WE, THE SOCIETY OF ‘APPROVALS’

The rich and the poor truly are from different realms: one has adapted to become an expert in material forfeit; the other has forfeited all they are to material, and thus is enslaved, by it.” – Justin K. McFarlane Beau.

We are the bubble that will burst soon from material enslaving and obsession with show offs. We perceive ourselves rich while in reality, we are heavily indebted humans. Not only have we shattered what is considered good but also auctioned the patience and virtual of becoming successful gradually. We are using shortcuts and loans to smell successful. We are borrowing way too much to look trendy and urbanite, naively passing the buck to our sons and daughters and their offspring. We are the people that believe in only living once by unfortunately have our priorities misplaced and swapped with the expectations of our peers. We live for the expectations of our families, family friends and for the status. We choose what to buy (not invest) to feed the imagination we have of what others expect of us. In other words; we have no time to hold candid and honest discussions with ourselves. We live for others. We live for approvals. Sadly!

You see, many of us have been lying to ourselves that we are wealthy and successful going by the lifestyle we brag of. But how are you rich, if your liabilities exceed what is rightfully yours? And what’s yours shouldn’t be necessarily what you inherited from your family. By the way, there is nothing wrong with taking bank loans, but there is something very wrong when that money is used for things which won’t matter two years from now. The thing is, we are borrowing not to invest but to finance our lifestyles. Since nobody will notice your sagging indebtedness apart from perhaps your bank, you will sink in deep s*** towing this demeanor like you own half the world and pulling no stops in social media streets selling your imaginary smooth life for all to envy. For how long? Remember, perceived friends can be a pain in the a** especially when you go broke or rather; when they stumble on the truth.

You and I should refuse to be put under any pressure by family and friends. We should vow not to care whether they approve us or not. It won’t matter because, what they seem to do is show no respect to our priorities, anyway! Look at it this way; do you go out every Friday because you have the urge to do so or to making us aware of your high end friends and fancy places where your boys and yourself, go to unwind. Do you get worried when your kids school in schools that do not meet the expectations of your friends or your occupational status? Or is it about the complexion of the girl you date? Or the engine cc of the car that you drive? Or the estate you dwell in? Or your profession? Or where you go for salon? Or is it about your not so 1 billion worth church which haven’t qualified to have church mums and dads? Dear reader; please cut the slack and start living. Drop the baggage and the blurring euphoria. Learn to choose friends, breathe life to your goals and passions, follow the basics in life and develop a relationship with money.

Speaking of money;

Many of us have been caught in the neck of woods of drowning in debt and the addiction of credit cards purely for approval. Come to think of it this way; why would one spend a staggering sh.5 million to hold a wedding that does not last a year? Practically, it means this couple rushed out, assumed much and got deluded by societal approvals. To others it’s all about the looks and the pocket size. Why? Because your family and friends put that as a top priority! Since the poor you would never contemplate shaming them, you marry looks and a bank account only to realise later your dissimilarities and approach of life are too overwhelming. Funny enough, you don’t quit but soldier own to pay the price of approval. And when push comes to shove, your hands and legs get chopped off!

There is a trap in the name of a bubble that we all fighting to be associated with. The middle class syndrome. We are grappling with all in our possessions, creating innuendos and perceptions in the streets of social media that we duly belong to this class of society. We are using financial shortcuts and bribing ourselves to this envied life. From our pricey phones to fancy apartments to where we go for shopping – we are borrowing to enjoy this life. But what’s in it. Only one thing stands out; The feel good effect. I like to call it, The Nairobi effect. By the way, to you Nairobians that seem not to speak the local dialect even when you visit up country; we are aware of which side of Nairobi you reside in. With all fairness, your up country is cleaner than where you live, so cut the slack. The tendency to pretend your heritage and background is not from the village is not only farfetched but pure disgust.

Dear imaginary middle class, I know you believe in faking it till you make it. While at it, don’t make it up with mortgages that seem to trounce your very existence. Please don’t fake it if you still owe HELB some money. Cut the slack too if you have been blacklisted by Mshwari and or have defaulted numerous bank loans. Spare us if you reside in a grabbed piece of land that houses your bungalow, financed by embezzled funds. The middle class bubble is very seductive but when a time comes for hard facts to spill; it will expose your annoying under belly. Your offspring will have it tough footing your lifestyle baggage that did little to make the life any better. Do you wish to die of curses or of Approvals? What’s in your bucket list? What’s keeps you awake you in the night? Is it your dreams or the expectations of others? Do you ever think of yourself or all you do is feed other people’s expectations?

Do your math!!

DEAR STUDENTS, PLEASE CUT THE SLACK

Students strikesAbout a 100 students have been charged in court for arson related cases in the last one month. Moreover, close to a 100 high schools have been closed down following the unfurling unrest among students. The unwavering strikes have had pundits citing reasons to do with extension of 2nd term, mind you, for just one week and the archaic anxiety brought about by form four Mock exams. Some have even gone ahead to allege it’s all about Matiang’i leadership style! If you ask me though, he is one of the most hands on C.S in the Jubilee government. By the way, it’s time he cracked on the clueless County Educational Officers, as all they do is sit and wait for a hefty salary at the end of the month.

There has been this misconception over the years in the minds of many students that the world starts and ends with them. We were in that stage too, toying and flattering with the same euphoria. We used to imagine we were the end game and the creme of the world. We believed the world looked at us with awe and admiration and that it would literally stop, sit back and wait for our nonsensical mindsets to steer us to burn schools and pull a see no evil, hear no evil. Nobody could have convinced us otherwise. Dear students, we’ve been there, done it and come to regret it. Please lend us your ears and while at it, kindly cut the slack and the hype. It won’t matter a thing in a few years.

