WANJIRU – AUTHOR, WRITER, BLOGGER

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She is among few Kenyan bloggers bagging some tidy money out of outstanding writing skills. Her blog site is a meeting place for the big boys in the advertising space. Getting traffic for her site is a goal she has gracefully concurred. Her style of writing can only be ranked equal to or slightly better than the phenomenal Bikozulu. Okay, let me put it differently; she can be paraded in the same runway with Biko and dare give him a run for his money. She has a deep sense of creativity and well polished English. Her writing is intriguing, unconventional and free-spirited. You just never know how her captivating fictional series will turn out next. She epitomizes an impressive ability to capture the readers’ attention and leaving them yearning for more.

I schooled with Wanjiru Ndung’u for the better part of my primary school life and she was no lesser of an intelligent kid besides being reserved and shy. The number Two slot was her well-guarded spot always after Jacqueline Muthoni. I recall a time when her composition was read out in class by the English teacher back in class 3 about a trip to Nairobi.

One of her many hats of accomplishment is writing for the youthful-urban audience – the like that tends to attract anything subtle and sophisticated. She is gifted in hatching stories from the oblivion and dark corners and nurturing them to articles that will leave you wondering, how that came about. It could be when Mel (A lead character) and a female friend had a tire burst or instances when she (Mel) develops a pregnancy scare. Such, form part of my favorite articles in her blog. Wanjiru can switch roles rather meticulously, writing from both gender perspectives which is something many writers struggle with.

You’d be curious to know when she discovered she was curved off to write;

“I’d say I became aware that I could write incredibly when I was around ten years old. I was a teacher’s pet in English class, and my compositions were read in front of the class many a time. When I went to high school I started experimenting with writing poetry, which got me into drama club (even though I could not act), owing to the fact that I composed a school solo for Drama festivals. I have been writing since then.”

There so many freelance writers penning down articles regularly just for fun. Wanjiru Ndung’u started off with the same mindset but reached a point where she decided to take the bull by its horns on matters writing. In other words, that’s her main act of living. How did that come about?

“It was a combination of circumstances. Growing up, we had always been made to believe that the most lucrative careers were either in business or in the sciences. I had always held a belief that there was no money in writing, considering there were only about three major newspapers in the country. Then technology boomed and access to the internet opened up opportunities in blogging and self-publishing.”

There is more to this…

“Incidentally, I’d just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in International Business Management. The labour market was saturated and I had difficulty finding a job just like any typical graduate. Eventually, I took up a volunteering position with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology teaching Reading Aloud to struggling children in a primary school in Kisumu. I loved reading the stories to the children, but it also felt like the universe was pushing me towards literature in some way. So I heeded that call, left the programme and came home to start writing full-time.”

If you ask how long it takes me to scribble down and polish an article I wouldn’t have a clear answer. There are articles that form in the mind when I’m in bed and occasionally when travelling and as soon as I hit a keyboard, in an hour’s time I’ll have a feasible 1st draft. I may edit it twice or thrice and publish it the next day. That’s on a good day. For some, I write and let them gather dust for months only to go fetch them when my creativity gets tested or depending on my schedules. For many though, I process them in between 2 weeks and 3 weeks since best editing results work for me when I write drafts and let them wallow for a number of days as the thoughts mature and get organised.

You may pose to Wanjiru Ndung’u how often it takes her to process an article;

“The entire process involves brainstorming the idea, researching, writing a synopsis, expanding the synopsis into a first draft, editing, proofreading and rewriting to produce the final draft. It takes me three days to write a 2,000 word story including the publishing process.”

Did she acquire any special training on writing?

“I am always studying how to write better on the internet besides attending the Bikozulu Writing Masterclass, I have no special training.”

There are people who have polluted our minds with the notion that Kenyans have no reading culture, is that so?

” I’ve heard a lot of people purport so, but the following on my blog tells me a different story. I think reading, like any other activity, has its people. Kenyans do like to read. In fact, they’re eager for fresh voices, quality writing and unique takes on the issues they’re encountering in their day-to-day lives.”

Will she disclose how she wins ads in her blog?

“There is money in writing for those willing to explore new frontiers, not just in selling the work product itself or in advertising, but also in affiliate and influencer marketing.”

Is there a saturation of creative writers in the market?

“Not at all. I think there is a lot of room for more voices to tell the African and Kenyan story in their own words and with an authentic narrative .”

Delving into publishing books;

“I have self-published three books – Njambi and Kagwe’s World, a Kenyan Romantic Drama which people can find on Amazon.com http:/bitly.com/2ky4IFR as well as the young adult romance novel and the poetry guidebook whose links are: http:/hootingowl.co/about-us/  Publishing houses will more often than not take months to give feedback on a manuscript which in the end may be a rejection. Even if they do accept it, the sharing of book royalties is rarely in the writer’s favor and earnings are meager.”

What’s the other advantage of self-publishing?

“Self-publishing has allowed me the flexibility to produce and sell my work without the gate-keeping middlemen. I have better control of my earnings and the online platform gives me access to a global market. It is an arduous process since you have to do the editing, publishing and marketing yourself, but it is worthwhile.”

Speaking of Amazon and E-commerce, are E-Books the future of writing?

“E-books are certainly in the future of writing, but people still want their hard copy. Paperbacks still have their place among book lovers.”

How has been the uptake?

“The uptake was bumpy at first because I’d just started writing full-time and was still learning the ropes of what the market needs, as well as improving the quality of my skills. But there were enough sales to assure me that writing full-time was the right decision, which encouraged me to keep producing more creative content. I can now confidently say that the graph is on the rise, especially after I published Njambi & Kagwe’s World earlier this year.”

What influenced a powerful character like Mel? Is it something created from nowhere or a character you relate to?

“I write my stories week to week going with what feels right. Taste of Mel is a spin-off story from the original fiction series – Njambi & Kagwe’s World. In this story, Mel is the woman of mystique that Kagwe married to Njambi warms up to, for an ambiguous relationship with. Per my writing style, everyone gets to tell a portion of the story in their own voice and from their own perspective. Over time, Mel snowballed as a character paving way for Taste of Mel series. I didn’t set out to create this character. When I started writing she just grew on me and was unstoppable.”

How would you describe your writing style?

“My work is contemporary, short story fiction. I enjoy writing in the first person and giving every character a voice to tell the story in their own words, including their internal dialogue/inner thoughts.”

Of all names under the planet, owls are definitely a bad omen, especially to Africans. I grew up knowing if I ever spotted an owl at our homestead I should run and spit some salt in the fire to neutralize the bad luck it portended to bring. However, Wanjiru thinks otherwise of owls.

“I am a great owl lover! I think they are fantastic birds. Owls are associated with wisdom and an owl’s hoot is known to be a herald of change. When I started my blog, I wanted to produce meaningful content that impacted people’s lives positively. The Hooting Owl captured that perfectly. I would even go so far as to say the owl is my spirit animal. Owls are both solitary and nocturnal. Their wings are adapted for silent flight, their style of hunting is stealth mode and I am a night owl who enjoys silence and alone time.”

Have you copyrighted your work and how important is it to a writer and the Art industry in general?

“Content creators put in a financial investment and months of time and effort to produce their work. I think it’s important to curb piracy so that creators get their hard-earned dues. This is the mandate of the Kenya Copyright Board and while it has been accused of not operating optimally at times, I think it is still important to take steps to protect your work. That said, copyright protection is automatic once you have created your written product. I did register my copyright with the Kenya Copyright Board for the poetry guide which has hard copies.”

Do you have a team behind your fiction series that probably helps in research and editing?

“I have a team that helps with other aspects of running the blog. I research, write and edit all my stories myself. Occasionally I have beta readers doing the proofreading and leveling the kinks in the flow of the stories.”

What are some of the tips young writers should learn from Wanjiru Ndung’u?

“Writing is not just talent, it is also a craft. That means if you work on it, you can get better with time. Be authentic, don’t be afraid to invent new styles of writing and most importantly, honor your work.”

Enough said. Check out her blog The Hooting Owl

Can we now hold our breath for Platte-Land Season 2 starting off next Monday!

Image credit: http://www.grammarly.com

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THE LOST LANGUAGE

Does it worry you that you can’t express yourself fluently in your native African language? Does it bother you that some of your affluent cousins, nephews and nieces are doing far worse? That expressing oneself exclusively in English or be it via emasculated Swahili discourse at the expense of the local dialect regardless of the circumstances is perceived as intellectualism.  Does it shock you that actually our grandparents struggle to have a Swahili conversation with our grand-kids at the expense of the local dialect?

Who will take care of the local dialect and to whose interest, anyway! It’s rather sad that we chose the Western way to form identities of our heritage be it in the name of citing the world as a global village. That advocating for native African languages is a narrowed approach to modern reality. We converse with our kids chiefly in English in the name of keeping up with uptown manners and shedding off our Africanness. We are simply black wazungus and that is catastrophic. We are in total denial of our cultures and medium of expressions and have been connived for dominance purposes by elements which have watered down our cultural pillars. If you take away a man’s language, you’ve taken away all that he has.

The fact that we are unashamedly watching and negating our cultural language dry up and go up with the winds courtesy of modernity is the most fundamental flaw of losing one’s human identity. Posterity will judge us rather harshly.

Allow me to put matters into perspective;

Anytime one writes on topics that touch matters tribe, they are bombarded with all the retrogressive adjectives the world has got. But why waste that energy hurling insults and pushing down a voice that resists the urge of hiding its head in the sand and expecting better days ahead. Africans have deserted their rich heritage and nobody is available to teach the young ones native proverbs, riddles, poems, folk songs and tales. This is classified next to inferiority complex and considered unbecoming.

Amongst the few who have chosen to pursue the blink road of liberating Africans from themselves is one Ngugi wa Thiong’o – a shrewd activist on nurturing, conservation and protection of the African languages. (Check out his book on Decolonising the Mind). In his book, he complains and seems worried of the education system in Africa which have always toyed with the idea of wholly embrace foreign ideologies be it language and culture. He terms it a generation destruction.

That aside, no research has proven that embracing Swahili and English languages fully at the expense of our native languages has a way of eliminating tribalism not even to the slightest of magnitudes. And embracing one’s heritage has nothing to do with backwardness and being tribal. In fact, social media which is mostly dominated by English conversations and broken Swahili/Sheng dialects has proven to be the worst hotbed of manufacturing tribalism in Kenya.

By the way, without sounding tribal, if you took a keen look at tribes associated with the Muslim faith, Asians and the like, they are very proud of their native languages and will not allow not even their scions to be trapped by the aura and syndrome of portending to appear urbanite by solely speaking English/Swahili exclusively at the expense of their background. Again, nobody has scientifically proven that kids who speak at least three languages be it their native language, Swahili and English record poor grades in school. In fact, the reverse is true. I’m amazed by the Kenyan born Australian Senator who has never lost her accent for the 19 years and counting, she has lived in Australia. I watched one of her many TV interviews where she shared an experience of how she once sat next to a UK woman in a plane who still maintained her English accent 40 years living in Australia.

Interestingly, what we are passing on to our kids is not healthy Swahili language but a ragtag analogy of a language that has no lungs nor the spine to uphold any cultural heritage. Degrading our native tongues and wholly embracing western ideologies is to me far worse than any other contemporary calamities.

CHURCH ETHOS

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Church ethics have evolved over the years and so have our guts. Religious leaders have been met flat-footed by the world advancements in technology and other fronts. The leadership has found itself in the wobbly and ugly underbelly of the synthetic headways. It’s not a secret that many men and women of the cloth have been caught pants down with their flock’s spouses. Many more have fashioned themselves as the high priests of impunity and daylight soft robbery. Legions of them have cases in court for grave reasons such as murder. These days you can’t board a matatu in peace without some so-called pastors sneaking in to sell and extort money for just making a prayer to the passengers. How unfortunate that many of them have thrived through taking advantage of the gullible and naive people in the society.

Many church ethics and etiquettes have been cannibalized, defiled and left for the dead from the high and mighty preachers to the low lying congregants.

Dress Code

When we were growing up, we used to have Sunday best attires. You wouldn’t wear such outfits anywhere else not unless it was a special occasion. Of course, times have changed and so has our view of what Sunday-best was. As we speak, that’s an old-fashioned mentality that has grass grown over it. We are in a different dispensation altogether. Our lifestyles have sort of ‘improved.’ At least many households can afford the luxury of not hanging on the illusion of Sunday-bests. Additionally, we have a generation that is cool enough and spontaneous in the sense like – it doesn’t attach too much glorification to the formal looks.

Consequently, the high regard to church has so much degraded. The spontaneous looks have come with their fair share of challenges and dicey moments. I saw a guy in my church dressed in solely a vest and was like; Okay, what to say! Perhaps I’m too reserved. But come to think about it, many of us dress extremely badly to church than in the workplace. That old pair of jeans that you’ve not worn in ages and the faded polo shirt bestowed by a former employer in a workshop in Mombasa somehow finds itself in church.

The contemporary church has gone so liberal and complacent to uphold and adhere on decency, especially on matters dressing. We are dressing far worse than several decades ago for reasons best known to us. It’s an open secret that women are doing far worse than men as a far as church dressing code is concerned. If it’s not dressing in attires that are too seductive and revealing for church environment then it is showcasing their flesh for-god-knows-who and for what purpose. Makes me wonder – if one is not breastfeeding what justification is there to have your cleavage sunbathing or better put; distracting a poor fellow who has no control or rather struggles on some aspects? Okay, put it differently, which male adult wants to breastfeed in church? Fact – there is a massive decline in dressing standards in the church, today.

If just maybe it’s a question of flaunting, who wants to be carried away in church, surely? Now, why would you wear a miniskirt that you’ll keep pulling down or sitting awkwardly just to discourage the prying eyes dashing up and down? Why parade your thighs to the rest of us and seat with your bare bum and expect the man seated next to you will concentrate on the sermon? Interestingly, some women will still dress erotically and sit indecently. We are only human and men are tamed beasts for crying out loud. And by the way, there is a reason some body parts are referred to as ‘private parts.’  You see, you can’t have your cake and eat it. And if you’ve got to eat it, at least don’t do it in the House of God.

