Monday, May 04, 2015

My Kenyan Metanoia

I had that dream again, the same dream I've been having for three months now. I used to be blissfully ignorant of such things, discarding them as errant whispers from a universe desperately trying to stay relevant in my life. I was the captain of this ship, the master of my own domain, the stirrer of my own pot of uji mix. I had full control of my life, or so I had convinced myself countless times before jumping gleefully over the precipice of drunkenness (in Tusker you never dream). How had it come to this?

In the dream, I'm at my own party, old friends and new cousins all around, toasting and waiting for the guest of honor to arrive. The legend/infamy had grown, whispered and mauled with an inextricable mixture of lies, innuendo and promise into a caricature completely unrecognizable to me. What or who did they think I had become? I can see the seat reserved for me in the middle of the dais, and from the second I see it, a crooked voice in my head tells me that I will never sit in it. And as I walk past each table, I catch snatches of conversation. I heard he was deported. Did you hear? I heard he abandoned his wife and kids in the US. I heard he came to get married, I can't wait to see who it is. I heard he refused to go to school and that he spends all his money on booze. Do you think he'll take after his father? I heard he wants to get into politics.  

The conversations rise from murmurs to a deafening roar and I can no longer make out what anyone is saying. Still there on the dais is my seat, my small throne, one I had apparently abandoned to sow my wild oats if the stories were to be believed. I climb onto the stage, invisible to anyone but myself. Each step carefully placed after the last, inching closer to my destiny. I had been told this is where I belonged the whole time, just wait and see, they saged, fate is not to be defied. This chair that would fulfill all I was to be, to myself and others. 

One chair. 

One man. 

One fate.

But as I move closer I see the truth, glaring and permanent, the dais is a painting and only the man holding the paint brush (and I now) know it. It is a masterpiece, really. The detail, the colors vivid and alive. If I hadn't approached it, I would have forever believed it to be real. I begin to understand what the crooked voice had said, that I would never sit on that throne, not unless I painted an illusion of myself on it.

But as I start to turn away in disappointment, someone grabs my arm and whispers in my ear, "Boss, behind the painting, a far grander chair awaits!". Before I face the owner of the voice, it blends back into crowd, fading as if a mirage swept away by a cold wind. I stand there bewildered at my newly found knowledge. Could it really be? Is this some kind of test and the painting an illusion of an illusion? Am I to believe an invisible voice telling me about my lying eyes? This is all too much, I need a moment to take it all in but I know I have no time. There's really only one way to know for sure what is true. I reach out and touch the painting which starts to fall...

I sit up in my bed, canopied by the mosquito net and drenched in sweat. A couple of mosquitoes urgently, dizzily fly away from me, their meal interrupted. I have been in Kenya sleeping in this same bed for months now, still have no idea how the mosquitoes get past the net each night, but believe me they do. It's like a recurring episode of Mission Impossible only the mosquitoes are the heroes, and I their mission if they chose to accept it. I quickly go over what I remember from the dream this time. Each dream, though basically the same, is like a movie shot from a different angle, the protagonists remain, but I catch some different background detail each time. 

The weight of expectation, when unnoticed can be unbelievably light, but once fully aware can crush you. Is there truly such a thing as being true to oneself? Or is it merely choosing a list of things you want to keep doing, and calling them you? If all we are we've learnt, then all we do we can change, unless, of course, we were born into a certain character. I don't know if I can change or even if I want to change whom I have become. One thing has become clearer to me, life will eventually come down not to good vs evil, but to self vs responsibility. Somewhere out there, is the right choice waiting to be made.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Long Journey Back...

I would like to thank Lucid Dreamer for inspiring me to write again. Her stories are poignant and rich, filled with human emotion. She is one of the better short story writers that I know (and to think that she's just getting started!).

I hope I still have what it's been 4 years and counting since I last wrote. I guarantee one thing, if it's still there,,,I'll find it!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The World's most protected man...

Here is the Obama inaguration security detail (at least what we know)

4000 DC Metro police department
4000 Police officers from around the country (Snipers, K9, Bomb squads etc.)
11,000 Military personnel (Navy, Airforce, Special Ops, Coast Guard)
FBI, Secret Service/NSA – unspecified number of agents
Hazmat units (Bio, Chem & Radiological)
Satellites, Sensors, detectors, CC surveillance cameras
His ride - Armor plated (Anti RPG/Rocket), 6+ inch thick bullet proof windows, specialized run flat tires, a chemical/gas threat sealed interior…probably EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) proof

Needless to say he'll be say, he couldn't be safer if he was on the moon - see ya'll at the bash, Jan 20th. Si Se Puede!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This present disillusion

Once upon a time, a father sent his daughter and son to the market to sell the family donkey. This was the most important task that the two children had been assigned to this point in their lives and each of them wanted desperately to make their father proud. He gave them each a map and separate directions to the market so that if one lost his map or forgot, the other would be able to remember.