You see, there is something about uniforms that hides our family status. It blurs hard facts creating an impression that we are equal and will forever be. The truth of the matter is, that’s far from the truth. It’s colonial and cheating. Come to think of schools in developed countries and why they don’t emphasize on school uniforms. The philosophy behind this, from my imagination is to help these kids develop self-identity and appreciate backgrounds will always differ. That hasn’t been felt in Kenya. I say it again; uniforms have a way of creating artificial uniformity which is misleading to me, from where I sit. Let students appreciate they are different and must chase their individual dreams. Dear students, the moment you walk out of that high school gate having successfully sat for your KCSE exams if lucky and safe to be out of jail, reality will coldly welcome you to the other world. To the world that puts you to your rightful place. It has no time for slack and mob justice syndrome. Never. Here, everybody carries his or her cross, baggage and dream(s). In here it’s all about how you far you push your envelopes; how you trade your skills; how you amass networks and not how wealthy or poor your family is. You can also get away with impunity anyway but if not lucky, you will die a young death and a painful one for that matter. So dear students, please cut the slack.

Woo unto you especially, that is funded by a bursary scheme or harambees. No pun intended. If your parents sacrifice everything to have you in school and all you do is conspire strikes that burn classrooms; may the good Lord speak to you in a special way, now. May He wake you from the messy ignorance you are swimming in. You know, it is extremely annoying if you burn a school while your relatives have combed the entire community soliciting for small donations here and there just to give you what they didn’t benefit from. This is what we call parental love, boy! I also assume that you have come across an idiom that says; You never throw stones if you live in a glass house. Nature can be punishing and unforgiving.

Dear young girl that is chauffeured to school in pricey cars. Please don’t inconvenience poor kids’ dreams with your selfish influence. After organising for a strike, your parents will bribe their way, and ship you to another school. This is Kenya, right? Your life will move on seamlessly but you’ll have cut short someone’s only hope. Those students you badly influenced to join you in organising to burn classrooms will have their fate sealed by poverty and misery. Their parents will not have the stature or the evil monies to bribe their way to other schools. Their kids will have to drop out school sadly and get married at their young age if lucky not to get pregnant and start the journey of single motherhood before they celebrate their 18th birthday.

On the other hand, parents fixed to the corner by hard economic times will have to approach their chamas and Saccos for emergency loans. Yes they will do so to pay for your selfishness that had dormitories and classrooms torched. You even torch your books and beddings seriously while some of you don’t even have enough beddings at home. Why do you allow yourself to be drugged by this stupidity? Imagine it won’t matter in few years. You will never meet with some your so called friends after completing your KCSE. Some will do well in life while otherwise will have it rough. Some of you will have the potential of even employing some of these so called rich kids. Please dare to prove me right by not joining them in torching schools that are your only getaway to your dreams. Don’t allow them to mess with your future. You know what; Life cares very little about your family background. Actually in most cases it doesn’t. Imagine you all have a blank cheque for your life. It’s all about who you let in to your life and whose opinion you choose to buy. Life is all about creating something with what you choose. If you choose bad influence and slack from rich kids who believe their future is cut out, or from students who have lost hope of life; you’ll have sealed your fate for the worst.

To some of you, it will feel momentous when one contributes to the pattern that adds to the infamous staggering statistics of schools torched. Momentarily, your peers will celebrate you. How foolish is that and how long will it last? How much will you cost your struggling parents while even having you in school smoothly without being sent home for fees is a problem?(No pun intended). Dear students, it’s all fun and games until when you check to your parents’ humble homes only to be welcomed by reality. This is when you realise, the uniform no longer matters but rather, is the devil in the details. You realise how much uniform hides from reality. Who lied to you that you were born conjoined at the hip with your classmates? That’s a fallacy you need to drop before it’s too late. Their lives will be fixed by their influential parents but what about you who can’t afford a lawyer or can’t relate to the term – Family doctor?

Promise to stop this madness, dear student.

Address to parents:

Parents must step up and cede from overprotecting their kids. They must drop the shenanigans of treating their children with kids gloves. This alone, has immensely contributed in the soaring indiscipline cases in schools. Just the other day, it was reported that a parents’ association had bailed for an out of court case with one of the affected schools. Now, what will stop this delinquent kids from torching their schools all over again given a chance?

WEDDING COMMITTEES & THE CHARACTERS

weddingThe other day a female friend sent me a text message reading that I had been invited to a wedding committee. Actually, she was not really a friend but one of those people who possess your number by mistake. You know, there are those people who shouldn’t have your number, but they have it anyway and there is nothing you can do about it. The bad thing is that they will use it to invite you to wedding committees while in reality the two of you can’t sustain a two sentence conversation. You console yourself with the fact that your number stays dormant, cold and feeling out of place in their phonebooks. It’s hardly used.

Back to the wedding committee; What followed is that I was added to a Whatsapp group!

Two things;

One – If I have to be in a wedding committee then I have to be a mutual friend to the couple.

Or

Two – I have to be invited by the man, meaning that dude will have been my friend by the time he is inviting me to this committee.

If neither of the two – I will show up at your wedding day with my present of course!

The thing is, not everybody should be part of a wedding committee. There should be a criteria and something like benchmarking in deciding who should or shouldn’t qualify to this endeavour. This shouldn’t be a meeting where you gather acquaintances, would-be friends, frenemies, secret admirers, phantom friends or familiar people. And by the way, as a lady leave the functioning of the wedding committee to the man. You can help him come up with the list of trusted friends and relatives but this does not mean going all out fishing and combing-clean social media streets smoking out friends (stalkers) and dragging them to wedding planning forum half asleep. Neither is it a time to start looking for erstwhile friends whom you haven’t spoken to in a decade and then converting them to wedding committee members.

