Signs that you have become a fossil. Go to a salon and before they wash your hair they ask you politely, ‘tunapaka dye?’ Check Chat with a colleague and ask her, ‘did you use kilometric?’ and she be like, ‘ Mimi si Mzee hivyo.’ Wueeh check check. Had a chat with colleagues during happy hour and grazing chronicles resurfaced and we went into the nitty gritties of how rams would gore at each other and how we’d have enjoyed filming those documentaries and uploading them on tiktok. Until one dude says, ‘during our times our rams caused too much havoc we even had the chief’s number.’ Yeah I’m talking about a mobile number. So we look at each other and I the ever so brazen one have to ask, ‘you mean during your time the chief had a mobile phone?’ OMG, this is not check check, this is real fossilisation. I’m about to turn into aviation spirit. Yeah I close my eyes and make a wish that I hope when they use my aviation spirit to fly they’ll only fly to areas such as Santorini Greece, the Maldives, the Bahamas and probably Hawaii, but never the Bermuda triangle. I’m also tempted to give said dude a walk down memory lane of the letters, the land lines, the callbox and the old generation mobile phones that were Sagem, Motorola and Siemens not forgetting the good ol’ Nokia 3310. And what happened to those Chinese phones which had aerials and TVs? I guess they were wiped out like the dinosaurs during the ‘tumetoka analogue tuko digital moments.’ Those and so many other things remind me that I have come from so far and the older I get the better I am, in knowing when to give and when to just not give a damn. And the older I get the more thankful I am for the life I’ve lived and the life that I’m living still. So as they say, ‘you only got a minute better live while you are in it coz it’s gone in a blink. But unlike snakes which have no eyelids, we do have them and so we blink a lot, so. I hope you understand when I say it’s gone in a blink. I learnt this today that snakes don’t have eyelids. So imagine someone throwing a pebble at you and you can’t close your eye. Food for thought. As these woods burn and turn into embers so shall we. I guess we could say as sand through the hourglass ⌛ so are the days of our lives. Till next time I’m #StillTheChronicler. Credits:The older I get lyrics by Allan Jackson.
I often have a difficult time concentrating in a seminar or in a meeting mostly because more often than not I’m lost in my own thoughts of like when the meeting will end. I’m most definitely in a congested matatu heading back home; in my mind that is, before the meeting has even began. I’m the kind that doesn’t know how to take it easy and living in the moment is just but another saying. So you think that Michuki rules apply on this our side of Kīrīnyaga county, haha hizo zilienda na hayati ahera. The vans here will carry five people per row and the passengers even know where the karūbao is kept, no need for the conductor to give the grand tour since we are all too familiar. Said conductor will enjoy sitting on the good seat as he munches on his Jaba and sips his predator energy drink as he chit-chats with the driver while you who is paying will be squeezing yourself only getting relief from Rev Ask Kyande’s ‘Wachungaji, Wachungaji nelezeni iiii,’ playing in the matatus Jukebox, that is if the said matatu driver has a good taste in music, otherwise you’ll be nursing roaring eardrums two days after. Hip hop is not for the faint hearted 🤣😂 If you thought the Van situation was worse think again, trying boarding a probox and you’ll wish that there were no speed governors and that that old speed governor song of Lord I’m coming home and Precious memories would apply and you’d land on ‘petu pazuri nimeshapakumbuka.’ Let me tell you Maina, that vehicle can carry passengers the tip of the iceberg being four sweaty people hapo kwa driver. If you think I’m exaggerating, tembea huku kwetu Kīrīnyaga. So back to the meeting, if I’m not in the mat cruising these snaky roads back home, then I’m busy observing people and making conclusions. I don’t know why I’m judgemental like that because the Good guy up there told us to judge not, but then again MJ sang, ‘human nature’ and I guess it’s in my nature to be weird, I don’t struggle. Next time we are in a meeting with you, ask me what I thought about you, but please don’t ask me what was deliberated.😉 I’d have to make a deliberate effort. #StillTheChronicler.
