Monday, October 31, 2016

Kunta Kinte

Image result for kunta kinte
Roots History

So how do you know just how vulnerable you are? Like to pain and its brothers? Mi I have a rough idea about my pain tolerance abilities. On the lower end there is zero pain – this is my zone mostly because I know hitting a toe against the table will ache even to the deep of your soul – then on the higher end the limit is at a thuraku biting on my man parts.

So, yea, that’s my range sort of. 

I know the later seems ridiculous but ants will make the bravest of warriors wriggle in pain just because they know where to bite. You’d be walking down a street with your boys beating your chest about sijui how last December you killed a nyoka back in ushago or how like my blogger friend Siloma you got stuck in the middle of nowhere when your car refused to perform its car duties like all good cars do and how you fixed it all by yourself although we know the mechanic was on loud speaker all the time and then as you keep beating your chest an ant along the street gutters will just decide you’re bragging about your heroism too much. It will get agitated. It will want to bite you. 

And because that ant will be a thuraku ninja warrior it will not bite sijui your zgwembe, nah that is the work of regular thuraku, instead, it will climb up your shoe and up your trouser and it will go on and bite one of your balls. And it will bite like it means it because the thuraku has been to the Thuraku defence forces training camp and you know it had its thuraku teeth checked during recruitment. It will probably be a high ranking operative in the thuraku ninja warrior army. 

The thuraku will haven proven to you that you and your tiny chest can go down as easily as drunk Nairobi drivers at an NTSA stop. With the thuraku biting your powerhouse you will squirm and your friends will laugh and you will rummage through your pants trying to rescue yourself from the kaninja warrior of thuraku army and it will be an awful experience because pain and embarrassment will befriend you in that moment. 

Now you see how high my pain tolerance is? 

Image result for ant biting
So what does pain do to you? Besides having you writhe around? Well, again, mi I (forgive my murder of English in this phrase) know what it does; it makes me defensive. I will walk a wire just not to feel the pain I have felt before. Like I will refuse to be friendly to any thuraku at all. Even the regular thuraku. (If you haven’t caught up already just know thuraku is Kuyu for ant). And because pain can make a good person who goes to church and prays and even doesn’t say fuck to other people when they walk slowly on the street (I get street – road - rage very easily) become a monster, I will kill thurakus whenever I see them. I will pledge my lifetime to making their lives miserable. 

I know you’re probably wondering where we are going with the thuraku thing. Right? Okay, so last week I killed many thurakus that were on a road trip (I think; they were carrying bread and stuff) and happened to pass near my window. Later I thought about it and felt a little bad. Why? Mostly because there are thurakus that I know live somewhere in our rooftop and I believe they have seen me as a good neighbour all along and because we have all minded our businesses for long since without much fuss. Now I can feel that they think I betrayed them and that is alright but again I think they are planning something big in retaliation. Like a biting ceremony at night where they will attack from all sides.

(Okay I have to confess I was going to write about kunta kinte but the thuraku story kind became fun).

Kunta kinte is a guy I was in a movie series a couple of months ago. I am not sure how real the story was but he was kinda legendary in the era of slavery and Negro manenos. Kunta was that one renegade guy that does not flow with the current. The guy that would rather have no toes that stay and milk white people cows at the farm – they cut off his toes for running away. He also refused to take a name that was not his. There is this white boss that lashed him for kedo forty minutes until he accepted a name that the guy’s wife thought was appropriate. They wanted him to be called Kinuthia but he refused and insisted he was Kunte

So how does Kinta Kunte and the thuraku escapade relate? It is simple. I thought Kunte is the only guy that would not squirm if that thuraku I told you about bit his ninii. Well, him and this guy called Okiya Omtatah. And maybe Boniface Mwangi. Although I think Boniface might hold protests against the thurakus. 

PS. Boniface Mwangi for president right?

Why do I think Kunta Kinte wouldn’t feel the pain?