You know, there is something beautiful and manly about being invited by the man to this kind of a committee. From a man’s perspective, it reads recognition and appreciation. My point is, as a woman please focus on the gown, wedding cake and that humorous lady who perfects in cake cutting as she engages the crowd. Men are poor in these three tasks.  And for your information, a wedding is an expensive affair, save enough before imagining of who should be invited to the committee.

Assuming you will be convinced or feel the need to attend one, this is who you will meet. By the way it’s terrible to bank wholly on the wedding committee. They will fail you big time if you are not cautious. This is how it plays out;

You invite a hundred fellows, 30% turn up, 70% will never show up, respond to your texts nor pick your calls the moment they smell you need to part with their money. The 30% that turn up, 20% will only attend the maiden meeting just to be noticed and to see who has been invited and who didn’t make it to the list. These are people obsessed with titles and big man syndrome. This is how the rest will unfold:

Observers

Among the 15% out of the 30% that choose to attend, will be a group of the so called Observers. They will check in on time but will never contribute a point. They remain nailed on their seats, mum and occasionally on their phones. You can label them see no evil; hear no evil kind of people. They are mere observers rich in silence, big in attendance and zero on impact. End result – huge disappoint.

Phony People

These are quite interesting creatures better than observers. They contribute just one point in a two hours session and then drift to their pricey phones. Here they take selfies projecting how they are holed up in a big-wedding-planning and share them on social media. They will regularly walk out to pick calls and later comeback to remain glued to their damn phones. They will make it their point to ensure everybody notices their expensive smartphones by the time the meeting is done. Normally they walk in possession of two to three phones. End result – Below average

Technical Appearance Groupies

These chaps will check in to be seen they attended. They show no regard to the agendas of the day or any concern to how the wedding plan is progressing. They show up for 5 – 10 minutes and walk out in disguise of making a phone call. End result – Zero

Apology Lot

They throw perceptions of being very busy people. If they ain’t catching a flight, then they could be driving up country if not jumping to an important meeting. They specialise in giving apologies even on the actual wedding day. End result – Miserable

One Hit Wonder

They show up either on the maiden meeting or the very last one. They are a huge disappointment if one banks on them. They come to assess and gauge whether they should attend in future. They are big on promises but zero on delivery. End result – A mistake to have been invited!

Noisemakers

They are very social guys. They make friends effortlessly and create networks in minutes. To them, they view people as viable avenues to market their businesses, get county tenders, clinch jobs for relatives or buy or sell cars. End result – Fairly reliable.

Trusted circle

These could be close relatives, office colleagues or trusted friends. They are the main decision makers and major initiators of meeting agendas. They are tasked with specific responsibilities from Committee leaders (Chairman, Secretary & Treasurer), Transport Managers, Entertainment heads, Tent & Decor docket and tasks to find the best and affordable Photographers & MCs. End result – Extremely important

Big Kahunas/Financiers

Normally very influential personages, they are extremely critical. They have resources or connections to ensure the wedding is successful. They will avail cars, seek wedding venues and finance the wedding budget significantly. End result: extremely helpful

Wedding committees have been watered down over the years for two main reasons. One, the organisers have not been paying attention to the principle that no everybody should be invited. We are obsessed with numbers which in many a time end up to disappoint. I can confirm to have participated in a lean wedding committee that ended up delivering beyond expectations. The advantage with a small team is that, it’s easy to manage, to allocate specific tasks and to hold them accountable. Again, a smaller team works harder to prove they are equal to the tasks allocated.

Secondly, we are people that do weddings just to be noticed. That said, a majority don’t save enough for the big day but burden relatives and friends to finance their budgets. We do weddings we can’t afford just to smooth our egos and form the talk from the villages, church, office and to other social circles.

Let’s cut the slack and do weddings when we are sincerely ready.

 

 

 

 

‘LOVE’ – YOUNG VS OLD

quarter baked menLess than two weeks ago, Nanyuki woke up to very sad news of a 64 year old killed by her supposedly boyfriend who is only 22, crudely in what was alleged as a ploy to take advantage of her wealth. Well, a 42 year gap is what it is and no man can convince me it had anything to do with love but a quest for free money and feeding curiosity. Did they say curiosity killed the cat? Never underestimate the power of clichés. While some say the elderly woman was in pursuit of a companion, I dare ask you; When did a hot blooded, rugged and uncivilised 22 year old learn the art of companionship? Not even 26 year old ladies date 22 year olds dudes. But anyway, I register my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the bereaved.

Away from that; over the few years I have lived in this town, I have come to identify a certain clique of well dressed, nailed polished men, who seem to have mastered what works with their bodies. Blokes who go for weekly haircuts and who have half of their budget going for trendy clothes and shoes and fancy phones. Guys who live large and exhibit a taste for the fine things in life. Once in a while you will spot them in posh, borrowed cars making rounds around town leaving a trace of disturbance from the roaring exhausters or music from these high end cars. They are local celebs, if you may. Bragging of well-connected networks and rich friends at their disposal. You will never fail to find them in every worth-the-talk social gathering that comes by, be it house parties to outdoor events where they endeavour to leave their signature mark, which is causing a stir. From the rides, dressing code or ladies who stick to them like flies, they will form conversations in every salon, class and chama meeting.  And they love this feeling of being the center of all attention.

But there is a twist. Who finances their deluxe lifestyles? You will never meet them in office corridors in haste or along the streets walking pensively with documents. No. Theirs is a always a nonchalant attitude chilling with the alike boys on top of eye-drooling cars on a Monday morning in strategic places around town, in shorts and tight T-shirts, funny hairstyles, flashy phones and commandeering demeanors.

