‘What if all the laddoos aren’t recovered?’ gulped Raja Balushahi, the King of Mithaspur, glancing fearfully at his queen, Rani Rasmalai. He pried out a tutti frutti from his crown and pushed it absentmindedly into his mouth. ‘If someone from Manav Lok gets their hands on even one, I shall be in so much trouble with the Mahanagri Parishad. Even the thought of it is making my sides crumble.’
It had been almost two days since Mawali—a slippery, beady-eyed kachori with a spoiled mawa filling—had stolen a jar of magic laddoos from the royal sweet factory and snuck into Manav Lok. If a single laddoo fell into the hands of a child, they would be able to enter Chamatkar Nagri – something that was strictly forbidden.
‘Don’t worry, Balu darling,’ said Rani Rasmalai in her soft, creamy voice, gently stroking the bright orange kesar strands of his hair. ‘Our kachoris will find all the laddoos before you know it. And I think you look really cute when your cheeks flake.’
Raja Balushahi squeezed his queen’s face lovingly – some of the sugar syrup dripped down. ‘You always know just the right thing to say, my dear,’ he smiled. But the very next moment, his thick brown coating was coming apart.
‘What if they don’t? How can I explain this mess to the Mahanagri Parishad?’
The king was about to have a breakdown when a patter of feet rang through the palace. It was a group of roly-poly kachoris balancing a large glass jar on their shoulders. ‘We’ve found the magic laddoos, Maharaj,’ they chimed in chorus. ‘And Mawali has been locked inside our deepest, darkest dungeon.’
Raja Balushahi clapped and twirled around in joy. ‘You shall all be rewarded with your favourite badam halwa. And Mawali shall be sent to Thappad Pradesh.’
But he had barely raised his goblet of sweet mango lassi when a trembling kachori stumbled into the royal chamber. ‘Big … big … problem, Maharaj,’ he panted, some of his sweet mawa spilling out.
‘Are we falling short of rose syrup again?’ sighed the king, rolling his raisin eyes. ‘Or is it the ground cashews this time?’
‘Worse, Maharaj,’ stammered the kachori. ‘Shwetvardhan, the senior elder, has just sent a message. Krooradasa has escaped.’
‘What?’ sputtered the king, knocking the goblet and sending the mango lassi flying all over.
The queen looked worried. ‘It was you who banished him into the Bhool Bhulaiya, wasn’t it?’
‘Two hundred years ago, my queen. And now, he’ll be seeking revenge.’
Before either of them could speak, the kachori squeaked apologetically. ‘Maharaj, Krooradasa has also stolen the Pitambari wand.’
Raja Balushahi almost had his stuffing knocked out. ‘Not the Pitambari wand,’ he wailed. ‘It’s the most powerful wand ever made. Even if I was younger and stronger, I wouldn’t be able to stop him now.’
Publisher’s website: https://harpercollins.co.in/
For the two young siblings, eleven-year-old Arjun and nine-year-old Anindita, what starts out as a boring vacation at their grandparents’ house, turns into a grand adventure after they stumble upon an enchanted laddoo that takes them to the magical land of Chamatkar Nagri. Starting with Mithaspur, where Raja Balushahi awaits his fate at the hands of his arch nemesis, Krooradasa, the children are thrust into one exciting escapade after another – from facing evil jadugars and solving ancient mysteries to rescuing mythical creatures and finding lost treasures. A thrilling adventure that will immerse you into a world of fantasy, filled with captivating magic and unexpected dangers. Beautifully illustrated, this book comes with a pull-out board game!