Our Editors On:
Chocolate by Manju Kapur
Manju Kapur’s writing often deals with women’s status in Indian society, especially within the marital context. This is not a surprising fact, in a culture that still determines a woman’s future by a marriage her parents arrange for her. At the center of the story “Chocolate,” which is taught in universities in India, is the character of a woman who decides to take control of her own fate and not only rebel, but even exact her revenge against the conservative conventions she is expected to follow. The thick sweetness of the chocolate condenses into a nauseating concoction between the words of the story, to fill every rift that might crack open in the bleak relationship between Tara and Abhay. Not only is the woman stuffed with the sweet drug in order to turn her into an obedient wife, she is even blamed for losing her femininity. And yet, the woman comes to her senses and decided to get her revenge: you wanted a woman in the kitchen—a woman in the kitchen you shall get. In a wonderful moment of turning the tables, Tara presents her cheating husband with a taste of his own cooking. The act of reciprocal overfeeding in this story grants it an element of perversion, likened to an attempt to force in this current age this type of oppressing relationship on women who are masters of their own fate.