In a nutshell, self-respect and value to oneself should help you decipher as to whether what you wear to church is decent or not. The overriding point is – what powers your intention to dress in a certain way to church! Is it to jump-start your self-esteem or draw attention or just to feel good when congregants eye bath your upper legs and boobs? And to you who sag in church giving us unwarranted glance at your inner wears and if unlucky, your bare bum please cut the slack – For heaven’s sake, it’s 2018 man!

Phone Chatting

I once sat next to a couple who seemed like they were in a situationship or some sort of speed dating never mind they were in church. Why am I saying so? See, for the entire sermon, they spent it on phone chatting and in social media and clinging on one another like one of them would just evaporate before the sermon got concluded. It’s sad that we can’t shut off social media even for 2 damn hours just to listen to a sermon. But who chats on Sunday at 9:01 am surely? And can we stop side-shows in church? Is it much to ask?

Ringing Phones

Many church sermons have been rudely interrupted by horrible and loud phone ring tones many a time. Followers are alive to the fact that, it’s unethical not to have their phones on silent mode, airplane mode or off but they will still defy. Some even pretend that it’s not their phones buzzing and only happen to react when the congregation appears disturbed and starts wagging necks.

Sitting Arrangement

Is it just my church where congregates jostle for the few available seats. It’s not like they are really few, no. The number of fellow-shippers is exceedingly high. Taking that into account, some parents will defy taking their children to Sunday school or catechism classes and have them occupy places meant for grown-ups. It’s even worse when one tries to find a space when toddlers occupy the same seats fidgeting with their parents’ phones, while the parents seem unperturbed.

Rich Kirkpatrick a writer who specializes in spiritual content best summarizes this topic: “There is no one single answer to church ethics. This takes humility and heart to make it about values and principles, rather than rules and laws. We should hold ourselves to be righteous Christ-followers, not legalistic rule followers.”

Photo credit – catholicsun.org

PLATTE-LAND 012: MATERNITY WARD

Image result for maternity wardThe first EDD had slipped away with nothing much to write home about. There were no unusual feelings or mild pains to trigger any heedful reaction. They called Dr. Angela and she reassured them nothing was amiss. She however, emphasized that they should report to the hospital if the second EDD came by, with no labor symptoms being witnessed. The gap between the two EDDs was one week.

On the eve of the second EDD, Anastasia started experiencing irregular contractions, after midday. Being her first time pregnancy she had vague clues about labor. When the orange-ball was setting on the other side of the city, sinking beyond the horizon and consequently inviting the night as it compelled the bogged city dwellers to retire to their rented apartments, the contractions became a bit regular. Mongoose suggested they time their interval span. They ranged between 30-40 minutes and as the day wore the pains cycle narrowed to 20 minutes. Soon after, it became unbearable.

It was dreadful pain. Pain that came with its extended family and girlfriends. Pain that was a dozen times worse than a toothache. Pain that could make you pee on yourself. Simply put – An agony that makes you wonder, why you became pregnant in the first place. A poor Anastasia wrenched in a biting misery, helplessly. Mongoose couldn’t wait for 8-10 minutes as advised by Dr. Angela, not even 12 minutes would do. He had never watched Anastasia in such kind of twinge. It was inordinate. She had not left her seat for an hour or so. When the wave of contractions would commence, she’d put her arms in between her legs, droop her head and sigh off out of bruising anguish. The pains would crumble her down, and squeeze out any energy left behind.

Mongoose called his main man – Euty, cut from another mother. In no minute, he would pull off at Mongoose’s place. They put the basin and the packed bag right into the car, assisted Anastasia hop inside and sped off to Zion City Nursing Home. Meanwhile, he called Aunty Bobo, who naturally had a heads up of her niece’s fate. She promised to board the first matatu from Kaibaga to the city the next morning. Waithiegeni was on her way to the hospital, never mind it was past 11 pm.

***

She is put in a waiting room next to the maternity block awaiting to be booked for admission. At such an hour, the hospital is busy receiving droves of other expectant women overwhelmed by labor pains. Some are accompanied by their husbands but majority are chaperoned by women – be it their mums, mother in laws, or female friends. Euty whispers to Mongoose that out of strange reasons many deliveries occur at night since that’s when labor contractions worsen. Is it a coincidence or pure fallacy? Euty spoke authoritatively, having been in Mongoose’s situation twice. He is a dad to two high spirited boys – 3 and 1 year respectively.

In my community, they say an ailment worsens in the night.

Two nurses pop up, one be like: “Ehe msaidiwe aje?”

Mongoose jumps in.

“She is in labor.”

“How did you tell?”

“The contractions.”

“What about them?”

“They are a bit regular and quite strong and we’ve timed them for the last 4 hours.”

“And?”

“The span is about 15 minutes.”

“So?”

“Dr.Angela told me to bring her if it nears 10 minutes, but the pain was too much.”

“Any blood spots?”

“No.”

“Is she a first time?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Excuse us.”

Mongoose is ordered out.

Seated at the ice-cold bench along the busy corridor, they stare at helpless would-be husbands moving up and down clinging on their phones if not keeping up with the buzzing phone calls, while some peep at maternity doors to lift their hopes regarding their wives’ fate. They grapple with ridiculous anxiety. The weather is horrible. It’s approaching midnight and the temperatures are below 10 degrees. Aunty Bobo calls as Waithiegeni arrives.

The nurses examine Anastasia. They establish the contractions are genuine labor pains but sadly the cervix dilation is not adequate. They need 10 cm and she is at 3. She is however admitted at the prenatal ward, only to meet other women in different stages of labor. Some lie on the floor while others bite the metallic beds just to trick the grueling pains. Meanwhile, Waithiegeni and the boys remain outside watching over any news from the nurses walking up and down. Most of the them are below 28 years. A sizable number seem passionate on their job. Some pull warm faces and appear receptive while others feel like their work is demeaned and consequently appear very intimidating.

Two hours pass by with no word from the hospital and Mongoose walks to the Admission room demanding to know the fate of his woman. No one is in the mood of listening to his pleas. He calls Dr. Angela but the calls go unanswered. He stops anybody he spots at the corridor be it the cleaners, interns, students on attachment and patients in their oversize gowns. The information he gets is too economical and doesn’t add up. He however learns that Dr. Angela is on off duty. As he ponders for the next move, they get rudely interrupted by women yelling in the labor ward. Could Anastasia be one of them? They wonder, helplessly.

Mongoose is called in after ages of waiting. He meets Dr. Muchemi and he is like;

“Hi, we’ve established the cervix dilation is quite sluggish. She has only managed 3cm more after injecting her with Synthetic Oxycontin to fasten the dilation bringing the total to 6cm. We need 10cm for her to undergo normal child delivery process.”

Moongose sighs off.

“How is the baby?” He asks.

“The baby appears to be in good spirits but he/she might tire soon since the labor is over 10 hours which is not recommended. We were buying time since the infant’s head was at the tip of the pelvic bones, but the progress of the dilation is not very good.”

“What are the dangers?”

“If we prolong the labor pains, Anastasia could be vulnerable to fistula complications in future. But more pertinently, chances of amniotic fluid bursting are high which could end up harming the infant’s skin and the digestive organs. The baby and the mother may also tire out and run out of oxygen.”

