HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

YOU'RE GHETTO


Rarely do I tell folks my age. Because whenever I do, hell breaks loose. And I get all manner of comments.

“Damn! You’re so young, you can’t write like that.”

“No! There’s no way on Jesus’ blood that you can be that age.”

“Osoch, just say the truth about your age, there’s no need to take us for a ride."

Guys have this notion that I am older than I say. Which is more like a back veiled stab at my parents. To mean that they are pathological liars. That there is a possibility I am Moody Awori’s age mate. That I was born somewhere in the 1930s. And I have survived the cataclysm of time and unforgiving history, to this moment. I survived the pig-faced English colonialists as a Mau Mau fighter. I survived Moi’s purge in the wake of multi-party protests. That I have seen a lot in the world and I am imparting it through writing. Which is more bullshit because Moody Awori, with respect to him, is old enough to be my great grandfather.

The talk of my age and how I write being miles apart is to suggest that writing is closed to a certain age category. A certain elite class of people. Which is more claptrap? It is saying that I visited some witchdoctor deep in the frontiers of Subawanga. An aging man, with wrinkles akin to slander. He asked me to kill two white hens and a black goat and blup! I was bestowed with the elusive powers of writing.

More theories are going to be concocted in the near future but one thing will remain. As clear as day and as magnificent as sunrise; yes, I am that young. And yes, I have written all the stories here, except three guest posts.

I rarely share my photos; thus, very few people can put a face to my name. I can walk into a room where fellas are talking about this blog and nobody will notice. I will join into the conversation like any other reader, which is good because I get unbiased reviews of my art. Some people give reviews based on your face, hairline, the shape of ears, the works.

“Look at his ears, they resemble those of a horny elephant. No wonder he writes so much nonsense.”

Please don’t bash me on animal rights, elephants don’t read this blog. And well, a horny elephant would be getting its groove on. Not going through the words of a hungry writer.
I was talking with a reader on the issue of hiding my face. The guy is doing a masters in psychology and is sojourning through parts of southern Africa doing his thesis. First, this is testament that fellas serious about life do pitch camp here. But the rub comes when he jumped into his psychology principles. According to psychology or as he put it, people who don’t like posting their pictures aren’t confident of their looks. That struck a chord within, me? Osoch Ogun? I am not confident of my looks? I sent him those lousy laugh emojis. And thinking of it, I can resemble a baboon or a chimpanzee for all I care. Seeing my pictures won’t alter the course of someone’s life.

A few weeks ago, I was finding a seat in a lecture hall. I am not one of those audacious loudmouths who want to hug everyone and relive tales of days past. In the lecture hall, I mind my own business. I will walk right past you without even saying a feeble hi because I am there to study. Not to hug chicks and compliment their bloody nails, which resemble the feet of Marabou stock. So, I take a seat behind this warrior who was talking animatedly with a chick on his side. Guess their topic of discussion?  The Kinasisi blog. We are acquaintances with the chick, thus she wheeled around and told the fella.

“Here is the guy who bangs out all those stories.”

She did not use the word ‘bang’, it would be uncouth for a lady to use those words. She’s one of those, flair, self-respecting chicks. The type who can walk into Kempinski and give lectures about wine, and legs and dregs. All that connoisseur showmanship. The guy turned around to face me, disbelief tattooed on his expansive dark face.

“You mean you’re Osoch of Kinasisi?”

“At your service mister.”

Thankfully, he did not make an attempt to hug me or scream as chicks do. That would have been embarrassing. A man can’t scream or hug me, a chick can.

“Waah, you don’t look like a writer. Man, I’ve been seeing you around. You look lost, distant and honestly, not like a writer.”

I was amused at this, so I probed further. And by the way, no writer enjoys being told he doesn’t resemble a writer. It is like saying that we are conmen or fishermen or worse, pastors.

“And so, what do I look like?”

Thankfully, he was honest and poignant.
“You look like a ghetto guy, msee wa odi. With completely no knowledge of English.”

I laughed at that because God blessed me with a massive sense of humour, it can fill a classroom. And I don’t care when people take troll me because I take troll people all the fucking time. Hello, Chelsea fans? How was is the FA competition coming along? Were it another writer, he could have been met a cavalry of abuses and massive words. Be termed as a grafter, a bootlegger, loquacious, a dissembler and a bigoted little bastard. Instead, I laughed it off. Like the choir boy I am.

Well, there’s a truth to it, technically I am not a ghetto guy, I am a village boy. Should you trace my origins, my grandfather, the one who I am named after is buried in a rural outpost deep in Gusii land. A place which isn’t on the map. To get there, you need to climb over massive ridges, go down leviathan valleys, but then, home his home.

