Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Somewhere in the world it's read-a-book day

So, I found out that today is read-a-book day...

Don't think a lot of people in this corner of the world know that (or particularly care) which leaves me a little sad 'coz books are so much fun. Anyway, one is supposed to make time for a little fun reading today. You can even make it a family affair by reading to or with your kiddies (now that ought to be an enchanting sight).

Every day is pretty much a read-a-book day for me and my fun reads have to: have lots of humor, unforgettable characters, give me a reflective peek into the human psyche, make me hold onto my pants as the tale takes me on a fantastical ride and lovingly top it off with a shot of pathos that will make my dark & twisties hooooooowl.

To honor this beeeautiful day, I've decided to let myself get all bubbly (again) over a couple of books that have me reaching out towards them and lovingly gliding my fingers along their spines every time I walk by the book case.

*The Book Thief by Markus Zusak*
"I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race -that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant." narrates Death, in The Book Thief.

I'll be honest. The first time I saw this book on the bestselling lists, I was a touch hesitant to try it, fearing (yes, I can be a chickeny arse) that since the book is set in Nazi Germany, it would be such a sad read, I wouldn't have the heart to finish it. Then someone told me, "But it's narrated by death. He's a little like Disc world's death and a really deep guy. You'll love him." So I got my hands on a copy and found it to be a beautiful, funny, sad, thought-provoking read...
The Book thief, is a girl called Liesel. She gets adopted by Hans Huberman (a gentle soul who ends up hiding a Jew named Max in his basement) and his potty-mouthed wife Rosa, who has an interesting way of expressing her love for Liesel.

The story evolves around Liesel's day-to-day life (that on occasion features a little stealing) as the second World war rages on...And the relationship she has with her parents, Max and other fascinating characters living on Himmel street; my absolute fave being Rudy, Leisel's best friend and hilariously crazy partner in thievery. Rudy is so obsessed with American athlete Jesse Owens, he paints himself black and runs the 100metres at the local field one night. And yes, Death moved me too, with his profound, sometimes troubling thoughts and I so hated him for the job he had set out to do...

*On Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta*
"My body becomes a raft and there's this part of me that wants just literally to go with the flow. To close my eyes and let it take me. But I know sooner or later I will have to get out, that I need to feel the earth beneath my feet, between my toes-the splinters, the bindi-eyes, the burning sensation of hot dirt, the sting of cuts, the twigs, the bites, the heat, the discomfort, the everything. I need desperately to feel it all, so when something wonderful happens, the contrast will be so massive that I will bottle the impact and keep it for the rest of my life." Taylor's thoughts in On Jellicoe Road.

I usually have trouble describing this book to my friends because it's not enough to simply tell them what the book is about. I want them to know exactly how I felt reading this book and I need the right words to do that. Words that will do it justice. For it was a beautifully intense, heart-rending read that left me all achy inside...

So I tell them it's about this cool, bad ass girl called Taylor who was abandoned as a baby on Jellicoe road and has been raised in Jellicoe school...

I tell them it's about the kids in this school having territory wars with the visiting cadets (from a millitary school in Sydney) and the kids from town (the townies). The wars have been waged for years so it's a tradition of sorts (picture being at war with your rival schools. You each have your territories -with boundaries and rules already in place- which you've fought for and laid claim to over the years & the enemy tries to invade your territory lay claim to a strategically important tree without getting caught. Kids are ambushed, kidnapped, even given a beat down and it's all pretty cool fun). And Taylor gets to be chosen as the leader of the Jellicoe kids in the territory wars...

That in between, there are these flashbacks (which are from a manuscript that Taylor finds at her mentor's house) that run parallel to Taylor's story, narrating the tragic story of five close friends, all walking wounded. Three were the only survivors of a car accident along Jellicoe road that claimed their parents. The fourth one was the boy who came riding by on a stolen bicycle and rescued them from the wreckage and a fifth who encounters them much later, becoming part of their little circle...a story that ambles along eventually interweaving itself with Taylor's story...

And then there are the deliciously swoon-worthy male characters. There is the cool & wise Chaz Santangelo, leader of the townies and the oh so beautifully flawsome Jonah Griggs; leader of the Cadets... *sigh*

Enough swooning. Do have a fab read-a-book day people.