To what may not surprise you by now, they serve as fodder for the secretive and little known market of sugar mummies. A carefully knitted and subtly operating, intriguing world where relatively older women feed their obsession out of the ever available supply of lustful, money-hungry young men in their twenties and early thirties. For a long time the market has been well guarded from the public eye but going by the trends of late, the players have either been found pants down, or rather choosing not to pull any breaks nor giving a damn about the cat getting out of the bag.

Here, the affluent women some as young as 40, wrestle for these boys with their counterparts in their octogenarian years. They come fore to shop for good looking young souls who can diligently calm their baffling appetites in exchange of some tidy sums of money. How these guys fool the rest of us; is that they still maintain their oblivious girlfriends or if not harboring a string of mindless call-girls just to cover their untamed desires.

This reminds me of a story I was narrated by a colleague sometimes back, how having attended a function with a couple of friends, they decided to visit an entertainment joint to unwind. A few tables away, seated women in their mid-fifties who apparently began eying the young men who had accompanied my colleague. In a matter of time, these poor blokes had been courted, sensualized and shifted their base to join these lecherous women. My colleague and her female friends had to deal with this defeating surprise for the better part of the night.

Where these poor men ended up that particular night after a treat of free drinks, presumably triggered an erosion that wiped away all their genuine and faked integrity, conscience and innocence. Who knows how many other bad decisions they have made since that night? Did their spouses ever got wind of this storo?  Probably not! Women who go wooing young men in nightclubs have very high chances of manipulating a brood of other headless men under the disguise of money and enviable lifestyle.

What we are dealing with as a society is a case of a generation using short cuts to make ends meet. We are a people who are of the opinion that the end doesn’t necessarily justify the means. We want overnight wealth built on quicksand. On the other hand, the world is littered with an elderly clique of humans who have trashed decorum and anything that sounds right. Fairly wealthy men and women who have dared to have their cake as well as eat it.

For the sake of playing the devil’s advocate; why would women of age, fantasize young lads. What is it that their age group male counterparts can’t fulfill? Who created this void and what do these boys guarantee? Is it the pot bellies or maddening drinking that’s a problem? Is it that these ladies skipped a stage in their lives of dating and what-have-you? If that was the case, who permitted them permission to transfer their baggage to the younger generation?

Now, the tragedy is, evil triumphs when enough good number of men do nothing.

 

 

FORGET SOCIALITES;MEET TROPHY LADIES

older-versus-youngerTo some extent I so much envy ladies when it comes to their innovative ways of making extra income. Come to think of how a career as a socialite became acceptable and admirable by legions of ladies. How this career has unashamedly crawled up our knees to pose as a flourishing million dollar industry, right on our noses. Ponder how many Trophy Ladies survive by just holding their sponsors’ arms, smiling at their business partners, booking tickets for holidays, looking pretty, seated next to them when being chauffeured in dark, humongous cars, satisfying their erotic needs and massaging their egos. On the hand, men have no easier ends. It’s getting tougher for us. All we do is stir the shorter end of the stick. It’s time we got our very own Maghufuli at the helm of Maendeleo ya Wanaume. I guy who is super creative and visionary. Maybe we can poach lads who call shots at the enviable Team Subaru fraternity. With that, we will have brought in new blood with machizmo and invigoration to make us think outside the box. I mean, there must be easier ways of making money, surely!

So who is a Trophy Lady? I hope I will be in order to assume ladies who wake up to solely serve this moneyed man, smile 24/7  whenever around him and simply look good and get paid in kind or otherwise for those sort of services, meet the definition. A legal mpango wa kando who has no bones to strain. Think of such a contract. Here’s the thing, this industry is growing in leaps and bounds every single day since men with means are willing to spend on such ladies.

Now, meet this lass;

Call her Anita. A story is told by my friend about how she watched a girl get wasted in a span of 3 years right on her face. Note, WASTED is relative. So how;

One hot afternoon, Anita walked to the office dressing an overwrought face and making some jingling noise from layers of bangles tossed on her slender hands. She had a model-like body. Her hair strolled all the way, dangling the waistline and her pretty, long dress did the honours of flattering her strongholds. She was a beautiful Borana lady, lucky to be educated (No pun intended) and out, hunting for a job. She was holding an A4 envelope, enclosing documents that summarised her background and on that context, had come to seek for employment.

After pensively waiting at the front office area, she was directed to my friend’s boss, had a conversation that dragged for about half an hour and out, she walked. She left her C.V behind and of course her phone number as requested and that was the beginning of her evolution. The boss had fallen for this charming look.  That Anita had come to seek a reception position was a non-issue for now. Three years down the line, that has never seen the light of day. This guy had other plans and so she fell in the subterfuge, predictably.

What followed were a series of sumptuous coffee dates and trips to enviable places for lunch. Her conscience had been compromised. Her naivety gave in to his selfishness.  Having his family live in a distant town, the chicken had come home to roost. Sooner than later, Anita would move to this guy’s digs. Her new lifestyle had tricked her. Her goals in life had now changed. Her J.D was just to satisfy this man, go out for shopping and salon. Life had become so flawless.

Gradually, she was made to believe she was the second wife as long as the genuine wife wouldn’t visit. When the latter popped, she was made to leave for a weekend or so and sort sleep-overs elsewhere. All along the wife had made peace with the fact that this man cheats on her. She had had so many. Her man was so hooked to cheating that it had become normal. In fact, unawares, Anita was one amongst legions of them. Why hers was a special case, was because he caged her. He trapped her future and curved in trajectories that brainwashed her. Meanwhile, for Anita, she forgot about her boyfriend and family. She was in a new lane and the rest didn’t matter.

Slowly, she became aloof and lazy. She started imagining whatever this guy had acquired over the years was equally hers. Overtime she gained so much imaginary power that she could fire a driver or gateman at will. She didn’t even cook or clean the house or at least clear the table after a meal. That was the house servant job. Hers were to watch movies and do plenty of sleeping.

For numerous occasions, the lad relentingly sort jobs for her. But she couldn’t make it past the interview desk. Her laidback attitude robbed her opportunities due to her comfortable lifestyle. Seeking for employment became a forgotten priority. The only skill she acquired after hooking up with this guy, was a mere driving course.

Cleverly, this chap didn’t absorb her in his firm since he was all aware that she would antagonise and crumble down his baby investment within no time. Hers was to accompany this chap when he attended business meetings in Nairobi or Maasai Mara or Coast and sit pretty, wear an infectious smile, cuddle him if need be and be all over him. For a fifty something old guy, dating a lady the age of his daughter somehow does wonders to his testosterone. There is a funny myth among guys that if you sleep with ladies half or less your age, you will remain younger, fresh and vigorous.

From the school of public opinion, this lady was doing very well. Having several cars at her disposal and flying across the country and dressing in clothes shopped in exclusive places. When you compared her to her peers, she was doing very well. (Insert sarcasm). Now, the danger with this generation is; we are too selfish. We are people that have no guilt. We are humans who have no problem with dating married men and women. We are super selfish. As long as this guy lives, this lady will have it all having edged the wife from the scene and serving as the aide de camp of this manner-less chap.

She has no plans to settle down, at least not in the near future or get a kid. Mind you, this guy still cheats on her. (Anita). What’s the point? Live a lavish life meanwhile forsake or mislead your family that you are doing very well in life, edge out a whole family, remain financially dependent on a man, acquire no further skill/education and have nothing that you will ever call yours. But that beside the point, sooner or later this guy will get back to his senses or rather get over her. Funny enough, she once called the office demanding for some money to buy airtime meaning this guy deliberately gives her less than enough chumz for upkeep and not sufficient to save or invest. In other words, she lives at his behest; he can trust her with his raunchy body but not his damn money.

As long as you are dating a married man or woman, yours will be a time bomb and lots of guilt now or later. Nobody is wholly righteous but that’s not an excuse to engage in bringing down families and robbing somebody’s children; a daddy or a mummy.

In the end, Karma is alive and watching from a distance, doing press ups and waiting to pounce!

We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them – Kahlil Gibran

 

WHAT TYPE OF A PARENT WILL YOU MAKE!

Daddy & Mummy.ashxI took close to three decades to utter these four words that had haunted me for the better part of my life; “Mum I love you.” I had to. I was scared of not saying them before Annabelle or Adrian sets in the world (God willing) of Kageshi and I. It happened spontaneously as I conducted vote of thanks after a family function. It still sounded awkward, but I had to say it. Time had come. I was happy and relieved to have conquered that stubborn part of me. I didn’t grow up in an environment where parents said words like “Andrew, I love you”. That’s not how my siblings and I were conditioned.  I don’t blame my parents either. There was no way they’d give what didn’t exist in their lives. They too were not accustomed to that. Just like many others, they were in a transition of struggling to shed off the village way of parenting and embracing contemporary avenues of raising kids. Good or bad, they were wading in the mixed jungle of traditions and 90’s & 2000’s civilizations. Why would they have worried about giving us a goodnight kiss while there was more to deal with; like paying school fees, ensuring we had at least the basics in life and that the cows were dewormed?

Not a single day did they hug us, until it felt queer to be hugged by mum or dad. Childhood was a mixed bag in our lives. We had to discover ourselves along the way and fight for our dreams, to keep them alive. We were also to paddle in the confusion of being in a middle class school and living in the village. There were neither TV, FM radio stations nor electricity. But there was KBC…..John Karani and Charity Karimi of the Kings and Queens Show, from 4pm every weekday. Woooh! That was one huge show, listening to Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre, The Boy Is Mine – Brandy and then Usher happened. Meanwhile Sundowner from 6pm by Catherine Ndonye and the late Nzau Kalulu (RIP legend) were too sensational to miss. Kiss FM came through in 2002 if I’m not wrong. In fact there is one song by Ja rule ft. Ashanti which always reminds me of those years in class 7. It used to play frequently in Kiss. Away from that; we visited the barber once in three months. We engaged in hunting hares and grazing our dad’s cattle. Cutting napier grass that left itches on our arms and getting the right formula of mixing ‘dairy meal portions with molasses’ for the livestock. Waking up early to get ‘weeds’ which served us feeds for our rabbits. We also learnt to milk cows at an early age and ride “adult-bicycles” pretty early.

Fast forward today. That can’t be copy pasted to now. Our kids grow in storey estates or in houses with tiny compounds and a kitchen garden if lucky. Kids of this generation need to be affirmed daily.  They need to be hugged after a family breakfast and dropped at the school gate. And before they chuck out of the car, they expect a high five and be like; “Daddy I love you.” And you nod firmly saying; “I love you too sweet thing.” You have to befriend their teachers and monitor they performance in school. You’ll even insist they become active in co-curricular activities in school. You will read for them bedroom stories before they fall asleep. Other times you will kiss them at the forehead goodnight and chase them to sleep.

Phrases like; “Andrian, Mum and Dad love you” is too costly to overlook. They’ll grow in an environment where everybody speaks English including the house girl and where everything under the roof is monitored by CCTV camera. Their rooms will even have panic buttons. They will be better at operating your phone than you. They’ll play football within high perimeter walls and do hide and seek in parking yards. In the evening you’ll play chess game together as a family. They will call to ask why you are late to get home on those days your colleagues convince you to pass by the ‘local’. On bad days, while hanging those annoying headphones on their necks, they’ll throw tantrums and slam doors to their bedrooms ‘cursing’ you. You’ll look helpless in body and demeanor as your poor gait will be left staring a closed door. And do nothing about it. You will worry about what they browse on their laptops or what they watch while you are away. You will struggle to teach them about sex education and how that road is a no go zone, at least for now.

