When we were growing up, we used to have something called ‘chocolate’. Except that it was not. It was hard-boiled toffee, I later learnt. The real stuff, the one made of cocoa, those were referred to as ‘Cadburys’. And this we saw rarely of. Anyway, into our world of limited choice came a rare treat courtesy of a peripatetic sailor uncle. One day, he came home with a packet of crisp, golden, feather-light ‘sweets’. We didn’t have a name for it and so came to refer to it as ‘foreign chocolate’ (what else!). Foreign was a country outside India and chocolate was anything sweet. These tiny balls of heaven were strictly rationed and we’d carry our share to school in the top rack of our two-tier tiffin box.
Years later, as I was browsing through the aisles of an impersonal supermarket in a ‘developed’ country, I chanced upon a carton that had pictures of honey-coloured globes. The box read ‘Breakfast Boulders’ and I knew I had to get it. I ripped open the pack as soon as we got home and when the first of those boulders melted in my mouth, a mystery was laid to rest. I called my sister the following day and told her that I had found ‘foreign chocolate’. She understood instantly. “How does it taste?”, she asked. “Just like it did when I was 11 and you were 9, all those years ago”, I replied.