Mob wendos,


PS: Say, what fave reads shook you up inside or left you all happy as a kid, teen & as an adult? Yes, I do want to know. My to-read list needs serious updating.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The underpants conundrum: A guest post by Buggz

[Nyambura and Sam Buggz are having an afternoon coffee session when a teenager in loud hip hop gear struts by]

Sam: Evolution of underpants.

Nyambura: Huh?

Sam: Evolution of underpants. Proof of mankind's downfall.

Nyambura [sighing]: You're about to get into one of your flibbertigibbet rants aren't you?

Sam: Humor me for a second. In the beginning, Adam roamed the earth. His package was wild and free...experiencing a full body tan. And when I say full body, I mean-

Nyambura [Holding up her hand]: I get the picture. Move on swiftly.

Sam: OK. In those times, every bit of Adam's body was accessible to sunshine. Then Eve came along wearing an exquisite birthday suit and there was much rejoicing in the land.

Then Adam and Eve ate the fruit...

I'm guessing the convo went something like this:

Adam: *Munches fruit* This stuff is really good dear...could we get a... *Adam gets a glazed look*

Eve: Get a what, dear?

Adam: Ahem. Er...honey...your erm...lady bits are exposed.

Eve: My what? Bits? What are you...erm, Adam, you're pointing at me.

Adam: I am NOT! My hands are behind my back!

Eve: Who said anything about your hands? Is THAT (pointing) supposed to do that? I think I have a headache

And so Nyambura, some nearby leaves were quickly fashioned into the world's first designer vine undies.

Humans have a dazzling array of underthings that they have worn since the first day a prehistoric caveman sat on a sun blasted rock and got his backside blistered...or probably walked naked through a patch of poison ivy and had his...you get the picture. First, there was probably a bunny that lost its warm pelt to cover the exposed gonads of our ancestor (which, fyi, goes to prove how old Hefner really is. Hell, he can probably remember actual events that are 3,000+ years old. Playboy bunnies are carbon dated. True story). So with time, humans found positively amazing ways to cover up their nudity.

The Europeans though, treated nudity like a really dangerous concept. Especially in the early 1800s. Back then, chicks swimsuits had PETTICOATS! Apparently the sight of a well turned ankle would drive men to distraction.
Oddly enough, this is the period where flower bouquets became fashionable. That and the belief that bathing regularly was a health hazard of sorts...

What's interesting to note however, is how much smaller underwear have become over the ages. And this goes for both sexes but more so the ladies of course.

Global warming perhaps?


For the male population -more so the younger generation- underwear is now outwear. And not in a superman/batman underpants-over-tights super hero fashion statement kind of way.


Did you see that? Proof of brain slowly but surely turning to mush.
Will someone please explain (using detailed diagrams) why on earth the nimrods (pictured above) would want to put their skid marked goods out for public display?
Ponder on the below and the plausible explanation for it:

This totally sheds light on the whole sagging situation...this inane ramble should probably end right about now. . .

Nyambura [Raising right eyebrow]: You think?

Sam: Love that eyebrow thing you do. Wish I could do that. Now, before I lose steam, let's have a flashback to Garden of Eden as they were serving their notice period prior to eviction.
The Setting: Adam is stepping out of a waterfall having just had a refreshing shower (probably his last in a long while).

Adam: My adorable golden fluid made by those stinging insects (he's forgotten whether he named said insect 'Bee' or was it 'hornet'...could be 'wasp'...anyhow) We will have to leave this paradise shortly. We only have time for a quick bite and then off we go...
Eve: My love, I have prepared a fitting feast. See? I even laid it out on the most fetching, over sized fig leaf I could find.
Adam: The leaf looks terribly familiar oh fruit of my eye...

Eve: Why do you think it looks familiar, my virile stallion of the plains?
Adam: Oh my surgically detached better half. That leaf was only hours ago...strategically placed on my nether region...erm...the backside to be precise. You know how that fruit gives me gas...

