Grandma's Story

“Mumma, story!” Annie isn’t sleeping. She wants her mother to follow the daily ritual. “No, Annie. Mamma busy. No story today. Close your eyes. Sleep!” Christina replies. “No, Mumma! Tell me a story first! Story of the snow-white fairy!” Annie blabbers on and on. Story! Story! Okay, small story! Annie starts stomping her feet and cries. Savitri calls her daughter-in-law, Christina, and asks, “Why is Annie crying?” “Ma! She’s insisting on a story. I’m busy with Aahan’s project.” “Okay, you send her here.”  Nooo! No story from Grandma!” Annie cries. “I’m not talking to her. She didn’t give me chocolate, gave a ladoo instead! I don’t like ladoo, grandma, Aahan and you too, mamma! “Annie, come here, dear. I’ll give you chocolates and tell you a story of a fairy who lives in the land of chocolates.” Annie rushes to her grandma’s room. “Promise! Chocolate grandma?” “Yeah, sure! Come here, my adamant, big nose, sweety.” “No, my nose is not big. Yours!” Annie snorted her nose. “It’ll become big if you keep having chocolates.” Savitri retorts. “You said there wouldn’t be any teeth left if I ate chocolates.” “Okay, do you want to hear the story?” “Yes!” “Lie down and listen carefully.” “Grandma, chocolate?” “Yes, the fairy will give you a bagful of chocolates from Chocoland.” “Really? Bagful chocolates! All mine?”  Savitri nods, observing Annie’s greedy gleaming eyes that reminded her of Christina’s eyes when she had seen her ancestral jewellery. “No, I won’t let her have it. It was for Ankita, my choice. Annie can have it if she follows our traditions.”  “Grandma! Story. Chocolate fairy’s story!” Annie’s voice breaks her reverie. She begins her story. In a far, far away land, over the snow-clad mountains, across the ocean was a valley that smelled of cocoa. There, the air had a chocolate flavour. The chocolate would ooze out of the earth like lava, making a very high fountain, touching the peak of the tallest range. The lava cascaded down into the valley and formed a chocolate lake. The valley turned into Chocoland. “What’s Lava?” Annie inquires. “What did you have for dinner today?” Savitri asks. “Pasta and chocolate shake,” Annie grins. She has Christina’s wide smile. Annie had Christina’s features but not her fair complexion, whereas Aahan was as blond as his mother. “Where did all that pasta go?” Savitri asks and answers herself while scrolling her finger on Annie’s lips, chin, neck and down to the stomach and tickles. Annie sits up and points at her tummy. Savitri says, “As your tummy stores your dinner, the Earth’s tummy has Lava. It’s a hot liquid mineral deep inside the belly of the Earth.” “So, chocolate is the susu of the Earth”, Annie giggles.  “No, silly!” Savitri smiles and explains, “Chocolate is prepared from Cocoa beans which grow on a cocoa tree. When the Earth devours too many chocolates, it bloats, burps, shakes and sometimes vomits chocolate lava.” ‘Oh! how gross!” Annie shrinks her nose. “If you eat lots of chocolates, you will also vomit choco lava.” “Aah! Like choco lava cake.” Savitri laughs and continues the story. The Chocoland was ruled by a fairy queen. Her skin was shiny, flawless and chocolatey brown. She had hazelnut eyes, and her voice was as sweet as honey.  “Grandma! Fairies are white.” “No, this fairy is chocolatey brown. She’s the queen of Chocoland.” Savitri curtly replies. “No, white fairy!” Annie intervenes.  Savitri ignores Annie’s demand and continues. After brushing her teeth with a mint brush, she loved taking a dip into her chocolate pond. She powdered herself with the chocolate powder to enhance her chocolatey beauty. Now, she wanted to try on her new dress. The birds had stitched an umbrella-cut purple skirt with silky corn husk, and the spiders had weaved a green top with the banana stem fibres. The Queen tried the new green top. Its buttons were at the back. She tried to button up her dress at the back. Oh, god! She was sweating and puffing, but her hands did not reach her back. She fell on her bed and cried for help. She called out for the maid, “Hey! Come here, help me button up my dress. The Queen’s maid was a snail. She came running in an hour. The Fairy Queen took a sweet short nap till that time. You see, the Chocolate Fairy Queen had become sooooo fat that she couldn’t button up her dress.  “But mamma buttons up my dress. Grandma, I’m not fat.” “No, dear, you’re my tiny little munchkin.”  Her shoes were bright orange and made from the skin of round yellow pumpkins. The butterflies helped in tying knots of the shoelaces.  “Like Papa ties mine. Papa knows everything. He called it eaglets. Eaglets! He! heh! Heh! Like piglets. Eaglets, egg’s baby!” Annie gets lost in her stories. Annie! Anna! Listen! Savitri draws her attention back to her. “Grandma, Fairy didn’t know how to tie laces?” “No dear, no one ever taught her,” Savitri replies with a sigh. She combs her long silky, milky white hair with a milk teeth brush.  “Why does the fairy have white hair? Is she old like you?” “Yes, dear, she is the queen fairy.” “No, fairies are never old and fat. They are fair and beautiful like Mumma.” Savitri observes a frown on Annie’s face like Christina. She was irked with constant interruptions. She hears Christina humming an English song while helping Aahan.  She reminisced about her glorious past, winning the beauty pageant, “How does life take a turn? Wrinkly old and a few pounds heavy!” Savitri remarks in a stern voice, “No, the queen is plump and brown. She looks beautiful in her silky white hair.”  “Awwn!” Annie fidgets, shaking her hands nervously. “No, white fairy!” “Do you want to hear the story?” “Yes, but make the fairy white wearing a beautiful flowery dress.” “Ah! She’s as adamant as her father. He always has his way.” Savitri thought.  “No, this is my story, or you tell Grandma your story!” “Okay, you tell!” She adorned a strawberry necklace around her neck. Pleased with her looks in her amber mirror, she gave the prettiest smile to herself. She sprinkled her favourite vanilla perfume and asked for her breakfast.  She had a glass of chocolate banana shake and pancakes with chocolate syrup and honey. And she was ready to go to work at her chocolate factory. She looked into the mirror to check her appearance and decided to comb her hair one more time. Oh, No! A piece of chocolate was sticking in her hair. The queen started combing, but the milky white tooth comb got entangled in the Queen’s sticky chocolatey hair. She pulled it hard. The comb broke into pieces. Perhaps the chocolates ruined that toothcomb. It was a hard day that Monday. The Chocolate Queen Fairy had to climb a tree to fetch the honey. The teddy bear employed to collect the Honey was on leave to meet his mother. She missed him. She picked up the empty honey bucket and tried to climb. Whoa! It was hard. She could do it easily in childhood. She tried again but slipped and fell. The bucket rolled over and over and slid into the muddy chocolate pond. The Fairy Queen was in a fix, ‘How would she prepare the sweet sticky chocolate mix?’ “Grandma, Where’s her magic wand? Can’t she do magic?” Annie asked. “The queen had kept her magic wand in a cupboard. There was no need for it, and she didn’t like to use magic for daily chores.”  “But why?” “Because she doesn’t want to set a bad example. Nowadays, mummy-papa fulfils all your desires. You kids are becoming lazy and asking for stupid things. So, God changed the wish-granting policy.” “What Policy?” “God told the fairy not to grant wishes like achievements without hard work, unnecessary gifts or troubling someone. So, there’s nothing much left for the fairy to do.” “But a fairy is no fairy without a magic wand.” Annie’s face twisted; her lips curled to show her displeasure. Savitri thought, “Are my opinions clouding my story? But this is her time to learn. Life is not a bed of roses, a fairyland.” “The Fairy has a magic wand. The wand comes flying to the Chocolate Fairy Queen whenever she wishes for it.” “Awwn! Tell her to call her magic wand, now!” Annie pleads. “Yes, she will. Let me finish!” “No, magic!” “Anna! listen! My story!” The Chocolate Fairy Queen requested a few bees to fetch her honey. They refused and told her to ask the queen bee.  