You will love these kids so much to devote all your evenings in getting interested on how they do their homework. You will remind yourself about BODMAS and LCM mathematics. Speaking of LCM; you will have wondered why 1/2 + 1/2 is resulting to 2/4 (in your head) only to remember after a whole 30 foolish minutes that there was one damn thing called LCM that Mr. Njeru taught you in class 5. Hahaha. You will also recite that song that helped you recall colours of the rainbow only to learn that it was changed to a new one by this digital generation. You will buy them test papers every week and mark them so diligently. On some days you will sleep late hours as you drive a formula home that Annabelle will probably have failed to comprehend in class; addition of Mixed Fractions and Area of a cylinder. And that Area and Perimeter are two different things. Haki ya nani!! Other times homework will be done in the morning because Mummy and Daddy will have been late in their Masters classes and the kids will have taken that advantage to watch BlackList with the house girl.

You will sacrifice your office work for a Parent’s Day meeting. This will awaken memories of your dad showing up with a newspaper at hand during your times. You will realise how time flies first and how you will have metamorphosed to a daddy. Walking side by side with your young ones to their class teacher will rekindle many nostalgic memories from those good old days. When you received your first letter from a girl named Maureen* (not her real name) that your sisters found in your shirt on that sunny Saturday while cleaning your clothes. They laughed and made fun of you for so long until it started to bother you…….Holding his hand, you will wonder if Andrian has a Maureen* in his life and whether she has jolted a letter to your heir yet! Back to where we were. Sitting pretty and watching those cute, innocent faces recite poems and plays, amid cheers from the parents will make you appreciate how life moves fast. It will feel good to be a parent. It will hit you that you are ageing gracefully. You will find yourself rising up and asking hard questions during the PTAs meetings; like why parents are paying staggering amounts of money for transport yet the school bus keep breaking down, inconveniencing the kids and the parents. Or why parents must buy the so called ‘weekend uniform’ for borders when the pupils have several pairs of P.E kits. Worse still, why uniform have to be bought from the school when it is way cheaper out there.

Being the best daddy has always been your wish and wondering whether you have achieved that so far, will be tough to answer.

El jurado está fuera El jurado! (The jury is out! - Spanish)

NEW AGE SUPER KIDS

Super kids3With schools closed what could be your kid(s) up to? Probably in up country enjoying shosh’s vibe, while breathing in unpolluted air and making new friends as they go fishing in nearby rivers. In my childhood times, holidays meant lots of grazing, feeding rabbits and listening to radio. That was then. These days kids are more exposed and well accustomed to the evolving technology and it’s advancements.

Now, this week our office welcomed a visitor, an 8 year old boy from my boss’s family friend, who apparently has a desire to acclimatise himself with a typical office set up. While his peers are busy drowning in couches in their well furnished digs playing play stations or watching the latest episode of Empire season 2 or out shopping in the Garden Cities and TRM’s of this world with their affluent parents, this boy is seemingly unfazed and on a whole different mission. This reminds me of a little girl very popular on Instagram, WENDY WAENI. She is only 10 years old, born and raised in Huruma from a humble family background. Wendy started doing acrobats at a tender age of four, and now it has taken her to places she has never imagined. She has performed in front of presidents and many prominent dignitaries across the globe.

Anyway back to this boy, he doesn’t speak any Swahili to start with. His speaks nothing short of refined English. His basic computer knowledge makes fun of his age. In other words, his mastery is not much of a difference from guys thrice his age. His exposure is unrivalled. He types relatively faster than twenty something years old, souls. And at his age, he has a personal laptop which he never leaves behind as he walks in to the office. Meeting him at the corridors chatting with my colleagues or when out for lunch with the most humble jang’o I have met, one Mr. Liech, you’d be forgiven to imagine he is not 8. His curiosity to learn the basics of accounting not in a class set up but in a pragmatic environment has baffled me in the few days I have interacted with him.

His parents must be very proud of their son. He is a sum of all those profound adjectives; Intelligent, disciplined, confident, self-driven, diligent, ambitious, courteous and ………..many more. In fact his confidence levels are so high that they have made him a very inquisitive boy. Seemingly, he is a big fun of contemporary music, an enthusiast of gadgets and a computer geek. One queer character that has made him the talk of the office is his fondness for asking riddles. I have not met a kid who has a more mastery of riddle questions. The situation has been ‘so bad’ to an extent some of my colleagues have been avoiding him.

Riddles are not a cup of tea to every Wanyoike, Ahmed or Stella. They take a toll on us who don’t like ‘over thinking.’ Who the hell came up with riddles? Like why now!! Things should just be the way they are, straight forward and obvious hehehe. To you who schooled in Kiandutu Primary School and later joined Kiaguthu Secondary School, next to River Mathioya, riddles can be a hard nut to crack. Do you know how humiliating it can be a when a sharp looking kid, calls you by name and asks you a question (riddle) that leaves you clueless for a whole five shameful minutes. I thought kids are supposed to look up to adults for knowledge. Nie reke ngwere (let me tell you!) that is unheard of from this annoyingly bright kid.

I’m only left to imagine what his parents go through in a typical evening when they retire home. You know how tired one can be after you check in at home from a busy day only to be met by a bubbly looking boy carrying along a whole bank of knowledge in his mind. That can be so defeating. It means you as the dad, should always be very young and agile in mind as well. Always watering, weeding and basically attending to your I.Q. Without regular refreshing and constantly feeding you brain with knowledge, dealing with such a kid can be very daunting.

