FOR THE MAN


Two weeks ago, Graça Machel shared a dinner with a group of remarkable people that I know. A group of young persons, still stuck in the throes of discovering themselves, the paths lying ahead, the choices to be made, the baggage to be dropped and more importantly, the causes (and underlying principles therein) to be picked. Continue reading

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MAND-ART-ORY


Over the weekend, I joked with my mother over my weird subject choices in high school, choosing to go with history rather than geography regardless of my better performance record in the latter. She knows, and it is common knowledge amongst those that know me best that I do love geography and can geek out sometimes when I do find something that intrigues me, more so with regard to vulcanicity.  Continue reading

FIGHT NIGHT


Hey ho, I’m ready to roll! Another year down the line, and I feel like I zooming on through this universe, with a gung-ho, smash-n’-grab attitude to it all, and loving every minute of it.

A few years back, I made an almost unconscious decision to do away with mediocrity, and to strive for nothing but the best. This meant shedding off some dead-weight, steeling myself against what, at the time, seemed like insurmountable odds. Soon enough, I got a few cheerleaders and team-mates and like-minded folk in my corner. Most have been with me for the entire ride till now, some dropped off, and I damn sure know there are so many more I have not even yet met.

It’s a curious blessing to be where I am today. It’s an even greater burden not to get swept away by the amazement of it all and end up forgetting the very purpose for which it is I do all this. But it is on such days that I sit back and chill, think, talk, and sometimes reminisce.

Predictably, it then of course is on this day that I am reminded of the purpose of my existence; why I get up each day to the sometimes unnerving hustles of the paths I choose. It is for me, my family and my friends. For those who stand in my corner through each round of this fight, hollering at each jab ducked, cheering every uppercut landed, conjuring up combos to knock out each fitting opponent before me.

And at the break of each round, when the gong goes and I trudge fitfully to my corner, a winning smirk exchanged with the team, I know the next round is going to be even better. The challenge is greater, the (metaphorical of course) muscles sorer, and the opponent leaner and meaner.

But at that break, I’ll sit, catch my breath, and cherish the cool drink in my mouth, quenching the fires that rage within. And prepare.

Today is that day. The 23rd round is beginning. The gong strikes. FIGHT!

A MAN’S TALE


A man shall always like to operate in controlled environments. Scenarios where a man can rely on existing certainties and an assurance of the environment as he knows it not being in an unrestrained state of flux. A man will always rein in what he can, never letting it all run riot.

A man finds comfort in the known, and fear in the unknown. He, and the universe as a whole, are averse to change. There is a consistent and futile search for equilibrium; its immediate attainment negated by the revival of the initial cycle. And so down, down the rabbit hole we go.

So, a man tries and tries to assure themselves of a few constants in his life. Looking for anchor-points, he sets goals, milestones and standards. Certainties that must be attained and maintained to ameliorate the vagaries of a world in flux. In vain maybe? A waste of time, resources, mental energy, one may say.

What then can a man do? To what God (Higher Being if a man chooses so) must a man pray to buffer against the buffeting waves? The seas of life are a torment in the storm, and a wondrous paradise in the calm. Even yet, the waters below are always changing. The vessel may remain unserviced and devoid of improvement. Woe unto the sailors aboard for the treacherous journey that lies yonder.

Yet the vessel may choose strategy; another certainty and control. Varying quality, severity and scope, they carry hope to the horizon. That though the seas may toss a man around, and plans and strategy cast overboard lest the vessel capsizes, crew and captain shall call safe into port.

A time comes when a man must stand tall and plan. Make choices. Improve. MOVE.

When uncertainties face him, he shall not cannot stand down, roll over and watch the ever-changing skies. He shall plant his feet into the ground, tuck in his coat-tails, and push. Push into the wind and sleet. A man shall carry the clarion call and lead into the dark, carrying his own true light and discovering his own true, yet changing, path as he goes.

