Author Khyrunnisa A. is back with the antics of Butterfingers and friends in her second novel Goal, Butterfingers

Bumbling Butterfingers is back! After endearing himself with his clumsy antics in Howzzat Butterfingers, school boy hero Amar Kishen, a.k.a. Butterfingers is back, leading a new escapade in Goal, Butterfingers! This is the second novel in the Butterfingers series written by city-based Khyrunnisa A., published by Penguin, and based on the much-loved character that the author had originally created for children’s magazine Tinkle.

“I was thrilled by the response to Howzzat Butterfingers (released in 2010). I even got a letter from the late cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi saying that he found the book to be ‘great fun’ and would pass it on to his two grandchildren! The novel is now in its fourth print and it was high time for another of Butter’s adventures,” says Khyrunnisa.

If in Howzzat Butterfingers, Amar and his equally loveable classmates at Green Park Higher Secondary School were on a quest to win an inter-school cricket tournament, this time around Amar is a bit obsessed with football and has come with an idea for a school football tournament – a sort of a ‘World Cup’ where each class will represent a different ‘country’. And, of course, as always, where there is Butterfingers, there’s bound to be chaos!

“It was good fun writing Goal, Butterfingers. I wanted to base the book on a sport that was not too technically difficult. Though I’m not much of a fan of football as I am of cricket and tennis, it was the ideal choice, because the sport is easily understood. Students of classes eight and nine of Green Park are involved in the tournament, including those from Amar’s class. However, the novel is not only about football. It’s about life in a boy’s school, having fun, pulling pranks, dealing with troublesome teachers, and now girl trouble too, thanks to the new bunch of girls who’ve joined the school,” says Khyrunnisa. “Ironically, academics take a back seat in my books,” says the author who retired as a professor of English from All Saints College in the city.

As with all her stories, in this book too, Khyrunnisa’s love for playing with the English language comes through. “I’ve always loved literature and English has always had a special fascination for me. I want to generate fun out of language,” says the author, referring to her flair for punning that always has readers in splits. “In the books, there’s this one character called Kishore, who is a lover of language, and in Goal, Butterfingers, he is forever mouthing Latin phrases. Ironically, Kishore is moulded on a young chap who doesn’t care too much for language!” adds Khyrunnisa, who has never had to look further than her own “football obsessed” son, Amar, and his friends for inspiration for her characters.

“I think they’re all secretly pleased that they’re being immortalised in print. I feel, boys remain children longer than girls. Even now, though they are in their twenties, when my son and his friends get-together, they behave like overgrown children!” says Khyrunnisa, with a laugh adding that her son and her husband, P. Vijayakumar, have been of great help in the process of writing the book.

Politician-author Shashi Tharoor will release Goal, Butterfingers in Thiruvananthapuram on September 23 at 4 p.m.

Back to sports

Khyrunnisa has tapped into a relatively unexplored market – children’s books that focus on sport. “That was a deliberate choice. Children aren’t playing enough these days, what with their computers and video games. Children aren’t being children anymore. Sport is an integral part of a child’s all-round development. I want children to read about Butterfingers and his friends and realise the fun in sport that they are missing out on. Maybe I’ll write another book with sports as a theme.”

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