“I want this candy!”
My youngest pouted, pointing at the candy.
We were in the food section of a premier mall that stocks items from all over the world when this conversation ensured.
Looking closer at the label I was gobsmacked. It said “Gobstopper candy”. What were the origins of this name and brand, I was curious, as somewhere it seemed to me that I had come across this term earlier. Where could that have been, I wondered.
We bought the candy and opened it on the way back in the car.
“Arrgh, it’s like a rock! Can’t bite through it!”!” exclaimed my wife.
‘ That is the point Ma, you are supposed to suck it and not bite it. There are different flavours, have patience !” said my son, wise beyond his years.
“ Flavours? Let’s see.” I popped a green candy.
I rolled the sticky hard candy over my tongue.
A comfortably unusual silence enveloped the normally boisterous atmosphere of the car, as all of us were sucking away on these gobstoppers. The taste was not disagreeable, but it took getting used to such a hard candy. Biting was not the way to enjoy it for sure, as it could result in a broken tooth or two!
Going home, I looked the term up, and found that though gobstoppers have been in existence from times of ancient Egypt, they had been popularised by Roald Dahl in the 1960s as the Everlasting Gobstoppers in Will Wonka and the Chocolate factory. No wonder they sounded familiar.
In the US, they are called jawbreakers.
By the way. “Gob” is slang from the Scottish for mouth. I have heard this term in my engineering college days too, where “Shut your gob” was often used.
Maybe, just maybe, shutting one’s gob is a way to reduce the problems of the world. Speaking less and listening more would certainly help me.
Yes, I know, there are various passages in the Scriptures about Silence. Eccles 3: 7-8 says there is a “ .. a time to be silent, and a time to speak.” Prov 10:19 mentions –“ he who restrains his lips is wise.” We see even in the Gospels Mk 14:61, Mt 27:14, Jn 19:9, that our Lord Jesus Christ was keeping silent before the authorities when being unjustly accused and facing the trial of His life.
The Trappist Monk and great writer Thomas Merton said” In Silence, God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.”
All these tell me that silence is important, the way to peace, the way to God. The challenge is to have the discernment to keep these passages in mind and not speak out at those moments when I feel like speaking impulsively.
Silence. Strange how my thoughts turned to this subject.
The one in my mouth over, I need some more gobstoppers now.
“Son, are there any gobstoppers left?” I ask hopefully.
By Tom Thomas Maliekel
Tom is an Indian entrepreneur with interests in technology, manufacturing, reading, scribbling, running, faith and family (not necessarily in that order) He was greatly inspired on his journey of fitness by the amazing transformation that the Snehagram Community – www.snehagram.org – has made in the lives of HIV infected youngsters, by shaping them up into some of the most outstanding amateur runners in India.