Monday, November 21, 2016

The beard Gang
Last week I was to write about no shave November. I was excited because, first, beard is life – even small beard –, and writing, for me, is an escape. Something that soothes my soul. Something that opens up as art, as a hobby and maybe a passion. A high. So I love times when I pick up my PC in the wee hours of the night, in dead silence, brew hot coffee, get the music going and sail away with words. But then I got caught up in a tornado of other urgent things like traveling the world, fundraising for my foundation, you know, getting people to write me contribution cheques they probably will later regret because they got consumed by the moment. And the beautiful girls who I sent to ask for the kind donations. More like the light dimpled charming faces at the loans desk at KCB that can easily make you think you’re getting a free pass on the loan.

Something like, “Shika hii pesa mkubwa. Enda ujijenge nayo. Ata usirudishe. Ni free”. 

They are really smooth. And they speak eloquently. As they bounce words back and forth and point – with nails manicured in heaven – at blank spaces for you to sign you’d easily contemplate leaving them with half the loan money and a kidney for their trouble.

But it is usually a loan which, believe me, if you default on, you’ll meet different faces altogether, scary ones.

Actually not really, I was not doing any of the above things. Not even taking a ka-soft loan to keep me afloat in this economy. Rather, I have been trying to make my transcript not suck this semester. So I have been, and I hate to say this, a bookworm. Yeah, I have been one of those. And I know I tell my friends we need to YOLO a lot but then a brother go to make his village proud at least.

And then I caught a flu before the weekend and it has been rough. Those bottled dawas you see staring at you from chemist shelves are no joke. I got a prescription and taking them gets me all drowsy. Too drowsy to write anything that makes sense anyway. Then there is this dosage that I was given and I know it is supposed to be, as the guy said, 3 times 3 (morning, afternoon and after supper and an episode of The Wire – amazing TV series by the way), but I am not sure how much of it. It is liquid and he said 10 ml but I have no measuring apparatus – those beaker things we used in high school chemistry, who does anyway? – in my house. So I estimated that one ka-bottle cap would be 5 ml and that means I take two – God forbid should I be wrong. But again, I am doing just fine so far. I will let you know how it goes or if I stop writing then you’ll kinda figure out what went down.

So beard.

First off, this beard thing is pretty rigged I should say. There are guys I know that had a head start on this. Way too much head start. Some like the infamous Owour-the-Prophet haven’t even shaved from November last year; they’re rigging. 

Ok, maybe we leave Owuor out of this and deal with regular folks. 

I know it ain’t no competition but some regular guys (Goddy I am not giving names) stopped shaving nauko July and now you’d have to search for their face amid the facial hair. 

But then it’s still alright because we all are in the same team here ama? In support of the war against cancer. Lakini I have learnt my lesson; next time imma circle my 2017 calendar on 1st of August just so I get prepared to amaze y’all with the ‘Mr Steal your girlfriend’ beard.

For this to make sense I have to go back a bit;

So a couple of weeks ago, I was doing my usual evening trip from town – in my route’s kawaida Jav that is usually eventless. Routine stuff. I sat – for lack of an alternative – at the very hind. Beside me a mother with two younglings and one of those big Adidas bags stuffed with clothes I guess. Between us was supposed to be two seats but then the younger boy perched on one of them close to her awaiting to move if need be. One my right side was a potbellied man who annoyingly sat like he had a jiko between his legs (please buy your own car if you get a kitambi). Then came this middle aged man all craggy and a bit clumsy. (Haha he had the popular Kale jacket). A city dweller from the suburbs I presume. He sat next to me, pausing as if to catch his breath for a minute. He looked at the boy, then at me, then at the mom, then out of the blues he insists that the little guy be allowed to have the seat and that he would pay for it. A kind act from the heart. 

“Asante sana na mungu akubariki”, quipped the mom as the stranger and his cheget alighted and went on their way. 

It was actually hard to believe that all he wanted was to give the young guy a comfortable trip for the half hour that we would be on the road. Because fisi is a life outchea and we all know it.

On a different day, still in the city, and on my way to the city centre I sat almost next to a guy with a baby. Yes, a baby. A guy with human baby in a jav! No, mum around. I guess it was his turn to go out with the baby out or just left the house saying “nafika kwa duka” only for his friends to text him about a very tight plan going down and he decided to just go ahead and take the baby for a choma-graced afternoon at Kwa Njuguna’s in Westy. Either way, he had a baby with him – a year old I guess. Wait, what if he had stolen someone’s baby? I actually never thought of that. But, well, since the ka-cute soul never cried I would imagine they were at least friends. If not relatives. That’s my consolation if at all he had stolen the baby.

The interesting bit is how the baby somehow kept staring at the guy. I bet he was wondering what the guy did wrong for hair to grow on his chin. Was it a curse? Did he urinate on the door of a minister of the gospel? Did he refuse to pray as often as his mother taught him to? Did he refuse to ‘type amen’ on one of those Facebook posts? At some point the baby was trying to grab the beard as the guy fiddled with his phone scrolling through Whatsapp conversations. They were both at ease.

Let’s hang that one there for a minute.

You know Pastor Julian Kyula? The one with a church on Mombasa Road? The Purpose Centre Church? Well, I went there a while back. I was there to seek audience with God because as much as I can do that from anywhere sometimes being in a church helps than being in a house full of unwatched movies and beckoning snacks. And screaming kids (neighbour’s kids not mine).

So I sat there. At the back. I said short earnest prayers about me and stuff I like. Told God I want a better life and his help so that I can buy only those Avocados that are nice on the inside and to give me a good bae someday. Legit things. But other times I just watched people delve into moments of supplication as the band sang gloriously. Saw a couple of celebrities and Njugush of K-Krew finding peace with God. And I heard the prayer of a Congolese guy. Never understood it. Okay, I understood the little English parts but that’s it.

I remember the Congolese guy – figured that out from his prayer – because he sat just a row in front of me. He sang with an unfathomable level of indulgence. With one hand on the chest, fist clenched and the other one raised up to his maker. He arched his head up with closed eyes. He really sang along with a lot of passion. I bet he saw heaven. His beard sang along too. And as he cried – he teared a lot for a guy – his beard worked equally hard to catch all the balls of tears as they made way down his cheeks. 

I do know men cry but his was different. It was a cry of brokenness. Of surrender. He sought guidance. Direction. And mercy maybe.

I prayed some more too; prayed for people who cook samosas with waru to see the evil in their actions and repent.

So here is why these incidences are about beard gang.

For a couple of men I know, actually all men, the essence of a manhood is in the masculinity. The beard being part of this. It is like a gauge. The more the beard the manlier someone is. Good point if you ask me. Lakini it does not stop there. A man is more than the facial hair. A man is defined by the depth of character. I think the guy in the Jav who paid for a seat just to get a boy to be comfortable is more of a man than elves who think it’s manly to stagger home at 3 am in a drunken stupor. I think the guy finding the strength to carry around his baby all day is more of a man than the run-away father pretending to be a corporate guru. I also think the Congolese chap seeking supernatural intervention is more of a man than the know-it-all fellas who would rather swallow a whole coconut than seek help even when they are caving in.

So as we let the beards run loose and trend hashtags about it, it would only be fair to follow up the beard with character.

Have a beardy end-month, won’t you?

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, very entertaining. And I agree, let's follow up the beard with some character. And may hell rain upon all who cook samosas with warus, lol