“My child, where are your people,” asked my grandmother in her deathbed after recognizing me from the tens of relatives hanging around the hospital room anxiously.
“By your people” she basically meant a wife and children if possible. It is an elderly and euphemistic way of telling you that it is getting late and if you occupy a special position in the family, the pressure can be unrelenting.
She was hurting. With multiple complications and an assiduous diabetic complication, she was indeed on her last days on earth and every word she said was extremely premonitory. The family, relatives and friends had been gathering around her hospital bed for almost nine months and the desperation was growing.
“I just finished school, and I am tryina getting’ me a job and then I can consider marriage,” I said pensively trying to be meditative with the prevailing mood that was hanging in the rather spacious room. It was palpably sour and the bitterness was understandable.
“You don’t need all that. Just marry and everything will fall into place.”She said, more of a command than a request.
“Make peace with your paternal uncles; invite them to your graduation and don’t forget where you have come from…Hold on, you are almost through and in my prayers, after your tumultuous life all will be well.” She was growing weary. She slipped back into sleep and those were the last words that I ever heard from her some date in mid-November.
Mid-last year, I called her after I had heard some complaints from her that I no longer talk to her and she was bitter that I had never gone to visit her, ever since my grandfather had died April. In a relatively long phone call, she spoke like death was beckoning on her. She kept promising me her best prayers and insisted that I should go visit her.
I was to be swallowed in Nairobi’s murky scheduling and consumed with my travel abroad that I never quite got the time to visit her when she was a little stronger.
On this day in hospital, late in December when we visited with the big family surrounding her, she had not spoken a word for hours and was in an unusually quiet sleep with pained breathing, an ominously swollen face and all the faces in the room had an apprehension only possible when expecting the worst. And it just happened.
She quietly made the transition and we were left completely bereft. As the female members of the family let out the traditional screaming that signifies death, the male members were stone quiet trying to distill the reality that Mama had gone. I was left in heightened nostalgia about the special bond that has always existed between me and her. I wish I had heard just one more last word from her, even if it is about marriage.
See, ever since my mum deserted us some 15 years ago, my grandmother was a special person in my life. I loved her from deep within my heart. Ever since I was a kid, we always visited her and she loved me and my sister in an exceptional way. She was always generous with stories, foods and money.
Her love is a love that I have never seen, nor will ever see elsewhere. I always sat with her in the smoke hut as she prepared supper and she never could go wrong Ugali and always served me with sour milk with my departed grandfather even when the commodity was scarce. She was like a shrine that I turned up whenever I was down on inspiration.
I thought of those days when getting high school fee was a little problematic and was occasionally chased and had to go to her place. She would sit me down and give words of encouragement that no one could ever tell me. She was a wise woman and the success of hher family speaks volumes for her. She always said a prayer for me and I believe that she had a direct line to God for me. She is the one who encouraged me to pursue school along with my uncles even when my morale could be so down and suicidal thoughts creeping up in my mind.
Now she is gone. There is something unbelievable when someone close to you dies. Someone you had a close and personal touch to. You feel cheated. You feel how unfair life is. You feel empty. You hate it. But the finality of death is something that all of us must find a way of dealing with.
I hope she is in a better place. Rest in Peace Granny. You were the best. You were the greatest.
All about this blog
It was an explanation that inevitably I was going to give to the few readers of this blog.
Sometime in 2009, my friend Uhuru whom I shared office space with advised to start a blog.
“It is free and you will be the boss.” Uhuru, the rather extroverted nerd who also doubled as my IT assistant told me. I never gave it too much thought. I was preoccupied with the insensible responsibility of being a student leader at the university that I had thought of shelving writing all together. It was not going to pay my bills and I had to find something else. Politics? Well, there was some quick money there, but I loathe lotteries and quick money.
At the time, I was not getting enough space in the media for my fledging writing career. I had had a dozen articles on men, women and relationship published in Saturday Nation’s pull out-Saturday Magazine. Having twice or thrice had my column run for the popular Oyunga Pala’s Mantalk section, it means I had close friends who believed I should keep my fingers at it. Friends kept asking me what had happened to columns and it was rather disappointing telling them the truth that the opportunities had grown fewer by day.
I met Mr Pala about the time at the Story Moja Hay festival and had father-son like brief chat in which he told me,
“Writing is hard and you don’t have to give up on it when it gets harder. You keep on writing every day. It is like a form of exercise and the more you keep at it, the better you become, Ni kama tizi!” I took his word seriously and I convinced myself that this is what I love doing best.
