Author: Kavitha Mandana
Hampi, September 2005: A breathtaking landscape, the ruins of a prosperous kingdom, and over cups of hot tea, two friends discover stories about the world's smartest jester— Tenali Raman. Sulekha is studying in Class V and has been allowed by her principal to accompany her mother to Hampi, on the condition that she produces a full report about life in the Vijayanagar empire on her return. In Hampi, Sulekha meets the cocky TJ, who claims to be a descendant of one of Vijayanagar's most famous citizens, Tenali Raman, and together they start collecting stories about the jester and his kingdom. Tenali, it turns out, had a solution to every problem that befell the kingdom— from the mundane to the bizarre: How do you carry a pot brimming with holy water, over hundreds of miles, without spilling a single drop? The king wants to build a palace he has seen only in his dreams, how can he be stopped? And a man is to be hanged for having a 'bad-luck' face, can Tenali prevent this? As they exchange anecdotes about Tenali Raman, Sulekha and her friends also learn more about the Vijayanagar empire, King Krishnadevaraya and what life was like in sixteenth-century south India. Wonderfully witty and bubbling over with fun and facts, this book is not just about one of India's sharpest minds, it is a peep into a vibrant period in Indian history.