Tag Archives: kids

The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

These days thanks to the Corona virus, I am on a reading spree. Am currently devouring all Diana Wynne gems. Really, if there is one writer whose mind I would like to visit, even for an hour then that would be Diana Jones. If you have any of her books in your hand, you are bound to find it interesting, funny, gripping, somehow realistic, uplifting and the book will definitely enter the list of your all time favourite books. How does she do it? I wish I knew. And the plots of her books are absolutely delicious.

Take The Ogre Downstairs for instance. If you go by the cover, you would think the book is about a real ogre. But the ogre in this book is a man but when you hear the kids in the story talking about him, you start to fervently agree with them. The man is definitely an ogre. The ogre is Caspar, Johnny and Gwinny’s step dad. He has two kids of his own, Douglas and Malcolm. Together, with Sally, their mother, they all live in a house which is simply too small to accommodate them all. Caspar and Co hate the ogre and his snobby kids. Sally tries her best with them but they are always polite, nothing more. One month into their new life, things suddenly change. The ogre gifts a chemistry set to Johnny and Malcolm. Ooh, I really really wish I had one of those. Because you see these sets are magic. Johnny and Malcolm, both with an inquiring set of mind get experimenting with surprising and disastrous results. There is a lot of rivalry and secrecy is the key. Both set of kinds mix up a formula which makes them fly. Caspar somehow turns his finger invisible. Malcolm becomes a boy chameleon. Gwinny’s dolls come alive and demand food. And don’t get me started on the chocolate bars and the radiator. And the bucket! Jones weaves a magical tale and slowly things between the two set of kids start improving. They go from hating each other’s guts to understanding and defending one another from the ogre. But one day, their mother disappears. Johnny and Gwinny both try to kill the ogre with disastrous consequences. Of course, Sally returns and they all live happily ever after. But what happens to the ogre? Does he die or simply vanish? Want to find out. Read this book right now.

Tough Little Kids

Man, we were all such tough little kids. Kids have to be tough.. to take leaps of faith every single day. First time in a bath with hot soapy water scalding you, soaking you from head to toe but still being brave enough to endure it.. and learn to enjoy it. First step of walking on your fat, little legs.. stumbling, falling, crying…but still getting up until you learned to walk like a good little biped. First day in school.. ooh this one is really scary. All alone without mommy or daddy in a sea of strangers, snivelling with tears running down your face! Learning to ride a bicycle or swimming. What is it that makes kids so stoic? Acceptance. I have no way out from this bath, might as well just grit my teeth and go through with it, thinks the baby. Belief. Mommy says school will make me a big girl like her and Mommy is always right. Trust. Daddy has promised he will not let me fall of the bike and I know he won’t.

I look at my daughter when she faces something new, something challenging for her. I worry as parents are wont to do. I can see the confusion, the fear in her eyes, the set of her little shoulders. Sometimes she fails, sometimes she gets it right the very first time but the moment passes, she forgets all about it.. she laughs, she plays, she makes an absolute nuisance of herself and angelically goes to sleep. No new challenge keeps her awake the entire night, dreading tomorrow. I look at her and marvel what strength of character she has! But weren’t we all little kids once? Didn’t we all battle insurmountable (for us kids) difficulties every other day and emerged triumphant? What happened along the way?? We grew up, nay, we aged.. in our minds. But when I look at my daughter or any kid for that matter, it gives me hope. Hope that I can be kinder, braver, smarter and my most perfect self. Because, as they say, ‘Once you choose hope, anything is possible’.


Summers are here with a vengeance. All one wants to do is drink gallons of cool drinks and eat… but what? Sandwiches of course. Light, fresh and delicious. This sandwich is an old favourite. It uses one of my favourite vegetables, capsicum! There is just something unique about its particular flavour. Add it to your curries, grilled in a little oil just before switching off the flame and you will see what I mean. Now, this recipe also uses french fries! So you can be sure that the kids will like this sandwich. And french fries made at home are much better for them than those of a fast food joints. Also, I have used multigrain bread for the sandwich so it’s a healthy option for your lunch box or for an evening snack. So, without further ado lets move to the recipe.


2 medium potatoes, cut long and thin

1 capsicum, cut into rounds

1 tomato, sliced

4 slices bread

2 tablespoon cheese spread

2 tablespoon chilli mayonnaise

Pinch of black pepper

Salt as required


Season the cut potatoes with salt and black pepper and deep fry till nice and golden. In a pan, drizzle a tiny bit of oil and roast your capsicum. Do the same with your tomatoes. Spread cheese on one slice and chilli mayonnaise or mustard sauce on the other. Layer the veggies, cover with the other bread slice and take a huge bite. Yum!