Eve *gags & gives him a frosty stare* [sotto voice]: There was a perfectly serviceable leaf mulch pit where that leaf should have been placed...but would you place it in the mulch pit? Oh no Mister I-name-all-the-animals, can't even put a simple LEAF into the MULCH PIT! And then you go asking God to come over for a peace meal knowing fully well I haven't a stitch to wear and do you even bother to tell me in good time that he's coming over? Noooooooo...

At which point the world's first murderous thought was conceived, later on followed through by Cain...

Underpants. They truly lead to the undoing of the world.

[Sam glances at his watch and smiles beatifically at a speechless Nyambura]: Ah...the nice people with the colorful pills are about to arrive again...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The one with the attempt at short fiction.

*Heart's a mess: A secret sorrows interlude*

Every Thursday evenings, they flocked to Dusk to hear her sing.

Well, technically, they came to listen to the Swahili blues band perform its jazzy acoustic tunes. But it was Nahla-the band's lead vocalist-who held the crowd in rapt attention with her smoky, soulful voice.

Abbas came to see her...be with her and chase a feeling. He just couldn't stay away.

So he came. Every thursdays like clockwork.

"You keep that up and you'll break your neck," Abbas said, giving his boisterous friend a bemused look.

Mike was incessantly gesturing with his head at something or someone on Abbas's right. Abbas had been deliberately ignoring Mike's head tilts just to see how long he could keep it up without cricking his neck.

"Check out your three o'clock!"

Abbas shrugged and took another swig of his beer.

"Man, just have a quick look will you?"

Abbas slowly scanned the bar, taking in the now familiar setting. Dusk was a roof top lounge bar with a staggering view of Nairobi's skyline. Its banquet seating, tasteful but simple decor and dim lights gave it a warm, laid back feel. It was a sanctuary of sorts; a place where people went to in order to get lost in good music and maybe, just maybe, have their spirits soothed. It didn't hurt either that the beer was fairly priced.

His eyes flickered over to Miss Three o'clock; a beautiful lady dressed up in a dark power suit. He noted the short skirt. She met his gaze coyly and looked away exchanging a look with her girlfriend, who in turn cast a furtive glance his way before hurriedly turning back to her friend.

Abbas went back to nursing his beer.

"Well?" Mike prompted.

"Well what?"

"What do you think of her?"

Abbas was a picture of pure nonchalance. "Nice legs."

Mike swore colourfully.

Abbas laughed. He enjoyed getting a rise out of Mike. It was so unbelievably easy.

"What's your problem?"

"I have no problem."

"Nice legs?" Mike echoed incredulously. "The best you could come up with was nice legs? She's a ten!"

"In your opinion."


"She's a ten, in your opinion." Abbas explained, as he signalled for the waiter.

"Why are you deliberately trying to be an ass?" Mike scowled.

That was when Abbas saw her.

Nahla was making her way towards her band mates, acknowledging a couple of hellos from several patrons. She carried her diminutive body with such an easy grace, he always found himself pausing to stare.

Mike followed his gaze. "And there sashays in my answer."

Abbas shot him a look. "Remind me again why you're here."

Mike flashed him a crooked grin. "Because I never say no to free beer. So, are you guys like back together again?"

Abbas kept his face carefully veiled. "Something like that," he murmured.

Mike regarded him thoughtfully, letting a silence stretch out between them that was only interrupted by the band's rhythmic drum beats.

Nahla took her cue from the drummer and sung the tale of Love's whispered promises; the lyrics underscored by hypnotic Arabic rhythms.

"People will always disappoint you Abbas," Nahla had once whispered to him.

She held the unwavering belief that in the end, people would break her heart. He'd vowed to himself that he'd prove her wrong, convince her to stop running scared and try to fix that secret part within her that felt broken. And by God he had tried. When things had been good between them, they had been magical. For when her fingers were not hovering over the panic switch, Nahla was compassionate, playful, clever and a solid friend.

Flash forward to one and a half years later, Abbas finally stopped; too darn tired to move. Tired of trying, tired of hoping and waiting for the day she would finally have faith in him and their relationship.

Soul weary, he'd broken it off with her. He still loved her but it was the sensible thing to do. So he walked away.

Except a month after the break up, he came to Dusk one Thursday evening to check up on her, make sure she was going to be okay. He ended up taking her home and staying the night.

