I haven’t watched any local content in a while, mainly because most of them are crap. Citizen T.V is the most watched station nationwide but they have the most poorly written local programs. I mean, just look at Papa Shirandula and InspektaMwala; sometimes I’d watch these shows and just wish I had a gun to blow my brains out – or those of the Scriptwriters – with. ‘Classmates’ on KBC is the only local program worth a minute of my time; simple jokes that will get you gasping for air, forget Churchill comedians who pick up jokes from social media and perform them to a bunch of shallow minded folk. Speaking of Churchill comedians, someone tell Consummator I can’t take anyone in a red suit serious [ignore the irony, assuming you saw it]. I just can’t. Your dressing defines you; a red suit says “I can’t keep my shit together”. You look like those chaps that sing ‘Isabella’ in the shower and drink Chardonnay on Guys’ Night; Chaps I’d like to punch in the face. You can’t crack me up when I’m thinking about punching you in the face.
Anyway, I somehow found myself watching ‘Tahidi High’ this past Tuesday. That episode where a group of students went to some house party and drank their brains out, then the girls showed up to school in the morning still high as a kite and their mothers’ came asking about their whereabouts as they hadn’t shown up at home the previous night to watch Empire with the family. The girls were so high one of them told her mum she had four eyes, two noses, and nice tits. Another told her mum she had a nice ass she should consider a career Huddah Monroe-ing. [Okay, I may be adding a few details here and there but just sit tight, I’m going somewhere with this. Also, before anything else, let’s just agree that Empire is a chic flick, Yes?] And those Mothers just sat there, calmly, talking to their daughters, questioning the Principal.
That was by far the worst depiction of a Kenyan Mum I have ever seen. I don’t know about you guys, but I could take Konyagi, Legend, Jebel, Jameson or Smirnoff and smoke Wiz Khalifa’s weed but when I come face to face with Auma Nyar Keya – I tell you – I will be sober as a newborn baby. That woman doesn’t joke; she will smack your nose back to your Maker and pinch your cheeks from here to Timbuktu at the slightest hint of obnoxious behavior.
I still remember my first time in Nairobi almost too clearly, never mind I was still young then. I heard my mum say she was going to Nairobi and I cried my ass out till she let me come along. The trip was fine, but I learnt one thing; crying was the best way to get what I wanted. During the journey I’d ask her to buy me stuff and she’d refuse, but then I’d let out a cry so loud – that, coupled with sympathies from the other passengers – she had no choice but to buy whatever I wanted. So we arrived in Nairobi with half eaten maize cobs, chocolate stains on my clothes, bottles of ‘ready to drink’ juice and boxes of biscuits I hadn’t even opened yet. She was mad, but I was happy. And that was all that mattered.
On the day we were to travel back home, I had become so attached to Nairobi I didn’t want to leave. We had stayed at a family friend [Mama Oscar]’s place, we had attended the same Primary school with her twosons – Oscar and Earnest ‘Young’ – back in the day, and they were the coolest chaps I had ever met. They had the best music collection, the grandest taste in movies, and we would stay up till 5 o’clock in the morning playing Boxing, Football or Basketball on Play Station. The house was well-heeled and Mama Oscar was one helluva cook; her meals left this sweet taste in your mouth you didn’t feel like brushing your teeth the next morning, even with a gun held to your head. Every Sunday after church Baba Oscar would take the whole family shopping or on a drive in town or drop us off at these posh kids’ events where we would partake a meal of nyama choma then play our own version of ‘Wrestling’ in the jumping castles, walk under water while holding our noses in the swimming pools, before heading back home in the evening. Those were some good times man. You can’t blame me for not wanting to leave.
[P.S: Oscar is now a kick-ass Photographer with his own agency and Young is a Producer, you might know him as Riccobeatz; they guy who worked the Instrumentals for King Kaka’s ‘Gerarahia’ smash. Great chaps, these.]
I have digressed too much, where was I? Yeah. So when we were supposed to leave I cried kidogo in a bid to convince my mum to let us stay on just a little longer. She wouldn’t budge, she grabbed my hand and – quite literally – pulled me right across the estate to the stage. I gave her the silent treatment for most of the journey to town but she didn’t give two cracks. When we got to town we walked to Machakos Bus Station and this is where this whole story was actually supposed to begin. Machakos Bus Station was where everybody boarded back then; there was no Easy Coach, Transline or Guardian Angel. Akamba Buses were the shit, but they were a tad too expensive for regular folk like us so we stuck to our lanes; kina Emirates and Eldoret Express.
Machakos Bus Station was a mess – still is. Hawkers went about their business, buses that shouldn’t even have been roadworthy were all over the place, and Conductors howled like hungry hyenas at the sight of prey. One would be pulling you left and another right, all the while they’re hurling unprintable expletives at each other. My mum held my hand on her right and our luggage on the left. We were right in the middle of Machakos Bus Station when my mum’s phone rang and she had to receive the call, so she let go of my hand and asked me to hold the luggage for just a minute. Now, we all know women can’t talk on the phone for just a minute. That call must have gone past an hour because I could no longer hold my balance with that luggage. So I let it drop down to the mud and I let out the loudest wail even I had ever heard. I will pause here while you vainly try to figure out what happened next.
Nyar Keya ended the call all right. Then she picked up the bag and wiped it with her own leso. See, crying works.
You remember when I said I let out the loudest cry even I had ever heard? Yeah, well, when Nyar Keya got up from wiping that bag, she turned round and smacked me across the face so loudly and so painfully I felt like Machakos stood still for a second there; and that was just her left hand people. Let’s just say I didn’t ask for anything the entire journey – even when she honestly wanted to buy me something, I cowered – and I arrived home with a story to tell. To date, there are only three things I fear in this life; Girls [especially Blondes, those one that can’t keep their hands down when they talk. It’s like they’re always secretly hoping they ‘accidentally’ poke someone’s nose], Heights, and Auma Nyar Keya.