So, what are you suggesting Doc?

“You need to make a decision Mr. Ezekiel. The thing is, in as much as Anastasia was set to deliver the baby via the natural method, I’m afraid we’ll have to book her for an Emergency C-section operation. This is the most prudent action at stake if we are to guarantee the safety of both the baby and the mother.”

“Can I see her before I make the decision?”

“Unfortunately, we can’t grant your request at this point in time. But I can assure you she is alright. You are her next of kin. You’ve got to authorize us by filling and signing this form or else you could consider getting a second opinion from a different hospital.”

“Just give me minute.”

Mongoose walks out to brief Waithiegeni and Euty. He also calls Aunt Bobo.

The C-section operation is given a nod by Mongoose. The theater room is prepared and in a short while, Anastasia is wheeled inside. She may or may not come back alive – that was the spirit of the form Mongoose signed.

It’s past 1am with no word from the hospital regarding Anastasia. It’s extremely cold and the winds are blowing rudely. Mongoose and his company are impatiently resting at the waiting room. They’ve been served lukewarm black tea which does little to bail out their freezing bodies. Meanwhile, more patients battling labor continue to arrive at such ungodly hour while in the labor ward, distressful yells and wails seem to curse the heavens. Clearly, nature has a sense of humor.

Mongoose recalls a story told by Anastasia regarding how her biological mum passed on while delivering her. The same complications seem to haunt her. Could it be genetic? A cold sweat runs down his underarms.

2am…

The C-section is successful. Anastasia gains conscious half an hour after. It’s a baby girl. The tag reads Female – Kendy Karimi. She is cleaned by the nurses as she makes her first reaction to the world by crying faintly. She weighs 3.2 kilograms.

Photo credit: Sheknows.com

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Platte-land Serialized Fiction – Season 2, resumes on 20th August 2018, Inshallah!

By the way, do you have a kid of up to 15 years, these folks have something for you Nanyuki Toy World

PLATTE-LAND 011: BABY SHOWER

Image result for A BEAUTIFUL AFRICAN LADY PREGNANTShe had 3 papers to sit for to conclude her end of semester exams. Actuarial Science was a course she had revered since her childhood, to emulate one of her uncles who was in a similar profession. Since she was a bright kid, she got enrolled having qualified with much ease. While in class, the baby would kick every now and then depending on her moods and she’d often feel weary and overwhelmed, being a first time pregnancy.

On the other hand, every day was a struggle. Her body was fighting the hormonal evolution taking place as it prepared to usher in a new being. She’d however, mitigate the awful nausea and bristling heartburn with all manner of homemade remedies. Her feet would terribly ache as the stretch marks in her bottom belly stretched farther, giving way to more pains.

“Did you make up your mind?” She queried her husband.

“About what?” Mongoose responded, holding a surprised face with him.

“On staying indoors today to receive the guests later in the afternoon.”

“But……………………” He tried fetching for the politest words around to phrase the statement, knowing too well that Anastasia was super sensitive and nagging at this, third trimester.

“But what?”

“Si Aunt Bobo and Mukami (House-Assistant) are around.”

“Yea, but it’s important for my friends to meet my hubby.”

“But I thought baby showers are a women thing?”

“Which century do you live in?” She slammed the door behind her and walked off to the dining room.

Mongoose joined her trying to calm her down.

“Listen hun, they’ll still have time to meet me when the baby is born. Look, how will I sit up with a dozen women in the same room and be it ease?”

Walking to his face. “It will be my honour if you stayed behind.”

“I promise to make up for this hun. Just understand I need to join my boys for a High school reunion considering that I’m the Treasurer of the Association.” He pleaded.

“If you say so.” Shrugging her arms.

***

Anastasia had sent invites for the baby shower to her close friends six weeks before. It was a day she was literally waiting for. To have her friends some of whom she hadn’t met throughout her pregnancy journey, get the privilege of relishing the moment. It was also an occasion to help her prepare for motherhood in the safe company of her buddies who had apparently, formed a tight bond round her life.

Waithiegeni, was not only her cube-mate for close to 3 years before she moved from the campus hostel, but such a close friend. She walked her through one of her lowest and humiliating moments in life, during the court case. Her self-esteem gravely leaked from all openings there could possibly be, as the community around her didn’t amount to much. She became her foot soldier, ‘right-man’ and defender. She also tirelessly skipped classes to accompany her for the prenatal clinics.

So, when the baby shower thought came to Anastasia’s mind, no one rivaled Waithiegeni in being entrusted to play the role of a chief planner for the occasion. They came up with a friend list and invites were sent well on time.

***

Most of her friends had checked in. The ladies had come along with their A-game fashion sense starting off with Shiku, who stood out with a dark blue high waist jeans that perfectly worked for her hippy body, matched with a white crop top which exposed her lean tummy, that also engrossed a crocodile tattoo and in red high heels. Nizzy had a striped body-con dress and a trendy long coat to cover her exposed thighs. Evelyn was in the mood of white monochrome – she was in a white top tank donned with an elegant wide legged pants. Grace was in a rugged denim pants dressed with a camo jacket and faded brown high boots.

They waited impatiently in the table room as Anastasia got prepared. She took longer than usual in the leisure bathtub since it was more effective than standing over a shower head. She couldn’t stand for long due to her aching feet perhaps owing to her increasing weight. Her makeup and hair styling took even longer. Waithiegeni wore her make up with every zeal that could probably be and with no urgency at all, while Evelyn – her childhood friend set up her tiny and glamorous braids that had been freshly knitted.

Meanwhile, Mukami and Aunt Bobo ran helter-skelter in the kitchen preparing the dishes. They served the guests, starter foods which included; tiny sandwiches, savories, crackers, muffins and nuts, ladled out with typical Kenyanese tea.

Anastasia wore a stretchy fabric free-flowing dress that embellished her bulging belly, beautifully. It was laced round the neck with two inter-closing flaps that kept her bust comfortable and in shape. She wore a pair of classic ballet flat shoes, maroon in colour made of pure leather that honourably complemented her beige outfit. She sported a handmade African bead multi-layered necklace, which performed emphatically in camouflaging her darkened neck, out of the hormonal changes.

The moment she popped at the table room, everyone rose up; some ran to hold her belly and feel the baby, some got dazzled by her dress and got outlived by the moment, while some were awed by her body size. Particularly for Emma who was a childhood friend and hadn’t met in ages, having traveled all the way from Mombasa to grace the occasion, found herself speechless. The last time she met Anasatasia, the latter was just a tiny girl fresh out of high school. Anastasia was overwhelmed by the joy in the room and momentarily, tears started trickling down her cheeks.

When everybody recovered from Anastasia’s disruption, lunch was served. The cuisine was made of kienyeji chicken that her aunt had brought along, all the way from Kaibaga, served with plenty of salad buffet, white rice, minji and sliced chapati. With tummy dignities having been taken care of, introductions took place and a couple of games to make the friends bond.

Later on, a surprise cake that had been prepared by the friends was presented to her but before then, Shiku read out the sentimental speech on behalf of the visitors.

Dear Anastasia, 

We are privileged to be in your small world.