"One for old time's sake," He had reassured himself.


And so he came. Every thursdays like clockwork.

And during that moment they were together, the underbelly of their relationship seemed to fade; shifting from dark shadows to wisps of grey mist. It felt oh-so good...almost as good as when they had been an item. Almost but not quite. For when dawn came round, reality would set in, sending him crushing back down to earth. He was settling for weekly no-strings-attached romps when he wanted more. It was fun but not enough. Yet that was all she was comfortable giving...taking less would eventually break his spirit...and yet he was having trouble walking away; go all cold turkey on this one...

Abbas had always been guided by logic. And his moderate sensibilities told him he was hooked to a feeling and needed to get it together. Fast.

"First chance I get, I'm out." He promised himself grimly, taking in her radiating presence.

Her heart rending yet hopeful chorus swirled around the awestruck crowd, gently cloaking them in the surreal.

"I'll be so gone," he thought, as her gaze took in her audience and finally-almost instinctively- her gleaming eyes rested on him. Nahla's face softened.

His calm faltered.

With the silent vow reverberating in his mind, Abbas reined in the feeling of disquiet within, tucked it away in a hidden place, slipped his trademark stoic face firmly back in place and raised his glass to her, casually smiling like it didn't hurt.

copyright © 2011 by Jacqueline Nyambura Kariuki

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"What can I say, Mea culpa?"

*Brushes away the dust* We're in June? And it's almost over?...

Seems like I missed May and a huge chunk of June. Both months marched in, happened and left, but I'm a little hazy on the details of what I was up to exactly. Today though, feels like a beautiful time out. I went to early morning mass (for the first time in months), came back home, made myself a nice, elaborate breakfast spread (I haven't done that in a long while either) and now I'm on the floor doing repeat marathon sessions of Sons of Anarchy season 3 (there's nothing new in tubeyville to watch...True blood 4 & White collar 3 need to get here fast) as I try to put this post together. I seriously needed this. The time-out I mean.

The last couple of months have been crazy busy, from work to my private life, with most of it bleh, sometimes messy but unavoidable. And I got so caught up in the chaos of it all, I was left feeling like I was underwater; you know, like I'm closed off from the rest of the world and I have to put in a little extra oomph in order to feel like I'm moving fluidly forward.

But there was a silver lining to it.

For starters, I got to know a new colleague better. Those who know me, will raise a quizzical eyebrow at this as I seldom get chummy with new colleagues from the get-go; preferring instead to first observe and profile from a safe distance. It usually feels less awkward for me this way. Anyway, she's real smart. I'm not talking about book-smarts; I'm talking about someone who takes in the world around her with a philosophical mind's eye. She's also cool, with a wicked sense of humor and she's also a badass tv junkie. C's now gone back to our SA office and I'm already missing her terribly...

Then I made a new book bud...

A quick side note: My sister Vicky and I have this quirky habit of exchanging quick 'notes' back and forth. The notes are usually in the form of text messages (strictly no abbreviation of words that don't make sense or look crazy when chopped up) or e-mails about anything funny or crazy we observe, stumble across, or just pops up in our minds (and no,we're not on twitter...I have no idea why).

The sessions usually end up resembling the tale of the cat; where you'll start off talking about this cool cat taking a stroll and the peeps it met and what the peeps did...and the story rambles on, taking different routes, picking up different narrators & characters along the way...it is only when you have to go that it hits you; 'Say, what happened to the cat?'. And what's even more fun, is my sis and I can jazz up the word play in any way we want (fyi, Vicky can comfortably do a whole convo in Harry Potter lingo).

Most of our friends never get it. They will be like, 'But you two were together like twenty minutes ago!' Or 'Why don't you just call each other? It's faster.' And our answer is always the same; It just won't be the same.

Remember how much fun it was passing notes in class? That's how it feels, and you can't get the same feeling when you simply call the other person...then again, it could be just me. Like I said; quirk.

Now back to my new book bud.

B not only reads more books than I do but he also has a similar soft spot for sci-fi, fantasy & YA books; savouring words with the same gusto and he's a Yoda of sorts. So we've been devouring books, shamelessly gushing about them and exchanging mad 'notes' on everything -from the profound to the fluffily fun.

