My dearest Komal, Anjli and Amar,
With this pandemic showing no signs of fleeing, the highlight of my days are shopping at the local grocery stores. During one of these escapades I came upon a familiar chocolate brand that is available in Switzerland: Kit Kat. Mind you, the one available here is with chunky chocolate and not the traditional thinner version. In any case, the sight of Kit Kat sent me down memory lane.
When Heenamasi and I were doing our ‘A’ levels(advanced level, I.B.) at Selhurst High School, we used to commute on the British rail from Norbury to Selhurst . There used to be a small newsagents at the entrance of Selhurst station. I with my sweet tooth and also the eye-catching display of chocolates could not resist buying a small Kit Kat(two finger bar) from this newsagent. This small chocolate used to cost a whopping 2 pence in those days. In order to save ourselves half a penny, Heenamasi and I would buy the four finger bar, costing three and a half pence, on alternate days and share! Amazing, the pleasures you get from small things!
These experiences were a huge change of scenario for me as the refugee from sleepy Jinja to a bustling London: commuting to school on a train, having a Saturday job and my own spending money from this job, mouth watering display of chocolates at every corner and so on. This was the ultimate environment of dreams! Having been an avid Enid Blyton reader, many of these situations were not quite that unfamiliar!
Then there was the earlier Kit Kat story.
In order to relate the Kit Kat part of the story, you need to have some background on the cast:
Bafoi and her family. Bafoi and Fuva(Sangimasi and Rajumama’s parents) began their romantic liaison as a result of Foi coming to stay in Kampala with my mum and dad. Fuva’s family were the neighbours! Beautiful Foi was the only daughter among a brood of 6 siblings and was destined to snare an enviable catch. For various, now quite unimportant reasons, this romance brought up a lot of oppositions from both families. Foi and Fuva hence ended up getting married secretly(this enticing tale would make a great Bollywood hit). Eventually both families accepted the union. Fuva went to England for further studies and Foi accompanied him. After the completion of his education, Fuva returned to Uganda with Bafoi and a few-months old Sangimasi in tow.
Rajumama was born a couple of years later. Shockingly when Sangimasi was five and Rajumama just two and a half years old, Fuva died. So now Foi and the 2 children moved in with us at 11 Ripon Garden.In those early days in the sad environment, we used to get loads of friends and family visiting us with gifts for the heartbroken family.
And here comes the second Kit Kat story.
One of these visitors’ brought a whole box of Kit Kat. These were kept in a cupboard and handed out daily to just the two young fatherless children. There were at least 3 other children of similar ages in the household at that time and I am sure they all felt quite deprived. The one who protested the loudest was Achalamasi! She insisted that Lalitaba get more Kit Kats and stash them in her own cupboard just for Achalamasi’s consumption. Such a demand was not adhered to and eventually Achalamasi had to come to terms with the situation.
Many years later Bafoi learnt of Achalamasi’s displeasure and consequently posted her a box of Kit Kats! Imagine the surprise on Achalamasi’s face on receiving this parcel!
Astonishing how a small bar of Kit Kat can evoke abundant memories. My dashing and self-confident Fuva was my hero. Thoughts of his absence and his tragic demise still bring tears to my eyes. One of my fondest memories of that time was when he would take us young girls, Naynamasi and myself, to the local petrol station(Agip) for a milkshake. Drinking milkshake and that too outside the home environment were the highlights of our life…..don’t laugh now. This is just a glimpse of how different our upbringings have been.
Kit Kat chocolates are so entwined in our lives. Just a few weeks before Ba’s demise, Dakshafoi parceled her a few of her favourite food items not available in Zürich. This included a few Kit Kats. Unfortunately by this time Ba had lost her appetite and eventually we ended up devouring them.
A bit of trivia for you: Kit Kat is given as a good luck charm for exam students in Japan. The way the name is pronounced there: ” kitto katsu” translates to “you will surely win”.
So the mystery of my title ‘The Kit Kat Stories’ is all revealed. I guess the term Kit Kat will now bring on many other images for you.
To keep you interested in reading the letter to the end, I will finish here! As usual wishing you all the best. Look after yourselves and tread cautiously in these unusual times. Stay strong stay healthy.
With all my love, hugs and kisses,