I can cook.
The problem with making that statement is that, immediately I spit those words out, people start to imagine that I am Wendy Wahito’s intern. Karua is a lovely cook. The kawaida stuff; chapos, mandazi, beef stew, ugali and the rest of kawaida food that was made in almost every Kenyan household. Basically the kind of food every 90s kid had at night. During supper, not dinner. So when I say I can cook, I mean what Karua taught me how to prepare. Real food. Not ati sijui lasagna or deMaitha’s spaghetti mbolonye.
In the mansion we have some unspoken rules. They are snippets of terms and conditions that enable an amiable living condition in the grand scheme of bachelor living in Lang’ata. Like for one, nobody leaves his underwear in the bathroom, because the last thing a man wants to see while taking a lovely push, is another man’s underwear. It does not matter whether it is Caterpillar or Cowboy or Calvin Klein. Second rule; all factors constant, I cook and Mukundi cleans the kitchen.
While I cook, Mukundi is usually doing something on the TV. Most of the time, he is on YouTube, or reading this blog via the internet browser installed on the phone, or using social TV to update his statuses. Social TV is this app on the Smart TV that allows you to access all your social media handles while doing your normal viewing.
Our personal favorite however, is YouTube. Reason being that you can pair your phone to the Smart TV on the same network. The result is that you view what is playing on your phone on the screen.
I am in the kitchen this one evening, trying my best to outdo myself with the beef stew because we have company over; company that wears a skirt. Mukundi is showing off how he pairs his phone to the Smart TV. I can hear her giggle in amazement. Then he distracts me with this one song; my brother’s reggae single. What this does to me is that I mistakenly add Tea Masala to the beef stew; what I actually wanted to add was Black pepper. But these Tropikal containers are like flies- you cannot spot the difference unless you look keenly. To remove any trace of masala taste, I enthusiastically add more black pepper.
My mind is not in the kitchen anymore. It has taken matatu number 15, paid 50 bob, to the CBD, and is now lounging at Tribeka where my brother launched his single. That is kedo two months ago, or something in that neighbourhood.
My brother’s stage name is Kijana Neem. He started this craziness with music when I was gimoro two feet high. However, it was not until I was 5’11’’ that he did his first video, and basically coerced me into becoming his socialite.
You see, when your brother asks you to feature in a video in which you barely understand what he is saying, you will say yes. Why? Because he is your brother. You will go in front of that camera and act like you are tuning this girl in little blue jeans shorts, and you will not give a fuck because you are taking one for family. Sometime later when he calls you and says “G, I am launching my video at Tribeka. Willy M Tuva will be MCing. But make sure you tell mum you will be out late,” you will say “Sawa. What time?” That is how you love your brother. You do not hug him everyday, or lie to him that he is the best thing that has happened in your life ever since you discovered sliced bread. No. You love your brother by having his back always.
So that is how I ended up being a video vixen. I am not even hot for ragga/dancehall. Its like in Jamaica, every fool and his mother old enough to smoke weed can produce a hit song. Also, I do not understand (or hear) what the hell Vybz Kartel or Major Lazer says. And to be honest, I can’t hear half of what Kijana Neem says in Wobble either. Redsan, if you are reading this, please understand that there is no such thing as badder dan most. It is ‘worst of them all’ yawa. It is not your language, so you cannot change it omera.
Nevertheless, just like every 23 year old who has gone to Club RnB, I like ragga for the raunchy videos, and the plentiful ass showcased there.
But since Neem is the blood of my blood, I made sure I was standing right next to the podium when Willy M Tuva announced his name to come perform. He came onto the stage, shaking his neck-long dreadlocks frantically, speaking something awfully close to what they speak in Kingston.
“Pulllloooooo DJ wagwan selekta. Na byad man Kijana Neem here ready to maash up di place. Big tingz agwan. Awoh lan shotadem. Pwooo!” He chanted, and then began his song.
For a fleeting moment I wanted to go grab the microphone from his hands and say “English please.” Yet I screamed like I understood every single syllable. When he asked us to throw our hands in the air, I did. When he jumped, I jumped higher. When he shook his dreadlocks, I shook my scalp.
Funny enough, the entire Tribeka crowd joined in the frenzy. It takes just one mad man to convince an entire crowd of inebriated Nairobians that madness is cool.
When he climbed down from the podium and and we met backstage, he was panting for air. Light fell on his face, and shiny droplets of sweat glistened on his face, when girls cheered his name with their lovers’ hands scouring their naked waists, when drunken animated men were pouring libations of Tusker to the ancestors to say thank you for this Kijana Neem guy. We punched fists then he asked me,
“How did I do?”
“Fi gwan, Kijana Neem. Wagwan wagwan. You mash up di plyace. You badder dan all, mi broda”
So now you can imagine why that song takes my head on a spin. Now you understand why I added Tea Masala instead of Black pepper. Tea Masala beef stew was the result of this delicious accident.
When I finally serve supper, I am hoping that at least one of them will notice that the beef tastes like it needs some sugar or something. Nobody does. Nobody asks for water to cool off a burning tongue. Hell, Mukundi glorifies the stew, probably because he is too busy tweeting using the Social TV. When he is done, I brag kidogo about my blog on the Internet Browser. Then we switch to YouTube to live that Tribeka night all over again.
She never said anything about the beef. All she said while we replayed Kijana Neem was “Thitimaaaaa!”
P.S for more of these accidental, delicious recipies, join me at TRM from 2pm.
[Cover Photo Credit: Google Images]