Avantika, an eight-year-old girl, has an uncanny knack of getting into trouble. In Avantika’s world, naughtiness reigns supreme and mischief is the order of the day. But fortunately for our heroine, her twinkling eyes can melt the toughest of hearts. And for those times when she really turns things upside down. Avantika’s lucky red stone always comes to her rescue. Join Avantika as she embarks upon misadventures galore and takes you on an entertaining ride full of innocent mischief and good-natured humour.
Year of Publication
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The Mango Milkshake
The blue and white St. Mary’s school bus rumbled up the street and came to a screeching halt in front of a pretty, white house with a beautiful garden in full bloom. The latch turned with a loud clank and the bus door popped open. A pretty girl with bright, sparkling eyes tumbled out in a hurry, somehow balancing her large school bag and water bottle. She shook her pigtails out of her face and turned around.
“Bye Smita, bye Urvashi,” she waved at the two little girls in the front row, who had squeezed their heads out of the window. “Remember we’re meeting at five sharp. So finish your homework quickly.”
“Bye Avan,” they waved back. “We’ll see you later.”
But Avantika was not quite done yet. She put her hands on her hips and stuck her tongue out at the bus driver, who immediately made a face back. They played this game every day. The door slammed shut, and the bus rattled on down the road.
Avantika tiptoed towards the clean, whitewashed wall and peeped through the slightly rusted black gate. Her eyes darted from one side of the garden to the other and then she gently pushed off the straps of her school bag and allowed it to slide down. Her chubby hand reached out and slowly pushed the gate inside. It swung open noiselessly.
Avantika gulped and slid one foot in cautiously. Then another foot. No trouble so far. And then another foot. And another one. All of a sudden, a large Belgian Shepherd came bounding at her from nowhere and pounced on her.
Thump……Avantika found herself lying sprawled upon the cobbled path with the Belgian Shepherd slobbering all over her with his tail wagging hard. Avantika closed her eyes tightly and waited patiently until his pink tongue had finished licking her face.
“Were you hiding behind the tank again?” she asked, slowly opening one eye.
“Woof, woof,” came the answer followed by another round of licking.
“Okay, okay, Sheru,” grinned Avantika, trying to push him aside. “I really missed you too. Now will you please let me get up?”
But Sheru did not even budge. After all, it had been almost seven hours since he had last seen her.
There was only one thing to do now. “I think I see Ma,” sang out Avantika.
That did the trick. Sheru’s head jerked up instantly. Just what Avantika had been waiting for. She scrambled out from under him, grabbed her things and ran to the front door.
A loud whine came from the garden. Sheru knew he had been tricked.
“Sorry boy,” said Avantika, turning around. But she could not bear to see the droopy face he had made. “I have lots of homework to do. But we’ll definitely play later.”
The wag was back in Sheru’s tail. Moments later, he was frolicking around the garden chasing a beautiful, orange butterfly.
Avantika stood on tiptoe and was about to ring the bell when she remembered Ma’s words, “Nani isn’t feeling well, so please use the key under the doormat.”
Avantika slipped her fingers under the brown coir mat and brought out the shiny key. She inserted it into the key hole and turned it around. The ornate wooden door swung open with the creaking sound she loved.
Avantika dragged her feet inside and threw her bag and bottle onto a chair. She glanced at the old wall clock and clicked her tongue. It was already twenty minutes to four. She would have to hurry.
But there was already another distraction. Advaita, Avantika’s four-year-old sister, had started jumping around her, trying to get her attention. Avantika heaved a sigh, “What is it Adu?” she asked, “why are you bouncing around like a ball?”
“Didi, do you know what I got today? A pink…”
Avantika raised one eyebrow. “I don’t have time for this,” she said, trying to look important. “I have homework. Now please ask Ma to make my evening snack and bring it to my room. And then leave me alone.”
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