                                          TROD THE UNBEATEN PATH

TAKE IT


Money never sleeps. One day, if you don’t pay attention to her, you’ll wake up and find that she left you for another man.

Courtesy: Geek is the New Black

Courtesy: Geek is the New Black

I’m paraphrasing Gordon Gekko, from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. One of my best movies ever, because it’s quirky, fast, and brutal. More or less, it’s a replica of adult life, depending on how you take it. Most may miss out on the quirkiness, but I’m all in for it. It’s the unusual things that make this life interesting. No-one likes a boring fella.

It’s the untold oddities, and undeclared preferences that set one apart from the crowd; that shows one’s true mettle. Seeming flaws mutate into marks of class, appreciated only by the few who have an eye for the less acclaimed of qualities.

It’s worthless being part of the crowd. And it’s even vainer wasting one’s energies trying to set apart from it. Crowds move on their own volition, bodies of common thought, direction, purpose, mannerisms; idiotic or otherwise. But all the more, stay out, recognize the crowd’s presence, be cognizant of it, respectful too, but ever keep your distance.

You’re young, you’re wild, and you can do whatever you wish (within the often twisted bounds of the law). Your life.

Live it, love it.

Spin it, chance it.

TAKE IT AND HAVE IT.

PS: I’m tired of these pseudo-motivational posts that I have been dropping in the not so recent past. I do solemnly pledge that this is the last in this chain of forlorn seriousness. A little more cluelessness please?

The Never-ending Inquiry


Do you remember the greatest mysteries you grew around as a child? Those moments when the world seemed to be a tad bit too confusing and complicated for your feeble mind?

Did you ever wonder why the television never seemed to remember where you left your favourite cartoon, always intent on jumbling up the cartoons you left with all that adult hum-drum called news? Why was it called news anyway? Because it was ‘new’? And why did that TV never know how to keep its heat to itself; or how else did Mum always reach behind it after arriving home and give you a necessary dose for watching telly without her permission? Why on Earth did grasshoppers have green ‘blood’?

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Quo Vadis?


This is one of those spontaneous ones, on the spur of the moment, compelled by sheer geniality and ease of mind.

Under the stars, sits a young man/woman. Dreams churn his mind, ambition drives him forward, love keeps his eyes on the prize…and occasionally distracts him too. He wants it all, just like the picture he conjured in his mind back in his formative years. To be the best, to set the standard, raise the bar and damn near hammer it in till the whole world knows it (modern-day Excalibur).

Curveballs get thrown his way, he trudges through minefields, pirouettes through enemy fire, graceful on his feet, mind and voice; yet packing enough of a punch to pull a typical 8 on you (blackout!)

Nonetheless, he doubts himself. Sometimes, not always. Seemingly stuck in the ruts, he shouts out for aid. Few come, most nonchalantly pass by, noses upturned in arrogance. But with a push and a pull, from the concerted few, the struggle continues.

And on we go, on #BeastMode; stinging like a bee, floating…floating…floating…

Finally floating, because a time comes when the road becomes to bumpy, potholed, slushy in the rain. Fly free and fly fast. For such struggles shall not last.

But to those leaving the unknown prodigy behind, noses upturned, to those ignorant of the hustle and effort around them, to those thinking they are above it all, to those standing from their seats even before the show is over, before the curtain drops, there lies only one question: QUO VADIS?

Sundresses In July


The sun was out a few weeks ago. It seems a myth, but it was. That glorious, glaring globe shining down on us, creating a façade veiling us from the reality that is the chill and sleet that actually ought to be with us. And there we were, confused as to what to do with all the warm clothing and boots stocked up in anticipation of frosty times ahead.
Some complained, as we ever do, that this global warming thingy should stop getting its knickers in a bunch and toe the line. We’d had enough Vitamin D since January.

