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The Misadventures of a Diamond Thief by Lubaina Bandukwala

My take on the book:

Sahabzada Hawa Singh Rafu Chakkar (Rafu), belonged to the legendary Time-Travelling, Thieving Djinns(TTTDs). His parents are proud of their profession and lineage and strongly wished Rafu to take their legacy forward; but Rafu’s passion was cooking and dreamt of becoming a chef. When Pasha Janabe-Saariq, king of the TTTDs gave Rafu assignment to steal the Shah-i-Noor, Rafu’s mother Bibi is elated that Rafu can finally prove his prowess as the best thief to the Djinn world. 

Rafu had his own reasons to go to the kingdom of Golconda — the land of Nizams and Nawabs that is famous for its culinary delights, Rafu hoped this is his chance to learn from world-class chefs. Will Rafu be able to steal the Shah-i-Noor in an unknown land and will also be able to accomplish his mission to become a chef, against the wish of his parents, forms the rest of the story. 

As a story, it is about a young boy who refuses to be a thief as per his parents wish but aspires to follow his passion of becoming a chef. However, what adds charm is the backdrop of Haiderabad (erst while Hyderabad) when Charminar was an upcoming monument still in the making, Golkonda being the Sultan’s kingdom, with life in those days depicted as imagined by the author. 

The extravagant life of Sultans, and that of their courtiers, the poets and artists who visited from foreign countries, multiple languages and cultures that flourished together, and finally the gems and diamonds that adorned the Sultans  — the author gives a roundup of life in such heritage cities. The other standout feature of the book are the names of the characters — the author has named them in hilarious manner — Bibi Haath Ki Safai, Sawaluddin. 

Those who only read about Hyderabad but never visited it, will be intrigued by the description of the city, and for those who grew up and lived here, it will be fond trip into the past. The story in the first half introduces the characters and the pre-climax is where the author throws unexpected surprises at the reader, tying up all open threads. 

With impressive illustrations to hold the imagination of young kids, I highly recommend this as the book traces the adventures of Rafu showcasing his smartness and his passion, which has good message along with entertainment. 

My rating: