Showing posts with label Love & Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love & Life. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 January 2018


Every time I am travelling long distance, which of course is anywhere I can’t get in under three hours by walking, I often rue my forgetfulness. Like how can a sane man forget to pick his car from the show room? Of course I can’t go there now because parking fees have accumulated over time, and now I have to part with millions. This should serve as a polite reminder to people out there: GO GET YOUR CARS BEFORE YOU FACE THE SAME PREDICAMENT AS ME.  In the mean time let me get dirty water splashed in me whenever the angels above squirt incessantly up there. It is a deserved punishment, on top of others that I am about to tell.

From experience passed on by our elders, you may attract unspecified curse if you don board a matatu with RIFT in its name, although people with healthy imaginations have tried to give reasons for our affinity to anything rift. One of them is that other matatu Sacco’s will leave you in the bush. For that matter every time I am travelling I either board Great Rift Shuttle, or North Rift depending on the price of fare. On this particular day, I am in Great Rift Shuttle offices very early. It turns out that there were others who were earlier than me and had occupied all seats except 1x (for those who picked their cars before parking fees skyrocketed, it is the seat between the driver and the other passenger).

Well, for the uninitiated, that seat has rules which no one bothers to tell you.

  1.       That seat is not very friendly for tall people.
  2.        Better avoid that seat if you had too much nocturnal business
  3.        It is advisable to inquire if the driver has a boil on his right buttock, which will force him to sit at an angle close tot you.
  4.       The seat is EXTREMELY OUT OF BOUNDS if 1, 2 and 3 applies to you

And because no one had warned me about the rules which I have generously stated above, I found myself climbing a matatu that had that seat as if it had been reserved for me. Previously I had used that seat without any problems. But not on this journey. I am tall. I am sleepy. The driver seemed to have a boil on his buttock, so he sat way too close to me leaving too much space on the other end. One could get the impression that he was ferrying a ghost on that side. Every time he changed the gear, and he did it way too much, he would knock me in a very unpleasant way. In fact it could be considered illegal. He would knock me back and forth, until we reached somewhere I do not care to remember. The mat gets stopped by cops and all of us are ordered to get out. Apparently the driver had been over speeding. He checked the speed governor like a thousand times with a grimace on his face.

We got out and I had the chance to stretch my tall lanky legs that should have been competition with Rudisha, and not merely talking my brain to the library or other equally useless places. By useless I mean places that people get paid to get there first. I could get the library or class faster than anyone. I am talented in that. No one can beat me in that. My fastness seems to be rewarded in reverse. One time I got to class at six in the morning, only for my laptop to be stolen.

The cops do what they are renowned for. The driver haggles with one who seemed to be the boss. He did not have blue uniform. They both settle for 2k which the driver did not have. He asks me to give him so that he could refund when we got to Nairobi. I flatly refused, not because I did not have but because I wanted to punish him for having a boil on his buttock. Of course we cannot rule out the fact that I did not have the money. Another passenger gave him the money, killing my prayers. I wanted us to be sold to another matatu so that I could take another seat. Prayers are not my thing, I guess that was what god was trying to convey to me.

We proceed with the journey. Thank god I did not lose a body party, although I almost lost my mind. 

Friday, 21 July 2017


The wind, having encountered little resistance from the card board reinforced wall, blew with vengeance, permeating straight into his bones. It manifested itself in the clattering of teeth and occasional shivers that he wouldn’t hide. It was however a wonder since he lay deep inside a pile of clothes, which he had put to reinforce the four worn out blankets that had seen more nights than his age. It was November, and November did what she new best-be chilly as hell.

Kip remembered the words he had been trying to concoct for his beloved. He was a poet. Or a wannabe poet. Either way he was just a poet without aspirations of rising above the legacy of Shakespeare. He was wise enough to know his limits. And so he typed on his worn out Nokia phone, amidst the chill. The clock was ticking towards midnight. I’ll receive a reply in the morning, Kip thought. And what’s better than receiving a long romantic message in the morning? Gold perhaps.  A jackpot. She was his gold and his jackpot. He read it slowly, like it was another poets creation, and he a mere student trying to wring meaning out it. Like god was pleased with his creation, he saw it was good. He hit the send button and switched off his phone to save its battery life.

Often in my day dreams I think about you
How you came along and changed my life
And all of a sudden it feels there wasn’t life
Like I had been waiting to really live
For one person who means so much

I see love beckon the sparkle in your eyes
That laughter of yours takes me past the skies
Sometimes I think you are not human
How you make my heart race, like am crazy
I don’t know many things but I know
I’ll give you my everything and a little more

Among the many things you are
Include class, magnificence, divinity, stars
Not leaving behind your gracious heart
Nursed my own with your impalpable sweetness
Inspire eternity to crumble beneath your feet
End to end no one ever compares to you

The cocks began crowing before Kip had even dreamt of her. At exactly six o’clock, the alarm went off. For once he began wondering why he did set the alarm in the first place. He did conjure up enough excuses as to why he allowed himself to be disturbed by the alarm, and conclusively dismissed it as an act of laziness. He adjusted his body strenuously among the pile of clothes as he reached for his phone. The alarm went off and message asking him if he wanted to switch the phone on. Kip chose to. A message sneaked in immediately the phone came alive. A numbing sensation took over his stomach. He couldn’t read it again and hit the delete button. It was better when it didn’t exist. 

Friday, 7 July 2017


Sunday sat there on its holy ass and its holy place, as usual. I love Sundays because ladies embrace a certain obscure sense of decorum, covering all their vital body parts for once even though they had been out and about, half clad and smoking shisha the entire Saturday night. Some will don sun glasses to hide their blood shot eyes dilating, trying to stay afloat in the deep end of hangover. It’s none of my business though. Men of God have to eat, men of God have to have an aesthetic atmosphere as they preach to desperate humans, about the need of planting seed. How do you save money in someone’s account and expect it to multiply in yours? As he cruises in top of range cars and preaches about how God is merciful, always think, unless it hurts.

It’s not a breathtaking sight, seeing people throng to their places of worship. On this day I make special attempt to stay in bed all day long, without attempting to even move a muscle, only rising to make noodles and back to bed. This Sunday, though I am twice unlucky. No three times unlucky. 1. There’s no water 2. I won’t have my noodles 3. I have to get out and witness people who seemingly have been struck by a bout of holiness. For two days in row, the taps have been empty, emptier than a politician’s promises. What sucks when you have no options? Not me. I create options; and so I create a craving for chapo madondo.

Once I alight at Ambassador, I knew where I was going. There’s this guy who praised chapo za Muthurwa, in the same relish a man would in describing a woman’ s derriere-big, curvy and beautiful to look at just as it would to devour.

Muthurwa. There’s always a sea of people every day, even Christmas, I should think. Those Kyuks never go on a break. You’ll find them having spread their wares, eating a huge chunk of the road, albeit shamelessly. Some shout their prices, some just mum. People move by, oblivious, as if these traders are non-existent, worse still invisible. Just like everyone else, I squeeze myself through that narrow entrance. I almost bump into a girl in a jeans skirt and a red t-shirt. In such situations it’s advisable to stand your ground lest you begin playing a game of obstructing each other. What’s worse than that?

I find my way; or rather follow the scent of chapatti. There are empty stalls! I want to run around and scream to whoever has ears that I have discovered empty stalls in Muthurwa but then I remember it’s a Sunday. Before long I am just where I want to be. Men clad in dirty white dust coats knead flour, some make small balls of it, and others are rolling them while watching the one on the pan. Hunger makes you blind to so many things. I mean look at street children. I find a spot nearly empty because I don’t want people watching me eating so ravenously. They throw you pitiful eyes that seem to say ‘kwani huyu hajakula miaka ngapi?’

After giving out my order to a bulky jovial woman, I scan my environment without seeming to intrude into people’s personal space. It’s all men here. It seems like a battlefield. There was a couple, a middle aged man, a woman with a shaved head and a kid tucked between them. The woman was feeding the kid with what I hoped wasn’t from the place. They chatted animatedly, engrossed in each other’s words to notice their surroundings. The man is lucky, or rather among the luckiest chaps. He can bring his woman here and get away without bruises. The current generation of ladies frown upon such places and should she get wind of the fact that you were seen, even detouring through Muthurwa, you will be blocked without notice. Blocked everywhere, twitter, facebook, gmail, yahoo…name it.

I settle on my food, biting huge chunks of the chapatti and scooping the beans slowly, enjoying every moment of it. Once someone asked me my favourite food and I answered ‘the first food I’ll lay my eyes on when I am ravenously hungry.’ This right here was definitely my favourite. I order one more chapatti.

While I was about to clear my plate, a well dressed gentlemen walked towards the food stall. In tow was a beautiful lady dressed in red. The bulky woman beckoned the gentlemen and he heeded. To my surprise the beautiful lady followed him. According to my estimation, a woman of that stature, a woman who had taken time to shave her eyebrows only to redraw (it must be painstaking) deserved a five star kind of hotel, not the lowly of the lowly Muthurwa. She was dressed in a red dress that went slightly above her knees, which would definitely reveal her sumptuous thighs. She had those eyes that peered straight into your soul, straight into your value and even where you’d be in the next five years. And she had heels too.

The gentleman converses in whispers with the attendant (these places don’t have waitresses). Moments later she brings out a plate of what looked like mashed minced meat, with too much soup in it. I pay her and leave. But questions lingered in my head, which I longed to ask.
How do you get such an urbane lady to eat in a kibandaski? For some of us such kind place is unheard of. Even a woman two weeks in the city won’t allow her palate to taste such kind of deplorable food, in deplorable place.

Next time I’ll make a point of taking one to such a place. I’d tell her she needs experience first. And it’s not sold anywhere. She needs to prove her mettle, that whatever happens in the course of the relationship, she should be able to stick with me through thick and thin. 


What if the world isn’t round as its purported?
What is darkness is a fallacy?
The sun remains in its place, it never sets

What if knowledge is a mere suggestion?
A nuance of man maddened by identity
What if all people who know are indeed fools?

What if death is a transition of lives?
From one world to another
What if the next, excepting biblical,
 Was way better than before

What if the first man didn’t bother with another’s head?
About its ability to grasp bogus ‘organised knowledge’
Would we have exams?

What if man learned how to manage his greed?
Would it be the ultimate form of knowledge, the zenith?
No one, nothing, would live a deprived life

What if man thought more about his next door neighbor?
More than how much money he’s about to make
Wouldn’t the world be a better place?

Friday, 19 May 2017


“What if…what if you get a woman,” he began drawing my teenage attention, prying me away from my own thoughts, which were too important to be disturbed but had to act like I was listening; he had my partial attention. “And when she undresses you find that she is transparent, that you can see her innards, her heart beating, and her intestines?”

Pissed off by the rude intrusion into the castles that I was building in the air, and the need to show him that I was a good listener, I feigned surprise, dropping my jaw and hang there like we were up and about a mannequin challenge. It was back in high school, a long time ago. And the dude asking me about encountering a transparent woman was my desk mate, the time was evening during a biology remedial class. A lot of guys were already asleep and a few of us pretended to be listening how roots absorbed water into its system, from a short slightly built brown teacher with a funnily rounded forehead. He had a nickname, of course all of them had nicknames. His wasn’t particularly striking, perhaps because of his ability to mind his own business and perhaps because he had a deep Kalenjin accent.

There were those teachers who never minded their own business. There was one in particular christened Jembe. When we joined form one he had that name, apparently because he had a knack for giving out punishments that involved the esteemed garden tool, that has sadly been defiled by overly generous ladies. He had it. We called him by such without questioning circumstances that led to him acquiring that name. For some strange reasons Jembe never seemed to have gotten over that name and sought revenge whenever possible. He was permanently on duty, going round every morning, fishing people who skipped preps.

Jembe had a son and a daughter, and a wife. Thinking about it now, I wonder how a grown ass man would forgo the comfort of his wives ample bossom (his wife was blessed in all aspects) to go round waking up people who never gave a shit about their futures, at least when it came to studying and passing. Who knows, they could have pulled a Joho stunt by now. As sanity allowed we did all we could to avoid the son, who was about twelve at the time, with lanky feet, thin like preying mantis’. It seemed like his dad had pulled him aside and imparted the following wise words.
“Son, should anyone look at you in a manner that suggests a jembe, screen shot that face and bring to me,” and the son of Jembe heeded that advice.

Back to our biology teacher, with his funny forehead. His only interest apart from class room business was his paycheck and probably his daughter who had the same exact forehead. Dominant genes, we joked. It happened that he had spotted my desk mate whispering to me about the transparent woman and watched me dropping my jaws and remaining ‘statued’, judged it as the sincerest form of disrespect, for the next thing the class heard was:
“Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Toka!!!!  Ketaut!! You two!” the rest of the class, which was asleep, rose from their slumbers thinking the words were directed at them. And so we rose without closing our books, opened the door and stepped out.

As fate would have it, we later learnt that the cool Kerio Valley breeze wouldn’t be the only thing that would welcome us. Teacher on duty. He wasn’t worse than Jembe but he never listened to any form of reasoning. He seemed to have decided early on that if you give a student a chance, he will concoct the most believable lie ever-never trust a student knee deep in shit. A few seconds into our night out, he passed by, heading into his office. He saw us and quickly summoned us into his office. Once inside he began an interrogation without any interest in the answers we were going to give.

“What are you doing outside?” he had asked as he went about sorting papers on top of his table.

“We were talking in class and the teacher asked us to step out,” my desk mate volunteered.

“What were you talking about?”

Silence. I almost told him about the transparent woman.

“You were gossiping about the teacher’s open fly, isn’t it?”

“No, sir!” we cried out in unison.

“No, no…face the wall,” he ordered us as he took out a cane and gave us an ass whopping. Four strokes each. He then asked us to report to him on Monday. I remember now that it had been a Friday. Friday were good days for various reasons. One, Fridays are always good for no reason at all, two is we never had to wake up for preps the next day, which means Jembe wouldn’t be disturbing us, three (most importantly) was it was the last day of eating murram that week.

Before he could let us go, he remembered about a school trip scheduled for the Form 3s that term. We hadn’t paid, having spent all of the money on the most trivial things one could thing of; bread, kangumu etc. he quickly took out a foolscap, wrote our names and asked us to prepare sufficient reasons as to why we hadn’t paid for the trip. As far as we were concerned, the trip would be a ‘ghost one’ a mere figment of one’s imagination. I swear some had even told their parents about going to Mombasa but wouldn’t account for the money given to them. And you want to blame the government for runaway corruption?

As if he had sensed that were already in deep shit, Funny Forehead let us off the hook. It’s as if he had a premonition that the teacher on duty would ‘sort’ us out, thus absolving himself from the need to bother his forehead with a worthy punishment for two errant boys. He exhorted us to be attentive in class as he slotted a piece of chalk between an old note book that would as well have been used to teach Joho’s generation. It was old and crumpled by the edges. If it would have been carbon dated Kenyan style it would have been discovered that Zinjanthropus used it.

As he walked away, we resumed the formulation of the most formidable lies that would explain or justify why the canteen man had taken our trip money. Even though it seemed probable that we would find a transparent woman than a believable reason, I can safely tell you that we went for the trip. Up to now I can’t tell how we got the money, for first thing the following Monday morning we were at his office immediately after assembly, with crumpled notes (currency) a little dump with sweat as we held up our breathes not to be mentioned in assembly. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dear Egla

I don’t know if I got the name right
She pronounced it like that, Sandra did
She called me in the middle of the night
Can I talk to Egla? She asked like you were asleep beside me

Did you bewitch Sandra dear Egla?
That she should call strangers in the wee hours
Asking to speak to you dear Egla? Did you?
What business do you do in those satanic hours?

I told her it was wrong number
She hang up apologetically, nice voice she had
I almost told her Egla was out a little

So I could buy time to tell I am single 


And because a curvy woman has become the epitome of marketing, I want you to picture one, with curves in all right places. Picture her exquisitely sculptured body, a being God designed with particularly savory relish. Let’s move on a little deeper, picture a silhouette of her nakedness against the moon light. Do you see those boobs, that nicely shaped behind? Now implant that image in your living room. Picture her undressing sensually in front of you, touching her vital body parts in that ecstasy inducing allure. Picture her dropping the last piece of clothing as she glides towards you….now stop the imagination.

Now picture the two of you lying down close to each other, gazing into each other’s eyes, exhausted from pleasure. Picture yourself caressing whatever body part, that upon its flicker, heavens opens its doors. Picture seeing a tattoo of your name on that favorite body part of yours. Now let your mind wander to the seventeen years it took you to win her, to penetrate into formidable fortress. Picture the places she has taken you, without even hinting that she liked you; Mombasa, Maasai Mara, Kisumu, Kitale, Mombasa again, Mombasa one more time….

Get back to the real world. You are the six star Kibandaski, and a plate of steaming madondo commands your attention. Beside that plate, a brown envelope, which hold the most precious document in your entire existence-your degree certificate (the woman you pictured). Having tucked it in place where no vermin can reach, where a nuclear disaster won disfigure, you settle for the hearty meal, more in celebrations for the deadlines you did beat, the exams that you surprisingly passed without preparing for, and that research that your supervisor didn’t let you off the hook, (she could kiss your ass, you are sorry at that thought).

Even in its beauty, with curves in the places you like, a certificate is almost nothing because it prepares many for an ideal world, not the real world. There’s so much arse-licking in the real. Basically you have to take shit, you will be lucky to get a boss who won’t insult you because a woman rejected his advances or any stupid thing which you will only contemplate. A certificate will not insure your dreams. May be the only place it can get you is an interview room, answering questions from people who’ve been taking shit for decades and are hell bent on making you look like an academic wannabe, someone who moonlighted as a student, and most importantly enjoy seeing you getting whipped by the town, where they have mastered their way. In fact, a certificate is a mere assurance and with a keen eye, you’ll notice there’s an ‘ass’ in assurance.

For 17 odd years, I have chased this paper, trying all I can to be number one. No one told me much about education except to wake up and be number one. For 17 years, I toiled only to be told I actually didn’t have the power to read and write all that time, close to two decades. Isn’t that incredible? 17 years of mind breaking exams, only to learn dismayed, that I didn’t have the power to read and write.

Enter class room chronicles, a journey through the 17 years. 

Saturday, 1 April 2017


A boy named Kelvin. An exotic name back then when it wasn’t fashionable at all to be called by your first name. It was one of the greatest insult, everybody guarded their first name (English name) jealously, like nuclear launch codes. Once your enemy (back then enemies were easy to make) got hold of it you were dead meat. It made you long for invisibility so much so that you even hated your own shadow. Kelvin was different, he had embraced his name like a badge of honour. He wasn’t Kalenjin, should have been a Luo or Luhya. Kelvin had a naturally goofy face, hips that were a little too pronounced for a boy, which naturally excused his lousy football skills; he kicked the ball like a girl. We never counted him in as one of the team members unless he volunteered to be the goalkeeper. We endlessly teased him, and eventually gave him a nick name, Embe Dodo.

Embe Dodo was unusually clean, different from his brother, who seemed to originate from a whole different planet where hygiene was frowned upon. Embe Dodo’s brother knew how to play football, but wasn’t very good in class. One time he mused about being number zero when we were about to close school. When he received his report book when school closed, I heard him exclaim ‘I knew it. I knew I would be number zero!!’ Looking back now I fail to fathom how someone can be number zero, but I still believe he was.

Unfortunately, by events which I couldn’t explain, I ended up being Embe Dodo’s desk mate. I ceased teasing him, called him respectably. That was back in primary school, class five, back when Kale’s were battling post-Moi depression, although soothed by Kibaki’s free education incentive. Before then parents rarely afforded 950 shillings which was school fees. It didn’t matter the number of kids a parent had, some six or seven yet the school was generous enough to allow those parents to pay only 950 shillings. I don’t know who came up with that idea, he must have inadvertently warmed his ass on something illegal. Kibaki injected life into the country. It seemed he even procured oxygen because the air felt fresher than usual.

Embe Dodo would tell me stories about the movies he had watched. I listened with glee, though without any intention of retaining what he told me. One time he went to the toilet and came back with a sad look on his face, you could think he had dropped his penis into the pit latrine. Teachers rarely came to class and we had plenty of time to make noise. With his sad face intact, coupled with his goofiness he spoke slowly.

“I am not going to eat honey anymore,” he told me.

“Why?” I asked.