At the turn of 2010, I took up blogging and started at blogger.com and named my blog Random Thoughts and started posting my unpublished articles while writing new ones. I wanted to keep up with topical issues. But I discovered that I was limiting myself and discovered that blogger.com was rather difficult when it came to getting statistics and navigating in it. Then Uhuru once again saved the daywhen recommended WordPress.com.
In June 2010, I switched to WordPress formally and assumed an eponymous blog that was going to be autobiographical. I wanted to document my life in campus. I assumed the role of a struggling male student who is unloved, trying to get on with fast, mad campus life. In the blog, I was to bank on self-deprecating humour. I love when someone pokes fun at me as long as there is no malice. I don’t mind being told that my head is shaped like an onion or I am thinner than a beanstalk.
I was to document the struggles of the average campus man, and woman. Over time, I won friends, mainly from Facebook who turned up weekly for regular shenanigans from me and my campus friends.
I began with 30 or 40 readers. It improved 60.Then 80. Then I surpassed 100. Given my Facebook friend population, that was as good as it could get. The blog was like an inside thing. A family sort of thing, whereby only those who knew me could get the context of the anecdotes.
Whenever a blog clicked the 100th read, it was already a success with me. At 60, that was satisfactory. Below 50, I had to take it on the chin and write something interesting in the following week. I discovered stuff on women and sex had the most clicks while whenever I tried to be intellectual, I had the least number of clicks. More importantly I learned to balance.
I love this blog. So much. I write it spontaneously. I treat it as my gym. I just create time during the week and punch the keyboard whenever I get a computer, be it in the office, in the cyber, my laptop or anything that can type including a phone. It is always a liberating experience, because I am always pouring it straight from the heart in the most truthful way. I think all along the week and monitor about anything worth blogging. If I have been having a bad week or slow week, I opt for a topical issue.
But, if there is a particular incident, especially alcohol related or ‘relationshipwise’ I always try to narrate it. My aim is normally to get someone laughing about the absurdities around my life and if they have similar absurdities nod along. I have a gang of friends whom I test the ideas with to confirm and even get the extra anecdote to ‘juicen’ up the story.
I have big plans for this platform and within the next few months I hope to unravel, an alternative media, all inclusive, less sexist or at least offer all the various voices for guys between 20-40. Watch this space.
Biggin’ up my readers!!!
While I average around 75 reads per blog and two comments in each blog, one thing I have learnt is that there are people who sneak upon the blog and disappear. Some will text. Some will chat me up on Facebook or inbox me but the majority would rather keep it to themselves and ask me when we meet. 30% will have difficulty logging in to leave a comment. Another 30% will be too busy. And the rest will read and dismiss everything I said or just ignore believing that if they said something, especially when I write dirty, they will be associated with my usually dirty mind. But there are friends who have the kept the blog alive and here are my top ten readers.
1. Jackson Letangule
A campus classmate and friend all the way from Pokot is rated by the stats as the most consistent reader and commentator in the blog. Jack likes the simplicity and practicality with which I deliver the content.
Jack, we gotta toast in the soonest time possible, you can tell me your choice of whiskey( And I mean it). For comradeship, readership and keeping me on toes when I took so long to parch up the words. Just holla! If you are a teetotaler, too bad, straight men don’t buy fellow men lunch…But your readership is greatly appreciated and keep it here, let us all grow together.
2. Paul Omondi
The Luos are known for their sparkling intelligence, outspokenness and the quick political mind. Paul embodies all of this and more. He has the unusual quirky mind that wittily examines everything before offering something exceptionally insightful into the debate in context. I once listened to him analyze politics with another friend and I kept wondering, where do the TV stations get all those mediocre political analysts?
Paul once while laughing at a woman who had cheated on me, told me that I should not be offended… “A man does not get annoyed by sharing a toilet with his in-law”(Toilet by no means does not allude to the woman, rather the context).
Paul offers the intellectual critique into the blog and can never shy away from telling me a mistake, an oversight or pointing out when I make a complete ass of myself. He is a forthright speaker and often if you see an intelligent thought or remark, even though not credited to anyone, chances are it came from Paul.
Baba, some Gilbeys’ on the way. Get yourself some lime and let’s keep doing it.