I think of pain like a river of sorts. It will cut even the toughest of rocks. But in time, the rocks at the bedside figure out a way to derive serenity in the force of the water. The same force that eats into them. In time, Kunte figured out how to get above the white man’s pain. And – spoilers – he conquered slavery and lives on as a legend that is the whole point of the TV series.

So how does that make me feel? – the Kunta Kinte thing.

Good you asked. It makes me feel invincible. That next time a thuraku bites me I will not flinch even alilo. I will stand and think beyond the pain for as long as I can then crush the thuraku eventually. Showing it that I have outgrown its bites.

Feeling motivate yet? No? Well, the next time you face pain intense enough that standing still becomes impossible just know that in time you become refined. Hard. Like a rock. The same pain will not sink you again if you sail through it now.

Have a painless week. Won’t you?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

An Unsullied Man.

Intoxicated Drunk Dwi Dui clip artA man will stand on a balcony in an apartment he has recently moved into. In a pair of khaki shorts, rocking the best sandals Maasai guys - we all know they are kuyus from Karatina just doing business in disguise - ever put together and a particularly flashy phone – not Infinix of course – in his grip he will reminisce old memories as a soft wind blows against his freshly shaved signature beard almost reminding him of the tranquil that can become of life. The tranquil that was life in days of innocence when he knew less and did less. He will want to go back to that. Really bad.

Leaning on the well curved metallic balcony grills he will make sense of the recent past and its darkness and his heart will skip a couple of beats when he remembers the pains - including the time he staggered into his house that he’s strangely unaccustomed to and hit his toe against the edge of the table and it hurt so bad. He felt it even in the daze of drunkardness. And he cursed in the darkness as he caressed the cold wall trying to reach out for the switch and cursed a little more in the light when he found it. Now it’s alilo funny when he thinks of it. He will rest his entire weight on those grills because he will be tired of his now unfamiliar and heavy soul.

He’ll understand why it feels that way. He’ll know he changed.

And he will be hopeful of better days. He will hope to get a better car – that doesn’t sound like a dying walrus when pulling into the basement parking - , marry her because she doesn’t text xaxa and can live a day without her makeup, knows names of economists and mathematicians besides knowing akina wizkid and that famous guy who sings trap music and she cooks round chapos – not like those who at their best produce maps of Kiribati – and also hope to go on holiday with her to the Seychelles because he will be the guy that can confidently say ‘bank otuch’. He hopes to have lots of money.

Perhaps he will resort to stop smoking soon even though he has been stopping for the last year and the year before that and probably knows it’s going to take more than written words in a resolution book to get that done. He will pray that the odds be in his favour. Although I would think that he is not the sort of person that believes in odds. He’s not the sort of guy that says he did not choose the thug life and that the thug life chose him. To him choice is inescapable.

You’d understand this choice thing better if, like him, you hail from an African home somewhere in Rarieda where nothing is left to chance. Not even your career. Typical African parents will for example pray and cane you into whatever profession they think is apt for you. Your old man will watch you as a youngling and think ‘He counts like a banker’ or ‘He has the hand of a shara person’ and in a jiffy’s abracadabra, just like that, your fate is sealed. You will have to become a banker or a businessman.

If say your name is Shirievi and now as a ‘man’ having done you KCPE exam proudly proclaim that you want to be a DJ – DJ Shiri for Shizzle. Your father will wait until both of you have eaten supper – for the strength; much so that they don’t cane you into fainting and then have to pay that guy who owns a moti in the village 1500 bob to rush you all the way to Russia hospital in Kisumu thinking you’re in a comma. Then he will cunningly slide in provocative statements that will make you repeat that you want to be DJ Shiri for Shizzle. He will then suddenly get angry, click loudly – create a mood for war - , summon strength from the ancestors and then come down on you with the vigour like Safaricom does on our data bundles. 

He will whip you using the QnA approach (only that you don’t really get to answer);


Q: Ati unataka kua nini? Eeh? Shizzle ni nini?

*Whip *Whip *Whip 

Q: Unajua shule nimelipa pesa ngapi? Ama unadhani ni bure?

