30 Throwbacks to savour

I almost died in February 2008. We had just opened campus after the post-election-violence and I was chasing after this girl I was nuts crazy about. It was the most overpowering crush in the history of humanity. I was hurriedly crossing University Way, determined to overcome my shyness and fear and tell her that if she accepted me as her boyfriend my job on earth would be over.

She was a fine thing. Born and raised in Nairobi. Attended a national school. Middle-class, refined, and snobbish if you will. I was from the village, tall, annoyingly slender, wore a peevish grin on my face, with a rustic sense of fashion, think of choir member in your village church. I inspired nothing. I had gone to a provincial school tucked somewhere in the pubic part of Kisii that Google maps can’t locate even in 2016. My spoken English was so bad and fully of direct translations. Still is. She had been on my radar for two months since we joined campus and this day, I had said kama mbaya, mbaya!

So when I saw her leaving campus, through the University Way gate, I started after her until some arsehole stopped and engaged me in some stupid conversation. By the time it was done, she had crossed over to Koinange Street. Now I was running after her. And when crossing the side of the road headed to Moi Avenue, this car nearly hit me, he had to apply emergency breaks, before shouting an expletive at me. I still suspect he called me a gorilla in his language. I will never forget the face of that woman we were crossing with. She asked me if I was alright,  before cursing the mad Nairobian drivers. She was just being motherly. I was crossing the road unfocused like a drunk gorilla.

It would have been a stupid death. Nobody would have known why I was run over. That was a sign from God that I should stop chasing after the girl. I stopped.

Sings and dances to Mercy Masika’s Mwema to this.

***

Life is a series of memories. Some profound (shocking deaths that alter life your life for good-spouse, lover, family member, best friend-the deaths that brings you to cold, frozen fact about our mortality. Deaths you will think about every day of your life). Some memories are underwhelming (the maths and chemistry lessons in high school, all the bad sex you have had, or that bad road trip.).

Some memories are overwhelming, in this case for men, it is your first blow job (you are probably a few days shy of your 21st birthday, she is a few months shy of her 20th birthday. She yanks the coffee table out of the way, and you don’t know what she is up to. She unzips your trouser, goes down on you and you take the biggest leap of faith a man can ever take-trusting your entire life inside a toothed creature. Not even the Wright brothers had the faith when they decided to fly. Or the person who flew the first Trans-Atlantic flight. Or when Yuri Gagarin-first man to journey to the outer space. Or Armstrong &co in their aimless trip to the moon. Your first blow job, tests your nerves…You never quite enjoy it. You are in a chaotic, nervous breakdown thinking, ‘ she is only 19, where did she learn this, from sucking lollipops? Is she going to kiss me after this? ‘I hope I don’t meet any of her exes she has performed this on…).

Plays Nonini feat Lady Bee Kumbuka

Memories. We all have them. Good or bad. The brain is constantly playing back flashes of these memories. The past soon becomes crystallised into tiny snippets of memories that play back on your head, depending on prevailing circumstances. Like when you make a stupid decision and pick on the wrong side of the matatu and sun bakes you so bad that you start smelling the onion from the lunch time Kachumbari. The matatu is playing bad music and your phone is dead, so you have to think, all the way to Rongai.

Or in the bank. Why is everyone sulky, bored and peeved to the bone in the bank. You are in the queue, and the man behind keeps moving closer to you until you have stepped out of the line and this annoying watchie keeps coming to you telling you to step back into the line. Your phone is dead. Out of the 11 tellers, only 4 are in their station, and one of them seems to be having a bout of diarrhoea, she keeps leaving her desk and coming back in a worse mood. The TV screens are all tuned to the confused local TV stations, all playing those gospel songs, all shot in the same forests in Ngong’. All have these women dancing badly…You have no option but watch the women dancing on the screen. Barclays is usually tuned to CNN that is in permanent BREAKING NEWS MODE.

