Stoob is back for his third adventure in Samit Basu’s children’s book series, Mismatch Mayhem. The book opens with a world-weary Stoob in Thailand where he is on a family vacation with BFF Ishani and her parents. A girl is responsible for Stoob’s jaded self and also threatens to come between Stoob and his brainy friend, Rehan. The Delhi-based Samit talks about why he chose to tell the tales of Stoob’s after school shenanigans. Excerpts.
What does your friend, Stoob, have to say about his print avataar?
He was a bit worried about the first one because he didn’t realise I was writing a children’s book and his early 20s exploits are not for public consumption as he is a very respectable senior executive now. He was relieved when he saw it was a kid’s book about a boy who only shared his name. I don’t know if he liked the book but there is always the implicit threat of a book based on his grown-up self if he doesn’t so I don’t think he would tell me.
Dating disasters, cricket and bollywood — is Stoob becoming mainstream?
Quickly becoming a World’s Leading Expert on subjects you previously had no interest in is an essential part of having a first crush. Kids nowadays have no choice but to go mainstream — even the things they think are off-beat edgy interests are usually created by billion-dollar corporations. We grew up in simpler times when we had no idea what was mainstream and what was alternate because there wasn’t so much stuff around.
When we spoke earlier, you said the books are not “necessarily a school series. It is a Stoob series.” Mismatch Mayhem doesn’t have much of school in it. Is that the path ahead for Stoob?
With Mismatch Mayhem , I thought I’d explore the world that today’s kids live in where they have really rich and complex lives both in the real world and on the internet. The social complexities of today’s pre-teen world are more difficult than those I have to deal with in my 30s — parties, camps, Whatsapp, tuitions. But in Revolting Specimens , the fourth Stoob book, it is all back to school as Stoob becomes a campaign manager for an important election.
Are there going to be a finite number of Stoob books? How old will he be in the final book?
The fourth one is all I am planning for now, which leaves us with Stoob entering his teens. Certain interesting developments might take place on the adaptation front, but I can’t really talk about that until it becomes a real thing. If that happens, though, there will be a lot more Stoob very soon.
I have a Big Fat Book for Grownups to write after Stoob 4 and a few films I am working on, so while I might, and want to, do more Stoob work, I am not sure at this point when that is.
What do Stoob’s long-suffering parents do?
His father works in a standard corporate. His mother worked in an Elegant Social Sector job, though at present she is taking some time off and colouring a lot of colouring books and giving Stoob a lot of good but depressing advice.
What will Stoob become when he grows up?
I still don’t know what I will become when I grow up so I can’t really answer for Stoob. It depends greatly on what new things mankind invents over the next 20 years. For example if teleportation is invented Stoob will be a stay-at-home travel guide. I have no idea what Stoob will do next year, let alone when he is an adult.