I hadn’t. Or rather my eyes hadn’t. No, I’m not that masochist fella who weirdly gets pleasure out of staring at the sun with my naked eye. No, you have to understand that this sleepy town isn’t slumbering in matters of activity alone. This encroaching laze seems to stretch its lulling fingers through every single element of life, and most importantly: fashion.
From the Mama Mboga and her “Seng’eng’e ni Ng’ombe” t-shirt (Pole kwako if your significant other wears this to bed. Lingerie natzing!), to the hormonal teenager still ensnared by the latest fad. Need I say that most of this fashionista wannabes can tend to be a not-so-rare source of comedy on the average day?

Then there are the ones who get it. No, not gerrit, I mean GET IT! Those who innately have a touch for the more exquisite, sophisticated and mostly simple yet alluring forms of dress. Some have it as an acquired taste; there’s nothing to it.

Mind you, I’m all for decency and stuff. The kind who likes it all covered up…the more skin shown the shorter the term of interest. The more you leave to a man’s curiosity, the greater you hold their attention. No need to be all trashy and slutty up in these streets. Just keep it relevant, sexy, and alive. I sure as heck don’t even know how to define alive so don’t even bother asking me what that means.

So you must understand when in the middle of this usually frigid month, my eyes beheld works of nature’s beauty. Sundresses: floral, patterned and whatnot, the whole thingamajig without having to get into details. Sijui these days I hear sijui peplum mara sequined mara pear-shaped what not… I swear sometimes the world of fashion is best left to those who care for it. Now what do fruits even have to do with anything? Do I get to eat them?

Ah, but I digress.

Here stands a man, stuck in a drab world of grays and blacks and navy blues. Before him, swaying with gusto and ruffled in the wind is the work of a seamstress that seems to call for your attention. Not in a “Weeeh, kss kss” way. No, in a more “Hello there, mister” kind of way. Okay, wait, that sounded way more attractive in my mind.

And this, in a town where chicken are foreseeing a holocaust (poor things), is sure to be a head-turner. I don’t know what it is here, or maybe I just haven’t travelled enough, but men really need lessons in a perfected art called ‘U-sniper”. It’s all in the subtlety, this ogling business is best left to the Muite-types; wide-eyed and all that.

Hii maneno tumekataa bwana…zingatia u-sniper!

Sundresses are sexy, especially when worn in the sun (predictably). They’re a rare commodity now. And thus I mourn, till the sun rises again, to ease my eyes of this drab and monotonous world of furry jackets and sometimes uninspiring boots.

Artsy and African. Courtesy of etsy.com

The Social Clapper


Eminent person X takes the dais to address the assembled guests

X: (utters a series of the usual pleasantries and awkward, shallow attempted jokes)

Crowd: (applause) hahaha!

X: I am very happy to be here and thankful for your hospitality.

Crowd: (applause)

X: We are opening this school today to celebrate education.

Crowd: (applause)

X: It is good to keep the streets clean and presentable.

Crowd: (applause)

X: And that is why we are going to increase your taxes by 50%.

Crowd: (applause) Wait….WHAAAAT?

That, my friends, is a disease that afflicts almost our entire society. It’s almost like there’s a virus, hidden deep within our collective being, whose chief symptom is the serial bringing together of one’s hands audibly so as to show ‘appreciation’ for the precious oxygen that Dignitary X had to forego for you to hear random ramblings on what is and what isn’t.

Social clapping is a filler, sound forced into those oh-so-predictable pauses after a sentence or two, just to cancel out the silence therein, and to give an illusion of utter understanding and fully donated attention. It is a device created by despots and larger-than-life figures to exalt their name and to shroud them in false magnificence.

It has been drilled into our skulls as children that we should always clap. Why? Because it is fitting and honourable to do so. Because if we do not, we are being disrespectful. Because if we do not, we are rebels who are against the agenda of dignitary X. A non-clapper is a protestor, an outcast, a shame to the society and one not worth associating with if you know what’s best for you.