I mean you all know these moments. When in the loo, and nothing seems to come out of your bowels so you have to wait. You have to think of something. Anything. Or those insomniac nights. You lie on your bed. Build castles in the air, become a president, date and marry Kelly Rowland, divorce her, date and marry Keri Hilson, divorce her. Live happily ever after with Scarlet Johansson. But then, you soon banish these fantasies and you are back to the memories. Or throwbacks.

#Throwbacks:

  1. My first lunch date.

I went through first year without seducing a single girl. Our class had like 500 of them. Good boy. That near-death experience planted the fear of God in me. In second year, I met this Teso chick, beautiful, chocolaty skin, great voice, exciting company. I go after her and she buys my vibe. She has this Ugandan friend, beautiful, but frigid after a fashion. I decide we go lunch, joined by my cousin Pato, who every single girl describes as a hunk. He is a handsome chap, razor-sharp and then he was a baller and a player. He decided to keep us company, wingman to contain the Ugandan babe. We go Kenchic. The one that used to be at KTDA plaza, of Ronald Ngala and Tom Mboya. It was one of those Kenchics with a deeper shade of yellow, and some sitting space. Not bad for a chips and chicken date.

Now, I am a stupidly fast eater. I like my food hot. And I eat unconsciously fast. So scarcely had we ordered food than I was through with my first serving. My cousin realised the unfolding blunder. My total and shocking lack of table etiquette.  Once a villager always a villager. I finished my chips and chicken before they could barely touch theirs. Then I went after the soda.  I can’t help with a cold drink on a sunny, November in Nairobi. A 300 ml, usually takes me slightly less than 9 seconds to gulp down. So I plant the straw inside the bottle and like a horror movie, my cousin looks at me, and goes like…

“Silasiae! Silasiae!…”

I look up at him. He goes like…

“Chezea chezea hapo.”

I don’t understand what he is saying, so I continue to drink the soda at a lightning speed…

“Silasiae…chezea chezea hapo…”

Still I’m too slow… I can’t get it. He is getting hysterical. And I am just pulling the last drops of the soda and my girl had just returned from washing her hands.

The girls figured out and laughed at my naiveté. Pato had to make an excuse for my poor table manners. Afterwards,  he taught me a very important lesson in life.

ALWAYS EAT AT THE SAME SPEED AS THAT OF YOUR DATE.

This went on to become an inside joke in my circle. Whenever I am in a restaurant with friends and we have ordered food, it always comes up.

“Silasiae chezea chezea hapo.”

  1. Bobby Mapesa drops the best verse in Kenyan hip-hop in Nonini’s Mtoto Mzuri Remix (second verse)

It was-is-will be the greatest rap verse in the history Kenyan music. PERIOD. There will be no other greater verse than this whatsoever. It proved Bobby Mapesa supreme lyrical skills, and his cheeky soprano, and sleek rapping was the icing on the cake. He outshone Nonini in his song and with just this verse he entered in our memory books as the greatest lyricist of all time in Kenya. When my son inevitably asks me about it, I can’t wait to break it down to him explain it… Too bad he faded, afterwards. His last year comeback was not what it was cracked up to be.Just play the song and sample the verse…

“shida yenu madame wataka tuwe same
mkilemewa na shame/sheng wataka kutu-blame
hii ni kama game, hatuwezi kuwa same
sitakutaja name, unanipenda juu ya fame
kama wewe ni wa kusalimiana na watu kwa barabara wee ni wa swara
kama wewe ni wa kuchekesha makonkodi usilipe kodi wee ni kugwara
hapana itisha mimi thao ya saloon
shika mbao nyoa kichwa saf ka baloon
za lunch za noon,See you soon
usiwe kula kula kama baboon
siwezi do kama hujaiva, na pia
siwezi do kama sijaiva
kwanza make list ya watu washaku-feast
nasikia ushachafua mpaka kwetu east kwa ma-beast

And the other smaller part afterwards…

na usiwe wa kifalafala
kukaa tu ndee kimalamala
zako ni ku-flash na kungoja hala
kwa ma-boys wa ki-white collar
jua kusaka dollar

Beat those rhymes, the lyrical fusion, the urban-ghetto context of the song, the African expectations bestowed upon a woman in a city like Nairobi. Everyone with with an IQ of about 100 will in deed understand why this verse is such a big deal.

