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Updated: September 17, 2013 16:20 IST

Casting a spell

Bincy Mathew
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The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street
The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street

The kids at Cosy Castle enjoy themselves up the Bimbli trees. Where will they play if the trees were to be chopped?

In The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street by Shabnam Minwalla, we are introduced to the Malliks. They have just arrived in Mumbai and moved to Cosy Castle, an old and grey box-shaped building with six floors, built only a few years after independence by one Mr. Gautam Mehboobani.

Formerly known as Mehboobani Mansion, its name is changed to Cosy Castle by Mrs. Braganza, one of its occupants, clearly showing how she could throw around her weight to suit her fancy. But will she get away with just anything she wished? Not when she had to deal with a bunch of kids, and definitely not when she threatens to cut down bimbli trees, where the kids like to spend their time.

Stirring up trouble

The Malliks are the latest occupants of Cosy Castle. Their daughter Nivi soon finds a friend in her neighbour Sarita, whom she spends time with up the trees in the garden opposite Cosy Castle. Betty Braganza’s speech and drama classes are disrupted when these two little girls raise their voices a few decibels above a whisper.

But it is the intrusion of Sanya, who does not live in the same building, which sends a shiver up Mrs. Braganza’a spine. The fear of outsiders coming to the garden and making more noise leads her to join hands with her nemesis and neighbour, Mrs. Kotadia. So it is decided to have the trees in the garden chopped.

Will the kids so easily gulp down this decision? But what can the kids do to counter the decision of the elsers?

There’s magic up the bimbli trees, tweet Sarita and Nivi. But how will they make the magic work? How will they make the rest of the kids in the building believe in the power of the trees and magic, especially a fairy in the garb of a chubby P. “Can a fairy be big?” asks Venu, one of the kids in the building.

However, things begin to fall in place when all the kids put their heads together to work out a plan.

The Braganzas are scared into silence by the “ghosts” cooked up by the kids. But what about Mrs. Kotadia? How will the kids find out what Mrs. Kotadia fears?

Find out how these smart kids go all the way to meeting a man working in a newspaper to ask him to write what they want him to and how he comes to agree to what the kids want.

A quick read, The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street, is a funny story about the familiar scuffles that happen between middle-aged people and kids simply wanting to have fun.

THE SIX SPELLMAKERS OF DORABJI STREET by Shabnam Minnwalla, Hachette India, Rs. 250

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