This happened to occur when I was back in high school. Leadership changed hands, and the top man that came in decided that every single little deed deserves a hearty clap. In his occasionally wayward mind, almost every single sentence uttered MUST be given an icing of applause. And his idea of clapping was that it would be repeated till the volume produced by 800+ students satisfied his eardrums…. I’ll spare you the sordid details of my high-school life, but I note that that is when I refused to be a social clapper, out of protest.

I refused to put my hands together to massage anyone’s ego. I refused to clap to please.

I chose to clap to show appreciation, to acknowledge effort, to signify contentment, admiration and pleasure.

I refused to have someone tell me when and when not to clap. Yes, I was protesting.

But now, with time, I realize, it’s no longer a protest. It’s the norm: to have the freedom of choice and putting my mind to what is said, weighing it and deeming it worthy of appreciation or otherwise. It’s simply a decision to do or not to.

It’s a decision not to be sucked into the mediocrity and lies that are spewed at us by leadership all around, who seek nothing but gratification; a gratification that society, over time, has made all too available.

Majority of leaders, hence, are the type whose speeches are laden with unnecessarily inserted pauses, specifically anticipating the crowd’s almost mechanical routine.

Social clapping is no more than a robotic movement, reducing one into a machine that digests and absorbs endless rhetoric.

A social clapper is no better than a full-grown seal, seating on sandy beaches, clapping its fins at fellow seals.

A social clapper is the kind of person who forgets his place in a classical music recital, and starts clapping ferociously during a particularly lengthy rest, all for the music to pick up and carry on, leaving him behind in his awkwardness.

Social clapping is a DISEASE! A festering wound in almost all social gatherings that teaches us to conform and not put our own minds to what we are told. To ACCEPT AND MOVE ON!

No-one’s forcing you because you have a choice.

I choose not to clap for your convenience.

Suit N’ Tie


When the boss leaves the office, rush to his seat and take an awesome pic.  That's the motto!

When the boss leaves the office, rush to his seat and take an awesome pic. That’s the motto!

For the past 7 weeks or so, I have been trapped in a cocoon of official clothing. Nothing but office-wear. I got no complaints, none at all. It saves me from a whole lot of laundry, you know. So for two months I’ve been that young fellow, walking along these dusty streets of a town stereotyped for alcoholism, vicious women and (most recently and embarrassingly) chicken-violators. First off all let me categorically state that animals have rights too, and that I am boycotting all chicken products till this vacation is over. Hatutakula kuku, kwa namna yoyote inayotambulika.

I digress. I’ve been that young lad, who everyone is used to straight jeans, black sneaks, and a goth tee. That’s always been my brand. So shock on my PK guy’s black behind when I turn up to buy my usual morning PK Lemon Ice and I’m dressed like I’m about to address the UN General Assembly. Come to think of it, if I ever got that chance at this age, maybe I should just dress in tree bark, animal skins and leaves coz, you know, all this stereotyping that Africans are behind and whatnot. All I want to do is fit in, yoh!

It was kind of foreign, considering my liberal clothing ways prior to this engagement. It took an entire wardrobe overhaul! *looks sadly at wallet* Strangely enough, I’ve never been able to bring myself to slot these formal attire into my wardrobe. It’s almost like it was shouting out to me “Don’t do this to me bro! We’ve come too far for you to turn on me like this!” And trust me, we have come real far, that wardrobe and I. from times when I would lock myself up in it to hide from mum, or the elder siblings, or just to play around with matches. Well, that should probably explain some of the holes in clothes that I got properly spanked for.

It felt even more foreign when on some forlorn day the universe conspires to throw every single former primary school teacher and friends of my mother into my path! Whether it’s just walking out of the estate, getting out of court for lunch or walking home, EVERYWHERE! Adults enquiring into your life and whatnot, I hate that! Especially that awkward moment when I was stopped by one former teacher, then another happened to walk right on by at the same time. Trust me, I have never imagined such a double interrogation…in the middle of the street and midday traffic! Agony defined.

