Listening to Koffi Olomide’s, ‘allo Allo Allo papa, Bonheur au telefoné,’ as I type on my phone makes me smirk and tap my feet as I enjoy this great piece of music. Music is good to my soul and even though I love the analogue world I can’t help but appreciate the power of the cell phone. You see besides making calls and chatting they also come with a camera and taking selfies is the art that noone requires a teacher in order to master. Someone said that the whites came to Africa and took photos of our forefathers, one relied on their neighbours and friends to point out on the photo and declare, ‘that’s you.’ There were no mirrors, so people didn’t know how they looked like, unless you went to the river and stared at your reflection. 😂😂 Now since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, a lot has happened in way of technology bringing us to the current age of iphone and Android technology. Even though we still have mulika mwizis. Yeah we still need those. Let’s just say that lies have also evolved in the same leaps and bounds. It’s possible for a person beating set in a Nyakati Matatu at Karatina to lie to someone waiting for them at Nanyuki that Niko hapa Naro Moru. Nkt! Now before the cell phones started arriving, landlines were the kings of the Jungle, more like Mufasa. Owning one was considered a miracle in the village. I remember reading a regret letter that my dad had received back then from, ‘shirika la posta na simu’ telling him that there were no available telephones at the moment. I’m still in a quagmire how that corporation managed to survive through the years. To cut the long story short, my dad was finally able to secure a line under 42 Ngainī. This meant that once you rotated the ring handle, the call went to an exchange center in Ngainī. You’d then give the instructions about the number you wanted to call. The operator would of course make a string of calls while you were still holding your end for like forever before you finally got reception on the other end. If he heard a soft voice, he’d first of all flirt making you wait even longer. Most people preferred making the calls at night; I suppose it was cheaper. For gakware it was always a nightmare. My dad’s retirement in the mid eighties meant that sometimes his memory would take a hike and more often than not my name would be the only one available on short notice. So after that krrrriiiiing and a few greetings I’d hear, Rudia.’ Now when my dad called you’d have to answer ‘yuuuuuu’ and run towards his voice or else… When you know you know. The instructions would then follow, ‘go to such and such place and call so and so. Tell him he has a call.’ If you tried to go through the back door he’d tell you, to use the front one meaning you couldn’t call someone to take you. What was left was for you to brace the, ‘tūthukī mūndūs’ on your own. I’d walk one eye looking forward and the other backward. I wonder how I didn’t get a squint. Then there was Beckie, my uncles dog who’d stealthily stalk me like I was going to drop one of your hands. Or maybe he was trying to protect me. The whole journey to and fro I’d be holding my intestines. One gathukī mūndū would disappear only for another to appear. So there was this girl next door who had recently joined high school and acquired a boyfriend. She came one night to call the BF and my did she speak in a twang. She was like, ‘Im missing you babe.’ Let’s just say that we were left mouth agape by not only the nose English, but also by the guts she had to call the boyfriend within my Father’s periphery. Let’s just say if I tried that I’d have been dead meat.
Parting shot, Allan Jackson’s, I still like bologna…
‘Well I guess What I’ve been Trying to say This digital world Is OK It makes life better In a lot of ways But it can’t make The smell of spring Or sunshine or lots Of little things We take for granted Every day But I still Like bologna On white bread Now and then And the sound Of a whippoorwill Down a country road The grass between my toes And that sunset sinking low And a good woman’s love To hold me close I like my 50 inch HD plasma Yeah, bologna A woman’s love And a good cell phone.’

Published by Nyar Kaheti

Born and raised on the picturesque slopes of Mt Kenya, Nyar Kaheti is your girl next door vibe kind of girl. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and listening to country music among other things.

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