It’s our delight and honour to have been chosen by you, to grace your childhood and early adult life.

Very soon, you’ll be walking to a whole new world full of excitement, fulfillment, warmth and accomplishment. 

It will not be without challenges, nonetheless, let them not bog you down.

Motherhood is not a mean achievement, especially for a girl we’ve seen grow in our lives. 

It’s a mantle you are capable of running away with.

Count us, as your springboard and point of reference.

We will stand by you and look after you.

Moreover, there’ll be much for us to learn.

May you grow to see your grandkids intermarry.

May you steer a family that beholds the Lord and prays together

Congrats baby doll,

From your affectionate buddies.

By the time, the short script was over, Anastasia eye lids were giving way to heavy loads of joyful tears. Soon after, the beautiful cake prepared by Emma on behalf of her friends was presented to Anastasia and it read on the top surface – Welcome to Motherhood Anastasia. Subsequently, gifts would follow ranging from well wrapped nappies, baby shawls, sacks of newborn diapers, wide variety of baby’s clothes, baby carrier, house shopping and some cash too.

By the end of it all Anastasia was dumbstruck, leaving none other than Aunty Bobo to seize the moment and conduct a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the family.

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Gear up for the final chapter of Platte-Land Season 1, next Monday…

PLATTE-LAND 010: BIRTHDAY

 

Preparations had been concluded well on time. The house had been tidied up and was spotless. Mwau was standing by the door, his clothes all soaked with dripping water. The skies had opened, and it was raining heavily. He had just rolled in from a nearby mall. He had brought along shopping which included; booze, snacks, steak, disposable plates and cups, juices and a couple of other stuff. His girlfriend Mso, had come in handy, in coming up with the; guest list, shopping list and ensuring everything was top notch. She’d easily multi task while Mwau remained seated and clueless most of the time, if not indirectly being made to be the errand boy.

At one hand she oversaw a gigantic dry fry mutton meal steam up while ensuring the deep fried potatoes were coming up nicely at the other end of the multi-burner gas cooker. At the middle burner, a portion of steak was being grilled on a pan. She occasionally brushed the outer layers of the steak and applied some olive oil and a bit of cooking butter. She liberally seasoned it with salt and pepper to give it flavour. Once charred and having turned golden brown in colour, she transferred it to a cutting board where she firmly wrapped it with an aluminium foil to retain the heat and stack it in a safe place, in one of the kitchen cabinets.

Meanwhile, she had delegated Mwau the task of wiping bowls that would serve the crackers, nuts and all manner of bitings. He was also in charge of the music and had the best of the playlist, mostly popular Hip Hop and all the usual club bangers collection. His stereo was a high definition one, that clearly costed him an arm and a leg. His wagithomo dad would be dumbfounded to learn that his son owns a luxurious stereo purchased via funds diverted from paying school fees and worse still, pricier than his battered motorbike.

In no time, the guests would start trooping in. From the outside, the rains had dwindled and invited a biting cold instead. On the flip side, nature had given birth to all manner of insects to welcome the wet night. The crickets were chirping in celebration, as playing mantis dived from one place to another. The beetles were droning in the air as the wasps buzzed around. At a swampy area adjacent to Mwau’s rented apartment, frogs would croak to usher in the night, as a handful of bats screeched from an adjacent tree.

Njagi, Saimo DJ, Mapanya, Shiku, Ka-Penguin, Nizzy, Milly 1st Lady, Kevoo and a couple of other bunch of close friends to Mwau had already checked in. The lads would grab some pop-corns as they played cards and chess games as the ladies retreated at a corner to chit chat and catch up as they gulped a variety of juices. While this happened Shiku would try to make advances towards Njagi who was deeply involved in a chess match with Mapanya, a veteran in the game. In the meantime, Mso was taking a shower while Mwau received more guests.

At round 9pm, meals were served and everybody guzzled for the delicious buffet that included meat balls and fried potatoes, grilled steak and ugali, and fried – chopped mutton that was seasoned with ginger and turmeric powder. The music played louder as the booze was brought in by Mwau from its hideout. Their faces lightened up as they quaffed free booze served in plastic cups. Shiku was the first to be carried away by the exuberant ambiance singing and dancing along to lyrics like;  – as the rest cheered her.

I think you fell in love too fast
African night and a cool rush
And I remember you refused to kiss me
And now you using my toothbrush
You say you think I talk too much
That I’m not your type and you don’t like the hype
‘Cause your daddy is a preacher
Now you wearing my t-shirt
And I don’t want this night to end
Before you know I love you

Short and sweet
DJ play this song on repeat
Odi odi dance to the beat
Hapo ulipo kamata na-feel so sweet
Hapo ulipo kamata na-feel so sweet
Short and sweet

At 12 am Mso quietly tiptoed to the kitchen and over to the top cabinet where she had hid her surprise present to Mwau. She came back fetching a big smile and holding a beautiful cake placed on a tray with a set of cutlery on the side. It was iced artistically – I Love You Babe. HBD. On everybody noticing, the music came to a halt and they all started singing; Happy birthday dear Mwau….. In no minute, everyone was wrestling for Mwau’s face and in tandem, painted him with all colours of the cake’s top creme. His T-shirt was similarly defaced with graffiti from the cake’s content, as he scampered to the kitchen for safety.

Later on, Njagi and Shiku would find a moment to catch up;

Shiku placed her hands on his chest disguising to be trying to zip up his cotton padded half jacket that was yellow in colour. Njagi stood statue giving her all the room to explore. She made a sarcastic cough, as she raised her seductive eyes to meet his face and was like;

Where is your girlfriend?

Which one?

How many do you have?

Can’t trace the number.

Okay, I mean Sly.

You sound jealous.

Because I love you. She said without blinking an eye, maintaining her contact on him and edging closer.

And you think Sly is coming in your way?

Not like it. I know she has Chris and has you as well in her wings to pamper her.

Tell me more…

You see she can’t stand you having a girlfriend. Taking a sip of her reddish concoction. 

But we are just platonic

Platonic is just a word that has lost meaning and credence.

Njagi sighed off trying to suppress his impatience. Tired of leaning on the wall, they were now having the conversation at a far corner next to the fridge. Njagi was seated on one arm of the creme leather sofa while Shiku made herself comfortable on one of his thighs. She was feeling his heartbeat and while inclined on his chest, she felt the best form of emotional healing.

Did I ever tell you I schooled with her! Making a face

No way, Sly?

Yea 4 years in high school, in the same stream.

Wow! Were you ever friends?

Of course not. We were both extroverts that repelled against each other.

Hahaha still are.

And she was alleged to be a lesbian.

C’mon Shiku. Of all the ladies I know of, not Sly. 

They were rudely interrupted by Saimo DJ who staggered towards them, robbing them the steaming conversation.

Meanwhile, Kevoo walked out to have a cigar only to meet Nizzy at the balcony, one hand akimbo while the other reaching for support at the wall, leaning forward, struggling to puke. Apparently, she had mixed Smirnoff red vodka with a soft drink and the concoction had decided to humiliate her body. Every spew left her feeling weaker, with tears dripping on her face involuntarily. Kevoo forgot about his cigarette break, dashed to the kitchen and got her some warm water. By the time he came back, she was catching a breathe from the soft wind, clasping her hands on the balcony grills, while gazing at the magnificent dotted lights on the horizon from suburbs far a way seen from Mwau’s apartment. He went back and prepared mint tea to prevent any nausea she could have been experiencing.