Uprooting billboards and breaking street lights for fun at UoN

In Kenya, the best university you can ever go to is the University of Nairobi. And by University of Nairobi, I mean Main Campus. That encompasses School of Engineering, ADD (Arts, Architecture, Design, surveying, real estate etc), Medicine and other Chiromo kids, before they relocate to Chiromo or Kenyatta. The farmers in Kabete and the teachers in Kikuyu have only a slight advantage over those in universities like Moi and that other one in Nakuru.

Imagine peeing on Uhuru Highway… Imagine uprooting the KEMU billboards and going with it to school. Imagine partying in the CBD, and within Nairobi. Now for us, this was a normal experience. KU guys used to envy us. JKUAT guys used to cry. That university in Njoro, Nakuru I keep forgetting, Maseno and the rest could trade their right lung to transfer to THE UNIVERSITY/.  We ran the town. Damn, wish I can roll back the hand of time.

No doubt the best thing that can happen to any Kenyan is to go through main campus as a regular student, or if self-sponsored live in the hostels. Anyone who never went through Main Campus sadly missed out on this lifetime opportunity. You can make up for it, by ensuring all the relatives in your next generations go there.

  1. Gets dumped professionally on my birthday!

Ever been dumped on your birthday, after having a great day with the most beautiful woman you wanted to marry? Imagine being dumped on your 25th birthday. You don’t turn 25 every day. Not that you did anything wrong. I swear I took a shower that day. I brushed. I did everything right.  The devil just interfered. I was expecting a good night text and KABOOM… “This won’t work, maybe we be just friends”…

Damn, that was cold.

  1. Kibaki’s re-election 2007

I will only would love to meet the genius who saw things were going south and said,

“Look, let us withhold the results from Tharaka Nithi, and rig at the tallying stage.”

That was an evil genius. In the same league as Einstein. As in us in guys in ODM, we were so sure, we went to sleep knowing we are going to State House the following day…those pricks. I hope the deaths will never give them a peace of mind. It should haunt them to their graves.

  1. Sanaipei Tande & Sheila Mwanyiga: MILFs of my generation

In the 2007 Sawa Sawa festivals at arboretum, I stood next to Sanaipei Tande. She was in a yellow top, and blue jeans and those Sh 10 bob shoes. She was so plain, so unremarkable, you will ignore her at any house party. But let us agree, that Sana has the most seductive smile in Kenya. And in videos she possesses this sexy charm that drives men nuts.

As for Sheila Mwanyiga, there is no disputing that she was the most desirable woman in Kenya in 2000s, anyone disputing this will have to state their sexual orientation first. She ever hugged me when my heart was broken, and it was cured.

Being beaten by the police at KBC

When at ‘the University’ we would go drinking at KBC. KBC is government property, manned by the no-nonsense, kick ass GSU chaps. Ever since that 1982 scare by Ochuka (what was that Sonofabitch trying), they never take their chances. So, at KBC, beer is sold cheaply, used to be like 70 bob and about 85 by the time we left. So the drill was you pay Sh 50 bob at the gate, to drink the untaxed beer.

The form used to be; we go there around 6.30 p.m, drink until 10 or 11 p.m and then hit the club stoned, to save on the drinks. Beer in club was Sh 150, and if the club had white lounge chairs, it was Sh 200. So you go drunk and then met your girlfriend there later.

At KBC, comfort in the words of Uhunye was a non-issue. We sat on stones, beer crates or even down and drunk the warm beer as if it is the reason we chased the Britons from Kenya. Warm beer makes you high and stupid quickly.

