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Veena’s disastrous ‘new ideas’ and why you must always refuse!

In Asha Nehamiah’s book, Trouble with Magic, Veena is full of bright ideas. She gets Aunt Malu to use her herbal magic to make something new and wonderful. But magic has its own rules, and soon Veena and her aunt are in big trouble!

Here is an excerpt that tells us why Aunt Malu is reluctant to try Veena’s new idea.


Aunt Malu should have refused to try out Veena’s new idea. Trying out her nine-year-old niece’s ideas always landed Aunt Malu in trouble.

Once, Veena suggested they get free season tickets to the circus. Aunt Malu agreed happily. When they
got there, Aunt Malu found that the free tickets were their payment for helping the lion tamer clean the lion cages.

With four lions inside them!

Another time, Veena had got her to try the Adopt-a-Pet plan. This was a wonderful plan that found homes for wounded animals. Aunt Malu couldn’t decide which of the pets she adopted gave her more trouble: the mynah with the broken wing, or the lame mongoose.

The mynah could copy the sounds of a telephone ringing, the doorbell buzzing and the pressure cooker whistling. So Aunt Malu kept rushing from kitchen to front door to telephone till she got so tired that she could barely stand.

And the mongoose wouldn’t stop stealing food from their neighbour’s kitchen.

The worst was the time Aunt Malu had agreed to make a pair of grass-cutting roller skates as a gift for Veena’s father, Mr Seshadri.

He was Aunt Malu’s older brother. He loved gardening and was very proud of his lawn. It was  the best lawn in the neighbourhood.

Veena had come up with the idea of fixing sharp blades on to a pair of skates. This meant that a person would be able to cut grass just by skating over it. It was an absolutely brilliant idea—if it worked.

There was great excitement when the gift was put together and wrapped. But the skates were a total failure!

To begin with, Mr Seshadri found it impossible to skate on the grass. He tripped and fell so many times that he was soon covered with cuts. He stopped trying to skate when he hit his forehead and was left with a bump which became the colour and size of one of his prize-winning brinjals!

When Veena tried them on, she found that she could manage to skate over the grass. But instead of cutting the grass, the skates pulled out huge bunches of it. This left big bald patches on Mr  Seshadri’s beautiful lawn. Mr Seshadri was not pleased.

That’s why Aunt Malu should have been more careful when Veena entered her workroom one morning and said, ‘I have an idea!’


Get a copy of Trouble with Magic to know if Aunt Malu made a mistake, and what Veena’s idea was!

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