PLATTE-LAND 014: BREAK UP

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2 months ago…

After the startling culmination of their date, she got home, went straight to her bedroom, locked herself in and began sobbing for hours. Exalted, she muddled and kicked anything she came across from the shoe rack that was banged to the wall leaving its components running for safety under the bed, to the blankets that were dragged to the floor. She turned to the orderly wardroom and rendered it into a chaotic jumble. She got hold of her favourite souvenir – A puppy pet gifted by her boyfriend and squeezed it hard between her palms, hurling contempt to it as if it occasioned the cause of their break up. All along, her mum pleaded with her to open the door but her pleas fell on dead ears. Her folks got bewildered by the state of their daughter as it stretched to a couple of days before she opened up to them the venom in her heart and the remnants of a formerly promising relationship.

You see, bringing up millennials nowadays, is equal to preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. The world is twisted due to the amount of shit being thrown around. Sly’s mum would reminisce her heydays when she was a teenager. How strict her parents were as so was the society. Kids had little space to manoeuvre in the name of freedom, including dating. These days a daughter has the guts of telling her dad how her boyfriend cheated on her and the dad will look away and mumble something close to; I told you I didn’t like his hair. I mean, what more could you have expected from him?… as he checks on the tyre pressure of his stunning, chisel bodied 2018 Lexus beast, at the parking bay.

Sly

Surely, why would Chris cheat on me? What warranted this kind of betrayal? When did this start? What did he see in her? I know I don’t have the most alluring body but at least I pay for that with my character. After all, I was always there for him. I’m not the nagging type. I’m not a spendthrift. I’m an intellect and smart. I’ve my life goals all put together. I started a school mag out of the blues. I’m starting my internship at a top media station next week. Who doesn’t want to date a focused woman? What else could a man want? I must have been blinded by his sideburns or was it the cologne and his adventurous nature! Surely, an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

***

“Hey Njagi”

“Hey!”

“Where are you, in the hostel?”

“Yea, whats up?”

“Nothing. Coming.” Hangs up.

Njagi had a knock on the door only to be met by Sly’s teary eyes and her poignant face. She seemed to have been sobbing for hours. You see, Sly was the emotional type. Anything that pissed her off was enough to provoke her tear glands.

“You don’t look okay.”

“Yea, my life is all messed up.”

“What happened, I hope it’s not Chris again?”

“Imagine it is.” She dived on Njagi’s bed and buried herself on the face with the pillow and started weeping lowly.

Njagi was confused as he pondered how to calm her down.

She got over it after an eventful 10 minutes. The pillow was all soaked with her pungent tears. Her face was pale and fazed. Her hair looked disoriented as if somebody rummaged it, attesting the levels of Chris’s betrayal. She had not taken anything except water, for two days. Her folks were terribly stressed.

“Calm down Sly. Breathe in, breathe out. In life, shit happens. And this one wasn’t your fault. We’re all naive at some point in life but it’s cheap and unbecoming for anyone to take advantage of someone’s naivety. That’s what Chris did.” Njagi tried to console her as she nodded, with her mind miles away.

“You recall when we went out and you informed me how queer he had become?” Njagi dug in another palaver.

“Yes, I remember.”

“My instincts were true. There was a lady distracting him.”

” I just don’t understand why he’d do that to me.”

“What did you two discuss at the so-called makeup date, sorry to ask?”

“You know, Chris is such a hypocrite. He was blaming his queer behavior to depression caused by I don’t know what. In fact, I had decided to hold his hand and walk him over it until it dawned on me, I was on my own and being set up.”

“Ehe keep going.”

“The date was fine until he escorted me to the bus terminus and by grace, she bumped into us.”

“Who bumped into you?”

“That b**** …..and she dared asked who I was to him.”

“Did she look familiar?”

“Not with those chubby cheeks.”

“Did she look hot!….sorry, ignore that.”

She clenched her jaws in utter disgust.

“Did he bother calling back to explain?”

“He didn’t and I don’t give a damn. He is too ashamed.”

“So, what do you think, will you call it quit?”

“I want to call him and make him understand it’s all over between him and me.”

“You know what, before you make that call, you’ll freshen up and I will take you for lunch.”

Njagi knew all the right buttons to make Sly rejuvenated. Call it platonic friendship.