“I saw a bee in the toilet,” he said. “I didn’t know honey is made from such dirty ingredients.”
I didn’t say a word. I was a little convinced. Embe Dodo knew much more than I did. We closed school and Embe Dodo never showed for the next term. His parents must have spotted greener pastures and found it fit to migrate accordingly. We never met again and even if we meet now I wouldn’t recognize him. I am tempted to think he is a casual labourer somewhere in Eldoret Town, either pushing carts and if he turned out successful he must be operating a boda boda.

Fast forward, a decade and a half later (damn time really moves), I recall Embe Dodo, in the wee hours of the night, a rare time when one can hear dogs howling in Nairobi. Nairobi dogs are little sophisticated, they don’t bark for long, not unlike village dogs which rent the night with long howls like they are ululating or worse still mourning a departed dog. They often scare me, those long howls. It makes the night pregnant with danger, a form that you only feel, impalpable. A decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined I would be a journalist or rather a journalism graduate, actively on the lookout for events of grave misfortune to humanity. If I had chanced upon the path I would take I would have dismissed it with a deep Kalenjin accent, ‘Waja mcheso!’ and that’s how life rolls and rolls and rolls, without stopping.

I am awake in the wee hours of the night, hours our high school principal christened satanic, not because I have to but because I am broke AF, wishing I could afford an embe dodo. A church mouse would sneer at me and even spit on me, and I wouldn’t raise a finger in protest. Its Tuesday, no Wednesday and the only tangible food my stomach has accommodated (have always misspelled this word) since Saturday has been two loaves of bread. Only two. I am like a scientific experiment, trying to prove that man can live on bread alone. And porridge in between. It’s not fun.

A thing about money I have learnt since, is that when you actually really need it, it’s never available. Another thing is that Jomo’s stern stare makes you think it will last forever, just like people have learnt to imagine about life. Especially a brand new note, the one that’s so stiff you can use to chop onions, only onions so that you can cry tears of joy. Damn, I miss holding Jomo’s face, give him a deep kiss. I don’t care if you think I am gay, to hell with that. Lastly, about money, contrary to the notion that ladies love money, she (see I am pro-punany) has been calling me, talking to me softly, asking how I am and even offering suggestions. She’s a different breed of ladies but among the types that think that as soon as you get a lil’ paper, you look for a yellow yellow. Such kinds of ladies hate to see their men make it. I think she loves a broke me.

The first lesson, about money disappearing into certain unreachable crevices, being broke finds you at your worst. You have debts everywhere. You find you’ve okoad jahazi in all your lines-safaricom, Airtel, orange, Yu. On top of it you have joined the list eminent personalities, of men and women inducted into CRB’s hall of fame. You remember how it started, just like a joke, with Safaricom messaging you that you are eligible for a 1000 bob loan. Being a skeptic you wanted to prove Bob’s men aren’t goofing around Michael Joseph Centre, scratching their balls and asking for nudes. It turns out they weren’t. Before you knew it you were making a contribution of 75 shillings every month to Safaricom. One time you decide to say fuck it Bob, do whatever the hell you want. A series of texts, first giving you a plan on how to pay the debt, then threatening that you’d be listed by CRB then a resigned one asking you to clear your name with CRB. All for a loan you never actually needed in the first place.

It’s not that I am completely broke. A couple of people out there are holding on to my money, some go way back to when they had a blind date and desperately needed some cash to please their objects of desire. Now these objects are the farthest things in their minds and probably they have moved on to five other boyfriends or even married. Others for jobs I did like a century back, only that I have been too preoccupied with shit to ask them for my money. And that’s how a nigger pays dearly complacency.

Upon close scrutiny of my assets, I gather that I have twenty bonga points, just enough to redeem for four SMSs. It’s here that I make a list of people who can bail me out, motivated by the thought of steaming ugali and matumbo at the Kwa Atieno’s Kibandaski.  Atieno’s matumbo is fried just the way I like it, plus she is a woman with ‘sura ya upole’ not like those braggart Luo ladies out there. Back to making the list. Just like Ocampo’s, I outlined six people, then whittled down to four, and after a trial, two escaped trial with replying my text by starting with the word ‘waaah’…a message like this never has good news. It will never come like ‘waaah, I’ve just received money by mistake and I have been wondering how to spend it.’ Instead it launches into a long winding excuse, often about how the sender hasn’t had breakfast and how he won’t have supper a week from now…shit like that.
With two messages remaining, I spend plenty of time crafting a message that won’t sound too desperate, just enough to make someone reach their pockets.  I make sure it doesn’t have any grammatical errors, cross check it twice before I hit send. Both messages are delivered instantly and I decide to take a walk around the house, to the kitchen open the fridge and promise it some company in a few minutes. I get back and I find one message replied. It said something about the end of the week.

The last one arrives shortly, a curt reply, ‘sina’ with space in front of it. I wonder why he didn’t begin the message at the margin. I am enraged by it, not the space but by the message. You see it was from a guy who works in place where he handles the money, not less than ten thousand in a single day, he told me and I don’t believe he can lie. He’s a good chap, never gambles, doesn’t drink, clueless about football, not a womanizer, I don’t know what interesting thing he does.  On top of it I am man who keeps my word. We’ve done business before and I was pretty sure my credit standing was pretty good.  He’d be the last guy to fail me but then he sends a message with space in front of it. So injurious to my pride.

My rage thaws and flows to things I did spend money one, things that were completely nonsensical. Once I gave a street kid 20 shillings, numerous times I did buy one Kao chic lunch who openly disrespected me, the bundles my phone had gobbled just to ensure I ogled at ladies with huge asses online. Luckily I didn’t regret the many vodka bottles that lined up in my closet. I can fondle them, fondly because they made conversations between me and my demons a little interesting, which wasn’t a bad thing at all.

‘ sina’ (note the space)didn’t get completely out of my mind. It kept sneaking back, through porous places I failed to seal. I cursed that word with its space in front of it. It sounded derogatory, every curve in the letters that make the word. And that space.  

A close scrutiny of the word revealed subtle engravings in it, which read ‘get your shit together’. I want to revenge on that guy, by parking a black Subaru Legacy, with fancy black rims just in front of his work place, where I will rev the monstrous engine three and half times and alight with a undetectable pride,  circumnavigate by baby and spank its dusty posterior just like those dudes do on blue movies. After the short performance, I will saunter into his place of work and engage him in a chit chat then tell him to approach me in case he is in a tight financial situation but first he must declare his friendship, just the same way Don Corleone demanded. Like Amerigo Bonasera.

Before departing, I will rev the engine three times again, then alight, open the bonnet and check something. I will go back and call him, telling him that the engine has a weird sound and ask him rev it for me so that I can put my ear close to it. I will ask him if he can detect the weird sound, which of course doesn’t exist. He will say no. But I will curtly tell him that it says, ‘FUCK YOU!’ with space in front of it.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Why I wouldn't want to date

She said I’d meet someone, she who would knock me off the apex of my loneliness or the craving of the same. For me it’s more about the craving to be alone, be reckless, sleep at whatever position I desire and most importantly lock the outside world from intruding into my sanctuary. Not so an exciting life but just worth the introvert in me.

