The Belgian betrayal

The Belgian betrayal

I watched Ramu as he popped in samples of all the chocolates on display.

We were visiting our son in Brussels along with my nephew Ramu, a teenager. One night, during dinner, my son said that he would take us to a chocolate factory and my nephew jumped at this suggestion.

When I refused to go, my wife retorted saying, “Sir, you may not like sweets, but we all do. Ramu is very fond of chocolates and his mother specifically asked me to bring a box or two of the world famous Belgian Praline chocolates.” I beat a hasty retreat when all three insisted on doing the factory round.

The next day, we took a bus and reached the famous Neuhaus chocolate factory. Our son, who met us there, led us to the shop in front of the factory. He said, “Look, this is a factory outlet. You can taste any chocolate on display and decide which one to buy. If you like some particular flavour you have to buy a minimum of one kg.” Addressing my nephew, he warned, “Ramu, while you are permitted to eat any chocolate, you cannot pocket anything. Even if you take one piece, you have to pay for one kg.”

We all nodded our heads and trooped inside. It was a very big showroom. There were over a hundred different varieties of chocolates and the factory assistants helped figure the flavour of all those on display. The entire premises was full of chocolate aroma and we thought we were in seventh heaven.

My wife was the first to open her mouth, not for popping a piece of chocolate, but to remark. “Hey, if we buy chocolates here, it is 75% less than outside and if we buy three kilos, we get a further discount.” So saying, she purchased the flavours she liked the most.

Ramu was only interested in tasting the goodies on offer. I knew that since childhood he had a weakness for chocolates. I watched him pop in samples of all the chocolates on display. At one stage, I had to stop him saying that it is bad manners to gobble so many pieces.  We bought a few kgs of chocolates and reached home fully contented.

As we were about to go to bed, Ramu complained of uneasiness and wanted to use the wash room. As he got up to walk, I noticed that his gait was unsteady and before he reached the wash room, he collapsed. My wife and son were worried and didn’t know what to do. They knew that getting a doctor home in Belgium was very expensive and wanted me to call our family doctor at Bengaluru and seek his advice.

I did not react to their suggestion, which immensely angered them. Undeterred, I made a concoction and made Ramu swallow it. Soon, he became alright and went to sleep. My wife asked me what magic I had done. I explained that many Belgium Praline chocolates  are filled with spirits and Ramu had unwittingly consumed more than a small peg of alcohol and that its toxic effect was the cause of his discomfort.

On waking up the next day, Ramu resolved that he would never eat Belgian chocolates again.

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