Cinnamon lay in bed, and stared up at the ceiling, desperately trying to stay awake.
His ears pricked suddenly.
Gradually, all the sounds in the house were reduced. Everyone had started going to bed.
The late night time Bengali serials and political discussions could no longer be heard.
Now was the time!
Mustering up his courage, he remembered that the stainless steel dabba was in the fridge. The picture of the rosogollas was too tempting to remain trapped in that bunk bed. Gripping the bunk bed for support, he lowered himself down gingerly. He couldn’t see anything at first.
To his surprise, his eyes refused to adjust to the darkness. Was it his imagination or was the darkness more intense than normal? He waited for a while but finally decided that he had to move ahead.
Cinnamon rubbed his eyes. He debated for a moment whether he should stay put. But hearing Souradeep snore, he knew it was now or never. After waiting for an eternity, he could finally make out silhouettes; enough to make out what it was. He had a good idea of where the kitchen was, and how to go there from his room. Inch by inch, Cinnamon crawled from the room’s door to the kitchen and finally the fridge.
He opened the different dabbas and feasted on the sweets, in particular the rosogollas and sondesh. He lost count of how many he had eaten, but finally his stomach was at bursting point.
Cinnamon had to make the journey back. Again, he could barely make out anything. The blackness became a bit less intense but nonetheless, persisted. He decided to get down on all fours and crawl across. He bumped his head against the bedroom door on his way back. It was all he could do to stop himself from crying, but he bit his lips. Very slowly and with difficulty, he climbed up into the bunk bed.
In the morning, he woke up to loud proclamations of ‘Ki acche?’ and ‘Key korlo?’ Tiptoeing to the bedroom door, Cinnamon poked his head out to see into the kitchen. In any case, when Maa and maashi spoke, there was no need to strain one’s ears.
“So many of the rosogollas are eaten! Maago!” said Maa. Nilanjana maashi stared deep into the tin suspiciously, as if the culprit could be found at the bottom of the jar. Didima opened the other tins as well, one by one.
“Even the shondesh and chomchoms!” exclaimed Didima. “Who ate so many, I say?”
“Must be Shouro. Such a glutton he can be na,” said Maa dryly.
Nilanjana maashi raised her eyebrows but didn’t respond.
“I was sleeping really,” Souradeep insisted.
Cinnamon was elated. He decided to stroll across nonchalantly to the sink to brush his teeth. Maa suddenly giggled.
“Cinnamon, come here,” said Maa. He went forward.
“Nilanjanadi, look at our Cinnamon.”
They all stared at him and they all on cue started giggling. Cinnamon wondered what they were staring at.
“Khokha, I say, how many rosogollas and shondesh did you eat yesterday night?” Maashi asked very sweetly, her lips rolling every letter.
“I didn’t eat any…Kubhakshana…Souradeep ate them!” There were only peals of laughter in response.
“I didn’t eat any, it seems,” chortled Didima.
Maa took him by the shoulder and dragged him to the bathroom, amidst peals of laughter.
“Look in the mirror, baby.”
Cinnamon could have died of embarrassment. His whole shirt was covered with pieces of rasgolla, malpua syrup stains, sandesh and cham chams, as was his mouth. In his haste to get back to the bed, he had completely forgotten to even wash his mouth and hands. “I look like a stupid monkey with all that sweet stuff smeared all over my face,’ felt Cinnamon ruefully.
Soon after breakfast, Cinnamon’s stomach decided it had quite enough of the nocturnal all you can eat Bengali sweet extravaganza. He rushed to the bathroom and stayed inside for a looooong time. Yes, thought Cinnamon, after coming out of the bathroom. Maa was right after all. Even too much of sweets, may be a bad thing.
But there was a bright side, Baba pointed out. He said, patting Cinnamon on his shoulder, embarrassing him, “Look at the bright side Cinnamon. At least now, you know how it feels when an elephant poops!”
From the novel ‘My Name is Cinnamon.’
This is a story from ‘My Name is Cinnamon’, a novel written by Vikas Prakash Joshi and published by ‘Hay House India’. It is an adventurous tale of a little boy whose life is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. Cinnamon, the pet name of Roshan, is a very special boy for many reasons, foremost being that he is a ‘heart-baby’ and not a ‘tummy-baby’, i.e. he is adopted. His adventures start in his home itself, where his father is Marathi and his mother is Bengali. He grows up seeing love and laughter in his life, and not to mention silly banters between his parents over food preferences.
‘The Night Time Raid on the Kitchen’ is the first of the series we have selected to publish in Sri Lankanz, with thanks to Vikash Joshi for his kind permission. (email@example.com)