My mother is something else; she could be smiling with you one minute and then spanking you the next. Not in a bad way though, she’s fun like that. No matter how good you cook, she will always complain; maybe the soup wasn’t thick enough [What did you use? Cat piss?]; maybe you chopped the mbogainto much bigger pieces [The hell are these? Elephant ears?]; or maybe your mind wasn’t fully into the cooking, you could have been thinking about other things [Tell that Nyar Otiende if I find her crooked behind here again…heh, weh…I will decorate my necklace with her teeth, Iwinjo? Maybe then your Ugali will stop looking like Uji]
Auma Nyar Keya is just your ultimate Kenyan Mum. You could be playing football with your friends in the field two neighborhoods away but she will send someone to come call you. You will find her seated on the couch, holding the Sunday Nation upside down, and she will point to the pair of glasses lying on the stool next to her and say “Ne, Omera, give me these things!” Do you know how close to one something has got to be for them to say THESE and not THOSE? Heh!
Nothing bores her like idle people; especially ones who love their sleep like yours truly. So she will wake you up at 4 in the morning as she prepares to go to work just for the hell of it.
“Shughulikia those dishes. Chap Chap!”
“Si Sharon washed them last night yawa?”, you will retort.
“Scrub this floor then.”
“Effie is almost halfway done doing that.”
“Well then grab a slasher and go trim the grass behind Otiende’s granary yaye. Don’t just sleep there.”
She called me a couple of weeks ago and said, “Ne,Omera, si that is an Okuyu I see you fondling on your WhatsApp profile? I know I said I want grandkids and that elder sister of yours is not giving me much hope but is that the Jaber you want to bring here? Wueehh! Try me. You will know what is taking El Nino so long.” The Old Man is also on WhatsApp. So now I can’t even put a profile picture of a lady just to impress her [all guys do that] or that one of Meagan Good I’ve always wanted to parade for WCW without raising eyebrows back home. Eih!
I have hated my Mum a couple of times. She could be a nuisance. Like when we’re in public and she notices I didn’t wash my face in the morning so she takes out her handkerchief, soaks it in her spit and wants to wipe my eyes with it. All mothers do this. She still does to date. And I hate that shit. I’m a grown ass man, that’s like telling me, “Son, go take a dump and come I wipe your bum for you.” I saw your face twitch, annoying, right?
I haven’t had a proper conversation with her in a while. The last time we met, I was dressed like a homeless hoodlum. My brother was dressed in his usual official thingamajigs, thereby making me look bad. So she told on me to the old man, said I was a disappointment; just because my hair was long and of how I was dressed. I woke up the following morning to a long ass text from the old man; he said if I wanted to be a Thug in Nairobi, it was entirely up to me. That once I was done with campus, I would be on my own and he will not want to hear jack from me again. Nothing. That after campus when I do call him, he expects to hear only things like, “Look, Ondiek, I want to buy you a suit Bwana. Has your stomach become any bigger with all that beer you’ve been drinking?” So sometime in August next year if you run into a brother selling oranges apo Archives, just be a lamb and buy one. Donge? Si We Are One?
Every conversation I’ve had with her since then has basically just been her calling and scolding me on why I haven’t found a place for internship yet and whether I was really even looking, or her asking whether I have shaved my hair yet, and then scolding me again. Once in a while she tells me how sick she is and that one of these mornings we will wake up and she’ll be no more [God forbid!]. That statement is usually followed by a long distorted cough after which she says, “Aya, we anind [let me sleep]” and then the line goes dead.
I read some article questioning the role of mothers to the lives of their children in society today a couple of days ago. I was having a talk with some friend of mine last night when she asked me the last time I called my Mum. I took a long pause, as if I was trying to remember. Then she asked me, “Dude, are you serious? Like for real?” in that dramatic fashion ladies do. I was still quiet. Then she said;
Wewe, I’m going to hang up now. I Want You To Call Your Mother. Today. Right Now.
Then there was that beep sound. So when I leave work today, I’m going to call my mother. Not because some chic I wanted to bone but shoved me to the friend-zone told me so; and not because it’s Still A Mum day and I wondered what it would have been like had she had a miscarriage and didn’t have me. I’m going to call her because I have missed her. I’ll call her because I want her to scold me again. I want to tell her that indeed I will be bringing home that Okuyu, not because it’s true, but because I want to hear her loose it. I want to hear her tell me that an Okuyu lady will love my money more than she loves me. Then I want to tell her, “What money? I’m broke as a piece of wood. And I don’t see any prospects of inheriting anything from you people either, si I hear Sossion told you people to down your tools and you did? Now see, no salary. Si you tell Sossion to pay you sasa I see.” Then I want to hear her laugh and tell me I’m almost old enough to start sending her money. Then I want to tell her I got that internship she was whining about.
“Where? I hope you’re not stealing money from your Boss. You know money has a way of pulling a Malaysia when you’re around here” She will probably say.
“Hahahah! Wewe you want money ama you want to know where it comes from? Kama hutaki I’m sure the Okuyu Jaber won’t mind a new dress, she likes those ones Kanye West unveiled the other day”
“Kanywet? Who is Kanywet?”
“Nobody Ma’. Just some very rich American with a lot of rats in his closet.”
[Lord forgive me for placing this image here]
Ladies and Gentlemen, to you too I say, Call Your Mother Today. Call any Mother figure in your life. Make them feel appreciated. Make them feel loved. Make them feel special. They deserve it.