t catch up. Unless you challenge them to a match and win.

That’s what Petu and co. do. But do they manage to win? They don’t have a real football to practise with! After the dogs destroy their plastic ball, they don’t even have a fake football. Are they to surrender or lose the match? Will they face the ignominy of being called babies for the rest of their school life, or will they find a way out?

To order the book:


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