Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Are you home already?

Image result for going homeChristmas is here. 2016 is gone. Well, almost gone. In a few days – that we will barely notice pass by because we will be all into celebrating and passing out – it will be a memory. Some will look back at it with sneer for the pain it has caused them. To put this in perspective, last week I asked someone close to me how her resolutions have shaped up through the year and she literally face palmed! She simply said, “At least I am alive Wesh”. And there is the catch. It means she got nothing going as planned but she’s all good with the fact that 2016 is over. The year wrecked her bad and now she is part of those who will simply sneer at it.

Others will definitely be fading in on the edge of paradise when beautiful nostalgia hits them as they reminisce 2016 and its good tidings. Like my friends who got hitched this year, akina Kay, William, Nash, and Makokha.  

Then some will want nothing to do with it. Like a bad omen, they will bury it in the ‘kaburi la sahau’ and seek supernatural indulgence to rid themselves of any misfortunes they might have dragged over from 2016.

My heart goes out to all those lives that we lost in the Naivasha tragedy. The lives of the men and women who woke up to go about their business with no idea it would be their last day to be with us. To walk the earth. I really don’t know what you tell a man who has lost two daughters and a brother all at once. Or parents to a couple that were on their way to honeymoon. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

And I also admit this year for me has not been all highs. There are moments when I have crawled in the shadows of disappointment and borne the staleness of dark days. Days when even my lucky socks wouldn’t help. (I have lucky socks people). I wore them this one dark day and I still lost a thao at an ATM machine. A thousand bob gone like that. Puff! Damn those socks! But really, I am referring to bigger issues of course. I am talking of days when neither kachumbari-topped mutura nor those samosas I eat at nicks could help. Even a massage couldn’t do it. Days that simply left a sour taste in my mouth. The kind of days I would scroll through my gram timeline and see those life quotes over flowery pictures or sunset photos and be like, “gerrarahia man”. The quotes would not mean much. 

But all those are now memories and my friends and I are still slaying over here.

So Christmas is here. How would you know? Well, there are dead giveaways. Just look around at the decorations. Everywhere. Garden city is magical with the enchanting lights, the Kamau guy hired to play Santa, the decorated trees and the enticing holiday sale banners. I actually tend to think Garden City peeps are living up to their ‘city of dreams’ slogan. Then I passed over at TRM on Friday to pay my landlord, Kinoti, his dues and either I have the wrong idea of paradise or TRM has somehow received a fax from the man up there giving them tips on what befits the word ‘heavenly’. Or I am just exaggerating. But the décor is impressive. 

Then there are the families. Kids are all over the place with beaming faces, ice cream guys making a kill on this, women in heeled shoes stacking things they probably don’t need in trolleys at Nakumatt and their men walking behind them with sulky faces from all the draining on the credit cards. Of course you’ll know the ones who’ll go nuts in January went ahead and thought carrying a debit cards over that holiday trip to Diani was not a bad idea at all.

But the most explicit part about this Christmas season is the traveling. Has anybody called you to ask “hujaenda ocha bado”? That call will somehow come up. We all get into the travel frenzy around this season. Hell even some of us – us here means western fellas (akina Kuchio and Matendechere) – carry their beds and sofa seats all the way to Butula and them come back with them in January! And are you going home by the way?

I know its cliché but I want to know where you call home. I want to know because I am just from a call with someone who I asked this question and to them there is ocha where parents and siblings are then there is home where their heart finds tranquil. Where their heart is not bleeding. And by the way it sucks the soul out of me when I hear the depravity in someone’s voice as they try to explain why they are swimming against the tide to people who only know reason as swimming with the tides. 
Explaining why ‘home’ is not home for them.

So where is home?

A million ways to put this but indulge me in my perspective.

For me, flowers or flower gardens or flower bushes, are the most astounding of preachers on the state of being home. 

Let first just talk flowers.

I oddly used to admire, still do, how flowers grow and live in their tribes and bloom over vast fields and wild groves. Even more I admire how each flower though constrained in a vastness of hundreds of others manages to stand out alone. And not the kind of standing alone that resounds ‘degenerate’. No. The standing alone that resounds accomplishment, like great men, men that tangle solitude and success together. In their natural form, flowers sway against winds that carry stories and secrets in equal measure but remain unmoved as their roots delve deep in the earth. And in all this strength and privilege such flowers are not lost on their course, they simply aim at a single thing; to excel in what their laws finds graceful, to be true to their form, to be the door through which nature smiles at us.
When you root out flowers from the ground they don’t hide anything. They show their struggle by their roots; the lengths they have gone to in order to sustain the beauty above the ground; the twists and turns beneath the ground; dodging rocks and all. Surprisingly in the most rugged grounds you find the most impressive flowers. 

Think of these flowers preaching, 

“I really don’t know who bore me. In our family we simply spread as pollen. Our fathers and our children are family but are also strangers to us. They may be here or far away. My family is thus all these flowers around me whether we rose from the same pollen grain or not. They are family because they are what I got for now. We stick together and refuse to die in storms. And all I do here is to live out to my full term. I share my secrets and pain with them and I keep my labour holy. I shine in the sun and look pretty in the rain. It’s what we do. We prevail in this and in this I have built my trust. A form of trust that carries my life.”

A flower is thus simply paying its eternal dues. Mother Nature puts the small plant through hell. But that only serves to refine the damn thing. To tighten the ‘family’ bond. In the end the uniqueness of each flower is curved out better in the face of adversity. After the stormy night, nothing looks better than a bunch – ‘family’ – of flowers in the morning sun. Their details are orgasmic. 

I know this is prolly starting to sound like those inspirational novels but hang in there, we are headed somewhere.

Ask any bride about the power of a flower and they will give you stories for days. Or ask a girl what a single rose can do and they will let you know of the inexplicable feeling that those red petals carry. Roses do things to hearts of women. And why are we happy when we are surrounded by flowers? I guess it’s because they remind us of our idea of homes. Flowers somehow feed our illusion of perfection. Actually a bouquet of flowers having flowers cut and trimmed together should tell you what family is all about. We all want to be like flowers; the centre of admiration; the focal point of those expensive Nikon cameras. Cameras owned by kick ass photographers kama Siloma.

So we go back to the question, where is home? 

In my view, I think home is many things and one thing too. 

Home can be somewhere we are headed, where we ought to be, and not really places where we have come from. Indeed as a flower rises from past it has no idea of, some of us rise from pasts that also remain vague to us sometimes. We have roots in mud and rusty places. Roots that carry our scars and our struggles but then these are not home. 

Home can be our crew; the niggas around you; the girlfriends you gossip with; the chama chics that you are building empires together or that person you confide in. The can be your family. And our aim in these families, as is in flowers, is to stand out at the end with a trail of success behind us and on a peak graced with peace. This is home. 

Home can also be the moments we share with the people we love and not really the place where these people are. It could be the journey we have to go through to create these moments. As flowers do, maybe remaining true to our form, our goal, and our purpose would be the perfect way to being at this home. To creating homely moments in time. 

Home can also be a feeling of safety and comfort. Like my phone-call friend’s idea of home.
Or it could also be the place where we get to wander around in boxers, play loud music, dance weirdly to Mercy Masika’s Mwema, eat unhealthy stuff and hold the serving spoon and sing Karaoke like a dying walrus. (I don’t do any of these).

And in the end? 

Well when we, like flowers, realise what is home for us then we become other people’s idea of home. We become a glimpse of paradise to those around us. We make them have an idea of what family is about. We show them that family is about those that stand with us, shape us to be better and those that fit in our garland: whether our veins run the same blood or not.