Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Riddlespeak' with Nadine D'Souza

From: The 13th Riddle by Nadine D'Souza, with illustrations by Ajanta Guhathakurta
Chakrampur is a prosperous little town thanks to its smart mayor, Piloo Paheliji. He loves to show off how clever he is by asking riddles no one can answer, and even celebrates a Riddle Day every year. Whoever can answer his riddle that day stands to win a thousand rupees. But twelve years have gone by, and there have been no winners. The thirteenth Riddle Day dawns... 

Author Nadine D’Souza is a freelance writer, who loves to read and write stories for children. She also loves riddles and sent us some of her favourite brain-teasers! 

A tête-à-tête with the Mumbai-based author:

Do you like talking in riddles or do you just like riddles?
Like almost everyone else, I love a good riddle. They compel us to use common sense and the answers are always in plain sight, if we know where to look. However, I have to admit, like poor Paheliji, I do get a bit impatient with people who insist on talking in riddles all the time!

Do you know anyone in real life like Piloo Paheliji, Pammilal or the clever boy?
I've known a few Pammilals in real life. There's always that one individual in almost every classroom or workplace who loves to flatter the teacher or the boss, much to the amusement and sometimes annoyance of the others. As for the clever boy, he appears in one of my favourite stories - the delightful classic tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. He’s the little child who can’t help pointing out that the vain emperor is not wearing any clothes at all!

Some of your favourite riddles are...?
What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and the beginning of every ending?
The letter 'e'

What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?
A stamp

If there are three cups of sugar and you take one away, how many do you have?
You have just one - the one you took away.

Do you write for children or is this your first story? What inspired you to write a children's story?
I loved to read as a child and I always knew I wanted to be a writer. But I started writing children’s stories just for fun, to give myself a break from my regular work. This led me to re-read the books I loved from my childhood, and that’s when I knew that this was something I wanted to keep doing. I have previously written a picture book called ‘Revenge of the Puppets’ and at the moment I’m working on a novel for children.

What topics do you usually write on?
I used to write for a group of magazines which reported on the broadcasting, animation and music industry. Since then I’ve ventured into freelance writing, a job which allows me the space and time to indulge in that wonderful world of storytelling.

Order The 13th Riddle on our website.


  1. Chakrampur ka jae ho! jae ho! So wicked this book is...I picked it up for my children :)


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