To be honest though, it’s going to be tough getting back to the usual fashion code. I know if my wardrobe had a voice, this house would be shaken right now by the mother of all groans. But hey, we’re only growing older, no backtracking here. Things have to change some time. And laundry has to be avoided at all costs!

I Confess


I love you. You and your beautiful voice; the way you sing to me, in the middle of the night. Sending tingles up my spine and subtle vibrations as you hum the glory that lies within you. I could listen to you endlessly, never tiring. We were made for each other, the accompaniment to all my songs.

That slender neck of yours, elegant and exquisite, will always have my fingers gliding up and down it. Making you come alive, with crooning sounds and gentle squeaks. No untoward sounds, guttural or animalistic, because that would be so unladylike, and you must always carry yourself in the exaltation deserving your fabulosity.

No-one ever talks about the head, but it would be a crime if I ignored yours. The crown of your entire assemblage, where the tiny gears twitch and interlink to control all your inner workings, leaving all in awe of your capabilities. Simply phenomenal, they say, that such a small being can achieve so much, be so domineering. I would gently caress your head too, if only to know what gems you hold inside, what intricacies and schema you so dearly and steadily protect.

But if there’s one spot on your amazingly crafted body that I will never leave, that my arms have made their home, which seems crafted specifically for me to physically conjoin myself to: your slender hips. Brilliant is the title of your crafter, for transposing the very essence of femininity onto you. I call you the perfect specimen, ignoring the fear of claims of objectifying you. You are actually just an object though *shrugs*.

And blessed is the fruit of your womb. From the holistically crafted inner chambers of your being arises your fruit, out to glorify and amaze and charm and impose. Majestic, calm, intimidating, flirty, energetic and nonchalant; the emotions you carry with you are innumerable.

That is why your six strings shall forever be exalted, for their simplicity and latent ability.

For your hard exterior that encases the cavernous chamber that amplifies your brilliance, giving birth to such beautiful sound.

To the ordinary eye, you’re just vanished wood and parallel lengths of wire; nothing to crow about. But to the hands that strum you, the arms that hold you, the fingers that grip your frets, you’re a divine beauty, a work of art. A guitar.

Guestpost by @ifehenia: What To Do When Stuck In a Bank Queue.


So during one of those recent episodes of writer’s block that I’ve been having, I reached out to one of the few blogging friends I have, those who have true appreciation for what they are doing. Not a bigwig going after advert revenue, or nonsensical exposes about who did what and who dumped who and which sewerage company is handling whose effluent; you know what I mean. She’s @ifehenia, or Ivy if you wish to advance to first-name-basis so quickly. She writes, and she writes true. I like her style, maybe because it’s slightly similar to mine. Here’s her blog for good measure, be the judge. Anyway, I asked her to do something small to break the norm of my ramblings here, and she did a random little nifty piece here. Take a look, and leave a comment or two (and visit her blog frequently, I know I do.)

 

 

 

While most writers suffer from writer’s block, I struggle with something much more interesting; everythingitis. This is when a whirlwind of ideas comes upon me and my fingers on the keyboard can’t keep up. Worse yet, my mind can’t profile these ideas and decide on which ones are blog-worthy… So I simply stop and breathe. Yes, that’s the story I am sticking to. It’s my excuse for infrequent blogging and it’s also my excuse for how jumbled up this post might seem to the average person anyone who is not me.

For the past week, I have been having a good hair day week. It’s only fair because for the longest time in high school I had a bad hair period-of-my-life and it was not pretty. I feel as if my pretty hair and I deserve to bask in this glorious moment for an extra week or so before it tangles and back we go to braids and what have you.