*Whip *Whip

Q: Si nilikuambia hii maneno ya facebook inakuharibu akili? Eeh?

*Whip *Whip *Whip

Q: Unadhani utalipwa na nani kuchezea watu nyimbo na wako nazo kwa simu zao?

*Whiiiiiip (that long one where the lash is raised up at least 180 degrees ready for impact)

Q: Unalia nini?

*Endless whips into the night.

Ps: The whips correlate to the question. The more a question agitates him the harder he will hit you.

You will then have to become a banker and give you folks the satisfaction of telling other villagers that their Shirievi is a bank employee before you can quit and become DJ Shiri when you already have kedo forty years and your signature beard isn’t even that cool anymore.
Image result for drunken man cartoon

Remember the guy at the balcony?

You also know it’s a habit for him because every Saturday morning finds him on that balcony. Smoking. On those mornings, he will be smelling more like a KBL tanker and his mouth will have the taste of some turquoish waters of Dunga beach. It’ll taste like he ate the forbidden fruit. He did. And this will make him cringe when he remembers the night before. When he remembers the other sins of the night that he has to own up to in the light of day he will quiver. Sipping on lemon juice (they say it raises alkaline levels and lowers hangie levels), he will swallow hard and feel nausea and lethargy inevitably take over his whole being and while battling against swooning he will find his way back to the couch. He will lie there feeling poisoned and dead and almost rigour mortised as the hangover eats him up and he will wait till his boys pass by and drag him out of his misery with some light hearted talk and bits of brotherly abuse. 

But they won’t show up.    

It will be hours before he reverts to his rather ‘puritanical’ life. He will get up and garner his exuberance while rounding up empty liquor cans and pressing them together in the trash bag. He will want them out of his life – and out of his door. Then under the streams of water in his shower, he will swear that last night was the last time. He will think of his life and quietly swear, 

“Sitawai kunywa tena”. 

A lifelong decision made in a flash. He will mean it.

He will call her and let her know too. 

He will earnestly want to be a better man. A man not driven by booze. A man whose lungs don’t suck at being lungs. He will crave tranquillity. And stability.

She will probably get the call while on a book thing with her girlfriends. They will be reading things Sophia Nelson has written in The Woman Code and drawing deep life skills because modern ladies like her take book clubs seriously. They read, do yoga and drink sophisticated things like green tea and talk about weight and healthy living. Being the progressive woman she thinks of herself, she won’t answer a call in the middle of a damn meeting. Instead, she’ll courteously excuse herself and trot away to pick the call. The door will seem an eternity away as she squeezes herself between seats and dodges the manicured toes of her counterparts and the scattered pillows on the floor. Finally she will swing open the door and mumble a ‘hello’ as she moves further from the door on the outside.

“Uko sure umeacha?” She’ll ask him distinctively. “Kabisa?”

He will explain how he came to the resolution as she listens and tears quietly. It will make her happy. She will nod even though he can’t see her over the phone and promise to support him. He will then hang up and she will take time to let it all sink in. Finally he has become the man she always wanted him to be. Her man. Her perfect man. She will wipe her tears, clear her throat and then go back in but she will not hear anything else they say because he will have stolen her heart. And we know the heart is what really listens. 

However, the thing with women is that they glow in some glory when they are happy. And she will glow. They will look at her, at their books, at her again and definitely see the glow and they’ll exchange quick glances with each other and you’ll be sure the glances carry coded messages more secretively than Nasa’s emails. They will pretend to go on with the book club but on their way out one of them will ask her about it. 

“So what was that all about?” 

“Huh?” She will feign surprise. 

“Ni yeye alicall ama? Anataka nini?” 

She will tell her what happened. That he changed. And the story will be passed on to the rest over WhatsApp in like 10 milliseconds and the rest will pretend to not know until she tells them personally and then they will say ‘awww’ to her face to make her feel appreciated. And they will be a little jealous that she got that man.

In the end, she will see him as the perfect man. He will be the perfect man. But we know that the man is a consequence of conscious choice. He is not the unsullied man. No. He is the man with imperfections made perfect.