Book title – My name is Cinnamon
Publisher – Hay House Publishers India Pages – 210 pages Language – English
Genre – Drama, humour
Author – Vikas Prakash Joshi
Available on – amazon.in
Purchase link – https://www.amazon.in/Name-Cinnamon-Vikas-Prakash-Joshi-ebook/dp/B0BRYKFB17/ref=sr_1_1?crid=32R2AULBDYCA0&keywords=my+name+is+cinnamon&qid=1675393561&s=digital-text&sprefix=my+name+is+cinnamon%2Cdigital-text%2C266&sr=1-1
About the author – Vikas calls himself a writer by nature and nurture and not by compulsion, ambition, or conscious choice. His writing career started at the early age of eleven and since then, he has won numerous awards and achieved notable distinctions. He has written for leading Indian publications like The Caravan, Hindustan Times, The Wire, The Hindu, DNA, Sakal Times. His essays, articles, and short stories have been translated and published in twenty-nine languages, both Indian and foreign, and in twenty-two countries.
About the book – ‘My name is Cinnamon’ – a fascinating name for a book, no? God knows I love the aroma of cinnamon. Nothing like a cinnamon sprinkled bake in the early morning to infuse warmth into the home!!
The name is what drew me to the book and by a happy coincidence Vikas sent me a copy to read. It’s an entertaining read with tier II town drama wrapped snugly in a duvet of humour. The book is the story of Roshan Rishikesh Paranjape aka cinnamon (a moniker that stuck as he could not pronounce the word as a child) and it felt like a recipe for childhood. The book has the quirky ability to draw the reader in and let them nestle in the memories that make up childhood. It took me back to my childhood and there were so many instances where in I could identify with the protagonist. I have travelled in intercity, long-distance trains and visited my relatives in far off areas. I have sampled food from the railway vendors – those piping hot pakoras, samosas and whatnot that Vikas so meticulously mentions (perhaps he is a fellow foodie!). Uff … there are just too many memories and Vikas brought them all to the fore.
Coming to what I liked about the book – The book is priced competitively by the publishers and is beautifully illustrated by the talented Niloufer Wadia. I loved the illustrations. The language of the book is disarmingly simple (suitable for age 12+) and hence it makes for a quick read and takes the reader through an intriguing journey in India. This is complemented by the titles given to the chapters which foretell what one may expect. But, apart from the generous sprinkling of unfiltered humour, this is also a book that tackles some serious issues – the stigma around adoption, inter-caste marriage, the plight of tribal folk in rural areas of Maharashtra and serious medical/genetic issues. Vikas has brought a lot of things to light.
The story line is simple; a boy in search of his birth parents learns the true meaning of finding a home. The plotline chronicles the boy’s journey in this search. It takes us from Pune to Kolkata and then subsequently to the interiors of Maharashtra (Nandurbar) where the protagonist finds his answers. The characters in the book have been etched well. The scenes from the protagonist’s childhood are particularly well written and they are replete with all the teensy details that we may be able to recollect if we throw our minds back to our childhood. Did we not give childish nicknames to our friends? Hell yes, we did!!
Narrated from Cinnamon’s POV, this book has all the masala to make it a great cine adaptation. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the one thing I would have liked more of in the story is to learn more about Aditi’s other two children. They are only mentioned in passing. I would have loved for Vikas to extend the book by a few more chapters to add their interaction too. The final disclosure too, in my opinion (and esp keeping Aditi’s aggressive perusal of the matter in mind) needed more space to fully allow for an emotional connect with the reader.
But, all in all, I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy this book. I loved it. It took me back to my childhood and doused me in the heady aroma of Cinnamon that I so love. Do pick this up, if not for yourself then as a gift for a child. They will love it just as much as you. That being said, I think I’ll now trot over to my kitchen to bake some Cinnamon rolls. I suddenly feel the craving.