Good hair week 1

Prior to my good hair week, I spent a Thursday afternoon, not so long ago, on a bank queue at Barclays Bank- Queensway. I am not the world’s most patient person… truly speaking, I am highly impatient, with a tendency to snarl at people who make me queue, sit unattended at receptions, and stand aimlessly like a hooligan at Kencom, outside Archives or around Afya Centre. All the same, I was stuck on a bank queue for close to 3 hours. I wish I could say that some good came out of it… that my inner impatient demons somehow got exorcised… that I didn’t get agitated enough to chew bits of paper and pull out my hair… I wish I could, but I can’t. However, brilliant me found time in between snarling, impatient foot tapping and pulling out of hair to come up with a brief list of things to when suck in a Barclays Bank Queue (I am not yet sure if they are applicable to queues at other banks):

  • Stare at the television screens. There are several, so strategically placed to ensure that you do not miss even a second of the three somber Visa Card adverts on repeat. One of the adverts has a lady with a pretty smile though…
  • Boost your self-esteem. There are two ways to do this: check out everyone else’s phone and see how much better yours is. That used to work for me but unfortunately of late it just makes me feel sad. So, if you don’t sport that suave Nokia Lumia, S4 or iPhone, proceed to the second way of boosting your esteem: gaping wide-eyed at poor fashion sense. In that afternoon alone I counted more than 10 bad weaves, 3 skinny jeans, Supra-wearers, 5 color blockings gone wrong and A LOT of chipped nail polish. Not to mention the people wearing sunglasses indoors (Kanye swag and stuff) and the little Asian girl with the filthy sneakers (Is that a new trend?)
  • Exasperate the guards by intentionally making the queue as skewed and as jumbled up as possible. Also make a point of calling them over every few minutes to demand that they make the queue to move along. When you spend close to 3 hours pacing around a small space it’s only natural that you seek to annoy the person you deem responsible.
  • Mutter a lot… both to yourself and to the people around you about just how slow the tellers are.
  • Play music sans earphones. This is especially annoying if you couple it with loud colors and loud hair. No, I am not as much of a sadist to do that yet but I have been on queues with such people.
  • Wonder at the length of THAT guy’s dreadlocks then conclude that he is the perfect example of a modern day hippie. Proceed to wish that you were stuck in line behind him instead of between two middle aged women who keep sighing and shifting their weight from foot to foot. Wonder if he has a Jamaican accent… (It really bugs me that I’ll never know.)
  • Tweet with reckless abandon and text everyone you know. You can hand twitter big sticks to the bank that you are queuing at via twitter. It’s good to let the world share in your pain so you should also text incessantly.
  • Ask to see the Manager.

I hope this helps you as you queue to pay your rent at the end of the month or whenever else. It’s all in the name of good hair days. You should have seen how many agitated people had left clumps of hair on the floor of the banking hall.

Small-Town Syndrome


I think it’s already apparent from quite a number of earlier posts where exactly in this beleaguered country of ours I dwell. It’s a jolly old town to be in; sleepy, comatose even, if I didn’t know better.

That small township where almost everyone knows the other, the Mama Mboga knows the names of all the children in your family, sometimes even the pets (and the past ones too if they happened to die). A random town where the random childhood tour of the market ends up in a rendezvous with the lady who in her own words “was the very first to wash you”. That scarily makes one feel violated. Like the person was holding a needle of those words menacingly threatening to burst the bubble of confidence that only a select few have seen your nakedness. I’ve always wondered how exactly I was ever expected to receive such news:

Oh wow, pleasure to meet you. I bet you were simply amazed at my boyish good looks by then…” *insert appropriate pose here*

How cold was the water? Coz I’ve been having these weird dreams since childhood where I picture myself surrounded by icebergs”

Did you overheat that water? Coz the right side of my head always feels awkwardly light when I’m in the hot shower…or trying to think…like now. Ummmh, who are you again?”

Na ni wewe pia ulininyoa wa kwanza? Coz kuna section fulani hapa nywele imekataa kumeanashindwa ni ujanja gani nimefanyiwa hapa!”

Ah well, I lived for my childhood. It was fun…no wait that’s a lie. I know a couple of people have read that and wanted to pull the carpet from under my feet. So let me be honest. My childhood was weird (details shall follow in another post).

