Yesterday, in class, we received word that one of the faculty members who was teaching us had been appointed as an Additional Public Prosecutor. We were overjoyed. As with any good news my class is greeted with, we began to use it as an excuse to get a free period – which we managed. Today, we went one better: hounding the faculty sufficiently to get some celebratory chocolates. He very kindly obliged, something I take to be a sign od how well he could relate to our class, but also his own joy he wanted us to share in. Either way, we got chocolates today. Free chocolates, which we consumed in class. The usual suspects of such fun followed: people trying to get their hands on a second piece, some exchanges, laughter – and another free period, with a little bit of educational engagement.
This was the last period of the day, and walking back to my room with the sweet taste of success in my mouth, I wondered how many times I had enjoyed free chocolate thanks to someone else’s good fortune, or whatever reason they had to celebrate. Birthdays, promotions, they’ve all led to me consuming chocolate in some form or the other: cakes, toffees and the like. In primary school, we used to go around delivering chocolate to all the other classes in our Grade on our birthdays, and we were allowed to take one friend with us to roam around. Being that friend for someone was a great privilege reserved for your true “best friend” – because it meant a valid excuse to miss at least one period of studying. If you were truly smart, you’d both meet in the morning and conspire about which class you wanted to miss for the day. No teacher would ever deny you the opportunity to celebrate your birthday – so you were pretty much given a free pass to walk around the school with your chocolate. I used to go up to some senior classes my teachers used to teach to share in my joy with them too, and distribute some to my friends as well. Good fun.
It did, however, bring back memories of this one birthday where I definitely overdosed on the amount of chocolate I consumed. The day before my birthday, my parents used to take me to Lulu to figure out which chocolate we were going to distribute. We’d always try mixing it up – they never let me take the same chocolate two years in a row. For my birthday in Grade 4, we bought Toblerones – three whole boxes of those huge bars for every single person in class, and then some. I returned home with a whole box left, and even after giving out some chocolates in the building, there were several chocolates leftover. I loved chocolate as a child, but I had recently had cavities filled, so my parents made it abundantly clear that I was not to consume these chocolates quickly.
You see, when you’re a naive child, you think you can get away with eating these chocolates. At least, I thought so. I had good reason to believe this. First, there were enough Toblerone bars that it looked like there were a fair number left even when you subtracted some bars. Second, my parents didn’t count how many Toblerone bars there were. Third, I wouldn’t be throwing the wrapper in the dustbin directly – I’d be taking it straight to the bigger garbage chute we had in the apartment complex. All of this meant a happy Tejas without evidence that I had eaten the chocolates at all. Alas, this was not to be. My greed got the better of me rather quickly and I consumed too many Toblerone chocolate bars. There were only 4 left the next day, and I tried scattering them around the box so it looked like there were more left but I couldn’t do anything to reverse the damage. I didn’t have the money to replace the bars, nor could I hide the entire box from my parents and blame anybody else.
My parents found out that evening when they returned, and I got a good firing from both of them. I smiled cheekily, and I remember thinking to myself: they’ll never catch me again. I didn’t think I wouldn’t be greedy again – just that I wouldn’t get caught. Maturity is a gem though, and honestly, the memory of overconsuming Toblerone bars meant I didn’t eat a full big bar till very, very recently – when my mother purchased one for me in Dubai Airport on our way back to India.
I returned to my room this afternoon craving a big Toblerone bar, but also wondering what it would be like to OD on chocolate again – till I fell asleep to chocolate filled-dreams.
That is an experiment for another day.