History and mystery at my book launch at the Kala Ghodha festival

At the launch of History Mystery at KGAF 14

At the launch of History Mystery at KGAF 14

‘Pa-pa-papa-pa-papa-pa-paaaaa!  Dham-dham-dhadha-dham-dhadha-dham-dham!’ sounded out Kitab Khana bookstore yesterday at the launch of my new History Mystery series with Akbar and the Tricky Traitor and Ashoka and the Muddled messages.

About the trumpets and the drums. Bring together a bunch of enthusiastic kids, make them jump into history with the makings of a mystery and they’ll trumpet and beat out the rhythm anywhere. As we pa-paaed and dham-dhammed together, it was time to reveal the strange ways of a writer’s mind. It was time to bring on to stage … THE THING!
launch 7Kept carefully in a wooden box, covered with a regal red cloth, a brave soul came forth to hold the tongs (for it was rather doubtful whether THE THING had been washed in a  while) and pulled out …

THE TONGS in the hands of a rather strange looking self!

THE TONGS in the hands of a rather strange looking self!

… THE SOCK!
(At this crucial point, the photographer froze in shock and missed clicking the all important photograph. Be thankful … for the stench, even over the web, might have made you faint.)
Ques: Where did the sock come from?
Ans: A bag full of props at a Duckbill reading workshop.
And then? Well … socks relate to feet that relate to footsteps that connects to the mystery in the Akbar book. I cannot say more for fear of giving the mystery away, but you can learn more about the books by clicking here.
launch 2
The children giggled through the introductory video to History Mystery. We followed it up with trick questions on the Super Six and the Tremendous Ten investigators and I read out the first chapter from Akbar and the Tricky Traitor.
We then went on to the bit that the kids were eagerly waiting for – cracking codes!
Why codes? Ashokan Brahmi, India’s earliest recorded script to have been deciphered, was lost to the world for many years, as was the fact that an Emperor named Ashoka had ever ruled in our land. Until one day an englishman named James Prinsep cracked the code in 1836 and helped us read Ashoka’s messages scattered on rocks and pillars across the length and breadth of our country.
launch 13As the kids cracked codes and read out some of the messages that this great emperor had left around the place 2000 years ago, I wondered aloud if one day, one of them might find the key to the one script from our subcontinent, even older than Ashokan Brahmi that still evades us.
Do you know which script I am referring to?
Twisting her tongue with a History Mystery tongue twister!

Twisting her tongue with a History Mystery tongue twister!

We signed off on the session with many twisted tongues. Why don’t you have a go with one? If you can say this aloud 5 times, really quickly, ‘Treacherous tricks to trip a traitor,’ you can claim to be the proud owner of a twisted tongue!

Thank you Lubaina Bandukwala, Parinita Shetty and the wonderful team at the Kala Ghodha Arts Festival and at Kitab Khana for another year of all your brilliance in making this come together. I look forward to the black horse whinnying into town in 2015!
Thank you to my dear editors at Duckbill for losing themselves with me in mysteries set in history. Yes, I am getting back now to completing my third book for History Mystery.