WHEN YOUR PLATONIC FRIEND WEDS!

weddingHere you are, holding a wedding invitation card from one of your most loyal friends who have stuck with you in thickest of things. Your mind decides to run her images and the vivid memories you still hold on to. She is relatively tall (considering your height) and flaunts of a firm bosom. Her stomach has always been lean and intact. She has this long, sexy legs and you’d be forgiven to imagine she plays for Malkia Stars with the likes of Wacu and Wanja. Now, to you who lives under a rock, I’m talking about volleyball ladies, the African queens, thank me later. Back to my platonic friend; she speaks English so effortlessly and ever wears a watch. There is something magical about ladies who don watches.

This invitation card will remind you where it all begun. When one evening she sent you a Whatsapp message excitedly informing you about her new boyfriend. A year or so after, again you were the first to be tale-telled the spoils of a proposal story. She called you and spoke on high pitch for 30 minutes with you hardly being allowed to interject. You were very happy for her that finally a serious chap had taken note of her beauty and declared to be willing to walk away with the bragging rights of dating this fine chiq. Months roll by and before you know her wedding beckons. This means the benevolent deposits of laughters and teasing at 10pm will drastically dwindle ushering in a new lease of life to her; Marriage.

You reminisce the good old days when you met in a class of accounting. You’ve sustained this friendship for 7 years now! She is one of those friends that were converted from potential girlfriends to something else. Those friends whom assuming you applied your naivety then of falling in love probably the remains of your heart would be floating somewhere in River Nyando. Having been crushed by hard rocks of the so called try and error relationships. In that naive stage, you took her out with your meager pocket money and when it got worse you plucked off some tuition fees. You always enjoyed these times because ladies once they gulp two to three drinks, emerge out of this closet they always hide in. The positive thing is that, since she was very bright, she made you up your game. It was never in vain since part of the friendship norms meant studying and revising together.

You recall this day you met at her hostel and decided to have a quick lunch at a nearby fast food joint (Things ladies make us do). In what was supposed to be a 45 minutes chat prolonged to past 4pm. Really! This meant you missing the very crucial class, all for a friend. Shit happens. And you think she would sympathise with you; never. She just laughed you off and escorted you having wasted your whole afternoon. Interestingly, you met this hawker who sells bras and she insisted on having a look! You felt awkward but pretended you were all fine. After ransacking while explaining to you of the different sizes as you two argued on which could or not fit her, she held this one. A faded orange (men with colours) and tells you to fix her at the back. (Haki ya ngai.) She’ll not even buy. You stroll in these serene and deserted suburb laughing about the whole experience with the hawker and his wares. Hawkers are not to be fainthearted. She buys you ice cream from this vendor and you proceed with the ebullient conversation.

Done with college and handling your first jobs meant less outings and more coffee dates. By now, your friendship had matured and feelings had been contained. In fact, each one of you had already been hooked in different relationships. The chemistry was intact and the funny thing is that you used these occasions to compare notes about love and life matters. You advised and consulted each other actively. Soon you’d relocate to a different town and that’s when this friendship took a beating. This came with less of phone calls to more of irregular Whatsapp messages. Your rendezvous was reduced to once or twice a year when your circle of buddies from college organised hook ups.

Come the wedding day, you’ll put on this grey suit, white shirt and ice it with a slender, blue tie and grace her big day as part of her brides men and give her your blessings. There is joy when your close friend advances in life successfully. Happy marriage Tracy*(Not her real name). Looking forward to sweet, munchkin, bouncing kids, few years down the line.

TO GREAT FATHERS, WE TOSS

fatherson6A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way – Anonymous. Father’s Day couldn’t have come at worse time, at the backdrop of a trying moment for men in this country. Indeed its a time to ponder when the rain started beating us, and when zealousness and bragging rights of being a MAN hang its boots. When did society reduce fathers to mere scavengers of anything that upholds human dignity. That we are in bad books and clearly have work cut out to clean up the mess and redeem better perceptions, is an open secret. The thing is, we should be leading from the front.

