“Candy, Candy, Candy, I can’t let you go
All my life you’re haunting me
I loved you so

Candy, Candy, Candy, I can’t let you go
Life is crazy
Candy Baby”

They might not be the same thing; But Iggy Pop sure couldn’t live without his ‘Candy’ and almost every child couldn’t, and still can’t, either. Most of us , as a child , grew up watching ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ , hoping that, one day too like Charlie, they’ll be chosen to see Wonkas Chocolate Factory , and later on run the show along with Wonka. Here is the story of a woman who has gotten as close to that dream as possible.

Leslie, like every other expat, came to Dubai in search of a better life. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology Degree and worked in one of Philippines largest and leading telecommunications company, Philippines Long Distance Telecommunication Company (PLDT). For four years she slogged as a Main Data Frame Assistant, seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm, with no over- time pay. As Leslie was getting tired of the lack of appreciation for her hard work in the office, her husband – An RTA Bus Driver – Suggested she come back with him and find a good job in Dubai. With a family to support and a new dream to accomplish, Leslie took up the offer.

Her dreams of being a teacher soon shifted to working towards saving up enough money to buy a house back in the Philippines. After going job hunting for a while, On September 25, Leslie got a job as a Sales person for a sweet company called ‘Candy Heart’.  She says: “Even if you don’t like it at first, you end up falling in love with the job.” – A brief enough explanation of the joy she now feels when working with candy from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm.

Like all other people, Leslie too has a few favourite candies and chocolates. Namely “Spanish Peaches” and the “Sour Ribbons”. These two candies also happen to be one of the most popular candies sold, including the “Super Sour Strawberry Gum” and all the jellies. I asked her if she ever gets tempted, working with all these sweet things around her , she replied : “no. each piece of candy is .50 fils , and we cannot just eat like that;”  it was because of such a reason that she was put off candy for a while and able to handle such temptation. Leslie has a 2 year old daughter who she left with her mother to take care of. Leslie says that she couldn’t bring the child here because it would increase their living expenses. Though, she likes to send almost every candy available in very small quantities.

Leslie is an honest hard worker who will not even for a second divert from her job’s terms and conditions. ‘Waste Candy’ is that candy which has just fallen on the floor , been touched once , or just got a bit old.  She says that it breaks her heart when she has to keep boxes of “waste candy” at the bottom of the stall , since they aren’t bad , but the company doesn’t want them consumed , not even by her, but rather ,thrown into the bin straight away.

Whether it is a boring weekday, or an action packed, fun-filled day, Leslie doesn’t mind. She is having the time of her life, dealing with candy and children. All of this work is for a dream house in the Philippines. I asked Leslie if it was the sweets that were rubbing off on her , hence making her more positive; she told me : “no ,I’ve always been like this , because I believe that the only way to tackle life , is to be positive”.

So, here’s to Leslie; the “oompa loompa” with a goal and a right attitude towards getting there; which I’m sure, in time, she will.


About Alysa Nair

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