It has me feeling like Alice down the rabbit hole. And I love feeling like Alice because it means by the end of the day, I will have stumbled across all sorts diverse perspectives that I had either never encountered or had previously stumbled across but never took it all in. I may not always like what I see or even fully understand it, but it is still a different angle. And it is a remainder of how bigger and diverse the universe really is. That what I know is just a tiny drop in the ocean. And always will be.

It's a humbling feeling and makes me feel a bit mediocre in the grand scheme of things. But it also leaves me curiouser...stretch out my tippy fingers just a little bit further...find out what more is out there...check out the inner workings...

The funny bit is, if this blog didn't exist, I'd never have met B, who was introduced to me by a regular visitor here. Guess I ought to start giving this place some more TLC...

So people, Carpe denim! (Seize the jeans!).

That's one of B's many parting shots by the way. I've already seized and put on my It's-a-beautifully-chilled-out-day-soak-it-all-in jeans and I'm loving the feel of it.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Mob wendos,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something peevish this way comes.

Right now I'm so wishing I had the ability to dramatically swoop into a room in the form of a cloud of black smoke or sic TV's Damon Salvatore on some annoying individuals...

Now that be a lovely vision wouldn't you agree?

Yes, I've been having a couple of sucky days lately and it has me all surly. I just can't seem to get into the rhythm of things and I hate that feeling because it just slows me down when there is living to be done. Worse, I'm currently unable to write anything, be it on the blog or anywhere else. And no, I'm not about to put you to sleep with the depressing details. So this week, whilst playing the hermit, I've lined up nightly twenty minute sessions with my fave geeks of Big Bang Theory as therapy. Solitude and laughter always seem to work beautiful magic on me so it should do the trick...it better do the trick. Speaking of which, allow me to share with you the below smile-inducing forward; dropped in my office in-box this morning for Nyambura's reading pleasure.

What Airport gate attendants think of you and your thought process:

PASSENGER- A herding creature of widely varying intellect, usually found in pairs or small groups. Often will become vicious and violent in simple and easily rectified situations. When frightened or confused these creatures collect into a group called 'line'. This line has no set pattern and is usually formed in inconvenient places. Passengers are of four known species: Paxus iratus, Paxus latus, Paxus inebriatus and Paxus ignoramus.

NO RECORD- Any passenger booked through a travel agency.

GROUP- A large loud pack of passengers (see passenger) traveling together. The group leader, who has the tickets, usually waits in the bar until the required pre-board time of five minutes before departure, or until there are no seats left altogether, whichever occurs last. Reservation agents are prohibited from pre-assigning seats to groups as this may convenience them.

CARRY ON BAG- An item, usually of large dimensions, which somehow managed to fit under the passenger's seat on the inbound flight. Regardless of what the passenger says, the following are not acceptable as carry-on items: bicycles, steamer trunks, refrigerators, truck tires, or wide screen projection TVs.

SIGN- An Airport decoration. Usually unnoticed; except by small children. Its primary function is to hide the location of various areas of the Airport, i.e. gate numbers, restrooms, baggage claim etc.

NON-REVENUE POSITION- Usually can be identified by the fact that these passengers are in first class and are dressed in pilot or flight attendant uniforms. Non-revenue positions are permitted to fly first class free of charge to prevent revenue passengers from being able to pay first class passenger charges.

POSITION CLOSED- This is a sign posted at various counter locations, which when interpreted by the passenger says, 'Form line here'.

BAGGAGE CLAIM- The most difficult area of the Airport to find. It is usually hidden by numerous signs saying, 'Baggage Claim Area'.

FLIGHT SCHEDULE- An entertaining work of paperback fiction.

ON TIME- An obscure term, meaning unknown.

FOG- A natural weather phenomenon that usually occurs around an Airport while the surrounding areas are clear. Fog is controlled by Airlines and is used to delay flights.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL- A game played by Airline pilots and Air traffic controllers. The game has no rules, and neither side knows how it is played but the goal is to prevent flights from arriving in time for passengers to make connecting flights.