A relationship has so much hassle in it. You won’t be able to repeat your socks, leave them wherever you want, sprawl dirty laundry however you feel. It has perks though, but with a price. The price is commitment and sometimes you pay with your own freedom. It constricts your life, fitting into a narrow prism of a woman’s mind, her stupid and nonsensical ideals, aimed at molding you into the man she wants. Shit, I don’t want that.

And her problems become your problems or at least expect you to be the super hero, chase after the villains and deliver her to a perceived heaven. Be it financial, emotional, physical (which you have to insist about her beauty every morning) and even political. She’ll tell you about all the problems she has had, what her mom has had, her father, brother, sister….pretty much everyone in the lineage of their family. When all has been said and done, you wonder what the F was it all about. Nothing changes.

Often, you must fit her into your schedule no matter how tight it is. You must check on her all the time. Woe unto you if you don’t. You aren't supposed to busy and more so broke. Where do you suppose money come from if we keep responding to your stupid texts? Then she goes to a broke guy with time in his hands, gets disappointed and leaps to the greener pastures, the octogenarian sponsors, staring at their graves.

Enter social media. She’ll ask why a certain girl keeps liking your mundane posts and photos. She’ll want to tell the entire world about how relationship is the best, the envy of everyone. She’ll advertise you, tagging you in everything she does. That’s the epitome of insecurity. We don’t need to be everywhere on social media. It’s a ‘keeping up with us’ kind of shit. Nobody has to know about how happy we are in the relationship, which, thankfully, research has disapproved, terming such kind of uncouth behaviour as that of a very unhappy couple seeking validation and approval from strangers online.

I love the peace of solitude. I love looking at my phone with pride, knowing there’s no girl in the entire world whom I am obligated to check from time to time. I love the peace that comes from not being involved in another’s problems. I love doing things the way I want it done, the way it pleases me. I love not the torment of being accused for something I haven’t done, just because she’s in love with me. Relationships just suck. Nothing but bunch of compounded problems. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Just as the world watched the greatest nation on earth inaugurate a racist, misogynistic, sexual predator and most importantly a braggart billionaire, Fiona too was inaugurating, or getting inaugurated into the cruel world of deceit, and worse, from the person who would be the last to abandon her. It’s during her hour of need that she’s thrown into an abyss of uncertainty and self-loathing. Her instincts are reduced to a single question; why me?

On the day she learnt that that her parents were no longer willing to pay her rent, she also learnt that her dear Eric was a dead beat father and a debt ravaged human mongrel. She had lent her entire savings to the man she trusted, the man she loved and the man she thought was overly and totally crazy about her. It’s not good to snoop around, it lets you into a treacherous trait of deceit from people you totally gave all your trust. The cover ups, the lies…damn the world.

She’s laid awake at nights the entire week, thinking and thinking about how all this could happen to her. Why does she attract bad guys? Why do they end up betraying her trust? These and many other questions walked briskly in her mind, with Trump-like carelessness and outright disregard to the virtue of trust and may be the biblical or whatever the phrase originated from, that we should treat people the way we wanted to be treated.

Sitting at Smothers Restaurant, Fiona would occasionally stare blankly, thought with intent and attention of a watch repair man, at nothing in particular. She’s pretty and has the potential of driving men crazy, a chauffeur without a car. But that isn’t a guarantee an upright man will walk into her life. Fiona sips her tea, it tastes salty. Her palate is rebelling against the tea. It’s here that she sees clearly the lies he often told, about having been bereaved, about his salary being delayed and how that sneaky bastard, whom she hates to admit that she deeply loves, could dupe her into digging into her savings, albeit little by little, until she depleted her coffers. After all, she thought, he’d get through tough times and they’d be happy together. That wasn’t to be.

Eric had had a major fight with Lisa, his baby mama, having spent the entire Christmas period with her. Fiona cringed at the thought of Eric spending her money buying diapers. The fight had made Lisa confiscate his phones as any woman would, when the man her man wasn’t providing for the kid, a three month old at that. Lisa had seen it all, alone. The cries the baby made at the time when was beginning to enjoy her sleep, a reprieve though temporary, from the thoughts that had eaten into beauty and weight. She no longer had the luxury of ‘pimping’ herself and she now looked like that gunia strapped on the back of a street man, collecting precious yet discarded materials. Lisa can’t remember the last she made her hair. She can’t remember the last time she looked beautiful. Motherhood eats into your time, your social life.

Lisa had gone through Eric’s phones and had found out about Fiona. She thought about how she was ‘eating’ her baby’s diaper money and most of all her man. As any woman would do, she had opted to call her to warn her or just to inform her of the man she was getting involved with. Lisa thought there’s no limit a man would go to if he can abandon his offspring. She informed Fiona of that, with the hope that Eric would see the light and man up to his responsibilities. But hope is a dangerous thing, it can kill a man for Fiona had no thought of breaking up with him. It’s also through that call from Lisa that she learned that Eric was/is a playboy, a man with who couldn’t keep protuberant tool under control, in the presence of a skirt. It’s also through the call that she learnt that Lisa fell pregnant accidentally, the usual crap. No one trips and falls on a dick, no, it takes consent. Lisa was just being reckless, hiding stupidity under the term ‘accident.’

It’s that call that informed Fiona the kind of man she was getting involved with. She was at crossroads. Her meager earnings as an intern wouldn’t sustain her. The rent would eat into her allowance leaving her with nothing. Her savings would have come in handy at times like this. She had gambled it with a man, although expecting the same amount back. It wasn’t too much a risk, was it? It’s not like those sport betting firms, at least she would have been assured of a profit or worse still lose everything. The worst is losing to man, her world, he pillar, her steady rock during storm and most of the man she immensely adored. She consoled herself that at least she isn’t pregnant with Eric’s baby, a playboy, in local terms an esteemed member of the infamous mafisi Sacco, though he’d be expelled once word got out that he had breached one among the many rules of this club of mongrels-borrowing money from a woman.

Fiona got out of Smothers Restaurant, and made her way to Koinange Street where she would dance part of her night away. It’s seven in the evening. Street lights give the city a serene look, a semblance of sunset. It’s somehow looked romantic. She crossed roads and streets, fearful that a reckless driver might knock her over. All she could think about was salsa. She loves salsa. It relieves her mind, makes her think clearly. She would forget about Eric for awhile, no, about the money she’d lose in the event Eric decides its worth more than the pussy he was getting. She would immerse herself in the steps, the swirling around and the kizomba music that played softly in that salsa only club. She regarded this place in the same manner a believer would to a church or the confession chamber. Here she’d find refuge.