So the two set out on their journey, aware that the road was long but comfortable and assured in the knowledge that they had each other. On and on they went past streams, over hills and through forests with one single mission in mind. They would often fantasize about their father’s happiness when they’d return and what a large feast their mother would prepare for them.

One day they came upon a stream which crossed their path. The boy proposed that since there was no need for both of them to get wet, he would carry his sister across the stream, and the donkey would follow. She thought it the most selfless offer she had ever heard and mused about how wonderful her brother was. So she climbed on his back and he, with the ass in tow, proceeded to ferry his sister over the bubbling brook.

The girl, though much lighter than her brother, made for a difficult load. He had never carried anything this heavy and progress across the stream was slow and haggard. Finally he got to the other side and on setting his sister down, collapsed and fell on his back on the muddy bank revealing the soles of his feet which were bruised and had several small bleeding cuts. The girl quickly tore off the sleeves of her shirt and wrapped them around her brothers feet then using the red ribbon she had got for her birthday bound the cloth.

Several days had passed and the shadows appeared to get longer and the wind a little chillier and the grass along the path was turning a deeper yellow with each passing day. The bread that they had carried for sustenance was starting to get stale and the grape wine they had carried for thirst was starting to turn bitter. Their long, animated conversations began to shorten and ultimately changed into curt, abrupt phrases from sterile voices and expressionless mouths.

After a week and a day virtually all conversation had ceased and each regarded the other with a kind of hostile contempt. All the boy could feel was the searing pain that shot up his leg with each step he took. Every time he would think the pain had reached its max, the next step he took would quickly change his mind. The girl could hardly move her arms which were now swollen from scratches and plum red from mosquito bites. The itch she felt was almost maddening in intensity and it was all she could do to not scream in frustration.

A few days later, they came upon a fork in the road which split into three different paths. At this point each of the children took out their maps for consultation. It’s the narrowest path the girl announced triumphantly. No, it’s the path on the far left the boy answered resolutely. They proceeded to argue for a while each growing more confident of the position they had taken, and growing angrier with each uttered word.

What an ungrateful little kimbele, the boy thought. After I injured myself carrying her across the stream this is how she treats me!

What an ungrateful little mdomo, the girl thought. After I ripped my shirt to bandage his wounded feet this is how he repays me!

Left, the boy insisted.

Narrowest, the girl persisted.

Eventually the girl stormed off taking the path on the far right and the boy stormed off, taking the path that was widest. After a day of walking along their chosen paths, each started to doubt the decision each had made and decided to head back to the fork in the path. The girl reached the fork after another day to find the boy crying standing next to the dead donkey. They had both stormed off in anger and forgotten the donkey which, already exhausted, had died of thirst.

They sadly made their way home, without donkey or money. When they got to their father, they each narrated how the other had refused to follow the directions and map they each had been given. Each blaming the other for being a kichwa ngumu and a mjuaji.

"Alas!" Their father said. "The path on the far left is also the narrowest path. If you only had taken the time to hear each other out and understand what the other was trying to say. Your pride and arrogance killed the donkey!"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lady in Red

The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There's nobody here
It's just you and me
It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight
The lady in red
My lady in red

excerpt from Lady in red by chris Deburgh

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Mountain and the molehills

So is this it. That wasn't a question. Was it? While dreaming of mountains I will fail to see all the molehills that dot my path. I have a choice to make. The goal is clear. The mission has been briefed. The choices understood. I can lower my gaze from the sky and concentrate on my path or I can hold onto my fantasies and blindly stumble along the way in the hope that I'll somehow make it through unscathed. The sands are almost all gone. I have to choose before the rain comes and the choice is made for! There's the mountain, beautiful, majestic and proud. Then there's the path of molehills, very clear, very present and real. The wind is blowing now, it has been for a while, to try and force my hand. It is known that you cannot resist the wind, not for long anyway. Her campaign is unrelenting, her goal but one, her destiny forecast. She whispers caring words in your ears so you may not fight her, eventually she will have her way. she always does. listen to her, I know she loves me but she doesn't know me. If she knew me at all she would leave me to my foolish ambitions. She would leave me to wallow in this murky cesspool of indecision and blow on her merry way. But she doesn't, She is real. The path is real. The molehills are real. The mountain is but a mirage and I am but a shadow. Yet the sun does not shine. Why isn't anything simple anymore. I remember yesterday when I was flesh and blood. The pleasure of breath, the sweetness of every heartbeat. For a moment I picture my tombstone, gray, weathered and chipped. The words have darkened and I can no longer make them out. What will I do, will I truly be reborn? There's no way I can let my dream go. There's no way I can hold onto it. Yes there is but it's a painful, sacrificing, martyr choice. And the wind will not understand. Yes they are blowing from all directions now. Can I just live? Ha! If it was only that easy. This is my Ka. This is my An-tet. This is my path and I have to walk it. Yet I know he's watching.