YeahWrite #329 Weekly Writing Challenge : Personal Essays & Mostly True Stories
On my way to school, I watched with great fascination and envied the contents of the
transparent round glass jars displayed on the counters of the general store. The oblong
orange candies sitting snugly as if hugging each other salivated my mouth. The rose
flavoured peppermints with a hole in the middle invaded my olfactory senses. The multi-
coloured square jelly beans made my innards dance. The scene slowed down my pace at
the sight of the tiny general store.
Household items, multicolour balls, ribbons etc never
grabbed my eyeballs. I had a vague feeling that Prasad Uncle, the proprietor deliberately
displayed them in extra transparent jars to tease and mock me. Though Prasad Uncle was
an affable person with a wide smile on his face, I did not much warm up to him. The fault
did not lie with him or his sweets in the jars but the sweets ranked low on quality in my
It was not that I was not pampered as a child. They brought chocolates and ice-creams
which I didn’t fancy much. Maybe I had got them on a platter and forbidden sweets taste
the sweetest. Going to school and back home was an ordeal for me. When I saw some of
my friends exiting the store with candies in their palms or in their mouth, I would feel a
pang of jealousy. I ardently wished my parents would yield to my simple demand.
I tried to plead my mom to buy those colourful sweets but in vain. I then decided that
when I grow up I will never deny any sweet pleasures to my off-spring.
A 25 paise coin lying on the table attracted my attention. Mom must have
forgotten to safe-keep it into the steel box in which money for miscellaneous expenses
was kept. The sight of the gleaming coin dilated my pupils and I saw jars of candies. I
surreptitiously hid the coin in my palm and looked for the presence of my elders. The
metal coin lay hidden in my pencil box.
I whispered my plan to my younger sibling who was appalled at my boldness. I assured
that we would never be caught provided he kept it a secret.
The next day we both held hands and walked together to Prasad Uncle’s General store.
My heart was going a jig while my sibling begged me to abandon my plan and return
home. I being the elder sister sternly told him that we would be accomplishing our
mission. It is your mission he reminded me.
We entered the store and Prasad Uncle was a bit surprised to see us in. We had never
made any purchases and what worried him further was that we were unchaperoned. I put
the coin on his counter with a sonorous bang.
Coming out of the store with ours mouths full of candies was a joyous moment for me.
Our tiny palms held many more candies and we held our fist tightly to prevent them from
falling to the ground. I held a treasure in my palm. We ate many candies on the way
back. The cheap candies singed my tongue due to overeating but that didn’t stop me
from sucking. After having indulged and satiated, the remaining candies were thrown in a
ditch. We made our way to home with not so happy faces. After eating the forbidden
sweets the germ of guilt started to gnaw my conscience. I had acted rashly and realized
the reason behind my parents forbidding us to eat the cheap candies. I promised to
myself that I would never do anything on the sly.
But we both did not have the gumption to own up the mistake to my mom.
In the 9th grade we had an English lesson, ‘Sweets’ by Robert Lynd’s and the whole
childhood episode replayed in front on my eyes much to my amusement.
Years later, when I was in my teens I narrated the incident to my mom. The relationship
by now was ruled less with an iron hand and we were more closer as friends. She laughed
and boxed my ears. I too laughed with her.
I have learnt a very valuable lesson in life and I echo it to my teen: The forbidden fruits
which may include sweets do not taste sweet when indulged on the sly. It leaves a bitter
aftertaste in the mouth. Happiness shared is happiness doubled.
Readers, do you love sweets?
The Indian currency is called Rupee.
100 paise = 1 Rupee