I am all alone at home, staring into the darkness that has blanketed what used to be a lively place. My mother is away, again. My brothers are lakes and rivers away from home, and to get to my sister, I will have to cross the Indian Ocean, swim through the Pacific and finally, if I will still have a string of breathe in my, find my way past the United States immigration. This solitude has become the breakfast, lunch and supper that I live on.
Loneliness has found a new best friend.
My friends tell me to throw a party while the cat is away, or better still, invite my girlfriend for a sleepover. This makes me wonder if I really have good friends. On the other hand, it is not so bad after all, because I get to work out my deficiency in culinary skills, walk around the house in my birthday suit, bathe with the door ajar; or since nobody is home, I might as well belt it out. I do not give a bat’s nipple if my voice is an ear sore. I simply turn the music up, do my own karaoke, and shatter the windows. Judge Ian is not here to deign my self esteem with his signature hypercritical quote: “Pathetic!”
However, it is twenty-first birthday, so the above are not options at my disposal. It is time to sit back and reflect at how life has turned me into its bitch, and the times that I have dogged it back as well. So far, my Facebook timeline has seventy four notifications, thirty six inboxes…and counting. Some messages are sweet, others are funny, while the rest just flat. Like those people who are too much in a hurry, so they simply write ‘HBD’ and that is it. Nonetheless, I appreciate them all, because it means they do not think I am a burden to humanity. Hitherto, the sweetest and most romantic message was from my brother; Deogratious (That is his real name by the way- its Spanish ‘Thanks be to God’). He sent me the kindest and most philanthropic text as can be managed from a brother to another. It says inter alia…
CC48MN898 Confirmed. You have received Ksh. 1000.00 from DEOGRATIOUS OKANGO +254728121778 on 12/03/12 at 4.10 am. New M-Pesa balance: 1000.00.
Please note that the message was sent at four in the morning. I bet he wanted to get my attention, and he did. I am still waiting for someone to beat that… Hint: make that 15, 000.
Anyway, against the backdrop of a pregnant silence, a humming fridge, and chicken mating outside (Brad and Tatiana), there is no better way of looking back on how I have lived my life than going through our photo albums. We have five of them. But first, let me give you figures.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what do you make of five albums; each containing a hundred or so pictures…or something in that neighborhood? That would be pretty much five hundred thousand words. For an accountant, that is too much verbose, for a politician, that is an express ticket to another term in office and for a lawyer, it is another case won. However, for a prospective scribe like me, five hundred thousand words represent stories. Stories that bikozulu says we could tell with our eyes closed. Stories from our childhood, through adolescence, and now adult hood. Stories that we could tell over a bottle of beer at your favorite bar; or for teetotalers, over a cup of coffee at Java. Stories that could soothe a baby to sleep. Stories that would make you sign up for the next Mater Heart run or donate blood at Aga Khan.
In those books of memory are hidden rib-cracking stories full of mirth that would see you roll on the floor laughing your ass off (ROFLMAO as Zuckerburg teaches us). In these albums are inscribed funny stories, boring stories, lame stories, bitter stories, sad stories, beautiful stories, short stories, long stories. Stories. So as I flip through the pages, Jackson Biko’s words eases into my mind. (I am assuming you know him because well known people need no introduction). He says in one of his posts that we should never look back on the things we should have done better, or should not have done. If we are to look back, we do it for the lessons.
That is basically what enthuses today’s post. I look back and ask myself whether or not I have any regrets about how I lived my life, or if given a second chance, I would have lived it any differently. And my answer is a straight and dense NO. I bear no compunction for the life I have lived, and the paragraphs that ensue tell why.
On the twelfth of March 1991, in the minuscule hours of the morning, when the moon lethargically crawled behind the hills to roost; and twilight girls wrapping up their business for the day, and watchmen counting hours to their bedtime, my mother delivered brought forth a boy into this circus called earth in the backseat of a cab. Me.
I guess I was too impatient. But once I checked into Hotel World, there was no turning back. There was no going back to that thicket where night and day are forever dark, and blood is the same as air. She was already a seasoned mother of three, so she knew the drill; and as such I doubt I caused her much labor pains. This earned me my surname….Magunga. This is no ordinary name. It was a name that was traditionally accorded to brave people. People who never gave up. People who stood stoically and gawked at death without as much as the blink of an eye. People who would man up and dare the grim reaper to a Russian Roulette. And with that the fate as to the kind of person I was to become was sealed.
Parents are the bone from which children sharpen their teeth. In that respect, I take after my father. A juggernaut worth his weight in gold. Exactly seven years ago, at a time like this, I was lowering his remains six feet under. I have never had any scruples with that, because it immortalized this date in our family calendar. It has become a landmark in our history, and if one day I was to marry pen and paper to write about my life, this date would be emblazoned in bold. He was never there to see me through teenagehood, he was never there when I was a kid, because he had to earn the bacon.
But the few times he was around, he taught me all that have kept me breathing till this day. He taught me how to cheer K’ogallo, and from the way he treated my mother, I knew how to handle a lady. He is the reason behind my very existence, and by his guidance and grace, I have lived to blow my twenty-first candle. In his death it became clear that no matter how blessed our lives are, no matter how charmed our existence, bad things inevitably and irrevocably find us all. And in that moment, I learnt that life is like an onion…you peel it while crying.
