Expressing Love and Empathy Without Words

Chocolates, the food of the gods as ancient Greeks would say, have become a metaphor for festivities, celebrations, and a compliment to achievement “Kuch Acha Ho Jaaye, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye”, rustles up thoughts of the crinkling shiny purple wrapper and a rich bite of chocolate, that kind of melts into your system and exudes a sense of well-being.

The story of chocolate began in ancient Mesoamerica, which is present-day Mexico, almost 4,000 years ago. Chocolate was used for its health benefits as well as its decadence over the years. The invention of the chocolate press in the year 1828, revolutionized chocolate-making and chocolate was no longer an indulgence for any selected niche. Bounty, Twix, Kit-Kat, Toblerone, Maltesers, M&Ms, and Snickers, are a few of the modern-day favorites.

Be it a traditional box of chocolate squares, mini chocolate bites, or tempting bubbles, Cadbury has been an integral part of the happy moments in our lives.

With World Chocolate Day this month, we decided to talk to a few random people at the Karachi beach and offer­ them a Cadbury chocolate bar in return for a story involving chocolate. We built a super cache of exciting tales that were as simple as a classroom birthday party, a woman writing travelogues, and ensuring that she does so with a bar of chocolate for company!

Some of those stories carried meanings beyond just enjoyment, and I have shared two of those here for the strong underlying messages so that the next time you buy a bar of chocolate you know the purpose it has in our lives.

A weekly treat!

Amna, a professional software engineer, and a budding artist, leads a hectic (but solitary) lifestyle. To get over the stress of work, she often seeks solace on the beach, listening to the soothing waves, and enjoying her favorite chocolate bar, she observes and sketches seascapes. Her art is her escape from the monotony of living alone. She indulges in coloring and painting on weekends, finishing her sketches on large canvases.

On one such occasion was when Amna was busy splashing paint on the canvas of the shoreline and lapping waves; her maid Rani came and sat down to share her tale of misery, which was also something Amna was used to and initially ignored continuing her work on the easel. Rani, not to be ignored, switched to the cruelty of her other homeowners who scolded her for devouring a whole box of sweetmeats, meant for guests. Rani, made it out to be the most serious issue while Amna fell off the chair laughing. She took out a whole bar of Cadbury and gave it to Rani to enjoy. Rani was rather embarrassed but did ask if this could be a weekly treat. Amna now has something to look forward to on weekends and somehow feels less lonely; “Khushiaan to baantnay se barhti hain.”

Next was an elderly gentleman, Nadir sahib, helping his granddaughter build a sandcastle. “Meet my granddaughter, Aelia. She has just turned two and is learning to run independently.” He narrated how his co-workers consoled him on the birth of a granddaughter. They were telling him to pray for a grandson next time. “I really didn’t know how to handle the situation, so I went to the cafeteria and bought all the boxes of chocolate available. With each bar of dairy milk, I repeated ‘today I welcome Rehmat (blessing) in my house, my granddaughter is here. May you also be blessed in the same way.’ His friends apologized later but since then chocolate is something he associates with good fortune and ensures that some are always distributed on Aelia’s birthdays.

The role of chocolates in strengthening relationships cannot be overstated. Alongside the feeling of comfort and indulgence, they hold the power to add magic to moments of joy and connection. I especially enjoyed this comment at a recent event by the marketing lead at Mondelez Pakistan, “We don’t sell chocolates we sell happiness, it is the consumers that drive the unconditional bond of love and joy at Mondelez.”

Whether shared as a token of affection, a gesture of apology, or a simple act of kindness, chocolates can evoke positive emotions which are often hidden somewhere. They serve as a delightful medium for expression because they require no words. So, the next time you find yourself seeking a way to strengthen a relationship, consider the sweet allure of chocolates, for they have the potential to weave threads of love so why not kuch meetha hojaye!

This article is written by Shaha Tariq. She is a seasoned educationist, communication specialist and director with Heritage Foundation Pakistan.

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