Its in that note that I’m inspired by great fathers weathering the fog of a tainted image. I’m inspired by these great fathers who go about their businesses undistracted. Upholding the common good and endeavouring to even better themselves every day. Their resilience can only be compared to the Humming bird story by the legendary the Late Wangari Maathai. This unbowed bird does its best to put off fire that burns a forest which serves as home to the birds and all the wild animals. The rest of the animals stare at this hummingbird as it makes trips to and fro the nearest stream, to gulp some water, doing all it can in saving the situation. This bird is undeterred by the gazing looks from these animals wondering how material its effort would be in dousing the fire. I’m sure you know of the story. To akin dads doing the same in their lives; We toss to you.

To you dads who create time for your families away from land deals out of town; You that skip off that golf event to drive your son to the airport and happen to impact his life for 30 minutes with words of wisdom as you bid him bye; You that pay your kids school fees and family bills diligently; To you that work hard in life to ensure your children have a dignified upbringing; To you that rises early to bring something on the table later; We toss to you.

To you that instil discipline to your kids right when they start crawling; To you that make time to bond with your children and ice it with a hearty laughter; To you that teach your boys as they transform to men the aspect of delayed gratification, of saving more and spending less (You that drive before you buy ka -plot…life’s venom will catch up with you)…thank you. We need more of your youthful stories of how you ceased paying rent just when you were shy of hitting 30 with that meagre salary, managing to move in, to your mansion. Impact in us how to be patient with life and help us appreciate that instant success is never sustainable. This generation is short of such stories, we need them to save ourselves from ourselves.

To you fathers that instil in us, self drive and the habit of shunning mediocrity and dreaming big and the desire to remain committed to life goals, we toss to you. When a country’s economy gets tough and inflation sours, the worst hit are fathers since the burden of provision is biblically and traditionally bestowed in them. Withstanding that pressure and developing the know how of managing expectations is considered a virtue, losing a job notwithstanding.

Fathers handling aggressive career women and go getter entrepreneur ladies, with utmost respect, support and love; We appreciate your civil mindset. To you dads that diligently drop your kids to school; To you who sneak out at 5am to commute passengers to earn a living; We draw our inspiration from you.

My definition of greatness is found in the most ordinary and simplest of things; Like developing interest in your child’s performance in school and going through their homework; More of like sitting in a couch somewhere in a maternity room as your wife pushes hard; Or shopping together happily holding hands; Or being this man who deserves a cute look from your wife up on the balcony as she observes you play with your kids, some funny game on this manicured compound!

To you great dads that balance between yielding tough love and lending an ever available listening ear; To you chaps that play father figure roles to your relatives and friends who are single mothers ; you are simply the BEST. To dads working behind the scenes to breathe life to this name called MAN, unbowed by ridiculous shenanigans from a section of small men who prefer alcohol than family, we toss to you and celebrate you. Its through your ordinary life that you become extra ordinary. Thats what my pasi preached last Sunday! Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there and they that dare to be one.

To all my Muslim brothers and sisters, Ramadhan Kareem.

ENOUGH OF CHOPPING OFF OUR ‘THINGS’

ggffaa What would give a 25 year old woman, gusto to chop off his 26 year old man’s private parts? That’s a very young couple, to start with. How does she pose and where does she hold? Does she initially quarantine him and carefully cut off these parts King’angi calls transforma? Or does she batter him down and do these things while he lies low helpless, since his weak anyway, in body and spirit and because men can’t scream for help when butchered by their wives!! Does she strap you up like they tie cattle in the village during deworming season in a cowshed. Am bothered by my mind not reconciling with a picture of lady daring to get hold of me armed with a kitchen knife not to stab me but to chop off! auuuch. Dear women whom some married so blindly, you’d rather shoot him if you are too offended than torture him with such an ordeal. In my opinion that’s the ultimate humiliation a man can go through. Men are sensitive people and they care about perceptions especially when its about their immediate families.

Ladies, if you are so mad with your man, just pack your belongings and go back to where you came from, or somewhere to start life. Its way rational than castrating an already circumcised man to vent your anger. You cannot just be chopping off our most treasured body parts to make a statement to the whole world on how frustrated you are with your alcoholic man. It doesn’t justify anything. If you make your bed, so must you lie in it. You’ll go and rot in prison, and if you bribe yourself out as many do, you’ll live with humiliation too, forever. Young boys will be warned by their mothers to keep off your daughters and family. Fellow women will isolate you and for a long time you’ll be your village’s outcast. Life will be terribly tough for you, especially when neighbours and erstwhile friends befit you with this kind of stigma.

