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Careful what you wish for

All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life. It brings together many known charming, endearing characters such as the iconic Rusty, the eccentric Uncle Ken and the ubiquitous grandmother, and a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers, especially middle schoolers. Heart-warming, funny and spirited, this is a must-have on every bookshelf!

All-Time Favourites FC
All-Time Favourites||Ruskin Bond

Here’s a taste of what’s in store in this exciting collection of stories. An extract from the story of a parrot who could, but ‘wouldn’t’ talk. ‘What goes around comes around’ is a complete mood in this one.

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‘Kiss, kiss!’ Aunt Ruby would coo, putting her face close to the barge of the cage. But the parrot would back away, its beady little eyes getting even smaller with anger at the prospect of being kissed by Aunt Ruby. On one occasion, it lunged forward without warning and knocked my aunt’s spectacles off her nose.

After that, Aunt Ruby gave up her endearments and became quite hostile towards the poor bird, making faces at it and calling out, ‘Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’ and other nasty comments.

It fell upon me, then ten years old, to feed the parrot, and it seemed quite happy to receive green chillies and ripe tomatoes from my hands, these delicacies being supplemented by slices of mango, for it was then the mango season. It also gave me an opportunity to consume a couple of mangoes while feeding the parrot.

One afternoon, while everyone was indoors enjoying a siesta, I gave the parrot his lunch and then deliberately left the cage door open. Seconds later, the bird was winging its way to the freedom of the mango orchard.

At the same time, Grandfather came to the veranda and remarked, ‘I see your aunt’s parrot has escaped!’

‘The door was quite loose,’ I said with a shrug.

‘Well, I don’t suppose we’ll see it again.’

Aunt Ruby was upset at first and threatened to buy another bird. We put her off by promising to buy her a bowl of goldfish.

‘But goldfish don’t talk!’ she protested.

‘Well, neither did your bird,’ said Grandfather. ‘So we’ll get you a gramophone. You can listen to Clara Cluck all day. They say she sings like a nightingale.’

I thought we’d never see the parrot again, but it probably missed its green chillies, because a few days later I found the bird sitting on the veranda railing, looking expectantly at me with its head cocked to one side. Unselfishly, I gave the parrot

half of my mango.

While the bird was enjoying the mango, Aunt Ruby emerged from her room and, with a cry of surprise, called out, ‘Look, my parrot’s come back! He must have missed me!’

With a loud squawk, the parrot flew out of her reach and, perching on the nearest rose bush, glared at Aunt Ruby and shrieked at her in my aunt’s familiar tones: ‘You’re no beauty! Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’

Aunt Ruby went ruby-red and dashed indoors.

But that wasn’t the end of the affair. The parrot became a frequent visitor to the garden and veranda and whenever it saw Aunt Ruby it would call out, ‘You’re no beauty, you’re no beauty! Can’t sing, can’t dance!’

The parrot had learnt to talk, after all.

How to convert an idea into a venture; Become A Junior Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are bringing education online, connecting families at the touch of a button and revolutionizing the shopping experience-in short, they’re changing the way we live.

Following the success of Become a Junior Inventor, Vrunda Bansode gives every kid a hands-on crash course in entrepreneurship in her new book, Become a Junior Entrepreneur. Here is a checklist on how you can convert an idea into a venture, from the book.


Think of all the things that you can build on to develop your business as an entrepreneur and note them down. Right now, do not think of constraints. Just think of all that you would like to do. Innovate. Invent. Dream big! Now comes the reality check. Let us think of what you can actually work towards and have a good chance of succeeding at. How does one figure that out? Try to answer these questions for each of the businesses you have listed:

  • Do I myself have the skill of making this product or delivering this service?

(Hint: If you want to start a baking business but do not know how to bake, the answer would be No. If you want to start a web design service and are good at using design softwares yourself, your answer is Yes.)

  • Do I know who might be the customers for my business and can I reach them easily?

(Hint: If you are developing a book-trading app and know that many of your friends will use the service, your answer is Yes. But let’s say you are considering starting a garden clean-up service and don’t have any houses with gardens around you, the answer is No.)

  • Do many people need this product or service?

(Hint: Everybody needs and buys toothbrushes regularly, so the market is large. But not everyone needs dental braces, so the market is much smaller.)

  • Roughly how much money is needed to start this business and will I be able to get it through my savings, allowances and borrowings from family and friends?
  • Can I start working towards this right away – at least within a few months?

For any idea that you end up with more No-s than Yes-es, mark it as a passion to be pursued later. Where your Yes-es are more than the No-s, get going! If you have a Yes for all five questions, that’s a great place to start. But if you had to scrap all of your ideas, don’t be hassled. Just start again or see if you can modify an idea you like even a little until you get all five Yes-es.