Her favourite meal was anything close to a mushroom pizza. In no time, they checked in at Debonairs Pizza, at ABC Place – Waiyaki Way.  The surprise date worked for Sly as soon as she smelled the location of their lunch set up. Her face warmed up and her eyelids dried up. Finally, the old Sly’s character had resurfaced. They ordered for large size, chicken & mushroom pizza and soft drinks. They talked in length about MUST Zone school mag and basked under the excitement of Sly’s internship at Syokimau FM set to begin in a week’s time.

As they were about to leave, Sly insisted he had to call Chris. Njagi advised that the location was inappropriate plus she hadn’t recovered yet. “Sly, never ever make hasty decisions when you are very angry or happy. You’ll end up regretting soon after.” It was hardly a week after their last encounter.

Sly was adamant though, that the break up had to be settled once and for all. She took her phone and while she typed his name on the phone book, Chris called. It took them by surprise. She had to buy time before picking it just to codify her mind. The baggage of calling the other first had shifted to Chris, and in such a rare moment, she had to rise to the occasion and put to a conclusion this draining situation she was in.

“Hello”

“Hi Sly, how are you?”

“Never mind, what’s the call meant for?”

“Slow down. I thought we should meet.”

“Yea, you deserve meeting your new catch.”

“Don’t be rude.”

“You know what!….”

“Yes, I’m listening.”

“It’s very much over between me and you. Consider yourself a done deal.”

“No, no. We can’t break up on phone.”

“It’s not a request. Boy, smell your fate and deal with it. Forget me.”

“So, are you dumping your other boyfriend as well?”

“Which other boyfriend?”

“Njagi.”

“Leave Njagi out of this.”

“How do I know if you cheated on me with him, previously?”

“Stop using Njagi as your scapegoat….”

“Sly…Sly…Sly…listen to me.”

“Consider yourself dumped.”

“You remember I found you caressing your friend Eunetta and you told me it’s a girls’ thing. Are you a lesbian Sly?”

“Stop side shows Chris.”

“Did Eunetta win you over me?”

“You’re making drama out of nothing. I’d rather remain single than have you in my life. You cheated on me for over half an year.”

“You are kidding me.”

“Kid you not.”

“Babe!”

“Don’t babe me.” Hangs up.

***

“I had my name thrown around”

“He is alleging you are my other boyfriend.”

“What about the lesbian stuff?”

“Let’s not even go there.”

They both sigh off reaching to each other for a well-deserved hug.

 

Photo credit: Chicagonow.com

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PLATTE-LAND 013: LECHERY

Image result for a beautiful lady with big hips and small waist in Africa

They bumped on each other on one of the city streets. She was heading home after a busy day of errands in town while Njagi was up and about after he was done with his midday class. He held her gaze first, courtesy of her round hips that were running up and down like ocean waves as she strolled by. He ogled the aura of her curvaceous hips as they got swallowed by the lean tummy she gladly relished. It was phenomenal walking with Shiku along the streets just for bragging rights. Her bum would dance rhythmically, synchronizing with her ravishing walking style. If you’d have a chance of watching her saunter, you’d pull a stool and marvel at the god’s beauty swank about.

You see, in a man’s weird way of perceiving stuff, being spotted with a seductive woman earns one respect, never mind what both of you could be engaged in is a bootless bond. Suffice is to say, Shiku had the capacity to evoke lustful neck waggings and trigger drooping tongues from poor men passing across.

Shiku noticing Njagi, summoned her fetish spirits and as you’d guess, she reacted wildly. She ran onto his tall body and hang in there much to the amusement of male street vendors who gladly fed on her behind. She forced a peck on his coy cheeks and clung on his hairy arms that embarrassingly gave her goosebumps. She kept weaving through his unkempt hair which seemed to calm down her ovaries out of excitement of spotting a piece of gem that was a crush that had refused to fade away right from her childhood.

“So where to?”

“Just going for some shopping then join the boys later at the school basketball pitch?”

“Okay, good to hear. Well, I could offer you company as you shop.”

“Sure, let’s go.”

Their stares at each other lasting more than usually.

“So, where are you from in those ravish pants?”

“Well, ravish you say.”

“Look at all these lechery eyes ogling at you.”

