When the editors at Pratham Books wrote in for a STEM book about houses, it brought back a flood of memories.

My childhood spent tying sheets to chairs, propped up with sticks and cushions dragged in from various corners to create my own “house”. I recall a perfect grass-free muddy park that allowed me to create layouts for houses with a stick dragged through mud and stones to line my boundary wall.

I’ve relived all those memories with my own children creating “houses” within our home. Clothes pegs holding up various corners of sheets requisitioned from the linen cupboard, torchlit talks within, stuffed-toy mattresses, collapsing houses, food passed in through the ‘door’, passwords, giggles and laughter – free play at its best.

I knew I had to bring this into my book even as I wrote a book for a STEM series. And so while I wrote about the different kinds of houses around the world, my little architect in the book sets about building her house within a house. And just as climate, space, terrain and materials at hand are crucial factors in the shape and form that homes take, so do these influence her creation.

Add to this, my childhood plan to become an architect. A plan that got side-tracked onto a different journey with math and an MBA but doesn’t it all work out for the best? I now get to put all that into a book – The Best House of All! A book that I hope will, in addition to giving children know-how on houses, also inspire little minds inclined to this to be architects someday. A story that reminds us of the need of the hour – to leave children to their own devices with time to get bored, allowing for creativity to blossom.

The Best House of All is available now for free reading (yay!) and free download (double yay!) on the Pratham Books StoryWeaver platform. The print edition is expected soon.

Till then, happy reading online and do have a wander through the rest of the online reading platform.

And now, onward to the celebration with a bit of baking. A tangy, filling-the-home-with-lemony-goodness lemon tart to celebrate the 16th book. Sweet 16!