Chopping off a man things is not only barbaric, but so evil. How does your mind convince you to get hold of that knife that pills potatoes and decide to misuse it. Do your kids stand there wondering what’s happening or do they peek helplessly. You’d rather go and commit suicide and live us in peace. I don’t want to compare you to those dogs that mauled to death that poor watchmen. Enough of that. Until when will society be treated with this kind of awkward stories when a family gathers to have dinner? How do you look at your mother or kid when these headlines emerge on our TV screens? From Whatsapp groups to the maize vendor across the road, to the salons, these terrible news are retold over and over again by sorry lips. We’re baffled and annoyed. Parents from Nyeri are a worried lot that their daughters might lose market. It’s not a fuss. Stereotypes in this country sell big time. Personally I’d think twice when dating a lady from Nyeri not because of anything else but apprehension. You are never too sure.

Having said that, lets switch focus to dear fellow men. We’re battling an unprecedented war. We’re under what Kimaiyo would call s-i-e-g-e. You male species that have chosen alcohol over marriage, your rightful place is hell. You cannot be imbibing something that can power a plane, discolour growing grass, make you smell like a walking sewer and claim to be a man. Men are not supposed to have protruding, red eyes and shaking fragile bodies because they’ve not cocked something. You are sinking deep this name called MAN. When women, reach a point in life of holding demos because you’ve miserably failed to impregnate them(Is there a better word), not because you are impotent but just because you chose alcohol over them, then society is shuttered. Am overwhelmed by this kind of stories and the humiliation men are going through because of an addiction that threatens posterity generations. For how long will we be the laughing stock of a nation. Why are we giving young boys a hard time while growing up? There is nothing that crushes a society than an identity crisis.

I feel ashamed of women lamenting of men performing poorly in bedroom affairs due to alcohol. Is it a curse or evil spirits sent to finish the Gikuyu men and generally most men in this country? Its a matter of concern when only a handful of women somewhere in Limuru get pregnant after years of marriage. Its a tragedy when nursery schools close down due to lack of pupils. Not that they are denied the right of going to school but because there are none! What does the future hold? The lucky that manage to conceive sire weak kids because their dads have replaced blood flowing in their veins with alcohol. This menace have made these chaps to also lose appetite for food, am told. How worse can it get?

Its funny how creative Kenyans can be, attributing this madness to all sort of allegations; some citing these cases as solutions to tyranny of numbers to others that can’t be typed. As a society, we must have a sober meeting point and indulge on why men from particular regions have succumbed to alcoholism. Why is bar businesses booming than any other sector in these regions and why? Is Mututho hands on or is it all about PR? Is there a deliberate supply of killer brews in certain regions? Why are bars opening hours not enforced and what are the consequences? Why have chiefs in areas witnessing upsurge of illicit brews not been sacked and brought to book? These queries if answered will be the first step in containing alcohol euphoria by men of this country. By so doing will be beginning to find a solution in addressing this peril than when women decide to CHOP OFF THIS THINGS. THE LATTER IS MORE DETRIMENTAL, INHUMANE AND REGRETFUL.

YOU DON’T VISIT UP-COUNTRY TO PULL DUVETS

USA.using for low income residents. NYCHA administers rental apartments in facilities, popularly known as "projects". Spanish Harlem, also known as El Barrio and East Harlem, is a low income neighborhood in Harlem area. Spanish Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino communities in New York City. 15.04.86 © 1986 Didier Ruef Its exactly 6 months and you haven’t been to your native village (not really a village)to check on your family. With this prolonged and over procastinated visit, you suspect anytime from now, your ancestors might summon you. Finally you embark on a journey back home. Along the way, in the deserted highway, you’ll gaze women sauntering home, carrying heavy loads of firewood. You’ll spot young boys strolling home too, with herds of livestock along that dusty road. This will remind you of decades ago, when your dad would insist that a shepherd must have a stick, anytime. Childhood lessons always seem to stick.You wont fail to notice funny ‘joints’ or are they pubs where men from the village frequent in the evening. They’ll have this funny names like; Destiny bar, UB 40 bar, Shallow bar and Paradise bar. You’ll smile about the names only to be interrupted by this passenger who decides to play Rose Muhando songs for two hours on his phone which is in loud speaker mode. (Some of the experiences that trigger us to worker harder to acquire cars.) The guy on the sit behind you, with a funny hairstyle will be chewing miraa or something closer to that. In that stuffy matatu, will be tired faces, perhaps of passengers harbouring thoughts of their loved ones or their ongoing projects back at home.

