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Finding My Choclate Factory

By Kartik Gala

Ages come and go while the Wheel of Time turns, unfazed by the tremendous forces of nature or the diminutive attempts of mankind. In one such age, known to us as the age of technology, the Wheel observed as high winds swept into the Deccan Plateau, momentarily interrupting my train of thought as I was pondering over an issue out on the terrace.

I was thinking: happiness is subjective. Surely, Willy Wonka must have felt that he was spreading joy in the world when he declared the release of the Golden Tickets. I was glad that Charlie had the luck to find one in his chocolate bar; it would have been heartbreaking if he hadn’t, since he had bought the bar with all the money he had in the world. But somewhere deep inside, in an untraceable part of my subconscious mind, there was a persistent sense of dejection and suppressed anger. I wasn’t to be blamed; I too was a kid who wanted to see the greatest chocolate factory in the world.

My earnest wish to see the factory was not because of my love for chocolate. The root of my eagerness stemmed from a feeling that I was growing up too quickly for my own liking. Always, I struggled to relate to the popular activities that kids my age indulged in. My friends never tired of the swings or the Cartoon Network. On the other hand, at that time, I felt that I had outgrown that phase of my life a long time ago. Since elementary school, I was fascinated by the literary works of John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez; I found myself getting involved in discussing debatable topics on online forums. To relate to the general notion of normal childhood, I wanted to visit the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory and experience what other children found delight in. The quest to find the child in me became my priority at that point of time. I was bent on harnessing all my energies and channeling the frustration into finding a solution to this dilemma. Little did I know that I would still long for my tour of the chocolate factory later on in my life.

Groaning, creaking, the Wheel of Time turns slowly, lumbering at its own speed. My childhood troubles were buried in the past as college life consumed my time, and I navigated in the labyrinth of exams and campus life, all the while having impending career decisions looming over my head. Time, out of mischief, never let me forget my unfulfilled childhood wish though. Every day, on my way to the graduate architecture research center, I used to cross a small, cozy chocolate shop at the corner of the street. Some days, I used to stop and look through the glass panel at the shiny, extravagant bars of chocolates which are in demand today. At the bottom of the shelf, I would find the modest yet classic design of the Wonka chocolate bar, reminding me of the times when it was the most popular and respectable chocolate around. With my professional education coming to an end, I found it quite silly that I couldn’t forget one incident from my childhood. But the heart doesn’t employ reason, and the sadness of not being on the factory tour stung me even today. 

The Wheel turns at its own will, at its own pace, tirelessly on and on, from the beginning of time to the end, if there ever will be one. During the small speck of time in its relative frame that it observed our age, the Wheel brought about a serendipitous moment for me. One particular day, I read in the newspaper that the Willy Wonka Factory, now an almost derelict industrial house, was about to revamp its entire setup in an attempt to salvage its dying reputation. I refused to be a prisoner of my own past. I was now a respected architect in the city, and pushed my board of directors to acquire the rights to redesign the factory’s production line and refurbish its architecture. As a premier design firm in the country, we landed the rights quite easily, and I was already preparing to give the site a visit before beginning my work. But more than the remodeling, I was exuberant at being given the chance to fulfill my childhood wish.

The Wheel spins unconditionally, causing major changes in the path of this young world of ours, as it had done in many others. It provides people with fortune and opportunity to visit places and fulfill their wildest dreams. As for me, I was found dumbstruck, standing in front of my childhood dream, the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. The inward swinging gates reminded me of the picture I had painted in my mind of Manderley, from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca; gigantic and ominous. At the other end of the gate, waiting to see his empire return to its golden days was the elderly Willy Wonka, a person I had only dreamt of meeting as a kid. Even though I was a grown man now, I’m sure nothing is going to ever make me as happy as the moment when he said ‘Welcome kid. Let me show you my chocolate factory. I’m sure you’ll like it.’ Thus began my private tour of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, the place where magic turned cocoa beans to delicious chocolate, the place owned by a man as eccentric but large-hearted as they come. 

I don’t need to describe the factory to you, as I don’t want to spoil the fun; all I’m saying is that it’s a fantasy world. I’m counting on the fact that you too will be looking, searching, and yearning for a tour of your own chocolate factory somewhere.


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Let The Good Times Roll Magazine is an online youth magazine
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