“I’m used to it by now. I was from the salon in Westie, then dropped to town for some errands. Was actually heading home now.”

***

They popped at a supermarket, Shiku’s left arm locked to his right as if her lungs depended on him. Njagi knew too well the kind of charm she got on him. Done with shopping and heading to the cashier they passed by the liquor section and Njagi teased her if they could buy some drinks. Shiku jumped right in, responding in the affirmative. They got 2-litre packets of Jack Daniels for a whopping 7k, it’s whiskey remember! And a 750ml Smirnoff vodka.

They shoved off as Shiku called an Uber leaving no chance for Njagi to make up his mind about where they were headed with a cab. He never uses taxi. And in a split of a second, an Uber pulled over. They dropped his shopping at the hostel and proceeded to Ruiru, to Shiku’s digs. The apartments were scenic from the gate to the layout of the landscape. Njagi cleared with the sturdy-looking security team at the main entrance but not before exchanging a hard eyeball as they let the car into the cab-rod front compound. They walked to her house ushered in by clay potted plants wafting lazily and breathing life to her discreet world, rather beautifully.

Straight in, he was awed by the rise and fall of the decorative wall hangings and pricey curtains gazing meanly. Her TV screen was the size of his hostel wall stowed next to a well-stocked fridge. The kitchen was spot on, too clean until he wondered if she ever took her meals from the house. The seats were dressed in a velvet texture, maroon in colour besides being firm and inviting. The carpet was warm and clean, extending to the inner rooms that caved in to more glory. She was simply living large being a campus student. Njagi had never visited her before, only meeting in town for few and far in between coffee dates if not in the now infamous bashes.

She brought to life her music system as she dashed to the bedroom to freshen up and seemingly, dress lesser. And true to his fascination, she came donned in a pink booty shorts brushed on the edges giving way to hectares of well-toned thighs and in a white top that sat shyly above her upper belly. She got him some bitings coupled with frozen mango juice and made it to the kitchen to prepare some late lunch. Njagi would be surprised to watch her silhouette in the kitchen preparing ugali and some mutton steak. Peeping from the serving hatch, her back on him made his body coagulate.

They turned on the hard drinks soon after the heavy lunch settled in their tummies. Njagi wouldn’t stop lauding Shiku for the tasty meal. She shyly took the compliments as she served vodka to her glass as Njagi sipped his whiskey.

“How did you manage all this? ”

“My folks.”

“You’re sure there is no sponsor investing his money here?”

Shiku chuckled dismissively adding more vodka to her glass.

“Can’t a woman have it all without being dragged to the sponsor fad?”

“I’m sorry if I sounded offensive”

“No, you don’t have to apologise. Anyway, let’s focus on other things.”

“If you say so.”

“So, how has my heartbeat been up to?”

“And you referring to?”

“To you of course. I can see your arms are bulging by the day. Are you working out?

She was now skimming through Njagi’s chest and arms, tickling him in the process.

“Not really. I have been into basketball of late though.”

“Oooh, that’s it. Your height allows you into the game. I’d pay to see you in shorts.”

“Is it such a big deal, you should come through, one of this days and watch me do my thing. But my legs are too hairy for you.”

“I will make a point of turning up one of this weekends. Of hairy legs, mmmmh that’s a turn on for me, trust me!”

“The last time we met, you spoke about Sly being a lesbian, right?

“Ooh God. Must we delve into her every time we meet?” Glowering her face.

“I’ll say it’s a coincidence.”

“Too many coincidences. Anyway, there was tittle-tattle in school about her engagements in lesbian acts.”

“But I’m told all girls schools have such stuff going on.”

“Just like homosexuality is to boys schools, right?”

“There is always speculation.”

“Well, where there is a rumour, there is some truth.”

“Was it that rampant in your school?”

“Not that really, but she belonged to an outfit that was highly suspected of being bisexual.”

Njagi ran to the washroom to take a breather from the hard news. While there, he couldn’t unwrap the sense of what Shiku was alluding to. If it remained true, then Sly poised to be an intriguing monster in his life.

Back to the living room, he was led to her bedroom by the flirtatious host eager to kill the night.

Photo credit: kamdora.com

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WANJIRU – AUTHOR, WRITER, BLOGGER

Image result for writing

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

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.

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