The Shy Supergirl by Shabnam Minwalla
Age Group 6+
Nina is a nine-year old shy girl with brown eyes, untidy pigtails and a dimple in the left cheek. Behind this ordinary looking girl is a Supergirl with a Superpower which is scary as well as amazing. She can observe people and find out if they are nice or nasty or a messy mix of the two. This Superpower helps her to know how people really are. But it also gets her in trouble. If she meets people who pretend, she stays away from them. No one understands her except her best friend Buggy. He knows about Nina’s Superpower and believes in it.
They live in a building called Venus Towers, which is home to two special people – Nina with her Superpowers and Mrs. Khanna with her owl collection. She has a variety of owls. Some are embroidered or printed, some are made of silver and gold, some are of ceramic and one is a funny owl door handle. A newspaper article has also been written about the beautiful owl collection.
Christmas vacations are about to begin and Nina and Buggy start making plans. Buggy announces that his cousins Krish and Tania are coming from America. Krish is fourteen years old and Tania is twelve. They get along well with Buggy and his mother. But when Nina meets them, she sees fluorescent green sparks beaming out of them. The sparks indicate that cousins are full of charm and smiles but behind that is something ugly.
The cousins get along well with all other kids in the building and Nina can see the green sparks of cunning grow brighter and sharper. Meanwhile Mrs. Chandela, the building secretary is planning a treasure hunt for Christmas Eve. Nina is quiet about Krish and Tania because Buggy might feel bad. Moreover, Nina keeps meeting bad and sad people all the time like the new building watchman who has a splotchy orange cloud around him, the colour of liars and cheaters. Then she meets Mrs. Khanna’s nephew from Singapore and sees blue-green smog swirling around his head which makes her worry.
Finally, Christmas Eve is here and fourteen of the building children are all set to play Treasure Hunt. They all assemble in the Starlight Room in the basement of Venus Towers. The two teams of seven children each is made – Team Mercury and Team Mars. Krish is in charge of Team Mercury which has Tania and Rohan as team members. Maya is in charge of Team Mars which has Buggy, Nina and Saloni as team members. The Treasure Hunt begins.
The first set of clues is given to both the teams. Team Mars deciphers it and the first clue leads them to the second clue. They are quick to understand the second clue which leads them to the idol of Lord Krishna standing outside Mr. Gupta’s house. After an hour’s efforts Team Mars is now on their eighth clue. This clue leads them to the Silver Mexican Owl in Mrs’ Khanna’s owl collection.
Together they all get in the elevator and press twelve, the top floor, where Mrs. Khanna lives. Suddenly the elevator shivers and comes to a stop. It is totally dark in the elevator. They realise it’s a power cut. After about twenty-four minutes, electricity is restored back and they reach the twelfth floor. But when they reach Mrs. Khanna’s house, they find it full of people but not for treasure hunt. Something has happened. The Silver Mexican Owl is missing!!
Among the crowd is Pintu, Mrs. Khanna’s help, looking confused. There is Mrs. Khanna’s nephew telling her that the owl collection needs to be put safely in a bank and Mrs. Chandela moving up and down the room. She calls Gopal, the new watchman of Venus Towers. Nina’s mind is racing. She is determined to find the culprit. She makes a list of suspects. First in the list are Krish and Tania, second the new watchman, Gopal and third Mrs. Khanna’s nephew.
The Shy Supergirl does not remain shy anymore. She has questions to ask, mystery to solve and a thief to catch. Is it someone from the list of suspects or she is missing some details? How will Nina use her Super Power to catch the Baddies?