Back then I was experimenting with Guinness because of that advertised macho bullshit. I had downed like 6 and stolen one from my boy Flex. I was floating. My brain was full of piss. I started abusing anyone, in that comrade camaraderie. I stood at the exit and started insulting anyone walking out. I was later joined by my boy Kevin.

Now, if a woman passed with a man, I would stop them and start talking to the woman,

“See, your man, be careful with him. He is am p***y robber. Be careful…!!!”

And I would turn to the man and say,

“See, you woman here, I know her, she used to mess with my boy. Boy she can rob d**k…”

This went on for some time. Until this seemingly short man in his 30s with a beautiful woman-in her 30s too passed and I tried that joke. He looked at me, stunned and the woman totally flabbergasted. They went away. 47 seconds later they came back and they found us rooted in the same place, still abusing everyone, jolly good fellows.

“What did you just say,” he asked us. The tone was so cold, steely, and dangerous I could smell death coming our way. We started apologizing immediately, saying we may have mistaken him as one of the a comrade. We got to the gate and there were  like 8 cops. Menacing.

“What did you just say?”

Before I could answer, a heavy slap landed on my cheek. I felt warm liquid involuntarily irrigate my thighs. All that beer. The infuriated guy planted hot slaps like he was possessed. All along the woman was trying to persuade him to leave us, but she was really persuading him to beat the crap out of us. Picture a short plump man jumping up to slap the tallest man in Westlands constituency.  And they asked questions and they answered with slaps. They took turns slapping the piss out of my head. The slaps came thick and fast. And Kevin who was innocent in this case received some for me. Kevo, I still owe you that drink.

The following day, my left cheek looked it had been stung by seven ants befre a swarm of bees carresed it. My left eye, looked like someone had rubbed the small red-pepper inside it.

Since that day, I stopped drinking. As in I will never get drunk enough to start insult everyone in a club. I have maintained my sobriety.  All I do is what you call social drinking.

  1. Living in the Rift Valley-Part One

When I was in Form 4, anytime we closed school, I would go to my brother’s place who was working as nurse in Fort Tenan in Kericho county. Fort Tenan is where one of those hominids was discovered-was it Zinjanthropus?

Fort Tenan is this cool, luxuriant place. I loved the place. If would choose my home in Kenya, it would be Fort Tenan. Green and mountainous just how I like my retirement home environment. But that is not why I loved Fort Tenan.

My brother had a stash of every Saturday and Sunday Nation, I think it is here I decided I will become a writer. I would read all those newspaper from page to page, while enjoying good R&B.

And there was this girl next-door. Must have been 23. I was 18. She was a light skin, with legs I would eat without salt. She was beautiful, those Kalenjin beauties who make us want to be proud of being Kenya

But I was young and I could only fantasize. She would come and ask me to write her the words of the songs, “I am all out of love” by Air Supply. Or “Invisible Man” by 98 degrees. My heart would beat at 320 beats a second as she sat near me on the bed as I wrote the lyrics down.

9. Living in the Rift Valley-part 2

After high school, the same brother was transferred to Koru-famous for being the home of Robert Ouko-and this is where I went to cool my heels and read some more newspapers. It was the stupid two years you spend waiting to join campus. Rich kids get a head start here by starting CPAs and or some inconsequential course with a fancy name like BBIT at Strathmore.

I was in the hillside village  of Koru. Beautiful place. I loved it. Then I saw this village queen. Nice Luo woman with all that a Luo woman possesses. By then I had balls and I went after her. But I was sliced. I left the place and cursed it and in deed it was one of the most affected places after post-election violence.

10. On opening day-high school

There was that shitty part when joining high school they asked you what you wanted to become when you grew up. I said president. Everyone had a good chuckle. But the teacher told me to be serious. I said I wanted to be a teacher.

But on the last day, I remember the principal-who I never got along with-said,

“Who knows, maybe one day  Nyanchwani may be president of this country.”

I hope so. Even if it being the president of my household.

To be continued…