Thank God when you arrive safely for all we have on the roads, are impatient, aloof, ignorant and reckless navigators in the name of drivers. Before then, Your mum will have lectured you on phone why you shouldn’t travel at night (7;35 pm). Your dog will smell you a mile away and will come running at you. Nature has humour, how does a poor dog jog its memory to remember that you belong to that homestead. Is it not preoccupied by other thoughts for this six months, like whether it’ll be lucky to get a meal anytime soon. These are same village dogs that switch from carnivorous to omnivorous depending on the season. Now, your dog named Mugo for reasons you don’t comprehend will hop at you, placing its front limbs at your waste line. Its long tongue will be hanging out while its ears will be lowered. That’s a dog’s welcome.

The following morning you’ll wake up late (9:01 am) and it’ll feel like its 7’s. You’ll have been awoken momentarily by birds chirping,(how beautiful is that) unlike in Nairobi where you’re awoken by matatus hooting and conductors’ wailing. Why do nights run that first in up country? In fact you’ll be awoken by Kinuthia Igego’s roaring voice. (This dude is your village official escort, you schooled with him in Kiandutu Primary School. He held the unbeaten record of the loudest noise maker.) His instincts were right, that you came dead in the night, as he would put it. He would come in handy especially when on matters accompanying you around and updating you on the latest news in this side of the world. He’d also serve as your bouncer when you visit the local shopping center where everybody claims to have schooled with you.They’ll nag you, like street kids in Nanyuki. No pun intended. They’ll plead for sh.50 unrelentingly. They call it kakitu. Its very annoying. For Kinuthia, he has the skills of dismissing these chaps tactically and politely. If you make the mistake of visiting one of the local bars around, (not that you drink that much) business will come to a standstill. Kinuthia will appear overwhelmed. Every mzee present will claim to have been your dad’s best friend. In so saying they’ll be insinuating that they deserve you order a bottle of beer for them. You’ll momentarily feel like a celeb, wow!

In the evening your mum will send you to the butchery but she’ll later complain that the meat was not of the best quality. Mind you, she has a tendency of complaining about the meat since down memory lanes. Mothers are the best when it comes to truth. On Sunday you’ll attend mass at the local church where men, women and kids have their designated sitting arrangements. Like you have to part with your sisters; whose wisdom was this! Its been long since you celebrated mass in your local dialect. This means you miss some hymns and words haha…Thereafter there will be a fundraising. There is always one whenever you are home. Of course you’ll be expected to contribute generously. Later you’ll visit your shosh who resides few miles away. But before getting there you’ll meet delegates you were not meant to meet, along the way. Does it ever occur to you, that the more you prolong your visit home, the more broke you become. These guys will politely fleece every coin you have.

You’ll notice your shosh’s skin is drier. Her eyes will be fainter and sunken but she’ll still have maintained her trademark smile and intact teeth. You’ll not be surprised that she still wakes up at 3am to pray. Your shosh is that type that prays for 30 minutes mentioning his entire family by names, in the process. These are the same prayers that mitigate life’s challenges and scare the devil and his agents from your life. Never underestimate an elderly person’s prayers. You’ll find a chicken meal ready for you signifying you’re a rare visitor. The city has strained family ties. You’ll be distracted by something nostalgic. Her wall clock. This cloak will still be in the same place it was when you were 5. Still diligent and loyal. Dusty but alive. Steady with the even sound that signals a second gone.

I need to emphasize your mission home should be very impactful. You just don’t visit upcountry to pull duvets and watch TV during the day as you grab popcorns. You visit home to unlock forestalled projects, plant more trees and work your a** off. You guys who live in the city, its your duty to repair sagging fences back home or pay somebody to do that job. Since you gave up on taking cattle to the local cattle dip due to massive corruption and politics, ensure they are well attended and free from ticks. For ladies, your mum should never cook whenever you are around. Moreover, her sufurias should shine more than ever courtesy of your cleaning. Its an abomination for you to go back to the city without sun burns, aching arms and overworked hands. If you’re lazy in the city, you’d rather not visit up country with the same attitude. Its very important for your family to see your growth in life by being impactful at home.