See me as you wish, and I’ll see myself for what I really am

A slender, dark-skinned, seemingly exhausted policemen stops our car somewhere along the Mombasa – Nairobi highway. He asks to see my driving license. I reach for my handbag, pull out my wallet, extract the document and hand it over to him. He flips it open, gives it a cursory glance and says, “I want you to give me your own licence.” Continue reading

Taking flight – Please not through the window

Quotation mark copyHere are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing.

– Chuck Wending (Terrible Minds)

There I am, sitting in the back row of a cramped meeting room on the upper floor of the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi with a group of young Kenyans, their faces full of enthusiasm, their bodies pulsating with vibrant energy. The ideas are not in short supply. They range from the ambitious ‘change-the mainstream-thinking’ to the usual ‘I just want to tell people about what makes me tick’.  Some have discovered curious treasures,  archives just waiting to be burst open to take the public on mystical journeys to the past. No, there is no shortage of ideas. There I sit, in the back row, next to the window, hoping that I, and my jaded and uninspired soul, can take flight when the opportunity presents itself. Continue reading

Vegetarian for a day

A distant vibrating sound rouses me from my deep slumber. For a few seconds, I think I’m dreaming. And then I hear it. The hooves of a herd of cattle, pounding the stony earth road, the whoosh of a whip cutting through the still air, the deep bellow of a full-grown  bull. My sleep disappears with the moon. The herd disappears through the gate to oblivion. Onward to the slaughterhouse that supplies the city with fresh beef every morning.

I drag myself out of bed and through the day in a sleepy daze. On my way home, as I wait to be served at the local butchery, my thoughts are drowned by that staccato sound of hooves, and I walk away in a stupor, to my dinner of salad and fruits.

 

Are you looking at me?

“Are you looking at me”

I start violently. The kettle tips and spills hot tea on my cousin’s foot. She shrieks and glares at me.

Am I the only one hearing grandpa’s booming voice?

We’re in his bedroom, or more accurately,  what used to be his bedroom. You see, we’re at his wake. His corpse lies in the front room, in a home-made wooden coffin, atop three stools placed in a neat row. Continue reading

That thing that was in your room last night

Sometimes you wake up feeling exhausted. Your limbs ache, you’re feverish with indistinct memories of a nightmare.

If you examine your skin carefully enough, what you thought were mosquito bites turn out to be light puncture wounds. The truth dawns on you.

The thing that flitted past your kitchen veranda last night was not a shadow. When you thought you heard your dog growl and then whine in fear, you heard right. The single tree outside your window, whose leaves were rustling in the wind, well that was not the wind. Something was in the room with you last night.