As she descends down the stairs, into the basement, the location of her temporary refuge, Fiona’s mind can’t think of anything except how to recover her money, and possibly get back at Eric, mortally wounding is pride. She thinks of planting cameras in her bed sitter, to capture him on the throes of passion. She thinks of cheating on him on the same bed and making sure he knows about. With this thought, an easy one, because a pretty girl like her can never run short of admirers, who will be at her door upon a moment’s notice. But with all these men hovering around her she could afford to mess with this mongrel of a man in Eric.

She’s thinks of slashing his car tyres.  But then she doesn’t know if he truly won’t pay her money. He promised to at the end of the month, ten days to go. At midnight the dance was over. And she traced her way to her abode, and into her bed, that grew progressively colder every single day. She fell asleep too quickly, owing to the fatique. Last night she had left an event at 2 am in the morning, affording the fewest hours to sleep. She slept soundly.


Friday, 13 January 2017


He wore a distant look on his face, silky smooth baby face, like he made it up every morning. From it I deduced that he was scared more by what he knew than what he didn’t. Had I not troubles  that bothered me, I would have walked up to him and asked him what was bothering him, except I had more things bothering me too.  You must be troubled by something if you crave solitude, right?  There were only two of us in the back yard of the hostel, communing with hanging lines and singing hymns that came with the wind, and the constant traffic that flowed along Lang’ata road. He didn’t even notice me, I’d learn later. He could have been high on something illegal. Later on we’d pass each other along the corridors, not ever occurring to us that pleasantries were meant for human beings. We didn’t notice each. His world was much busier than mine though.

Later on, we’d meet again as roommates. My name is Dan, he said. I told him mine. By bad luck a fresha had occupied his bed, and he gave an eviction notice, effective that very moment. The fresha tried to protest but he was resolute, and being a newbie he knew unconsciously that they were rules-rules that weren’t written but dished out randomly, like kanjos and policemen do. The only thing he was asked of was respect and obedience. Those two virtues can take you far. And so Dan had his bed. 

Dan. The Dans I have met before have been unruly; people who operate by the own rules. I didn’t expect any change since I am the type of person who concludes that all Dans are the same or anybody by any other name who has particularly unsavoury habits and traits. Call me the king of stereotypes, but trust I do not go about telling people all girls are the same. No, only those with particular names that are the same.

Anybody by the name Lucy strikes a cold chill down my spine. Not now but it used to. The first Lucy I met was actually a bully who loved to beat the crap out of children, for no reason at all. We were young then, and Lucy’s father owned a kiosk. If you were sent to buy something from the kiosk, you began crying in advance, maybe mother would pity you and send someone else. Sometimes she didn’t, almost all the time and that’s when you prayed that you don’t find Lucy lingering around the kiosk. I think she was mentally challenged. I’ll ask around one of these fine days.

Back to Dan, the baby faced man, slim and slightly tall; a Whiz Khalifa look alike- same height, same body and same mannerisms (hip hop junkie and weed smoker). He had a Creative hoofer that he jealously guarded like a kid would to his or her dolls. You didn’t touch it, you didn’t move it without his consent. Sometimes he would lend out to some of his friends, upon return he would whine about how people don’t know how to ‘protect’ people’s things. ‘You lend them in good faith, then they break it,’ he would curse, after he had repaired or feigned to. No one knew.

And just like every other kid brought in Nairobi by working parents, Dan had a penchant for night life. Every Friday he would plan with a few of his friends on their nocturnal get away, often a club in Westie. Once everything was settled, they’d contribute money, buy liquor (Smirnoff vodka) and a stash of weed. They’d call a few babes and agree their meeting point. They planned it meticulously, like soldiers planning an amphibious dawn attack on its enemies’ grounds. It worked, sometimes it didn’t. It turns out there was always one broke guy who depended on the rest once the party got started. There was always that one guy who passed out and didn’t have cab money. Thanks to God there’s Uber now. Dan and his crew don’t have to pay a lot.  Often Dan would come in the morning having lost his phone. A few days later he would buy another one, even more flashier, but then he would lose it a week later and the cycle continued until he learnt his lessons.

One very ungainly trait of his was laziness. Being in a hostel that had a 10 pm curfew in place meant that he had to plan in advance so that he can leave earlier than that. Almost all the times 10pm would find him still looking for clothes to wear. On one particular day, he left it late and was denied exit. The caretaker was resolute, stuck to rule like his job depended on it. So he hatched a plan, got a deep voiced guy around the hostel who acted his father and claimed they had an urgent family meeting in Karen. His ‘dad’ ordered his immediate release from the hostel claiming he has sent a taxi to pick him up. And that’s how he left proudly. He would later regale the story to me about how he had a date with a chick, had even bought liquor and everything, the only thing remaining was him availing his ass to the agreed destination.

He was one of the few people who never got along with others. His schedule was different from the rest, sleep during the day and stay up during the night, playing loud music the entire night. How he loved Whiz Khalifa music! In addition to these he was also a weed peddler, and had successfully managed to convert our room into a weed smoking joint. Every one smoked in that room, he claimed boastfully and if he gets caught all of us will go down. He had me buy cigarettes to even shit out, for when the axe fell, I wouldn’t want to have an excuse.

His stint as the upcoming Pablo Escobar didn’t last long. I don’t know what it is with drugs that once you in it you inevitably develop enemies around. Is it that your clients cant fathom your success or just have the feeling that they are being short changed?  First, he never used to attend lectures and his parents summoned him home one weekend for that matter. I think I heard him complain about not having chosen the course he was taking. It should have been one of his enemies who set him up.
One day, on a Friday, I got a rude shock. As I made my way into the hostel in the evening, I noticed luggage heaped near the reception. I remember wondering why someone would check so late or either leave the hostel so late in the evening. I made my way to the room and found it locked. It was normal with Dan, a smoker even though smoking and drinking were against the rules of the place (I don’t want use the word illegal). He loved locking himself in but on that evening frantic knocks yielded nothing.

A few minutes later he showed up distraught. He told me that our room had been cleared, and all our belongings taken to the reception. It turned out the luggage I had seen earlier belonged to us. It turns out that he had talked rudely to the manager after he was caught with a stash of weed. Apparently the manager knew exactly where he would find it. A brief quarrel between him and the manager ensued, in which he told him that his father is a lawyer and that he can defend him perfectly well. I am still baffled as to how the manager got the idea that he must clear the room and take the entire luggage to the reception. It’s not clear to me yet.

We grouped ourselves, having both received a briefing from the drug peddler and trouped to the office to claim our luggage, and he to defend himself. We were to claim we don’t know who the weed belonged but it was an open case when we got there. Everyone knew it belonged to him but we wanted to act like we didn’t to offer him the match needed solace. We knocked and entered the office. An old motherly lady, with creases around her face welcomed us uncharacteristically.  We sat there meekly, the same way errant children do, after breaking the family’s priced utensils. We had our rehearsed answers scripted by the drug peddler himself, Don Dan. We didn’t want to let him down, either by making the punishment less severe or making him avoid it entirely, an impossible feat one might say. Truth of the matter is we didn’t actually care. He had been a pain in the ass for far too long.