She shouted out for the Queen bee to help her.  “Why not discuss the matter, queen to queen?” The queen bee invited the Fairy Queen to her honeycomb. The honeycomb was high up in the tree.  Now, what could she do? She cried for help. The loading elephant came trudging by. It demanded extra wages to help the queen out. “Oh! How can you? I’m asking for help.” The Fairy Queen asked. The elephant flapped his big ears and replied, “Lady, it’s hard work with risks involved.” So, the Chocolate Fairy Queen gave the elephant a ton of sugarcane from her field. The elephant rolled his trunk around the chocolate queen fairy and lifted her.  “Oh, gosh! You’re heavier than my wife.” The Fairy Queen rolled her eyes and told the elephant to mind his business. She went inside the queen bee’s honeycomb.  She was disgusted with this body shaming and said, "Imagine an elephant telling me that I am heavier by a few pounds! Can't it see?”  “Is my weight a genetic problem? No, hereditary! Or a dietary issue?" She wondered. The Queen bee buzzed, "Oof! Forget it! Male chauvinism. Stupid elephant! Let's sting him. Swell him!" The Fairy Queen joined in, " Tease! Make him run. Teach him for good!"  Both clapped a high five and raised a honey lemonade glass. The Chocolate Fairy tasted the honey and made a deal, “In exchange for nectar-sucking rights across the chocolate valley, the honeybees will deliver the Honey to her chocolate factory. The Chocolate Fairy Queen had to go for an important job. She left her factory work to junior fairies. Off she went, flying over the vast blue ocean, crossing the mountain, over the jungle, across the river far into the mainland, looking for the kids with milky white teeth.   “Whyyyy?” Anu’s eyes widened with fear. “Because she wanted a new comb,” Grandma replied. “Grandma, are my teeth milky white?” Annie was a bit frightened. “Yes, my dear, you’re just six years old. You have the brightest milky white teeth.” “Your Queen Fairy is a witch. She wants my milky white teeth for her comb.” Savitri is impressed with Annie’s intellect. Annie seems inquisitive for her age, unlike Aahan. “But, that’s the job of a tooth fairy,” Annie said. “Mumma tells me that when a tooth fairy comes to take the milk tooth, she will place a coin or a gift under my pillow at night.” “Yes, dear, the tooth fairy takes away only the baby teeth, but the Chocolate Fairy takes the new shiny tooth too. “So, why did the Chocolate Fairy Queen come?” “She has come to offer chocolates to children. After all, she had a business to run.” “Oh, Wow! I want one. You tell her to give me a bag full.”  “Yes, she will, in exchange for your milky white tooth.”  “No, she’s wicked. But I love chocolates.”  “I will give you one after the story.” The Chocolate Fairy Queen landed with a thud from her chocolate carriage. The white horses flying the carriage forgot to reduce the speed while landing. There was dust all around her. The Fairy had lost her balance and fell to the ground. She was on all fours. She looked around and hoped that nobody had seen her falling. She was hurt and couldn’t get up. Annie’s nose and forehead wrinkle like her father's when they seriously contemplate any issue. Then her eyes lit up. She says, “Tell her to call her magic wand.” “No, you can’t use a magic wand for everything.” “Grandma! Magic! Magic wand!” A bull was passing by. It asked, ‘What’s the matter, dear damsel?” The fairy said, “You see, I need help to get up.” The bull quipped, “Lose some weight, my dear”. “Hey, you can’t bully me. I am just fine.” “Don’t be offended. Look at me, I’m a bulky bull, but I’m healthy. I can run after a horse, chase away lions and plough my field.” The bull asked, “Can you do your work without help or defend yourself?” Fairy queen replied, “Yes, I can.” "Then lift yourself and stand up." The Fairy Queen admitted, "Okay, Sorry. But what do I do? I’m getting old. Please help me." "My dear, age is just a number. Eat healthily, walk around and work hard, as long as you are active and happy. You’ll do just fine." The Bull placed its horn under the bums of the queen, gently gave a slight nudge with his head and told the Fairy Queen to help herself.  "Aah! It hurts", said the Fairy Queen. The Queen pulled herself and got up. She thanked the Bull, offered him chocolates and bid him goodbye.  Now, the chocolate fairy queen looked for children. She saw a little girl, Sanskriti, back from school. “Hey, Sanskriti! How are you?" “Ahem! I’m fine. Do I know you?” “I’m the Chocolate Fairy Queen. I’m here to offer you a bag full of chocolates.” Sanskriti laughed. “No, you can’t be. Fairies are white and beautiful. You are brown and fat! And, where is your magic wand?” “See, grandma, I told you so.” Annie was happy that Sanskriti seconded her. “Annie, darling, you’re my angel. Isn’t it?” Annie nodded.  “What’s your skin colour?” Annie looks at her hand and says, “it’s light brown.” "Does Papa love you?" "Yes!" "Mama?" "Yes!" "Aahan?" "Yes! But Aahan fights. Pulls my hair! Once, threw my doll also!" "Okay! Okay, what’s important is that he loves you. I love you too!" “See! It’s not your colour, but you, my angel, we love you, then why couldn’t the Fairy Queen be chocolatey brown?” “Yucky milky chocolate! dark is good!” Annie rolls her tongue, making faces.  “Hey! My darling Drama Queen! You’re fit to become an emoji model. Maybe, an actress! Savitri hugs Annie.  “Ah! The good old days! But, conveniently forgotten! No, not a model. A famous actress! Jewellery will help!” Savitri thought.  “Now, lie down! Be sleepy! Your mother will scold. Close your eyes, naughty!”  “Grandma, did Sanskriti take chocolates from the queen?” Annie asks. “Oh! The story. Have I made it too complicated?” Savitri struggles with her ideas. She continues. The Queen Fairy was disheartened. She tried again to impress Sanskriti.  Smiling wide in her dazzling white minty teeth, she explained, “You see, Cocoa beans are first purple and then turn dark brown in the Sun. The Sun bakes everything brown and strong. I was born in Chocoland. I'm a chocolate fairy, so I’m chocolatey brown. Chocolate is my staple diet. I love it with honey, vanilla ice cream, cakes and cookies.” "I don’t know you. My mother has told me not to take chocolates from strangers." Sanskriti started running. The Fairy Queen ran after her. The Fairy Queen was astonished at how the times had changed, “The children used to run after me, requesting chocolates. ‘Mam, chocolate, one for me, one for my siblings.’ Little liars!” She smiled. She called Sanskriti, “Hey, wait for me.” “No, mother is calling me.” Intrigued by Sanskriti’s reluctance, the Queen fairy followed her. She knocked at Sanskriti’s door. Her mother came out.  The Fairy Queen offered a bagful of chocolates for Sanskriti. Her mother said, “No, we don’t buy chocolates for our children. It spoils their teeth.” “Oh, please, I’m not a saleslady. I’m a Chocolate Fairy Queen.” Sanskriti’s mother remarked mockingly, “Oh! I see. I’m the Queen of Disney land. Shall I call the police and make you a prison queen?” The Chocolate Fairy muttered under her breath.  Savitri waves her hands and changes her voice for dramatic effects, “Hocus-pocus,                                                                                Abra-ka-dabra        Let me take a stand                                                                               Wand in my hand!” Annie jumped on the bed, “Yay! Magic!” Woohoo! The magic wand came flying, and boom!”  The Chocolate Fairy Queen transformed into a beautiful white flying fairy with blue eyes. Her looks were complete with a tiara, shimmery feathery wings, and a long white flowing gown. Sanskriti and her mother had never seen such a beautiful fairy. Neither in books nor movies. Dumbfounded to find one at their doorstep, they didn’t know what to do.  Now with a flash of light, the Chocolate Fairy Queen came into her original being. She said, “Dear lady, I’m comfortable in my skin. I don’t need magic to look appealing.” Sanskriti’s mother apologised and invited her inside. The Chocolate Fairy Queen was hungry, tired and sleepy.  “Wow! What an amusing spread! Is it all edible?” The Chocolate Fairy Queen took a round of the dining table. Sanskriti’s mother offered her lunch. There was green salad, red bean curry, rice, curd, a bowl of colourful mixed vegetables, and chapati. The Fairy Queen had never eaten such a delicious meal. Later, Sanskriti’s mother offered the Queen gram flour, ragi ladoos loaded with dry fruits and green gourd barfies. Queen Fairy fell in love with the delectable sweets. Annie twists her lips, and her nose shrinks, “Ladoo! Green gourd Burfi, Yuck!” How can the Chocolate Fairy Queen like it! I hate it!” Savitri laughs, “Okay, you enjoy the story.” The Chocolate Fairy Queen asked, “If you can eat sweets, then why can’t you have chocolates?” Sanskriti replied, “Mummy says that the Ladoos, green gourds are full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. It will make me strong and healthy.” The queen retorted, “Even my chocolates have vitamins and minerals.”  Sanskriti’s mother explained, “Eat freshly prepared meals. Enjoy every food available on this planet. Even your chocolates are not bad for health.” “I know. I ate it all my life. I can’t help it if I’m gaining weight. I’m getting old. I can’t change my lifestyle.” The Fairy Queen sighed. Sanskriti’s mother consoled her, “Don’t worry. All seasonal food is good for health. It’s the excess of any food that harms our body. Include all nutrients, all colours and fibre. Enjoy a balanced diet.”  Nobody had ever guided her before. The Chocolate Fairy Queen requested, please help me.” Sanskriti’s mother replied, “Sure! Promise to share my recipes if you would give me your chocolate recipes.”  The Fairy Queen stayed at Sanskriti’s place to learn healthy cooking. Together, they created healthy chocolatey fusion recipes. “Grandma, Won’t she take away Sanskriti's milk teeth?” “No, dear. Sanskriti eats a balanced healthy diet. Her milk teeth belong to the tooth fairy.” “But what about the Chocolate Fairy Queen’s comb?” “She’ll find children like you who eat too many chocolates.” “Nooo! I’ll take just one and brush my teeth.” Grandma smiles, “Okay, sweety! You can have one. Come, kiss me, then she’ll not take your milk teeth.” Annie yawns and asks, “So, how will the fairy queen comb her hair?” “Oh! She’ll make a comb of walnut wood.” “Okay!” “Granny, I’ll eat ladoo tomorrow.” Savitri smiles, “Yes, you can, with milk.” Annie hears her father's car's horn. She runs to greet him.  Annie returns with a box inside. She opens the box and finds the Ferrero Rocher chocolates in it.  "Yay! My favourite!" Annie dances around. "Grandma! ladoo for you." "Ladoo?" Savitri looks at the chocolate balls. "Yes, Chocolate ladoo! Okay, Promise, one every day!" “Hey! You promised homemade ladoo!” “No, I said ladoo!” Savitri sighs, "Incorrigible children! There go all my efforts down the drain! Now, chocolate ladoos?”  “I tell you; these Europeans are imitating us! Yoga, Ayurveda, Namaste after Corona, Indian cuisine and cotton! They’re adapting our traditions. And our foolish children! Blindly following them! Making western families! Huh! Cakes, burgers, pasta. Fast food, fast life and fast wives!" She rambles. Still lost in her grumblings, Savitri eats the chocolate ladoo, “Ah! It’s heavenly!” The dark sweet molten chocolate hazelnut core melts in her mouth, and she wishes for more. “Why do all good things have red flags attached?” She calls Annie.  Grandma! you said, just one!” “Ma! You’ve diabetes.” Christina warns from the other room.  “I love it when Christina cares for me, implores me to taste her cooking- the eggless cakes, cookies and pizzas. She knows that I love cakes but pretend otherwise. Yet she bears with my eccentricities for my son. She’s nice. But her affection won’t help! She has to follow our traditions. Become a royal Rajput! Till then, my acceptance, my love, my jewellery! No, way!”   Savitri drifts into grudging about her only son’s love marriage. Annie kisses Savitri and leaves, “Good Night Granny! Good night, Chocolate Fairy! Good night stars! Good night, Moon!”   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!