The Common Man Speaks

18Jun/170

Renee’s Treasure Book Review

Good children’s films are the ones that also appeal to the grown-ups. The same goes for children’s books too. Indrani Sinha’s Renee’s Treasure falls in this category. It is a novel that goes beyond the target audience. Apart from narrating an interesting tale, it is filled with nostalgic moments.

The story is set in 1960 and it revolves around the 11-year-old girl Renee. She is smart and adventurous. She stays with her mother, whom she fondly addresses as Mamoni, father, two younger brothers, Jatin and Sonu and grandfather. Renee’s father, who is a junior engineer with railways, has been recently transferred to Varanasi from Bareilly.

Renee's Treasure bookLike every child, Renee is excited for her upcoming birthday. But this year, it’s even special since her grandfather aka Dadaji has hidden a secret gift for her, which she needs to uncover. He has strictly urged her not to disclose this to anyone, including her parents. Unfortunately, Dadaji passes away on her birthday. Now, Renee is left all by herself to search the gift. She finds help in the form of her new friends, Anil aka Sacchu and his sister Anita.

The basic plot of Renee’s Treasure itself is exciting as well as intriguing. It keeps you guessing about the gift. This coupled with a free-flowing narration with regular twists make sure you are hooked. Sinha has also smartly women thriller elements. This makes you recall the method used by Satyajit Say in his Feluda series, where there is thrill but at the same time, the mood is completely light-hearted.

The most vital aspect in such stories is the uncovering of the treasure in the end. Sinha has thankfully kept this part simple, which goes with the nature of the entire book.

The author’s language and use of words plays a large role in making the book appealing to both kids and grown-ups. The little ones would enjoy the story and mystery. But adults would also find high doses of nostalgia. The children’s antics in school and home would surely bring back memories of their younger days. The book indirectly gives a message that life was indeed simple and more pleasurable for children back then.

There are few issues that limit the book’s greatness. The long bygone era of 1960 isn’t felt much. It rather looks like the book is based in the early 1990s. On few occasions, the narration gets too descriptive. There is a romantic angle between two teachers in the school. Although it is cute, we wonder about its relevance with the main story.

Overall: Renee’s Treasure is an intriguing as well as light-hearted nostalgic saga. It has the potential of impressing both children and grown-ups.

Author: Indrani Sinha

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Pages: 145

Publishers: Leadstart Publishing

Price: Rs 150

Cover: Beautiful painting that induces nostalgia and the joys of simple life

11Jun/170

South Africa won this world series but hardly anyone remembers

(This is the 2nd episode in my 'Forgotten Cricket Moments' series. For the 1st episode, click HERE.)

In the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy, India comprehensively defeated South Africa today in a do-or-die encounter at the Oval, London. It can also be said that South Africans once again lived up to their nickname – chokers.

The team has been consistently falling apart in crunch games in world series since 1996 Quarterfinal loss against West Indies (I don’t blame them for the 1992 World Cup Semi-Final defeat). Following this, three or four generations have continued the tradition of succumbing in big games in ICC tournaments.

With today’s loss, South Africa has failed to reach another final of a world series. At least, this is the general belief.

Now, what if I tell you that South Africa has not only been in the final of a world series but also won the trophy? No, I am not talking about the triumph of its Under 19 or Under 15 team, but the proper men’s team.

South Africa’s first achievement in that series was that it reached its first final by defeating Sri Lanka in the Semi Final by 92 runs (Duckworth-Lewis [D/L] method).

South Africa cricket logoThe final between SA and West Indies was truly exciting. Batting first, West Indies were all out for 245 with three balls to spare. At one point, they were on their way to go past 300. They were helped by Philo Wallace’s 103 off just 102 balls with 11 fours and five sixes. But Jacques Kallis had other plans with the ball. He finished with outstanding figures of 5 for 30.

The South African openers started off well with a 54 run stand. But the team kept losing wickets and were 137 for 5 when Jonty Rhodes was sent packing. It seemed they are all set to succumb once again. But this is when the late Hansie Cronje, their captain, took matters in his own hands.

He had two crucial partnerships with Dale Benkenstein and Derek Crookes. South Africa was eventually home by six wickets and three overs to spare. Cronje was unbeaten with a responsible and brave 61, which had four fours. But it was Kallis who was declared the Man of The Match as well as the Man of The Series.

The ICC Champions Trophy started out in 1998 as ICC Knockout and the series was called Wills International Cup. As per the name, it was a knockout series participated by all test playing nations; nine at that time.

This was the world series that South Africa won. But, unfortunately, very few of us remember.

Of course, there is no denying that it is weird to see South Africa faltering so very often in crunch games in world series. But it is certainly wrong to say that they have never won any.

See the scorecard of the match HERE.

By: Keyur Seta