This kid will meet you along the corridor and be like;

Boy: Riddle! Riddle!

A poor you will try to respond confidently, meanwhile, urgently summoning all your knowledge ready to take this riddle, only to fail miserably.

You: Riddle (feebly)

Boy: What is it that when you pill its skin doesn’t cry but makes you cry?

Just by the look of your face, this kid will be dealing with an all familiar scenario of ‘humiliating adults knowledge’ so effortlessly. He will give you a suggestive look that will be mischievously asking; who was your grammar teacher? After a whole five wasted minutes, you will give a blank stare only for him to spit the answer in no time.

Boy: Onion.

You: You make a shame-on-me laughter

The boy will not let you off the hook just yet. He will be at it again giving you a second chance. You on the other hand will be promising yourself to do better.

Boy: Mary’s father has five daughters. Namely; Nana, Nene, Nini, Nono and ………….?

You will jump on it very fast trying to redeem your already maimed image.

You: Nunu

The boy will look at you disappointingly.

Boy: It’s Mary! come on. 

You: Shit! How did I miss that?

 

Welcome to our world of super kids. Kids who are born competitive, detesting the status quo and always strongly believing the world is theirs to conquer. The truth is, we can learn so much from everybody God places in our lives even if it’s for a minute or day. Never write off anybody. By the way this super kid doesn’t own a phone as you’d expect. His parents are conceivably deliberate and painstaking on this.

This super kid has taught me that riddles make one open minded. His drive to try new things that add value to his life is inspiring. One last one; super kids emerge from families that take parenting seriously. Kageshi, Annabelle & Abigail take lessons.

 

 

A CANDID TALK – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR.DRU

HBD DRUI have penned close to 150 articles in this blog but can’t remember one which was dedicated to this guy who sits behind his laptop quite regularly, to share stories about other people but never his. And what better time to spoil myself with some self-love than today when I can already smell my birthday few hours away. Dear readers allow me not to assume every one of you is aware my birthday is happening tomorrow, 29th November. Just incase you feel ‘philanthropic’ enough to throw some love in kind or otherwise.

From tomorrow, I will be one year older than I am today. To start with, I can only thank God for being gracious enough to reward me with this particular year that is coming to an end. Secondly, when I challenged myself to write this article, I thought of how different I am since I celebrated my last birthday in 2014. I’m I the same person, with the same knowledge, same number of friends, same level of exposure and same mindset? If that’s the case, then I just wasted an entire year, as the talented columnist Wale Akinyemi would put it.

Speaking of Wale, his article yesterday on the Daily Nation got me thinking. He wrote about human development; Mental development, physical development, spiritual development and social development. He emphasized that just as a car would have four wheels to move, we need the four pillars named above for our progression in life. Every year we should use the four parameters to assess our personal developments and relationships.

That said, I had a conversation with myself trying to evaluate what is it that I have learnt or come to appreciate this year;

Invest in God

This year, God proved to me that he answers prayers no matter how long it takes. I have been overwhelmed by his number of miracles. I’d encourage my readers to make the bible their daily reference book and learn to pray. Commit every small or big action of your life to God and life will never be the same again even in your darkest moments. And to echo what Pope Francis said yesterday as he was speaking to the young people in Kasarani Safaricom Stadium – Nairobi “We are often so busy and we leave little room for the things that matter most. Certainly, we can be busy with many good things, such as work, studies and the responsibilities of family and friendship. We think that God is always there, so He can wait, and when I find a little time, I will give it to Him. But we all know what happens when we think this way. God loses first place in our lives, and life loses its flavour, its direction, its focus.”

Family

One thing that I have deliberately created time for, is family. You can never go wrong with family. They are the single most important people in your life. Pick around, you will find out most successful people have very strong ties with family. Your family has a blessing for you. Sometimes a curse depending on how you play around with your life. Family stabilizes you and makes you think rationally, so reach on to them. These are the same people who will tell you the truth even if it hurts. Family is real, genuinely loving and reliable. It’s wise never to be too busy for family.

Seek Mentors

We are living in an extremely crazy world where making it without seeking advice here and there can be a tall order. Again, no man has a monopoly of knowledge. Mentors make visions clearer and success vivid. You learn about mistakes they made at your age and lessons they have gathered so far. They see things from a broader and long term perspective. They will scream to your ear drums when you think of taking a loan to buy a car before a ka-plot. They will advise a car is a depreciating asset straight from the showroom. And certainly shouldn’t ever be your top most priority. They will push you to achieve quite a number of projects before you think of settling down since marriage is never a walk in the park and should be planned for. Mentors will also push you out of your comfort zones. Overtime you will realise comfort zone is an enemy of success.

Your Network

If you were to measure the value of your friends, how worth would they be? Do they share part of your dreams? Are they competitive and do they challenge you? I have learnt to cast my net wider and to consciously become a better person. When you invest in making yourself an ambitious and better human being, you will attract the same caliber of friends. Note, friends should never choose you, you choose them.

Conquer Yourself

Never accept to be a mere scavenger of life. Live purposefully. Antagonise your comfort zones gradually and consistently. Identify your passions and invest time and any other resource needed to breathe life to them. Well-fed passions are magnets of happiness. That is the foundation of conquering yourself. Be in touch with your life and well in charge. Fear, anxiety and disappointments will sneak in once in a while but should always be defeated by you focusing on the bigger picture and where you are heading.

Be a mentor

You grow more and become complete once you dedicate time to inspire and help others in your course of life. Knowledge and success that does not carry others along is obsolete, vague and ungodly. And by the way, you don’t require a Masters degree to mentor, a journey of a thousand miles start with one step.