There’s something refreshing about still being able to retrace half of your primary school classmates, though the extra baggage and stories they carry with them about your less sophisticated days can be one’s downfall. Some just wanna pay back for some unsettled scores, vendettas whatnot. Conversely, one shall be regularly enough unfortunate to cross paths with those former colleagues who remember EVERYTHING about your murky childhood past, even all your names, and nicknames, and occasional class positions! And yet, you can’t even recall their face, let alone their name. So one is reduced to that awkward moment where you’re supposed to knowingly nod your head concurring with all they say, secretly being amazed at their brilliant memory or possible untapped visual creativity in creating such awkward scenarios that you have zero recollection of.

Okay, I don’t know how I got there. I meant to focus on the minute, quirky yet enticing aspects of this sleepy hollow. So where do I begin…?

Small towns have a way of creeping into their residents’ minds and settling in there, parasitic almost…no, symbiotic. They make you love the place yet they make sure you never age too fast. They keep one’s memories intact. They keep life pacing forth at a bearable pace, never breathlessly rushed like the city is. I call it the small town syndrome. I know guys in even smaller towns (and other settlements not classified as towns) will relate with this. Maybe it’s more escalated in some places, almost claustrophobic. But I have always thought that the below (and the one’s above…I’m disorganized like that) are hallmarks of those sometimes ignored details of small town life.

You all know that Nairobi-style of crossing roads? Forget that nonsense about looking left right and right and above for crashing choppers. That quick look to the right, followed by a Bolt-like dash to the middle of the road, stop in the mid like that deer caught in the headlights, pause then make another rush. Yeah, that one, though it always varies with human and vehicular traffic…and rain.

Well, small-town-syndrome has that inverse effect on you. You almost always need a refresher course in road-crossing when you get back to these zones. Try dashing across the road like that no-one will judge you, NO-ONE! But, my friend, the awkward feeling you get in your mind for having left such a wide berth between you and the oncoming car, you’ll even wish it came closer.

In related news, traffic jams are news. I don’t just mean news, I mean news news! Happens like once a year, on only one street, and usually involves a maximum of 25 cars. To be specific, this only happens around February, that’s when you understand the meaning of Scouting Movement…or lack of it thereof. Truth be told, until a certain point in my teenage life, I always thought traffic lights were meant for use by humans, because, believe me, if you walk along Nyeri’s one and only rudimentary Thika Highway aka Gakere Road, you will understand the need for human traffic lights.

Gakere Road..maybe Tom Mboya Street would suit it better.

And you know the way men sometimes (emphasis) dress to impress? That’s why I love it here…who the heck are you trying to impress? The primary school crush who turned you down and now looks like her midlife crisis attacked her features almost two decades early? Or the girl in church whose mum is in the Women’s Guild leadership, alongside your own…or the high school leaver, still naïve and hot-headed and overflowing with misplaced xaxa’s and xemar’s? So believe me, when you pick up that unpressed t-shirt or subtly stained jeans, or slightly battered shoes, there’s always that self-vindicating voice in your head saying, “Kwani unaenda kuimpress nani? Attendant wa cyber?”

Too bad that in this miniscule settlement, you decide to put on the same clothes you wore yesterday claiming that you didn’t meet anyone you know so no-one will realize, (C’mon, some of these things just happen. Don’t judge.) everyone, from the matatu conductor to your neighbour’s dog notices! Those judging glances you get, rocks will look for you to make a hiding place for you out of pity.

But all in all, I sometimes love this place. Peace and quiet, birds in the air, crisp, clean breeze, and fresh mountain water, I always say I will build my holiday home back here, with a balcony facing Mt. Kenya and the sunrise. I had even earmarked the land I would target. Shock on me, the fella owning it put up a sale sign last week. So much for long-term planning. Lakini shamba tutapata, watuuzie ama wasiuze!

Wait! That almost sounds like a land-grabbers’ war-cry…. This should not be used against me in my future pursuits; I’m an honest man. Well, at least mostly.