They say you should never beat a dog at a wedding because it went for the same reason you went, ‘to eat.’ What they don’t know is that here in sub Saharan Africa we mostly have mongrels and not dogs. The mongrels often found themselves as boys companions during grazing, cattle dip chronicles and on hunting sprees. The only problem is that despite their hard work their owners never found it necessary to take proper care of the.. That’s why they’d roam around sniffing for leftovers especially at functions and in school compounds after kids partook of their lunch. You’ve prolly also heard of my archenemy, ‘Becky,’ my uncle’s mongrel. Once upon a time we had a farmhand from the land of the great North called Lolo. This guy loved his things kienyeji pro max. Like he’d suck milk straight from a cows tits. He also had love for bush meat and since we had plenty of bushland it wasn’t a wonder to see him and Becky on hunting sprees. Most of their spoil would be roasted and eaten in the bush the only evidence being a twig toothbrush meandering through his milk white teeth. Becky’s belly would be full to the brim and he’d fall fast asleep before he even reached the grevillea robusta shade. So on this fateful day, Becky and Lolo left for their hunting spree. Lolo removed his spear made from a tree branch from where he used to hide it at the rear end of the bush. They walked briskly listening for strange noises made by various bush animals. This time out of the blues, lady luck came smiling at them. They were mostly used to squirrels or hares but this time an antelope criss crossed their area of jurisdiction and they started chasing after her. Becky was ahead and Lolo was following close trying to hold his spear well so as to release it at the precise moment and cut through the antelope’s ventricles. He lifted the spear at the exact moment that Becky jumped on the antelope’s neck. So instead of the spear piercing the antelope it sliced right through Becky’s heart and his last bark was an unrestrained howl as he collapsed on the ground while the antelope fled. Lolo then dug a hole and buried dear Becky, Imagine without even singing the Whiskey lullaby. That my friend is how Becky crossed the river. That day Lolo had no option but to tuck his pride and partake of our monocotyledons and dicotyledons meal popularly known as ‘Gītheri.’ I guess I could say till we meet my dear nemesis but then again they say, ‘out there are dogs and sorcerers’ I don’t know if mongrels are considered dogs so then again we may never meet since I ain’t a sorcerer. But then again I’ll have to sing, ‘ damn, it was good knowing you.’ #StillTheChronicler.
Today I feel like a motivational speaker, well maybe I could motivate someone today. Fast backwards to my primary school and my pathetic attitude towards mathematics. I vividly recall how on Fridays our two classes would be combined, the pastoral program would be hijacked and converted to a full-time maths session. Moving from assembly ground we’d find the writings already on the wall; Full math test, marking and rigorous whackings by both teachers. I mostly got 50 marks but only out of sheer luck. I even recall a day I guessed an answer for a question on angles and voila, I exhaled when I felt Mr Ressurector’s sigh on realising he wasn’t going to hit me. All this intensified my hate for Maths and on joining high school, I went on to further my studies and even attained a PHD in pure Maths hatred. When given assignment, I’d wait for the maths genius to finish hers and borrow her book to copy. This went on until one day in form two when I scored a 10 out of 50 in a Maths test. Maybe you’ve watched turning point, well that became my turning point. Nilijiita kamkutano and made a resolution to do my best in Maths. I still used the genius but instead of copying her work, I’d request her to explain to me the mathematical concepts. I’d also use most of my free time to do calculations and would look for revision papers every which way and really work out the problems. Slowly but surely, the results began to speak for themselves. I changed my attitude and my score changed. Well except for that navigation topic. Hiyo ilinikataa gakii. Labda ndio maana sikubecome pilot. 🤣🤣 I guess you could say, tackle your challenges head-on don’t bury your head in the sand like an ostrich.
Everyday this country is becoming more bizzare if not wierder. If it’s not about weed, it’s about snakes or better still makende ya fisi. That’s greek for a hyena’s testicles. If only that crow that took team mafisi to, ‘twathiī kūrīa igūrū, kūrīa mathunyaī na nyama cia ngūkū,’ knew what it was taking up? Well now Mr crow you might just need to see the good father for a confession. Hope he gives you a penance for all your sins which are many. How would you let those millions go down the drain. I guess the Kikuyu folktales that always showcased the hyena as a gluttonous bastard may need to rethink their plot. Maybe they could think of another animal to ostracize instead of the hyena. The hyena tale has become like a rags to riches kind of tale. Now I’m here wondering about the next animal Wajackoyah might mention. You see I’m even foreseeing a scenario where we might need to change the bride price from cows and goats to snakes and hyenas. I can just picture a what’s app dowry group which Instead of asking members to send their contributions to the able treasurer, will be like, ‘ our bridegroom will go python hunting in Mwingi on Saturday the 9th, if you are interested to accompany him on this mission, kindly inbox the logistics manager. Please also note to acquire the necessary gear as this will the a treacherous journey. I can also foresee something like e-nyoka or e-hyena. For those who eat fare, don’t be surprised to see an e-nyoka message saying that QAR15STP10 confirmed, you have received one e-python from ********. As for the inhabitants of Ngurubani we are crossing our fingers hoping that Wajackoyah’s next epiphany will have donkeys in the mix. Then we’ll be smiling all the way to the bank. Lakini hata asipoona donkey si aone zebra.Wajackoyah the fifth, keep entertaining us. #StillTheChronicler.