TICKET AGENT- A superhuman with the patience of a saint, the herding ability of an Australian sheep dog, the ESP abilities of Uri Geller, the compassion of a psychoanalyst, and the tact of a diplomat. They have mysterious abilities to control wind/rain/snow/fog and all other weather phenomena. They are capable of answering three questions at one time while talking on phone, and without stuttering or choking on their tongue.

All those impatiently waiting (like yours truly) for Rango and I am number four to grace our local big screens say, Aye!

Thank you. Now back to work beautiful people.

Mob wendos,


Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

Today I turned 12 (margin of error=plus/minus a couple o' decades or so).

Of course the flesh is seriously disputing this. My feeling a piratey 12 that is (Flesh: Nyambura, you seriously don't expect me to do the splits without pulling something do you?!! Me: We can improvise. Where's your imagination?)
. But flesh & moi are going to have a talk about that later...
I've come to view happiness as fleeting; a series of beautiful moments interwoven with the mundane and the suckage. So I do not chase rainbows much less make plans on what to do with the pot of gold. But I always try to savor those beautiful moments.
Today, was one of those moments. My friends threw me a surprise birthday BBQ that left me touched and stunned. 90% of my friends are football nuts. There was an Arsenal-Man Utd game on this evening, which meant mandatory viewing. And yet here were the fans of both teams, toasting to my growing wrinkly and toothless. So were the haters (read: Liverpool, Chelsea fans) who stood to gloat or groan in their rivals' faces should either team win or lose. How my gal F, (chief party instigator & die hard Arsenal fan) pulled it off is still a mystery to me.
Watching this awesome gathering of family and friends made me reflect on the many years these guys have been in my life. How much 'growing up' we've done together; through periods of utter brokeness, heartbreaks, we're-feeling-rich-let's-splurge moments and passionate Superman vs. Batman debates (btw, Batman is cooler but Gambit rocks!). I thought of those I used to call friends once upon a time but as time passed by, we drifted or out grew each other. Now I'm just a casual acquaintance on face book with a few while the rest simply fell off the grid. And of a time when this gathering would have been a fantasy. This was the time I went through the angst-y phase in high school; in forms three & four to be precise. Not a fun phase, beautiful people. It is A LOT of work and saps your positive vibe faster than a dementor on the war path, plus people tend to avoid you because they fear you will just bring them down...

It bothers me how easy it is to get distracted by the everyday...the pursuit of the good life...the quest to realize our dreams. Sometimes we'll even give in & stick to wallowing when the not-quite and the not-yet make up a huge chunk of our lives. And before you know it, the magic of family and friends; the magic that lights us up from the inside, gets a little dimmer and starts to flicker. We get too busy to pause and revel in the tender, fun, even silly moments peppered lovingly in our lives. After all, such 'mushy' stuff seems trivial doesn't it? It won't pay the bills or buy us that dream house. We take these moments for granted assuming they will always be there...till the day we wake up one morning and find them gone. Life happened...
So I pray for good health, some more growing up with the merry bunch and the prudence to appreciate how they always leave me all grins.

Mob wendos,


Friday, February 11, 2011

"The one where I get arrested."

"I should have prayed this morning."
Those were my thoughts as we were ushered into the dimly lit holding cells at the High court. I had rolled off bed after hitting the snooze button five times and thought of how I was running late hence had no time for an elaborate morning prayer. I think I better start from the beginning...