Away from the serious stuff. I’m excited to have lived to see my next birthday. Kageshi promised me a dinner date, something I’m looking forward to. I declined any alcohol or wine in the spirit of standing with Magufuli. Hashtag #WhatMagufuliWouldDo. Furthermore, Pope is a stone throw away. His impactful speeches have also not dried ink.

A big congratulations to the beautiful Phyllis, a loyal and ardent reader of my blog, wedding Jackson today. May God blessings be part of your portion in your next stage of life.

Celebrating her birthday the same day with me, will be one charming Miss Abby Abbie. “Abby, Nesa…Nayuu! Happy birthday dear.”

MUSES OF AN ACCOUNTANT – WHEN AUDITORS LED TO YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

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Accountants will agree that it’s all fun and games until auditors come knocking. A day with them is what accountants dread for, in an entire year. They scare the shit out of you. Their demeanor is akin to that of a parent scrutinizing a report card of their standard five average performing kid. If there are times accountants cut weight or suddenly ‘fall sick’ avoiding the office is during audit time. Emails from auditors not only intimidate but also threaten, reading between the lines. Their emails will creep quietly and lie on your inbox for 5 – 10 minutes only to bite hard, your damn face the moment you click on Microsoft Outlook. What they will leave behind is a trace of receding hairlines or white hair sprouting on your ‘bald-vulnerable head’, even before you hit 30 or impregnate a lady. No pun intended.

To start with, they will send a list of items they expect to be kept ready beforehand. That email will go like;

Dear Andrew,

Subject to the scheduled audit of company X for the financial year ending (say 2014) to commence on (insert a date), we kindly request you to prepare the following before then, as attached below. (A trail of like a million items will be listed in a word document from logbooks, original bank statements, lease agreements, title deeds, I – Tax returns and their stamped bank payment slips to payrolls etc.)

Kind regards.

The email will be brief, authoritative, and cold. Poking and putting you on the hot seat. In other words, you as an accountant will be tasty meat ready to be ravaged, ‘dismantled’ and ‘feasted’ by hungry auditors keen to find mistakes, assumptions and irregularities in your course of work. From the very minute you will read that email, the next one week or so will be yours to run all over the office, ransacking through tired and dusty files, pulling and pushing cabinet drawers and begging misplaced crucial documents to show up for a hefty reward. It will be your week to do the ‘final audit’ of your work before the big kahunas land and update on their social media platforms; #OutoftownAudit. They will have bid goodbye to their clinging girlfriends or two-year-old sweet dolls and be like; “Daddy will be back in 5 days.”

I week later they will spend a night in a town near you. Haha. They will have called you at 4:31pm to confirm they will be in your reception area at 8:03 am the following day. That will cause shivers around your belly or a random heartburn. You will smell hell coming your way to skin you alive. Come to the D-day on a chilly Tuesday morning, your boss will call you to his office and introduce you to Chiranjeev Khan and Simon. Pulling faces that will look eager to tear you into pieces, they will give you a subtle smile. They will have worn unironed T-shirts and fitting jeans. (They work for a mhindi audit firm in the heart of Westlands – Nairobi.) You know of these audit firms with weird mhindi names. As your boss tries to break the ice with them, their fingers will be hitting hard the keyboards with their heads bogged down at their laptops hardly bothering to give your boss or a poor you, any technical glance.

The next two days will be your longest days alive. Seated on a roundtable, everyone busy on their laptops, sipping coffee every now and then absent-mindedly, with files littered all over, this will be marked by; explaining of transactions, justifying figures, presenting supporting documents, searching for emails that resulted to some of your decisions, printing stuff, combing through documents in your computer, hurriedly noting down important information and more of explaining. These will be the days you will return home in the evening with a sweaty shirt, weary red eyes, unkempt hair and fatigued legs. In an auditor’s world, every shilling must be accounted for, transactions scrutinized and books dissected to unearth and sift the truth. Astute auditors must find mistakes. In any case, that’s what they are paid to do. They will cut you into size with their inquisitiveness and milk as much information from your unwilling mouth. To them, information is their weapon. The much they amass the better for their ‘battle’ with you.

At the end of it all, your mediocrity will be exposed. You’ll be frog-marched to your boss and if he is also part of the scam, the whole accounting department and the management will be whipped to the directors to report your shoddy work and dealings. This does not happen literally but through emails copied to like a dozen people of individuals who call the shots in your organization. This may also happen through boardroom meetings that go ahead to strip out any integrity in you, leaving behind a mere skeleton of you. If all this does not yield much and probably due to you not co-operating much, auditors still have one last bullet of releasing a damning report in what they call in the financial world, Qualified Report. This alone can cost the future of your company.

Any lady that commits her life to an accountant must be made to understand the consequences. That, as women have their time of the month, so do accountants though annually. When hell breaks loose and come crumbling down on their lives. When anger, resentment, pain, fear and anxiety converge in one place to hold their annual AGM, in your life!. These are the days that accountants struggle to tie a tie, leave a well-prepared cup of tea halfway done, and hit a motorist’s side mirror before making their way to the office. In and around this time, they will drag their office work to their bedroom away from the TV and playful kids. These poor things will gaze at their laptops, exporting reports and dissecting them further just before dinner gets ready. The least the likes of Kageshi and her fellow partners committed to chaps in the accounting field can do is to have a health insurance for their families. You are never too sure.

Auditors are called to be objective in their course of work. Not to be compromised or seen to cut deals with their clients. They are key instruments towards ensuring integrity and professionalism in the fiscal world is cultivated. Incredible accountants on the other hand, combined with sound management do not have much push and pull with auditors. In the end, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Check out my Facebook Page; andrewismme wordpress.com for regular, half serious stuff that will help you unwind and recover from a day’s harsh torrents.

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