Wewe Vasha wewe katuona sisi bwege ati sisi bata mzinga na wanataka chicks (18-24 yrs.) Sasa tufanye nini sisi isipokuwa kuvumilia. Na vile maisha yamekuwa ngumu; kavagara ndio hiyo 230. Kwa nini wasiongezee tu Unga wa Dola na 210? Hawa waséé haki, Petroli ndio hiyo, mafuta halisi ya kupikia, sitaki hata kutaja. Nawezajipata nikipiga duru gakii mogaka, the way mama would put her hands on her head and release a shrill scream so that her voice would transcend through the whole valley as she warned people of the cattle thieves’ whereabout. (Mambatīrīire ya Gatūnai.’ Ever since Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta announced that the Safari rally would be an annual event; our men have been counting the months, the weeks, the minutes and the seconds like a young boy awaiting to go on a school trip. I mean the other day my fourth grader was going on a trip and he was even telling me that he was dreaming of being left by the school bus. This thing has now turned from being nostalgic to being traumatic. Ooh if we could turn back the hand of time to those childhood days when that vroooommm vroooommm brought intense joy and reckless abandon and pure bliss. But now all I can think of now is, ‘kuambia Siri Kali iingilie Kati.’ So here we are trying to feign some semblance of sanity and watch the vroom vroom from our screens like the desperate housewives we are albeit without Baileys. We can’t wait for Monday to usher them back as Bahati’s ‘mtaachana tu’ and Randy Travis ‘I told you so’ play back to back. And especially the part that says, ‘I told you that you would come crawling back and asking me to take you…’ Meanwhile business is booming in Vasha and as the dust rises with each roar kids are making memories, while others are being made. 40 weeks and it will be a baby vrooom sorry boom. Vasha wewe 🤣🤣 #StillTheChronicler.
I often keep checking the down lock (konji) on my door. This is because once upon a time at ‘quarantine’ a thief came for a courtesy call. Most times I only locked the upper lock. Truth be told I used to feel like a dynasty since I was living opposite Wajackoyah (OCS.) On this particular night my daughter locked the door and wound locking the down lock. As usual we went to slumberland and my kids wished me goodnight saying, ‘dream of bedbugs’ 🤣. Now in the wee hours of the morning as I was doing my assignment of dreaming well not of bedbugs but of mansions with crystal chandeliers on a hill. You know sometimes pia unawezadrift from assignments juu imagine unang’ang’ana kupata degree halafu kufumba na kufumbua unajipata umeSakajwa. So as I was drifting from my assignment at hand I heard some noise at a distance. I started thinking that since I was living on the ground floor and rodents were common visitors that maybe one had paid homage. Kidogo kidogo I started drifting out of my sleepy stupor and realised that someone was trying to force entry into my kahouse. I woke up small small and walked into the living room eyes groggy and all, hitting chairs and tables and as I put on the light, let me tell you Maina, I saw the hand that was straining to open my door. My heart skipped a beat and my tongue clang to the roof of my mouth. That is why I was not able to put my hands on my head and scream at the top of my lungs like my mama used to do when cows were being stolen in the village and whisked off Kamarurui to cross Thagana river into Mathīra ma gīthomo. I only heard fast fading footsteps and the bang of the gate as the dude ran and jumped the gate. Believe you me God hears prayers because I prayed that if the dude ever tried to come and visit me again, that He’d confuse him. Well fast forward, the prayer was answered faster than I’d have expected. A few days later the guy went to visit the chief of police himseofu. He was taken to Karatina subcounty hospital on a stretcher, a bullet scar on the thigh should now be a frequent reminder of how using ‘kale kakitu’ can put you in an awful situation. How else can you explain going to steal in a soldier’s house. Up in the slopes we had a saying for that, lemmi see what did we use to call it ‘gūikia ihiga borithi.’ Have a stone free day.