Another great way to start is to team up with your friends. You will have more helping hands and great ideas on board, and there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun on the side. Many great start-ups started with a team of founders rather than a single founder.

If it is not just you, but you and a group of friends who want to start a business together, then do the above as a group exercise. The group together will then have the skill of ideation, knowledge, access to prospective customers and the ability to get the money or seed capital—as it is called in the business world—to start your new business.

From sifting through ideas to running a business, Become a Junior Entrepreneur accompanies the reader through every stage of turning a nascent dream into a commercially viable start-up.

 

“The trouble with discount websites is, you can’t see the people snatching bargains away from you.”- An excerpt from ‘Christmas Shopaholic’

Don’t panic. Don’t panic. I’ve got 5 minutes 52 seconds before my basket expires. That’s loads of time! All I have to do is quickly find one more item to bump up my total to £75 so I’ll get free delivery.

Come on, Becky. You can find something.

I’m scrolling down the BargainFamily site on my computer screen, feeling like a NASA operative keeping cool under unspeakable pressure. The onscreen timer is in my peripheral vision, ticking down steadily beneath a heading that reads, Your Basket Will Expire Soon!

But you can’t give in to timer- fear when you’re shopping on discount sites. You have to be strong. Like tungsten. Shopping has really changed for me over the years. Or maybe I’ve changed.

The days when I was a single girl, living in Fulham with Suze and going round the shops every day, seem ages ago now. Yes, I used to spend too much. I’ll freely admit it. I’ve made mistakes. Like Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.

(Except ‘my way’ involved stuffing Visa bills under the bed, which I bet Frank never did.)

But I’ve learned some important lessons, which have genuinely changed the way I go about things. Like, for example:

1. I don’t use carrier bags any more. They used to be my biggest joy in life. Oh my God, the feel of a new carrier bag . . . the rope handles . . . the rustle of tissue paper . . .(I still sometimes go and swoon over my old collection at the back of the wardrobe.)

But now I use a Bag for Life instead. Because of the planet and everything.

2. I’m totally into ethical shopping. It’s like a win–win!

You get cool stuff and you’re being virtuous.

3. I don’t even spend money any more. I save money.

So obviously that’s not exactly, actually, literally true. But the point is, I’m always looking for a good deal. I see it as my responsibility as a parent to procure all the items that my family needs at the most cost-effective prices possible. Which is why BargainFamily is the perfect place for me to shop.

It’s all reduced! Designer labels and everything! The only thing is, you have to be a fast shopper, or else your basket expires and you have to start again.

I’m on £62.97 already, so all I need is another item around 12 quid. Come on, quick, there must be something I need. I click on an orange cardigan, £13.99, RRP £45, but when I zoom in I see a horrible lacy border.

White shirt?

No, I bought a white shirt last week. (One hundred per cent linen, £29.99, RRP £99.99. I must remember to wear that, actually.)

I click on my basket to double-check on what I’ve already got, and a pop-up window bursts forth, announcing You’ve

Saved £284 Today, Becky!

I feel a flash of pride as I survey my items. I’ve saved a whole £284! I’ve got an adorable bunny rabbit dressing gown for Minnie and a fantastic DKNY jacket, down from £299 to £39.99 in clearance, and a huge rubber ring shaped like a flamingo, which we can use next time we go on holiday.

And OK, yes. I could theoretically check out now and pay £5.95 for delivery. But that’s not prudent. I’m not a former financial journalist for nothing, I know these things. It’s far more economically sound to find yourself something else that you need, and get the free delivery.

Come on, there must be something. Tights? Everyone needs tights. Oh, but I’m always bumping up orders with tights. I have so many black opaques, they’ll last me till I’m 105. And those tartan patterned ones I clicked on last week were a big mistake.

I click on ‘Homewares’ and scroll down the items quickly. Silver antelope sculpture, was £79.99, now £12.99? Hmm, not sure. Scented candle? Oh God. No. I can’t buy another one.

Our whole house is like one big scented candle. In fact, Luke said the other day, ‘Becky, is there any chance of buying a candle called “Fresh Air”?’

I’m just squinting at a bread bin shaped like Big Ben when a pop-up appears in front of my eyes – Your Time Is Running Out, Becky! – and my heart jumps in fright.

I wish they wouldn’t do that. I know my time is running out. ‘I know!’ I hear myself saying out loud. ‘Don’t stress me out!’

Just to reassure myself, I click back on my basket again and my heart stops. The flamingo ring is sold out!

Sold out!

Noooo! I was too slow! Argh. The trouble with discount websites is, you can’t see the people snatching bargains away from you. Now my heart really is thumping. I’m not losing my jacket, or Minnie’s dressing gown. I need to fill this basket and check out, pronto.

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