Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chocolate Factory

I still remember the familiar whiff. I loved waking up to that and feeling so blissfully content at the aromatic essence engulfing our home. I would peep into the elaborate bakery and glance at the milk being stirred, the chocolate being blended and the sugar being grinded. It would all seem so magical to me. My mother was always the busy one. She would be bossing around and telling the young chefs and other helps to get moving. It would soon be opening time. “The Chocolate Factory” as was commonly known in the village was famous, one of its kind. Everyone knew the chocolates made here were sinful and yet heavenly. It was a must for every occasion, every party and even for regular eats.
The Chocolate Factory boasted of innumerable flavors, of white chocolate, coffee blended, black currant, orange essence, mint chocolate and liquor chocolates. I loved the pretty packages in which we sold the assorted boxes for every occasion whether it was birthdays, anniversaries, marriage or Valentine’s Day. I loved my fantasy kingdom and always felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.
Linda who was the cashier was particularly fond of me, she would always slip me a chocolate and grin at me. It was an unspoken secret not to tell mother that I was already indulging in chocolates at the beginning of the day. My favorite bit was to run into the kitchen and grab the ladle which was stirring the.. oh so heavenly chocolate. I would love to lick the ladle and that was the best ever. I remember boasting to my friends that no chocolate could match the taste and flavor of the remaining chocolate sticking to the ladle. Of course, I was the envy of my class. I was “Charlie”. I lived in the Chocolate Factory in the tiny village of Versaille.
The Chocolate Factory had its own heritage. I remember my father telling me the story of how great grand father had started a small chocolate shop selling only chocolate bars and how he was this magician who could create the best chocolates. The ingredients were unknown to anyone and only our family possessed the secret to the unknown. From a small shop it was know a brand in itself, we were known for our range of chocolates, chocolate bread, chocolate sticks, chocolate paste, chocolate powder… it was so “chocolaty” and so utterly heavenly.
I knew that I was to grow up and run the Chocolate Factory. I would love to help out mom running small errands of turning the mixture, cutting small stars for the packages. It was an adventure everyday for me.
The best part was Christmas when we decorated our factory. We had our own specialty of a chocolate tree, we would spend ages making the perfect chocolate tree even the decorations were colored chocolate and the star on the tree would be sparkling and very irresistible. All our friends and families would gather around the tree and we would sing carols together and enjoy the Christmas Eve dinner.
I always dreamt of making the Chocolate factory even bigger, I would have a chocolate kingdom where we would be the connoisseurs, the adventurous and the chocolate people. I thought of sending our chocolates all over the world and everyone would speak of us and our recipe. We would be on television, the radio and travel books would speak of one of the must visits before you die and of course we would be very rich and famous. I would travel around the world and give talks of the importance of chocolate. How it would always be this miracle, it could fix things, join broken hearts, create a miracle when none existed- it was an aura and a discovery which I would share.
Suddenly, I was being shaken by Andy. I looked up to see him grinning at me. He smiled and said ‘day dreaming again’. I smiled back at him. I was really day dreaming of an era gone by and a decade ago. We had all moved on. I was now in New York. I was a lawyer, a wife and I rarely had the time to pause and think. I was rushing through life and each day was passing. It was rare that I dreamt of the Chocolate Factory. I must go back I felt. I belong there and I need to go back. I remember the row which followed, the endless arguments, the countless fights. But I was determined, determined to go back and reclaim what was rightfully mine. I wanted to rebuild my empire. I wanted to be Charlie again.
Today is the big day. I open the door and place the welcome sign on it. I re arrange the chocolates carefully on the counter. I glance up and give an imaginary hug to mom and dad. I looked out to see whether anyone was there. I had left a lot of things to pursue my dreams, my heart. I knew Andy would understand and someday it would all be fine. For now, I was in my Chocolate Factory and after years and years I felt at peace. The bell tinkered and a small child walked in. She reminded me of me as she handed the coins to me and pointed at the chocolate box. I smiled in my heart. It was true. Finally, I had re built my empire but I had a long way to go- me and my chocolate factory.

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