At another corner, Ka-Penguin was sandwiched by Mapanya’s strong biceps as they savored their amorous moment. She’d rub his attractive arms as she laughed sheepishly to his comical tales. In the meantime, the music had slowed down, the energy had frozen and World Cup pep talk was commanding the audience leaving non-football enthusiasts with no piece of the meat to bite, hence choosing to lay their bodies on any available surface for some slumber.

Previously on Plate-Land Series

Platte-Land continues next Monday…

 

PLATTE-LAND 009: APOLOGY

Related imageShe met him in a pre-wedding ceremony of a close friend. It was love at first sight. He was considerably tall, looking sharply groomed and had a taste of fashion. He had this well taken care of strip of side burns that stretched all the way, meeting his chin beards halfway. He was in a fitting khaki pants, dark brown shoes and navy blue designer blazer. His short hair was neatly combed and she fell for his trimmed nails. Not many men have the diligence of cutting their nails after every 5 days, she thought. All throughout the occasion, Sly kept cunningly stealing glances at him hoping their eyes would ever meet, to no avail.

When she was made to understand they were both to be brides during the wedding, and would ostensibly form a pair, her heart melted down. A brewing friendship would crop up thereafter and before they made sense of it, a love story was being crafted and taking root. This would be followed by numerous coffee dates in high end uptown coffee houses, night walks in the estate, road trips to Nanyuki’s acclaimed conservancies – Ol Pajeta and Ol Jogi, day outs in the Arboretum, cycling along the tea farms of Kiambu and not to mention many night outs and sleep overs.

For close to two years now, their relationship has been nothing short of bliss and romance. But just like any other, challenges have been inevitable. Though they have a number of commonalities like being outgoing, art enthusiasts, movie people, and generally moderate extroverts – Sly has been consistently loyal while Chris has some ladies distracting him. For lack of a better phrasing; he has cheated on Sly a number of times behind her back.

You see in relationships, when the rubber meets the road, the fuel pedal must be depressed to keep the car moving. And if one party fondly depends on the other to supply gas and oomph to the relationship, dark days definitely lay ahead. In a nutshell, this is the situation Chris and Sly find themselves in currently. The curtains have been rolled up, honeymoon is over, infatuation has evaporated and cheating baggage portends to sink this ship if people don’t smell the coffee sooner.

It has been cold weeks for their relationship with Sly choosing to watch things as they unravel, from a safe distance. She has made up her mind not to lose herself anymore in pulling the first trigger as far as mending fences is concerned. So who’ll blink first, between the two?

In retrospect, she was having the best of her time with Njagi. He had stepped up, and just recently took her out to a night of reveling. They were hanging out more often, in and off school, in as much as she would insist to her close friends Njagi was nothing beyond a BFF. Their platonic friendship seemed to have gained a lot from Chris’s lukewarm tendencies to her. That said, she didn’t seem desperate anymore to reconcile with Chris, plus Njagi was working harder to soften her predicaments. On the flip side, Sly’s heart still loved Chris and missed his charming and coy nature.

You see, her attraction to Chris was in the onset influenced by physical magnetism while for Njagi was more of emotional chemistry and had nothing to do with looks. In fact, Sly found herself getting flattered with Njagi’s looks recently, halfway deep in a well invested relationship with Chris. Speaking of which, Chris is irresistible, romantic, adventurous and comical while Njagi is loyal and very dependable. Unlike Chris, Sly’s view of Njagi is of a special friend who has loyal and dependable attributes. He is authentic and available to her. However, she had never perceived him in any intimate way until Chris decided to play mind games and blink on and off to their relationship. As a result, she allowed herself to become vulnerable to Njagi out of frustrations, to a point of hinting at him to take her out which he gladly did, just to forget her woes.

When reality sunk to Chris that it wasn’t business as usual and that the relationship was caving in, he swallowed his bitter pride and called Sly. The communication was fluid and not promising. She didn’t sound the same anymore. He had to slow down, sound mellow and committed. Eventually they agreed to meet for a reconciliatory date.

They met at a city restaurant and spotting them you’d be forgiven to imagine it was just another couple out to pass time and confess sweet-nothings to each other. This was at a joint where middle class urbanites hole up; some to catch up, while others would be here to strike deals or meet social media acquaintances. Chris ordered for cappuccino served with banana walnut pancakes while Sly went for hot chocolate drink accompanied with bacon cheese burger.

“So, what have you been up to?” Chris paused. “School and stuff.” She answered. “I bumped with Mitch and he made me understand you were the brains behind your campus mag! You didn’t even inform me.” He lamented. “But you stopped calling and you’ve been ‘busy’ as you always put it.” She quipped, munching her delicious burger. “The workplace has been crazy but I’m sorry for going mute” He said. “Okay, I’m fine though. I’m at a place where I’ve let go the baggage, the nagging and being attached to people who don’t appreciate.” Chris interjected as Sly breathed tough. “You see Babe, don’t get me wrong, It’s not like I don’t appreciate nor love you. That’s not the case. I just felt, so much was happening in my life and I needed a break to make sense of it and reinvent.” He pleaded his case.

“I understand but that shouldn’t be the case. I also have issues but have never woken up and said, ooh I’m going mute on him. That’s a flimsy excuse, Chris.” She pointed out. “Yea I know, that was not appropriate. I’m regrettably sorry, Sly.” He implored. “So what’s bothering you?” Sly queried. “Nothing in particular apart from pressure at the workplace. I feel drained and overwhelmed. I have no joy of being alive. I feel morbid all the time and detached from life.” He said, sounding melancholic. “Isn’t that depression?” She quizzed. “I don’t know what’s depression.” He said. “Agonizing over death and generally feeling sad and lost are symptoms of depression.” She explained.

“Why don’t you visit a psychiatrist or rather talk to your family about it?” She added. “It will get better. I’m contemplating resigning and going back to production of music which is my passion.” He consoled himself. “By the way, I’m starting my internship at Syokimau FM next month.” She said excitedly. “Wow, good to hear. Journalism has always been your calling.” He stated. “Thank you! Similarly, you shouldn’t neglect your passions since that’s the whole essence of living. To make true your dreams.” Sly emphasized.

Meanwhile, she took the responsibility of reaching to Chris’s elder brother Jeremy to make him aware of his predicament. It was getting dark outside and so, Chris cleared the bill and escorted her to the bus terminus.

Strange girl: Hey Chris?

Chris: Hey

Strange girl: Who is she?

Chris: My friend.

Strange girl: That’s how you hold your female friends?

Sly: I’m just your friend Chris!

Before Chris responded, Sly hopped to a matatu plying route 111.

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Platte-Land series continues next Monday…

PLATTE-LAND 008: IN LAWS

Related imageAnastasia is 5 months pregnant. Her belly has started to bulge as her neck darkens by the day. She occasionally wakes up with morning sickness – feeling dizzy, nausea, headache and backache. While heartburn is a frequent occurrence, her skin is glowing and appears way softer. Her bust is increasing in size perhaps gearing up to have capacity for the baby’s milk.

