The woody scent of roasting chestnuts fills my whole being again, after decades and so far away from Europe; I am at One Utama shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur; memories of my student days flashed in front of my open eyes like a collage of eventful occurrences.

It was my first winter in London.

In those times,the days were extremely short and dark.Snow piled up in heaps on both sides of the roads as my friend,Baba, and I struggled to pave our way to Holborn tube station.
Curbed into two,shivering under my winter coat, a whiff of browning nuts made me jerk. I turned to my friend and asked –
” What’s the scent?’
“Roasting chestnuts” he replied, as he gestured with his chin at a black silhouette in the corner of the street.
I could vaguely make out,in the distance,a man or a woman, shabbily dressed, occupied in front of a stove of burning charcoals.A light smoke raised as a cloudy mist around the stove, danced playfully in the icy air.
We crossed the road.
The alluring scent of roasted chestnuts swelled my nostrils.
Baba bought a small paper bag of piping hot chestnuts and ceremoniously offered it to me.
I tasted the first roasted chestnut of my life and I spontaneously became fond of this soft and delightful delicacy.

Baba took up a job at Knightsbridge for end of term and Christmas vacation.
Among other lovely Christmas gifts, which he offered to me,I found a luxuriously wrapped box of ‘marrons glacΓ©s’ from Harrods.

After our law studies, we parted. We did not keep in touch but I still love chestnuts,roasted,candied or steamed.

It’s amazing how the sound of music or the whiff of a scent can bring to our mind souvenirs of cherished instances that we carry inside us and which,possibly none of us actually knows is there.

Anita Bacha


9 thoughts on “ROASTED CHESTNUTS

    • Thank you for your visit and your comment. Matter of fact, I think, not all old memories are sweet, some are sour and others sweet and sour.
      What we should do is to keep and treasure only the sweet ones and drop the others in the trash bin of time.
      Thanks again for your time and for sharing your thoughts.
      Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know what are ‘shengana’ Cattie, I am sorry 😐 but if this may help, candied chestnuts are called ‘marron glacΓ© ‘ and originates in South of France πŸ‡«πŸ‡·
      In China πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³, you can find them tinned and sold as water πŸ’¦ chestnuts, often used in Chinese cuisine.
      Anyways I have taken a picture at Utama in Kuala Lumpur which I have attached with the story.
      See picture, under ‘roasted chestnut’ there is a translation ‘buah berangan goreng ‘.
      Thank tons for your interest Cattie!

      Liked by 1 person

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