We were stuck in traffic this morning at around 0720 hrs right next to car & general in industrial area. I was reading Heck: where the bad kids go and didn't notice the traffic cop approaching the mat. No other passenger seemed to notice him either. And if they did, they must have assumed he was on a routine check of the driver's documents. The cop talked briefly to the driver then walked round, opened the door and took the kange's seat. That's when it hit me that it had been a long while since I had last seen the kange.
"Peleka Gari Industrial area," the cop ordered.
The guy seated next to him requested we alight so we can get another mat.
"Mushuke mwende wapi na nyinyi pia ni mabusu. Mumevaa mshipi?"
And so we were all driven into the cop station -a stone's throw away from Car & General- where five uniformed officers -two gents and three ladies-were waiting for us. Oddly enough, I was not ruffled. A little irritated, but unfazed even as they herded us into a shabby looking office that looked more like a changing room; with uniforms hanging from hooks on the walls. I figured worst case scenario, they'd keep us waiting and let us go with a warning or ask for a bribe. The fact that they had not taken any of our personal effects was also comforting.
"With those women out there we're going to be here a while; waona vile wameshiba? Have a seat and relax," A handsome guy with a blinged cheeky smile informed me from the bench he sat on. He had been in our mat. I later found out his name is Em. And he'd been there before. Twice.
"What happens now?" I asked, as I sat next to him.
"Those women will insist we be taken to court," Em explained.
"Makadara?" asked the guy seated on his right. He was young, probably age mates with Em and dressed for the office (no blazer or tie). He later introduced himself to me as K.
"No idea. I've never been taken to court."
The door was padlocked from the outside and was opened a total of four times.
The first time was to bring in the second -and huuuge- assorted bunch of traffic law offenders; from matatu crews to other passengers who had also not bothered with the seat belt.
The second time, one of the female officers walked in to take the names of all those who had not worn seat belts. Most of the matatu crews seemed to know her for they crowded around her, some tried to sweet talk her into going easy on them. She handled them with the exasperated patience of a mother with unruly kids.
The third time, was to summon Em. Apparently he knew the OCS, the lucky bugger. He flashed us a smile and left. For the first time in my life, I truly understood the power of having friends in high places. I was so envious of the extra spring to his step; my insides churned green as I wished we could trade places if only for that one day. K scooted over, "You were going to school?" he asked.
I get that a lot. It's the converse sneakers & jeans look. People find it hard to associate it with an office. My cross body book bag doesn't help matters. We casually talked about our work places and traded stories of hilarious tales of friends who had had minor scrapes with the law; from being drunk, disorderly & disturbing public peace, to refusing to pay bus fares. And how it was going to be their turn to laugh at us. K was a cool guy. Easy to talk to and smiled with his eyes. A few minutes to Nine, the door opened for a fourth time. We were ordered out and bundled into an ancient matatu that nearly tipped over when it took on the Nyayo round about...
*Sights and sounds*
My holding cell mates were an interesting assortment of people:
There was C: We had been arrested together. She was a pint-sized young lady. Cute with doe-like eyes that made me want to hug her and tell her it was not so bad. She was scared, but not losing it.
S: She'd also been at industrial area. She was a simple lady, philosophical when I talked to her and had a quiet strength that I liked. She was to become my holding hands partner later on.
Mama Kanjo: Not her name but she told me she worked for city council as she sat down next to me. She was matronly and chatty. Talked with her hands, constantly touching my arm as if to emphasize a point. She had been arrested in Pangani also for not wearing a seat belt. Next to mama Kanjo was a slender, gorgeous lady in a trouser suit. The only time she spoke was to tell us -after mama Kanjo asked her- that she had been arrested because some money went missing at her workplace. What amazed me was that she didn't look worried at all...
A lady in a short denim skirt stood by the door constantly talking on phone in a manner that would have grated on our nerves had it carried over the din. I christened her Petunia. She was loud and a touch neurotic. On the bench across from me, was a serious looking woman I called Umbridge. She looked peeved and stiff the entire time we were there. Not even once did she relax or smile. Next to her was a lady with braids who had been arrested together with mama Kanjo; happy lady with a loud hearty laugh and finally, at the corner was a pregnant lady who had been arrested in Kilimani for abusing a cop.

I sent a text to R. "I'm in a holding cell @ high court. Didn't wear a seatbelt...cool cell mates."

R immediately called back. "You're such an ass for letting me know now. You ok?"

I grinned. He'd said ass in Kyuk. And no, he hadn't been referring to the donkey. "I'm good."

"They'll fine you 1k max. You have that on you?"


"Cool. I'm on my way." He clicked off.

Mama Kanjo was hilarious and kept us entertained. We didn't even notice time go by till a cop opened the door some minutes to 11a.m and told us to step out. The guys were already out in the hallway lined up. We lined up infront of them and paired up. After being briefed on how to behave when court was in session, we were ordered to hold hands then trekked up the stairs towards traffic court n.o 7. People stopped to stare and I didn't blame them. We were an odd mix of a hundred or so people, in pairs and holding hands. Once inside the court room, we waited quietly (with cell phones swtiched off) for an hour before the magistrate finally arrived...