In the next 3 months, she will have to defer her studies as she prepares to take on motherhood. Luckily, this will coincide with the long holiday break, meaning she will not cut short her classes in the middle of the semester. She has now coped with her predicament of studying while being expectant, besides struggling to forget the infamous drama that led to her pregnancy. Her friendship with her circle of buddies has been highly tested, with some choosing the easier way out – of ridiculing her in the periphery, instead. Such is life!

Her relationship with Mongoose has been grossly underfed of late, possibly due to the sharp focus and sensitivity of the matter at hand and going by the court’s ruling. Over and above that, the two families have limited their communication to each other, and left it at the mercy of emissaries to dispatch information back and forth. Predictably, the two family ties have been marred with heightened tension and caution.

Nonetheless, she has now reconciled with her folks after the dramatic ending to the case proceedings where she let the cat out of the bag regarding the alleged rape. As a matter fact, her family has fully embraced her pregnancy journey and showed lots of support. They regularly visit her in school to find out how she is fairing besides getting her an assistant to help in house chores. They’ve also rented her a spacious apartment since the hostels are way congested.

However, today, Anastasia’s family will be expecting visitors at their home. A powerful delegation from Anastasia’s boyfriend – Mongoose, will be paying a visit having notified and requested to pay a courtesy call to deliver a special message. On receiving the request through three gentlemen that visited Anastasia’s dad recently, Pastor Muchoki consulted his kins from the association of Athuri a Jung’wa as well as his family regarding the visit. The three gentlemen had come armed with a handful of shopping, a 20 litre jerrycan of muratina and some cash. After a lengthy consultation, Mongoose family was given a nod to the visit.

In forethought…

Anastasia was looking forward to the visit that would determine the fate of her relationship with Mongoose. They’ve barely talked much for the last five months and she’d wonder what’s within the special message his men would come forth with. Would her supposed in laws demand for the baby after the delivery and denounce her in totality? Would it be another set of court cases regarding the custody of the baby? Would he pledge to sustain the love for her as he always attested even after such a horrifying expose of their intimate moment? Would Mongoose’s family take responsibility and show commitment to her pregnancy and future of the baby? Would it turn out that she was meant to be a single Mum after-all?

For Mongoose, he was also caught up in the fizzy cobwebs of uncertainty. He wondered if Anastasia would stick to him even after her personal life was pealed off and subjected to the public gallery. It was a mystery according to him to imagine whether, their once highly guarded secret relationship would ever heal and recover from the beating it underwent 5 months ago. On the other hand, reality was sinking that he’d be someone’s dad in a couple of months, prepared or not. Life seemed punishing and on a vengeance mission. Fortunately for him, he always loved Anastasia. He was struck by her right from childhood when they met during inter-schools sports events and in church where they were enrolled in the same class of catechism.

D-Day

Unlike in a dowry event where a convoy of cars sneak in a village with all manner of gusto and theatrics, hooting and blinking their headlights, the maiden visit that is mostly for in laws to get to know each other, and the guy’s family to formally visit the girls home, is usually muffling and tensive.

Mongoose delegation arrived few minutes after 2 pm but before then, they made a stopover at Ol-Magogo township for housekeeping purpose, and to ensure they were strategic in all their communication lest they’d would be denied a green light for gods know what the special message entailed. They pulled at the gate and Anastasia’s brothers ushered them to the vast compound dotted with all manner of indigenous trees from the Casuarina, Moringa, Waterpear, Fountain Tree and Fever tree just to name a few. Suffice is to say, Pastor Muchoki has a soft spot for the environment, backed by a short stint at Kenya Forest Service, fresh out of campus. Here, he developed a liking for conserving the environment. He has many tree nurseries round his farm which he sells to the villagers.

They were officially welcomed by the chair of Athuri a Jung’wa in the sub county of Kimahuri Mr. Githendu Ndideko who never left behind his symbolic walking stick, Anastasia’s eldest uncle – Sir Waishigo Wakagoshi who was fond of keeping a he-goat beard at his chin and Kwa Nguku’s Nyumba Kumi chair Mr. Konyeki Mwihau. Pastor Muchoki was few meters behind in tandem with other family members and friends. Mongoose’s delegation had a set of six men. Shortly after, everybody settled in the house and the women served meals after a short prayer session led by Mrs.Justina. With hunger pangs having been taken care of, formal introduction from both parties followed next.

Mongoose sandwiched by his dad and Uncle Wamathanwa, was inevitably quiet, would seem subdued and avoided eye contact with his presumed in laws, for reasons best known to him. Meanwhile, an anxious Anastasia was holed in her room massaging her belly and occasionally peeping at the door trying to discern if there’d be someone sent to fetch her.

Mr. Waishigo took over the MC role by throwing the ball to Mongoose’s delegation requesting them to state the reasons for their visit. He alluded that according to their culture, it’s the guests who come with the news; good or bad. Uncle Wamathanwa who was the spokesman of the other delegation gladly welcomed the statement.

Wamathanwa: First and foremost I wish to thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome. We clearly feel at home. We’ve enjoyed the sumptuous meals and drinks. Now, we’ve brought this young man sitted next to me. Taking a glance at Mongoose like he has never seen him before. I will invite him to tell us his reasons for requesting us to accompany him to this honourable home.

All eyes rolled over to Mongoose who clearly looked intimidated by the age of the men eagerly waiting for a solid and coherent message, communicated with eloquence and confidence. He felt the weight on his shoulders of being the man who’d tickle the bubble and deflate the tension in Pastor Muchoki’s home, that was housing this very defining moment.

Mongoose: Well, thank you everybody. Aah, I requested my family to accompany me as I visit this home to officially request to be given a chance to marry off your daughter Anastasia and begin the dowry process.

Waishigo: So, are you responsible for impregnating her?

Mongoose: Stands up. Yes I am.

Waishigo: Okay, sit down. He walks out to have Anastasia traced.

Awkward silence….

Waishigo: Anastasia, do you know this man? Pointing at Mongoose.

Anastasia: Yes I do.

Waishigo: How so?

Anastasia: He’s my boyfriend.

Waishigo: Okay. You can leave. Anastasia calmly walks out of the room.

Githendu: On behalf of Anastasia’s family we would like to say the following; That we thank you for the respectful gesture of visiting this home. We’ve listened to your message and taken note. We accept your request to have Anastasia married off to your family. However, according to our traditions, it’s a taboo to discuss anything relating to the dowry process and to commence it, until the unborn baby is delivered. Moreover, you’ll have to ensure Anastasia completes her campus studies uninterrupted and we expect that you’ll clear all her school fees going forward.

Wamathanwa: As the family of Ezekiel Kiarie (Mongoose), we are most obliged. We’re humbled to have our plea honoured and are fully satisfied by the response passed across. We also concur that the dowry process can only be begun when the baby is born. Having said that, we didn’t come empty handed! We have thirty thousand shillings and some shopping in our cars as an appreciation for the kind gestures we’ve received from this honourable home and more importantly, as a sign of commitment for better days ahead.