This is a story about a mountain father. The one who’d wake you up in the wee hours of the morning on coffee picking days. The one who also ensured that he paid school fees so you wouldn’t be sent home for non payment. And on the slight chance that you were sent home he’d not let you get to the kitchen in search of Gatubia, he was like, ‘cokai mūmwīre ninjūkite.’ Then when you thought you’d be able to pick some oranges on your way back he’d already picked his mūkwanjū and hat and was right behind you so you’d have to jump out of the tree and run of stick. You don’t want him getting to school before you. The consequences would be dire. This same guy bought several cows to ensure that we had access to the best nutrients from the white liquid now costing an arm and a leg. He had plenty of beehives that ensured our immunity was always top notch. He’s the same one who’d come carrying a kg of meat from Kīngūkus butchery when he visited Kīangararū for the coffee payouts. Did I mention the numerous chickens and how we lay in wait for them to lay eggs. No sooner had the hen laid the egg than the egg was in the boiling githeri. On Christmas he went out of his way to secure a ram for slaughter. We’d also get to steal his bicycle and attempt to learn how to cycle when he was away. Too bad we mostly ended up damaging it than learning. I vividly recall when he was doing some painting as he sang, ‘cha kutumaini sina Ila damu take Yesu.’ You know that thing about men not being able to multitask? He’d get so engrossed in his painting and then after like five minutes he’d remember he was singing and you’d hear, ‘sina wema wa kutosha dhambi zangu kuziosha.’ I can clearly say that he was the epitome of provision, a strict disciplinarian and a man of good judgement. I guess all I can say is happy posthumous Father’s Day. I wouldn’t trade you for another father in this life of after. #StillTheChronicler.
Magic, magic, magic, everything is magical. From magical Kenya to magical skies. My son came home excited about a magician who had plenty a tricks up his sleeve. It’s true that magicians subject our minds to psychological illusions which make us believe what we see. Growing up on the slopes of the mountain ensured these tricksters were in plenty. Someone’s gotta eke a living somehow. Like now when fuel prices and food prices have skyrocketed it’s only normal to look for multiple income streams to sustain the cost of living. So once in a while they’d announce during school’s assemblies about some magician. This would convert us into a real hustlers village trying to gather some coins here and there to be able to watch a magical moment. This hustle included but was not limited to ‘kūngania mbūni’ for a meagre wage of 50 cents, keeping some of mama’s change without her permission or attacking the mattress to heist upon Asusena’s mshwari account. And mark you the price was between 1 bob and 5 bob. Then on the material day the magician would step on the podium, arms akimbo and boldly declare, ‘macho fungika na akili fungika.’ I don’t know if that declaration lendered us blind, but the next thing we saw was that a girl had laid an egg or a boy was stuck to a chair 🤣🤣. I just hope that you dear reader ain’t one of the layers otherwise you might just land a deal with Kentucky Fried Chicken. 🤣🤣 Good luck with that anyway, for now lemmi stare at these magical skies. #StillTheChronicler.
There’s a reason why they said Kiswahili kitukuzwe. Well a long time ago, when they were teaching us Swahili in class eight we were divided into discussion group. The aim of these groups was to write Inshas and then mark for each other. That way the teacher wouldn’t have too much on his plate. In corporate they call it delegation. Yeah, noone wants to have too much on their plates unless it’s a scrumptious meal. So then, we’d just recently learned tanakali za sauti, you know the likes of kulala fo fo fo or tulia tulii tulii. After the topic which the teacher explained in leaps and bounds, the somo la ziada was to write insha using as many tanakali za sauti as possible. Who better than primary school kids to embark on such an assignment. We were as busy as bees trying to gather as much pollen juice for the honey (Insha.) So the next Swahili lesson meant that we sit in our groups and read each Insha, review, correct it and assign marks. So we started reading the Insha until we arrived at the tanakali za sauti stage and the first bus arrived stating; ‘tiririka tiririri na tuchukue majiwe tuwapige hawa wanyama.’ Everyone in the group burst out in laughter, well everyone except the writer, she walked out like a dog that’s been rained on. Now in my tarmacking era, I got invited to attend an interview in a microfinance Bank. I prepared myself both mentally and appearancewise and waited anxiously in that interview lobby fidgeting with the rest of the interviewees. My turn came and I was whisked into the interview room where I introduced myself before the panel. Then the first question came and I was supposed to talk to the panel in Swahili illustrating to them the company’s products; you know like potential customers. Hafi bila Fifi Swahili is hard as it is, that’s why you hear my mountain people say, ‘anga marienda, makakutana na makafendana.’ I was like a deer caught in the headlights, I turned beetroot red and upto now I still can’t remember what I actually said. Turns out this time round I’m the one who walked outta the door with the tail between my legs feeling like a drenched dog. As you can guess, I never got the job. That’s why I’m here to say, ‘Kiswahili Kitukuzwe. This is where you say, Igweeee….. #StillTheChronicler.