Double Click:Subhadra Sen Gupta

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JULY 12,2009

On the dry and humid Saturday of 12th July’2009, I once again traced back my steps to Habitat Centre for the monthly meet of the Book Forum. It was looked forward by all the students.This discussion was attended by students of class IX.The book chosen for discussion was “DOUBLE CKICK” by Subhadra Sen Gupta.

Subhadra Sen Gupta writes both fiction and non-fictin for adults and children,mainly on the subjects of History,travel and on Indian culture and mythology.She also works as afreelance editor.Subhadra specialises in historical fiction and to the dismay of her young readers has also written history textbooks.The periods she enjoys writing about most are Mauryan,Vijayanagar,Mughal periods and the time of India’s freedom struggle.However her stories are less about kings and battles and more about the lives of ordinary people and there are many exciting mysteries,horser chases,miniature painters,temple dancers,bumbling detectives and delicious food.Subhadra’s books have been published by-Rupa,Scholastic,Harper Collins,Puffin,India Book House,Pratham Books and Ratna Sagar.Right now she and the illustrator Tapas Guha are doing a comic strip based on the Feluda stories by Satyajit Ray for the Telegraph,Kolkata.She edited the biography series titled ‘CHARITVALI’ published by Rupa. Over fifty titles were published.

Back to “DOUBLE CLICK”, the books speaks of four friends.Padma,Mandy(Mandeep),Charu, and Jahan ae hostellers who share a room in St.Theresa’s Convent in New Delhi.Padma is a computer freak,Mandy is an aspiring beauty queen,Jahan is the sporty type, while Charu is pretty “ordinary”,but the thinker.The gang of four,called the Foxy Four,is inseparable and always on the lookout for adventure.

It all starts when,one afternoon,their classmate Simran surreptiously hitches a ride in a grey car and doesn’t come back.Only Charu notices this event.The story moves into high gear as the gang finds Simran’s laptop and her father receives a ransom call for Rs One crore.Fromm central Delhi to old Delhi to south Delhi,the foursome uses every trick in the book to track down the criminals through fashion studios,night clubs,discotheques and old havelis.Helped by Jahan’s aunt Razia,who is their principal Sister Rose’s friend,the four try to find clues in Simran’s emails,quiz the kidnapped girl’s brother,cousin and uncles,and careen around Delhi in a rickety school bus,car and rickshaws.But,can they get to her before its too late?Read to find out.

The session began with a formal introduction made by Ms.Deepa Agarwal and Ms.Devika Rangachari.After the introductions the children fired a volley of questions at Ms.Subhadra Sengupta on various topics ranging from books to writing to the real topic of discussion “TEENAGE”.It was really interesting to hear the issues that the students brought out for discussions. Later we all settled down to get some tips on writing a book ourselves. Ms.Sengupta provided us with some points to remember which would make writing easy and simple.The students were then given five topics to chose and write upon,like:
1. Am I a teenager or a grown-up?
2. Can my parents be teenagers?
3. Teenage can be a pain?
4. I want to grow up because….
5. I want to be a child all my life because…

Harshit Bansal of our school spoke on the topic ‘Teenage can be a pain’.It was not only funny but also thought provoking,and appreciated by all.the session ended with some write ups being read out by the children. It was a mixture of fun and some gard facts about teenage and the problems they face.There is a similarity in every generation – the same mix of confidence and confusion,hormones and heartache.”Some things are different,though-like their obsession with looks or exposure to drugs and a lot of money.” The event took me down memory lane to my teenage days which were filled with confusions,questions of identity,self image,peer pressure,rebellion,etc.But I guess these issues caused a lot of sleepless nights for alot of us.And reading the book I too felt their pangs of pain and the desperateness that we feel at the age due to lack of answers,support and proper guidance.

Well,these discussions makes em nostalgic because they flip the pages in the album of the years gone by when I too was a student like the ones accompanyng me.Its fun and frolic with a dash of salt…sorry I meant hard facts.

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