I also do not lament for being a Luo. Actually I am glad I was brought into this world a Luo. It is easy to point out a Luo. They stick out from a crowd like a sore thumb. Let me break this down for you. Their male machismo is unmistakable, especially during political rallies. They brag, bluster and blather about their swanky Range Rovers and Bentleys, even if the loan is breaking down their backs. In fact, it is socially incorrect not to have a car to brag about. Everybody is a celebrity in their own right.
Rumors in Kondele have it that they are they are the ones who wrapped the pharaohs in bandages and made them call for their mummies. Their egos are invested in offshore bank accounts. They think the earth rotates in their axis, and that the sun rises from their asses. In restaurants, they order food ala carte. Their mellifluent flow of effortless native dholuo is a substitute of the national language…it is the language of the White House, so we argue. Luos are the apotheosis of gentlemanliness. It is a default setting. Luos have only one celebrity, i.e. Tinga, and in the words of Professor PAP (of the Kulahappy fame); ‘We Nyanza knights follow Raila… whatever he says is good. In fact his words are soothing like a mother’s love. And lastly, they love their women’s complexion to replicate the color of an a thousand shilling note.
The same can be said for me. Some people came to campus, campus happened and they changed; but I believe I came to campus, I happened to campus, and campus changed. The reason is simple: Campus is like earth, and Kisumu is like Krypton. That means, when I go to campus, I am superman. But when I go back to Kisumu, I am not any better than the next guy. In Kisumu, anyone can pull a chair for a lady to seat, in Kisumu every man stands when a lady joins then at a table. In Kisumu, it is notoriety that women’s G-spots are located in a man’s wallet. But all these things are strange, superhuman powers in campus. And that is what makes me superman. That is what makes me The Real G. The Real Goon. The Real Gentleman. And real geez do real things.
I have had my share of the forbidden fruit, and one thing is obvious from my eleven years of experience: love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Period. I do not regret the dysfunctional relationships I have had. They taught me to love with my wallet in my pocket, and my heart in my head. I have had commitments that lasted as long as a Blackberry battery. I have had longer and more fulfilling companions. But they all end. That is just a force of nature that you will have to accept, and if you want to break your heart in the process, be my guest. Experience is the best teacher, but you do not always have to be the student. In the end, you will find yourself listening to James Blunt or Adele, feeling blue and proclaiming how beauty is only skin deep. To me, that is a whole lode of old bollocks. ‘Skin deep’ is deep enough, what more did you want? An adorable pancreas?
So beware of beauty, and treat it as just that. A lovely picture. Enjoy it while it lasts, and in the end, take heed because the prettiest ones only fall for a resume. Are you tall enough? Are you smart enough? Is your chest wide enough? They fall in love with a checklist and forfeit substance for form. To all ma fellaz out there, stay away from these charming Chipolopolo parasites, especially if they are from Northern Rhodesia because they will kick you in the curb and run off to some chimney that has a lot of blood in his alcohol system. Maybe it’s a Rhodesian thing. I do not know. I am only Kenyan.
I do not regret coming to law school. I know exactly what I signed up for. I know the law is a lying contest, and it does not really matter what the truth is. It is about what you can prove in court. So help you God.
I saved the best for the last. And that is God. Just like Hector of Troy, all my life I have lived by a simple code; that is, honor your God, love your woman, and defend your country. (The last one not so much) I have always had a relationship with Him for the longest time. This is for the simple reason that He is fundamentally inclined to everything that I hold in veneration- love, forgiveness, courage, clear thinking, fairness, faith and above all, love for the truth. I have not looked back ever since, and even though I have cheated on Him a number of times, I still love him. It is a fact that the scriptures are a brimful of hustlers, murderers, cowards, adulterous and mercenaries, and for a long time this fact used to shock me. Now it is a source of great comfort.
Conversely, I mean no disrespect to my Muslim brothers and sisters, but the truth is, I have never understood why someone would opt to believe in a religion that propagates for sexual orgies in heaven. I mean, you blow up yourself in the hope of getting seventy two virgins, right? What are you going to do with them? Look at them and have coffee? And what about the woman who blows up herself, does she get virgins too? If she does, that’s lesbianism, if it doesn’t, that’s unfair…gender discrimination. And by the way, are you sure its seventy two male virgins, or female virgins? Does God create a reserve of virgins as buffer for war criminals? No offence, but the veracity of the matter is that we must respect the next guy’s religion, but only to the extent and in the sense that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful, and his children smart.
Anyway, this blog post was not an attack against Muslims and Rhodesian girls. I think they are an imperative addition to the human race. I am not bragging either. This was meant to commemorate my one more year closer to death. It was meant to mark my twenty-first birthday. Now I am eligible to try out for Tusker Project Fame and Big Brother. Hell, now I can run for president! Come to think of it, it’s an election year, isn’t it? Twenty one years is what is has taken me to write this post. I am now a perfect coin. I was minted in the year 1991. I’ve been punched from sheet metal. I’ve been stamped and cleaned. My edges have been rimmed and beveled, and now I am in a faultless condition. (From the movie Dear John).
M-Pesa lines are now active, and I will be receiving gifts from now till next week when we hold another court here.