I think of it as I write this piece. The mystic place of yore. Where life rolls on without a single care in the world. Where men, women, and children rise before daybreak to go till the land. Their hoes trudging behind like the obedient the workmates they are. I think of the village drunks who gulp down the hot drink like it’s a daily dose. And I see them blacking out before its even ten o’clock in the morning. Dozing off in village pathways and some singing circumcision songs till their voices die away and they too ultimately blackout. I think of the monstrous green shroud spreading from hill to hill. Virgin forests, whispering maize farms and the beauty of shivering tea plantations. I don’t know what ghetto is, but I understand the language of the village. The vocabulary of Otenyo, the one my forefathers used to communicate, the one I use. And in spite of all these winds of modernity, deep down I am Gusii. With a little vestige of Luo blood, a story for another day.

I think of my grandmother back in the village.  Would she believe that her grandson writes in the language of the white man? She’s an old lady now, frail, slowly but gradually and surely, fading into the pillows. The frozen winter of age has caught up with her. It’s a fruitless struggle of life and right now, she’s playing hide and seek with death. It is a waiting game and sometime, she will be liberated from all this struggle. I think of her seated alone in that house where she will make her last stand. I think of her smoking the tobacco she has treasured so much. Yes, the old lady smokes. I think my grandma would relish shisha, only that the bastards in government banned it. Then they feed us bullshit about shisha being harmful to our health, it has been piped for centuries. Why don’t you ban GMOs too??

I have been writing for almost three-quarters of my life, which is pretty short because I am still a toddler in this business. The only reason I write is that it gives me peace, purpose and most importantly an escape. Biko did put it this way.

"Writing is like attaching two massive wings against your shoulders. You can fly. You can go places people can't reach you. Sure, weed might do this as well, but weed might also make you remove your pants in the middle of Muindi Mbingu street. Writing won’t.”

And thinking of it, what can happen should you smoke weed and write?

A few weeks ago, I met some of my writing goons, brothers of the pen and bearers of the sword which is words. Kimaru Kim and Levys Kihara. We had been talking for the longest time on the internet about writing and everything that young men do talk about. Women, asses, football and money, we never talked about Arsenal and Chelsea though. Finally, we decided to put faces to the internet bromance. Levys Kihara is in KU and snatched blogger of the year in last year’s KUSA awards. Kimaru Kim is down under in Ruto’s backyard, Woi university.

We first met at archives? And a question, please. Why do people meet at the archives? Is there not a place where fellas can meet? Why Archives and Afya centre? There’s is urban lore that all new Kales and Lunjes would be lost in Nairobi should Afya centre suddenly be painted Orange. Ho! Ho! Ho! Asirikwa and Ignatius, good morning brethren?

We then sauntered around to find a joint to have a chat. Since we are all God-fearing teetotallers, we settled on a Creamy Inn joint on the far frontiers of Muindi Mbingu street. Thus, we sat, three boys, downing ice cream on a tired Sunday afternoon. And one thing I agree with you detractors is that writers don’t look like writers. Kimaru seemed to be the guy who collects offering in church. Not a single bone seemed to say of his escapades down in Woi. Trust me, meet him on street and you’ll think he is a choir boy. Great guy, and if it’s not enough, he picked the tab. I mean can a man be greater? Cheers bro.  You read Kim’s stories and you feel words rising out of the pages. And his descriptions are Stephen King kind of shit.

 Well, Kihara is just Kihara. Has dreadlocks on, the kind of locks which visit a saloon once a week. They were huge and massive. At one point I expected a bunny to jump out of the locks, luckily no bunny did. Levys looks more of a model than a writer, but then, nigga bangs copy like damn!

We conversed at length about various topics: life, media and how to win this never-ending rat race. The fears of writing. The unforgiving part of the game. How to deal with brands who are always trying to turn us into corporate sluts and that we would rather sleep hungry than bow to their whims. It’s a jungle out here. We talked of how we bloggers are showmen. Our lives are not as half interesting as they seem online, we have our own grand battles. And importantly, we are broke blokes.  At the fall of day, when we parted ways, we were better men. As iron sharpens iron.

Photo credits, IAMBRADLY  on Instagram, one of the fastest rising photographers of our age.


14 comments:

  1. Yaani a meeting was held without me and I wasn't even called, or given a memo . πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚

    I am hurt. And how do I look?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all happened in a spur. We were ambushed by Kimaru πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. But we've learnt from our mistakes

      Delete
  2. Every piece a Masterpiece
    πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    ReplyDelete
  3. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ’―πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great piece.��������

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome piece, you are a true man of epignosis.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Epi ?? What, I'll have to look up that word. Thanks for reading

    ReplyDelete

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