Hands over the cash to Mr. Waishigo. Mr. Waishigo counts it to confirm the amount with no urgency, spits saliva on it and hands it over to Pastor Muchoki’s eldest son – Umbriska Maithori.

Mongoose and Anastasia were requested to hold hands as they were blessed by the elders from the two families. A closing prayer session was conducted, followed by hearty handshakes and hugs.

Women ululated from outside as the ceremony came to an end. Anastasia was officially handed over to Mongoose’s family to start over her marriage life.

Mongoose’s inner voices cheered him up – Bro, who breaks a lady’s virginity and goes ahead to marry her! That aside, where do you find virgins at this day and age? You are a god-man!

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Platte-Land continues next Monday…

Photo Credit: Amira Africa

 

PLATTE-LAND 007: NIGHT OUT

Related image

When Black Bulls lifted the coveted MUST Rugby cup of 2018 during this year’s cultural week held recently, nothing crossed Njagi’s mind that there’d be consequences. The bet they made with Sly was being actualized, meeting Njagi off guard. He’d be forgiven to imagine Sly was never serious with the bet and that it was her side of being cheeky. But far from it, she was pressing him to honour the promise. That would mean taking her out for a night of drinks. The thought of it made Njagi smile all day and to him, it wasn’t a bad idea after-all. The last time he saw Sly tipsy was during Eston’s house party and her body language seemed quite tolerable to alcohol apart from making her appear whimsical.

So, they met at one of the city’s entertainment suburb on a perfect Friday evening. Njagi is not a club person as such but when duty calls especially from a special friend, a man got to break the rules and honour the invitation.The night was young, bubbly, agile and there was so much ground to cover. They sneaked into a popular club ushered in by illuminating colours hinged artistically on the tunnel-like corridor leading the way to the main ballroom.

They curled through the throngs of humans rubbing off lasses chests, stepping on some unlucky feet and hastily apologizing, inhaling irresistible cologne from people who take time to invest in their bodies and hopping on a staircase to the next floor, to a table mounted on a balcony overlooking the parking lot and gazing at the busy highway. The wind seemed to blow some fresh air cutting across Sly’s graceful hair and the defeaning music from the dance hall, doing wonders in burying off all the evil spirits rising from the nightery. The ambiance was simply – addictive and reassuring.

Njagi hinted at a waitress who met his eyes. She had a body to die for, a swanky smile and a very heavy, violet lipstick. Her raised cheekbones and pristine face couldn’t help matters. Her skirt was hundreds of kilometers above the knees and that alone, resuscitated Njagi’s soul. She was alluring and she knew it. She walked over holding her tray placed at her waistline. Njagi could smell her natural scent as he stole glances at her generous cleavage while ordering for Jack Daniels, never mind he was raised in church all his life plus his mum is a praise and worship leader at Apostle Muragaruri’s church. I call it the City curse. Sly went for Rib Shack red wine – A very safe drink.

With few counts of drinks, they dug into the conversation.

Sly: Who’d have thought MUST Zone would pick up that first?

Njagi: That was an ingenious idea. What took you that long?

Sly: Do I even know!

Njagi: Everybody seems to be loving it.

Sly: Did I mention to you I met with the Dean(Mr.Mwangi) and he was like; I owe you some lunch.

Njagi: Ooh! By the way, si you will now be part of MUST legendary alumni?

Sly: For sure. Can’t imagine coming after 20 crazy years out there to give a talk and sensationally hint that I was the brains behind Must-Zone!

Njagi: And everybody will come running to you for an autograph

They break into a well harmonized, hearty, drunk laughter.

Njagi: I hear Syokimau Daily newspaper have some internship positions. You should apply.

Sly: Really! I Should inquire about it but again my folks won’t even accept. They hate the media industry. I have no idea why.

Njagi: You know what! You can’t live under the shadows of your folks forever. Just do you and they will catch up with you later. Who’d have thought you owed MUST a school mag?

Sly: I will find out and apply. She excuses herself to the washroom staggering a bit.

Meanwhile, it’s been awhile since Njagi felt this confident. The drink is working for him. He orders for a third round. When Sly gets back she is awed by the full table of drinks awaiting her.

Sly: I tell you what Njagi, you look better now that Anastasia case is behind you. It had really taken a toll on you dear.

Njagi: What do you mean?

Sly: Yea, look at you. Tapping his arms. You’re back to your weight. Your face looks clearer. And you look more debonair and handsome!

Njagi: You are drunk Sly.

Another round of well-choreographed laughter taxis along their table.

Sly: Imagine it’s true.

Njagi: It didn’t hit me all along.

Sly: Never mind.

At this point, Njagi’s mind goes on a mental trail wondering why he has always been too diplomatic when it comes to second thinking about a relationship with Sly. To rescue his self-bashing, two reasons surface up – Both of them are to blame for allowing their chemistry to be drowned by their platonic friendship. Secondly, it is cowardly for him to slice Chris his chic, man. Speaking of Chris, they had only met once and he could tell, Chris didn’t like him. There is a way you can smell a dude who is interested in your woman 5 miles away, right? But Chris is to blame too, for underestimating Sly and making her dilly dally in Njagi’s territory.

Speaking of Chris…

Sly: Chris is acting strangely of late.

Njagi: What’s up?

Sly: He never calls as often as he used to.

Njagi: Somebody must be distracting him.

Sly: I hope not.

Njagi: Have you talked to him about it.

Sly: I’m tired of being the only one who mends fences.

Njagi: I leave it at that.

Sly: He has to man up. ….but you men are complicated (Sighing off)

Njagi: Trust me on this; there is a loose woman distracting him.

Sly: We have never had any mistrust issues.

Njagi: It’s time. Talk to your instincts.

Njagi excuses himself to the gents.

He smiles as he pees, his feet now struggling to hold his body. Meanwhile, his inner voice teases him off – You should take her to your cube (His hostel room) after this. I mean, she is too drunk to go home.  He shakes off and retreats back to their table as if nothing crossed his mind.

He finds Sly making some dance moves and he earnestly joins her. She fetches his palm, makes some synchronized moves, turns around rhythmically, gives him her posterior, his eyes feed on it as he stretches his arm around her waistline, she shows no qualms, the music carries along and so do they. The spacing between them gets limited, as their bodies seem to pull to each other. His groin rubs her bum and both of them pretend not to listen to their bodies react. Sly excuses herself to the ladies to freshen up.

They order more drinks and the merrymaking continues.

An hour after, Sly reaches to her phone and it’s 4:04 am. Boy, she got to leave. They walk down the stairs holding hands and out through the colourful tunnel to the parking lot. Sly is clearly overly drunk. She can’t stand on her own and thereby leans on Njagi’s tall body to find her balance. She calls an Uber. In the meantime, blaming it on alcohol, their lips lock into each other. It’s short and sweet.

It awakens their senses as the Uber driver pulls along. Sly hurriedly hugs Njagi affectionately and boards the car. She waves through the windscreen as Njagi traces his way to the hostel wondering why Shiku didn’t taste the same and why he could just let Sly slip away with such a sweet ending to the night out.

Previously on Platte-Land Series

Platte-land series continues next Monday…

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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