I have come from far with this son of a woman. He was my first campus friend. I remember as we walked through the corridors of the Communication department of the University of Nairobi. He was vibrant and full of life and guided me through the registration process and we ended up picking the same courses and thus begun a long friendship full incidents, both brilliant and silly, but mostly silly.
We have walked together. Almost my age, we have been able to come up with some really insane things like vibing young campus girls old stories of the 1982 coup as if we had born. We always start the stories that we have worked in the military(early 80s), drove trucks to Namanga(late 80s) and worked in some timber yard in Timboroa(in the early 90s). It is all funny as we spin the yarn until the younglings start believing us and we discover we are losing.
Whenever, there has been a contest between me and him about a lady, I always lose. He has some inexplicable magnetism that attracts women. I hate him for that. I mean, why do women always make wrong choices. Like why will a beautiful woman support Manchester United or abandon me for Ndeda.
Anyway Ndeda is the source of the numerous juicy and funny anecdotes in this blog. If you read something particularly funny, chances are that it emanated from Ndeda. Together we have amusing anecdotes that we always generously share with friends and get them laughing. Ndeda, let us do it again this year. Tunaenda KBC Friday baba for ol’ time sake.
Two years younger than me, this incredibly talented great friend is another credited reader of the blog. He often thinks that my ideas are heretical and my theories in relationships untested. He often speaks his mind and thinks, even when I am being a sheep, I make some interesting reading.
My lovely sister is part of the gang who regularly read and comment whenever necessary. Sometimes I write really nasty things that I wouldn’t wish my mother to access but she presses skip. Ezinah, is the fuel that feeds my writing. Thanks Sizy for believing that I can do it.
All the way from Texas, this distant relative was last in Kenya in 2006. At the time I was girl-shy and he once ridiculed me that I couldn’t face up some girl I had hots on. He keeps threatening me that when he comes back, he will snatch all the girlfriends from me because he is simply irresistible. He normally tweets me to ask for a new post and thinks that the blogs do make sense in spite of me.
7. Cousin Duncan!
A late entrant into my blog, he is one of my most avid readers. Keep on reading bro. Keep on.
8. Fareed Abungu
I am privileged that funniest man in the University of Nairobi at the moment is tunes in here regularly. How lucky can I be? He is witty, insightful and we often share a word and I greatly admire his sarcasm and satire. Always well put, always delivered timely and with some punchy.
While in charge of the largest polling station during the last SONU elections, I worked with him and he kept us laughing the whole night with his shenanigans. At some point in the long cold night, he indulged one of us excitedly in a story then exited mid-way telling the eager story teller that he was not interested in the story and left us to another part of the hall. And another incident…well that would be vulgar.
Abungu could regularly show up at my room in campus, while with guests, often a lady friend and he will pose as someone lost whether my room was the toilet without any hint of humor or sarcasm…And yeah, he dated the hottest thing in campus in my time…Hopefully he won’t be offended with this.
Our relationship never consummated because she thought that I am what I write and she judged me rather harshly by this blogs. She concluded that I am player, women-hating chauvinist with little regard to relationships and dumped me on my birthday and she left the country. She occasionally pops up on Facebook chat asking how I am holding up. She believes that I have issues. What could be further from the truth?But Stella, keep reading, that crush is still intact, don’t break my heart by bringing photos of your baby, please…
Once in a while I need a naughty female friend with whom I can turn and talk dirty with. I don’t mean naughty in the sexual sense, but rather someone who can talk dirty and look me in the eye or my male friends and tell them loudly that they are ass****. Phanice is just the one.
See, there nothing like a sexist joke, either male or female to complement my day. Phanice, though lately unavailable has that fetching, sparkling personality that is all too admirable. I made the global blunder of the last decade by letting what we had slip into friendship zone, and where we could have made the best of lovers, we ended up making the world’s best platonic friends.
To date I don’t know whom she dates. We only meet occasionally for some coffee date (boy, this chick can soak up coffee.) and that is it. But my mind normally has this feeling that she normally shakes her bum in a cotton white towel once from the shower to the boyfriend in the morning, rather cheekily, before telling him “… You are not having any moaning glory…better wake up sweets you will late jobo.” Naughty Phanice.
By stats, these are the top readers. I know there some more avid but for beginners, this is what we have.
All the best for the year. Let us do it again. We will grow bigger, better, wiser. Keep it here