The old lady began interrogating us, excluding the drug peddler.

“Why didn’t you come for your luggage?” she asked.

“We didn’t know it belonged to us,” the other roommate answered.

“You never even bothered to ask where the room key is,” she asked trying to pin.

At this moment we knew it was a closed case. The jury had already delivered the verdict. She just wanted to toy with us, threaten us ‘because it was a serious case’ which could warrant the presence of law enforcement officers. It’s illegal, she had said, and it can attract a jail sentence of not less than ten years. We weren’t bothered by her threat of law enforcement. Weed was smoked casually almost everywhere. For us it was perfectly normal to find someone at the laundry puffing away the holy weed. Once you’d meet them, after a bout of the holy puff, arguing who would jump from the fourth floor without breaking a limb. And how philosophical they become. Suddenly they’d suggest ways of beating the system (rich kid felt screwed by the system) and how to make school fun.

Realisng that her threat failed to hit the intended target, she resorted to our parents.  I remember being visibly distressed. You know those fathers who you can’t argue with. Being associated with something as grave as bhang would have the same impact as being the owner. With him a small mistake isn’t small at all. If you get suspended from school, the best way to tell him was you’ve decided to unanimously abandon the pursuit of education. It would attract the same wrath. If he intended to kill you he would, no matter the misdemeanor.

And so I fidgeted uneasily on my chair, wishing to gain the courage to tell the old lady to claim that the bhang belonged to me. I think adults derive a certain devilish relish seeing a young man conquered, pushed against the wall to the point of doing whatever they willed. I could tell she loved it. She beamed like a young girl being approached by that guy she’s always admired. She asked numerous times whether she should call our parents. We both shook our heads. In turns out both of us had been involved in small misdemeanors in the past and she had had the front row seat in witnessing our parent’s unbridled wrath.

With us beaten, she finally turned her attention to the man of the day. He didn’t have the bullish and confident face he had before. He fidgeted anxiously as he claimed that someone might have left the weed in his locker, since, apparently, he leaves the door open.

She wasn’t interested in that narrative. She asked him what he told the manager when he found him with the weed. He resisted for a while and realized that she wasn’t going back on her quest. Finally he caved in and said feebly.

“I told him that my father is a lawyer and that he can defend me,” he said with his face staring at his shoes, the same way a man would beckon God above.

The old lady called his brother and instructed him to take him straight home. I never had a clue where their home was. I didn’t care for finally we could get rid of the man-vermin and finally live in peace. It turned out the manager had left with the key, ensuring that no one entered the room. That night, I slept in a store, fought with starved bedbugs and mosquitoes the entire night.

The next day the Dan was swiftly evicted, there being no case to answer as he did put himself. So many people were relieved by his swift exit, even those he owed money. At least he’s gone, one guy had lamented.

A few months later we’d meet near the damn hostel and he asked me if I still reside in the hostel. I  affirmed, and he let out a long sarcastic smile as he disappeared around the corner of the mall.

Sunday, 8 January 2017


It’s the last year of the century, 1999, to the uninitiated. As the sun sets that fine day, you drive the sheep to their shed, satisfied that you weren’t tempted to drive them early so that you could afford uninterrupted play. You remember the time you risked your mother’s ire by forcing the sheep into their shed in the afternoon and marveled that they've ‘entered by themselves.’ But that was you, being the kid that you were, you never saw the bigger picture. Somehow instant gratification was what drove your decisions.

On this day, a Thursday, it’s special in some way. It’s a market day and mother doesn’t usually go the market often. You think maybe she’s gone to buy fruits for the family or maybe vegetables, being January, the driest month in the region. It’s all you can think. At sunset she arrives with a baggage. Your siblings were the first to spot her and ran to her, helping her with the baggage even though they couldn’t manage to lift it off the ground. They try and try and finally give up.

Mother places the yellow paper, sits down and asks for a cup of water. In the mean time you and your siblings forage through the bag, claiming the goodies that came from the market. You fight over one thing until mother decides whom it belongs. If it wasn’t meant for you, you either sulk or go through the bag one more time; maybe you can find something meant for you. On this day you don’t find anything special for you. Instead mother rises from her chair, and dips her hand into the bag and fishes out a maroon sweater and then asks you unceremoniously to try it. It fits you perfectly, of course with plenty room for improvement. You look at yourself quite amazed for speech.

And that’s when it hits you. It dawns on you that you are finally beginning a chapter whose ending you don’t know. No one knows. You contemplate asking your mother why she’s punishing you, for the tales you’ve heard of school weren’t appealing. Teachers were bad, they beat people for no reason. There was no joy in school, except a ceaseless routine, day in day out. Go to school early enough, sit in class, break time at certain intervals and then lunch time.

The following day you accompany your mother to the trading centre. There you meet a tailor with a ‘bad leg,’ he has a walking pole, one that was fashioned out of a blamelessly straight tree. He takes your measurements. He engages your mother but you are too busy smelling the aroma of mandazi that rule the entire place. Back then a mandazi was everything. I think it was easy luring a kid those days. All you needed was a mandazi. How they packaged it in empty flour bags!! Shit you loved it more than anything else. Put it in your dairy, grown ass man, mandazi was your first love.

A week later the uniform arrives mysteriously. Mother didn’t leave home that day. She accosts you before you go to bed and orders you to try the uniform. A pair of dark blue shorts, a light blue shirt and a maroon pullover, there were no shoes. The shorts are tiny as hell, but you are tiny as well, just six years old. The next day the journey of schooling began. You and your brand new uniform, accompany your mother to the nearest school. Mother enters an office with you in tow, your name is scribbled down on an old tattered book by an old bespectacled man.

Kipchirchir Kiprop.

That’s your name. No fancy English name. Back then you hated that name that it was almost abusive, it was actually an expletive term to call someone by their English name. You guarded it like nuclear launch codes. Any moment someone discovered it you were doomed, just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As far as you were concerned you didn’t want destruction. But then richer kids used their first names, the sons and daughters of athletes that lived within the precincts of the school. Of course this was a temporary arrangement before being  shipped to better schools.

After a few exchange of pleasantries, mother is instructed to take you to a classroom near the gate. There she talks with the teacher, and the leaves. You are scared shit of being alone. It dawns on you that the only place you were assured of security was being your mother. Now you are all alone in a sea of unfamiliarity. You want to cry but she assures that it will okay. At that moment your pour all your hatred on your mother and douse her with unspoken juvenile expletives.

The teacher turns out to be motherly as well and ushers you to a class full of kids. That’s when you realize you are the tallest among them all. You don’t remember but for once in your life you had to ‘borrow’ permission to shit. And there was a designated place to shit too. Back at home the bush came in handy, for the hole in the pit latrine looked huge. It looked like you could slip through it and die a slow painful death, corroded by feaces. The ‘borrowing of permission’ was the hardest part. Unfortunately there was no manual for that. Now, you wish you could tell people that you didn’t shit on your brand new uniform on the first day of school.

