“Chocolate” is a humorous story written by Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner Ms.Manju Kapur and has been published in the book – A Storehouse of Tales: Contemporary Indian Women Writers, New Delhi 2001. Although the narrative style of the story is humorous, the matter with which the story deals is serious.
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary:
The story is based on the revenge taken by Tara on her husband Abhay and is more on the feminist perspective. The story showcases some serious matters of life in a humorous way in order to show us the patriarchal reality of Indian society and how each and every fault in a family ultimately rests on a woman.
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Abhay and Tara are husband and wife but Abhay doesn’t like the fact that his wife is fat and waddles around. He even says it on her face and makes her cry. In an argument between Tara and Abhay, always Abhay is the one who gets to say the last words, thus showing his dominance.
Although Tara is the one who always ends up in tears in such fights, she isn’t much concerned about controlling her weight. She wants to be slim to suit her husband’s personality and give him no chance to complain but she loves chocolates and cannot live without them. Her last feast of chocolate was from Europe and consisted of several flavours and varieties. She loved those chocolates that much that even if she was not eating them, she could still feel their favour in her mouth.
Abhay also wasn’t much concerned about her weight as indeed,he was the main supplier of her chocolates. Everytime, he brought her the chocolates, he apologized for not getting enough time to spend together and rubbed her fat belly to prove his love.
Abhay’s attitude made it clear that he was having an affair and wanted hid wife to get fat quickly so that he could divorce her but why Tara still couldn’t sense it.
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Tara never took her life seriously and always depended on her parents to make each and every decision in her life. When she was a child, she was sent to an all-girls convent school with which she learned dance and music as her mother has told her that these abilities will add her grace. In her college life, she again chose an all-girls college and English honors as her major.
She thought that English would be easy, but that obviously wasn’t the case. She found her major very tough and always bunked classes with her friends and complained her mother about how hard her teachers expect her to work.
Tara’s wedding occurred during her final year’s preparatory holidays before exams and when the results were out she already has had her honeymoon. Her result was bad but Tara didn’t even expect that. She thought that she would fail but was happy to know that she graduated. Abhay didn’t know this fact and thought Tara must be sad with her poor scores, therefore he consoled her.
Tara and Abhay’s Visit To The Doctor
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Abhay’s family was eagerly waiting for them to have a child but had to wait too long before agreeing that it will only happen with the help of medical intervention. Tara was the one who was sent to the doctor but her reports made it clear that she was alright. Now it was Abhay’s turn to visit a doctor but he straightly refused.
(This shows the mentality of our society that how always a woman is blamed if a couple fails to have a child.)
After Tara’s second time arguing with Abhay, he finally agrees to go to the doctor and founds that the problem is with him only but decides to keep it a secret.
The Divine Intervention
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Abhay refuses to take medical intervention and sends Tara to have divine intervention. Tara crawls on her hands and knees to Vaishno Devi and other shrines. Her mother-in-law finds this right whereas Tara has to face cringing comments from the people. She still wears stones on her neck and fingers.
When everything fails, Abhay starts feeding her chocolates.
Tara Busts Abhay’s Affair
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Abhay always used to get Tara large amounts of chocolates from his every trip but one day Tara asked him that why they all were the same peppermint flavour. Abhay replied that those were the only ones that the airport got but Tara knew that airport had a large variety of flavours therefore, she asked him to not to repeat the same mistake again and bring her different flavours. Abhay still brings her the peppermint chocolates from his next trip and sends Tara into deep thoughts.
Tara notices the large amount of chocolates that Abhay has brought for her and thinks that how Abhay, who has a great memory forgets her wife’s this demand? A suspicion arises in her mind and she decides to spy him. Just as expected she finds him having an affair. Tara feels very broken and sad on this and tries to have some chocolates, but this time they made her gag and gave her Nausea. Tara who loved chocolates so much has finally started to hate them and never ever bit any piece of chocolate again.
Chocolate Manju Kapur Summary: Giving up on chocolate, Tara finally loses weight and becomes very slim. She decides to take revenge on Abhay. She starts wearing Salwar Kameez and joins Mrs.Singhal’s cooking classes. Tara loved cooking very much and finds it to be the only thing she was ever good at. She starts feeding Abhay wonderful dishes, Abhay likes her dishes so much that he even calls his friends for supper. He starts to gain weight and Tara starts adding more and more cream and cheese in her dishes.
Abhay’s affair brakes up due to his weight and his colour starts fading. It was the time when Abhay started waddling and Tara complained but she still didn’t feel satisfied. To have her revenge, she needed to have an affair. For that, she chooses Abhay’s friend who dropped some hints earlier to be a perfect prey. She gets pregnant with his help and was clever enough to end their relationship in time, thus, leaving no traces behind.
When Abhay suspected, Tara told her that maybe it’s his improved health that helped her in getting pregnant but Abhay still spies on her to find nothing as Tara has already cleared her affair.
When Tara’s baby is born, she sings her lullabies of proud warriors and wants her education to be career oriented which will make her independent and not weak.