Wednesday, March 11, 2009

THE GREAT CHOCOLATE DIVIDE

When we were young, many many moons ago, chocolates were not as plenty on the ground as they seem to be now. Now, every passing guest will bring a gift of chocolates to my two daughters; the fridge is full of yet-to-be-unwrapped Dairy Milk Chocolate bars and other goodies.

The overabundance of chocolates have made them mundane and deprived them of the luscious magic of the past. For us, chocolates were magical stuff to covet and lust for. When they came into our possession, we relished the joy of ownership and the pleasure of anticipation for a long while (almost till the chocolate itself was in danger of melting because of being clutched in our grubby hands for a considerable time). And then the unwrapping of the shiny silvery foil and gazing into the sweet delights of the best brown colour in the whole wide world. And the love affair continued at the first bite …and the next…down to the last licking of the gooey mess in the folds of the foil or the tips of the fingers.

It was understandable when we learnt in college that the word chocolate had its roots in the Mexican ‘xococatl’ – a fittingly exotic origin for an out-of-the-world flavour.

The appeal of chocolates was all the more because we got to eat them on rare occasions, and then usually it was a small Cadbury’s √©clairs or a 5-Star bar that had to be divided with great care and eaten with great relish.

So, you can understand our (my brother and mine) round-eyed, open-mouthed delight when my maasi (aunt) once gifted us a whole set of chocolate bars. The Amul company had then recently launched chocolate bars in different flavours, and maasi had generously given us the entire range!

We felt like monarchs who had been given the entire earth to rule over. There were orange-flavoured and coffee-flavoured chocolate, bars with nuts-and-raisins, rice-crispies, butter-scotch, peanuts, a dark chocolate one and a regular milk chocolate one.
Just the weight of the carry-bag and the feel of the rectangular bars (worth more to us than gold bars, at that moment) transported us to a kind of ecstasy.

And then came the difficult part. Like most monarchs who have to divide and rule, we too had to divide the booty to eat our share. Easy-peasy – eight bars, each neatly sectioned into sixteen cuboids. So what was the problem?

The problem was me. I was the glutton, gobbling my share in a matter of an hour or so, OD-ing on this unexpected bonanza, blissed out, but not satisfied. My prudent brother had a bite here and a bite there, and had kept the rest of his stash in the fridge, planning to enjoy his bonus a little at a time.

If only I would let him (Boy proposes, greedy sister disposes - this was the rule in our house). I remember coaxing him and cajoling him, then threatening him so loudly that my mother had to settle the sweet-dispute. Finally I used the pacifist-but-extremely-discomfiting ploy of sitting right in front of him when he would take out a bit of his hoarded treasure, and staring at him with starving-eyes, till he would be forced to shell out a cube or two (being a soft-hearted little fellow).

Ah, bliss all over again. Chocolate enjoyed through ill-gotten means tasted even better than the legally-devoured stuff.

DO SHARE A CHOCOLATE MEMORY.

P.S: THANK YOU, SCRIBBIT, FOR THIS MEMORY CALORIE-TRIP. (This post was written for Michelle’s Write Away contest).

13 comments:

ugich konitari said...

You know, actually chcolates define generations. 5-star was not around when we went into desperate trauma over dividing the choco-treasure. It was all about Cadbury's.

We shifted to Mumbai when both my younger brother and I were around ages 8 and 10 and lived in South Mumbai. Evevrytime we passed Haji Ali where there was a huge house of the Cadbury people, we'd imagine how wonderful it would be to live and work there. Kind of walk around picking up chocolates at will, in between meetings. and the main thing would be that there would be no one who could stop you !.....

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Gems - another favourite.

Kavi said...

Chocolate defines generations, as Suranga says ! It does !

I have been a big time chocolate addict. I guess it stems from the depravation times !

And we used to play cricket matches for bets ! The winner takes it all. And 'all' would mean a packet of gems !

:)

sukku said...

Thanks for sharing and I really enjoyed reading your article. I do like my chocolates Sugar Free now...but it can't replace the good ol' days...when life was simple...and when we can eat anything...

Scribbit said...

I've wondered if losing my taste for eating until my gut hurts is a sad thing :) To be able to eat chocolate like that and enjoy every bit---now I can't do it. A truffle or two is enough.

seanag said...

Judging by the way my younger co-workers react when anything chocolate is brought in, I am not sure you could really say it's become mundane around here. Of course, we have some really good bakers and confectioners around here...

My chocolate memory is oddly enough not of eating chocolate. What I remember is a Christmas when my grandfather gave my sister and I each a toy See's Candy truck. (See's Candy was and is preeminently chocolate, for anyone who doesn't know) I'm sure it had some great chocolates that came along with the package, but what I remember is that the truck was so 'See's'. It's strange how the little white truck with its crisp black 'See's Candy' lettering remains so vivid to me...Wonder whatever happened to those little trucks?

Mina Jade said...

Although I'm usually on a diet, and not fond of sweets, my weakness is chocolate, especially dark chocolate. And everything which contains cocoa.

Pradip Biswas said...

Last year I was in Indonesia. There were Palm trees and Coco trees in the forest. The coco fruits are just like small CoConuts and the flesh inside it was very much bitter in taste. Our local guide burnt the flesh in a slow fire and put some sugar in it. Next day it was a caramel like thing little bitter but the the drink made out of it was very much energitic. Locally people call these trees as chocolate trees.

Patricia Torres said...

ooh... I love anything to do with chocolates.. Hence love your post and the comments from other bloggers... brought back memories.. Five star... Gems... WOW!!!

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

Mmm. I love the contrast of delayed gratification—and of course, the chocolate!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi everybody, and thanks for the sweet memories.

Mampi said...

Aww, I could almost picture the last bit-and I laughed out loud.

MoziEsmé said...

I'm drooling now! I remember the magic of chocolates for holidays. Hopefully my child will see them as luxury as well, but so far not so good!