The saddest thing about school then was that you didn’t know the reason why you went to school. It felt like you went there to wait for holidays. Or get promoted to the next class after a year. Nevertheless you gave your best shot. You learnt how to hold a pen and scribble things down, though incomprehensible. It was deemed a good step towards progress.

Then came the singing. Endless singing. When you thought you were done, then came more singing. About alphabets, numbers, days of the week and months. The only singing you truly enoyed was the one before you went for lunch.

Naskia sauti, sauti ya mama
Sasa ni saa sita, sasa ni saa sita
Kwaheri mwalimu
Bye bye teacher
Mungu akipenda tutaonana kesho na tusome

A few years later you make friends who you played with, went home with for lunch. And as you grew, it became apparent that you didn’t deserve the kind of education offered in that school. Your parents begin head hunting for a new school, where you’d get quality education. But that wasn’t what was on your mind. It was a matter of affluence. Relatively rich homes didn’t keep their kids in day schools where they scored 200 marks. No, they aimed big. They take you to interviews in schools so far away from home, schools hidden in the bush that to reach you must board matatus, alight and board another before you get there. It seemed god was reading your mind for the interview was as hard as Wabukala’s next job.

When everything had been exhausted you went back to your school.

“Are you sure you are not transferring?” asked the teacher, a slightly bulky woman. She doesn’t want to enter you into the class register. She knows somehow, that your parents have already handed in a transfer request.

“I am not transferring,” you reply back. As far as you were concerned passing interviews were a mirage. Even if there was one in the offing, you were sure as hell that you would not be offered a place.

The next day you fail to show up for school. There’s an interview to attend. You don’t give so much thought about success. The last three amounted to nothing but failure. In your mind you’d be back to continue with the same people you’ve known all along, get your 200 marks and live an adulterated village life, a life without too many complications and ambitions. But on that day the gods were on your side. You passed the interview. All of a sudden, you were going to a new school, an academy, and most importantly a boarding school.

A new chapter began in 2005, six years after you began school. With new friends, new mode of teaching, and getting used to badly cooked food and doing your own laundry. In class a few were curious about how you used to perform in your former school.

“I was number two,” you blurt with a sense of triumph. You saw the disappointment in her face. It meant she has to be pushed further down the performance index the next time an exam was done. But then something nags her and she asks the marks you got.

“296,” you say with a sense of pride. Truth is that was the best performance ever in your entire upper primary education. A new comer had beaten you. She settles to her book assured that you are not an academic threat.

A short, slim man pops into the class room and hands you a 200 pages exercise book. There’s fear and reverence that abound the man. You later learnt that he was dressed in a pullover, a hand knit brown turtleneck one, that spoke of his foul mood. When you spotted him in it you watched how you breathed lest your violate one of his many unwritten rules. You would curse the day you were born, the one who bore you and the canal you passed. He was a Kisii by the way. You promise yourself to look for him one of these days, get to know him on a level you aren’t afraid of him.

Three days later, the slim man pops into the classroom with anger. Everybody in class stiffens up as he grabs you by the collar. A sigh of relief ripples through the classroom when you are picked and man handled like someone who just murdered a brother over a plate of ugali. The previous day, the class had been given a composition to write and apparently you had written nonsense.

“What is this?” he fumes, pointing at a single page of the nonsense you had managed to craft.
He flogs you with vengeance. Eight strokes fall on your buttocks. You don’t flinch or budge. The strokes fall one after the other, you don’t even bother to count, you classmates do it for you. You don’t shout, you don’t cry.  When he’s done he tears the page and orders you to rewrite the essay. You rise, dust yourself and you are greeted by something more than awe. They had never witnessed someone who would withstand the man’s wrath, without flinching. You stare at the page he just tore and slowly put it back into your locker desk. He never asks for it later on.

A year down the line, you score 400 marks. You can’t tell the joy that rippled through your being that day. Lagging behind for the better part of your infancy at the school, made you realize that everything is possible, of course with a few floggings here and there. Two more years and you manage decent marks that enabled you to join a secondary school, a provincial one, where you began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Good grades and your life was all but a guaranteed bliss. You had to surmount the challenge of chemistry and physics. There was no way you could defy the laws of physics because there was no chemistry between the two of you.

Thank god you emerged victorious at the end of the gruesome battle, drained but at least breathing. For the first time you breathe a sigh a relief, you dad’s money didn’t go to waste. Many times before you entertained the thoughts of how best he could have used the money he spent on your school fees. He could have visited every holiday destination around the world, or probably have bought a mansion at Beverly Hills Los Angeles, singing to Jay Z’s Forever Young. Attaining grades that ensured direct entry into university wiped all those thoughts away. For once he asked you what you wanted to do with your life (he never did before).

The devil is always out there to rob people of their happiness. He just can’t stand the sight of people being happy, even for no reason or just for reaping what they sowed over the years.  Right now he’s waiting to rob you a chance for a job, a prospective lover, a dream you’ve held since you grew conscious of your surroundings. The devil is always there waiting for a chance to strike. And strangely the devil is sometimes hidden in us, within us, probing us to make decisions that are conducive for his growth and manifestation.

Before you have digested the results, your parents, having not gotten so used to your presence at for longer periods, decide that you need to do computer studies. Your father sends you to scout for a college within town and off you go, one fine morning. While in town, still prospecting, not actually prospecting but finding a way of writing a receipt to reflect the amount you've told him, and of course pocket the rest, he calls you and triumphantly announces change of plans.

“I have changed my mind. You will study a diploma course. I want you to help your sister out, “he says when you get into the car.

Just like that you find yourself doing a course in purchasing and supplies management. But this time round you are commuting from home to town, an hour work and another hour in a matatu. For a seven am class, you had to be up by 5 am lest you be late. That’s the earliest legal time you’ve had to wake, not forgetting the chilly mornings, plus morning dew.

Amid all the angst, the hating, the skiving of school and the eventual spanking, you decide to man up and complete the course. There you found love that you still doubt if it is, after that really bad let down from her part. After a year you had your diploma, something you couldn’t even celebrate. In it you lost the meaning of learning of education. But you had, it belonged to you and nobody else.

Enter university, the last phase of life. Here you take journalism, a roller coaster and the struggle to beat deadlines. The hardest part of university is deadlines. Nothing else. And worrying about exams and cats. It’s here that you finally taste the night life, the fable that had been narrated in high school and for once it hits you that it’s for those whose wallets are faint hearted. The night is prone to brawls from mean who, after taking three or four bottles decide that every man wants to snatch their woman, or because he sees himself as the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world.

Officially you can sing Kanye West’s song Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
Class started two hours ago
O am I late?
Nooo, I already graduated

Suddenly you learn that there are no jobs. Nobody tells you this in university, you learnt to write a business plan though but for the purposes of examination. Right now you have no clue of what you wrote about.

And that’s your ABCD of life; A Boys Carat Dream