About the Book:
What do you do when your mother feels that you don’t trust her?
If you’re Samira Joshi, and your mother is an elite spy who works for RAW, the first thing you do is … hide the knives.
After that, you go straight to the therapist that she has chosen.
For, when your mother knows seventeen different ways to kill a man, you don’t argue with her. Much.
Unless she’s trying to destroy your dreams.
Then, you fight dirty. Like a spy.
Samira is sweet, sassy, and almost seventeen. She dreams of becoming a badass spy like her parents.
And, why not?
That’s exactly what her parents have trained her to be.
So, why is her mother suddenly acting like a typical Indian mom and pushing her to be a doctor?
Samira can swear on her stack of covert operative manuals that it has something to with her mother’s last mission.
Her therapist disagrees. She feels the key to the mystery lies in Samira’s childhood.
Between her mother’s drama, a trouble-making grandmother, and a confused therapist, Samira’s life is spinning out of control.
What’s a good spy to do when her dreams are in danger?
Read an Excerpt from Itsy Bitsy Spyder
The cold war between our family and Seema Kaku’s began with gunshots at her son’s thread ceremony.
I was attending the ceremony under duress, without even the comfort of a good book.
“Oh no, missy! The last time you carried a book to Sarita Maushi’s daughter’s wedding, you became the laughing stock of the whole clan,” scolded Ma.
You’re caught curled up with a book under a table, once, and you never hear the end of it.
I was sitting at a table with my older cousins, listening to them boasting about the boys they had kissed.
Eww, I thought.
When they glared at me, I realised that I had said that out loud.
“Why are you here, Sam? Go and play,” one of them ordered as if I were six years old, instead of twelve.
I sighed and moved to another table, at the other end of the room.
After an hour of sitting by myself, I just wanted to go home, but my mother wanted me to socialise. And, when your mother knows seventeen different ways to kill a man with her bare hands, you don’t argue with her. Much.
When I heard gunshots, I was happy about some excitement, finally. Until I realised that someone was using my Baba for target practice.
Thankfully, Baba had amazing reflexes and managed to duck under a table.
As luck would have it, for the first time ever, my parents were stuck without any weapons.
I had never ever known them to be unarmed. Baba always carried his .9mm Glock, even when he went vegetable shopping. As for Ma, she was an expert at carrying an arsenal on her person.
This was the woman who had turned up at her own wedding armed to the teeth, with knives strapped to her shins under her Banarasi silk sari, and a small country revolver holstered to her thigh.
Don’t worry. I wasn’t born then. I only know what Baba let drop on one of their wedding anniversaries. This was his idea of a toast to his awesome wife. But, from Ma’s fierce glare, I was sure his toast had put him in the doghouse.
On that fateful day, Aaji had put a complete and non-negotiable ban on weapons at the function.
She made Ma empty out her purse before we left, and when Ma’s tiny Swiss mini-gun fell out, Aaji had yelled at her.
“Calm down, Aai. It’s fake. It’s just a keychain, see,” said Ma, showing her the keys attached to it.
In response, Aaji picked the gun up and pointed it at the floor near Ma’s foot, and when Ma stared at her with a blank face, she placed a finger on the trigger.
I reacted by diving under the dining table.
“For heaven’s sake, Samira!” Ma said, with total disgust.
I knew she’d been trying to bluff Aaji, but I also knew exactly how much damage that tiny gun could do. It was not a fake. So, she could growl at me all she wanted. I wasn’t taking any risks, thank you very much.
“Can we at least pretend to be a normal family? What is wrong with you people? Who carries guns to a family function? Ranjit, lift up your kurta right now,” ordered Aaji.
Baba sheepishly pulled up his kurta to reveal the Glock he’d holstered to his thigh over his churidar.
“Children, please don’t embarrass our family name. Keep all your James Bond hijinks to yourselves, and let’s just have a nice day with our extended family,” begged Aaji, with a tired sigh.
As she stared in horror at the masked assassin who was pointing a gun at her only son, I was sure Aaji was regretting her decision. If Baba had his gun, he could have dispatched the guy within seconds.
But my parents were not elite spies for nothing.
Everyone in the hall had hit the floor the minute bullets started spraying from the assassin’s Uzi.
Baba grabbed a couple of empty trays from a waiter who was hiding under the next table and using them as shields, he ducked behind tables and advanced on the assassin.
Meanwhile, Ma crept up from behind the guy, silently. His attention was on Baba, so he didn’t notice Ma crouched on the floor right behind him.
She reached up and pulled out the hairpin holding her French twist in place. It was a Trojan hairpin, with an extendable stiletto blade that Ma pulled out and stabbed into the guy’s foot. So much for Aaji’s ban on weapons.
When the assassin screamed and bent to grab his foot, Baba hit him on the head with a tray and Ma turned his own Uzi on him.
They hustled him out of the hall, and people slowly started getting up off the floor.
When my eyes landed on Seema Kaku who was helping her poor son out from under the priest – oh yeah, when she heard gunshots, Kaku totally pulled the priest over to cover her precious son – I saw her furious face, and I should have realised right then, that we would never hear the end of this.