*Court room lessons*

With no distractions, the waiting drove me nuts. It gave me too much time to brood. Made me restless as I thought of all the things I could be doing till a voice in my head pointed out that I'd be seated at my office desk drinking mud like coffee as I mumbled at the computer screen. Once in session, I got insight into the downside of matatu business. And it's not for the faint-hearted. I witnessed the extent at which a mat owner can get burned. Case in point; there was a Nissan mat owner who had five of his mats impounded. Reason? they were operating with defective parts (how a cop can pull over a vehicle & be able to tell it has defective parts puzzled me). The fine? 7k to the driver for driving a defective vehicle and 7k to the owner for allowing a defective car to operate, PER vehicle. If it's a bus, the driver and the owner are fined 15 k each per vehicle. Citi hoppa had a total of 12 buses impounded for having defective parts. And oh, for using the wrong route, there was a Nissan driver fined a whooping 20k. The figures made me wince. Personal car drivers were not spared either and their offenses varied; from driving with a mutilated driving license, jumping traffic lights to obstruction.

Important fact to note: The prosecutor is nothing like the one on Be the judge. The guy mumbled like he wasn't sure of what he was reading. I couldn't understand half of the stuff he was saying (the magistrate & court clerk seemed to have no trouble though). Worse, he kept picking his nose every time he spoke. And constantly dozed off as the court clerk droned on!

By 2 pm, the session was over. I caught a peek of R waving at me and grinning like crazy from the open doorway. He enjoyed this way more than was legal. Now we had to wait for the cashiers to come in and wait some more for our names to be called up to pay the fine. I kept thinking I needed an iced coffee badly. That and a cold shower. It would have been a long wait too had R not talked to the court clerk. I don't know what he told her (he knows her; long story), 'coz she called my name and asked for the fine before disappearing into an office outside. A few minutes later, she was back with the receipt. And just like that, I was finally free to go. I said by goodbyes to K, S and C and quickly left the court room.

"Outlaw," R teased with a smile.

"And sooo not Sons of Anarchy."

"Tell me about it."

And I did.


NB: The above is a 10th February entry retrieved from the cutting room floor after much internal deliberation

Thursday, February 3, 2011

60 shots o' rum with Nyambura...

Shiko-Msa and Cold turkey have been wondering what's up with the non-writing...

Lately I've been in a dither about what to write. You see the little voices vacationed in Shiko's area code over the holiday season. And while gallivanting there they indulged in a few (and 'a few' is loosely used here) colorful sippy sippys, you know; the ones with the little umbrellas. And before anyone could say "Mombasa raha!" they all went toooooes up...

We've just stepped into February and them voices are still struggling to get rid of the haze. Shiko has been kind enough to give them a spot o' hair of the dog-disguised as a fun tag.

So ladies and gents, I present to you 60 seconds (ahem: minutes) with Nyambura:

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be Slash.Then I realized there could only be one Slash so i moved on to wanting to be a teacher. And yes, I stole the classroom chalk, wrote on bedroom walls and bullied the younger siblings into being my pupils. Then one day I watched these totally cool female Taiko drummers on Japan video topics (on KBC once upon a time) and realized I had to be a drummer...

Fast forward to many many years later...

I still worship Slash. And kids have fortunately been spared the trauma that comes from being taught by yours truly. However, I do drum. In my day dreams that is. And In that oh-so beautiful jam session, I'm Carter Beauford.
(to truly understand why I'm floored by this guy, go to You tube and check out DMB's live concerts vids)

What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

"...Have they chopped off your hands? Have they fried your brains? No? Good. Now get up and go back to the drawing board..."

What's the best piece of advice you ever gave?
Best? Sadly I don't seem to have an inner Sensei or Yoda to unleash on people...

What do you most enjoy about your job?
I could say that it has exposed me to the physical beauty of Kenya...well, there is that. And it's a beauty so wild, majestic & staggering, you want to get lost in it. But what always leaves me awestruck, are the crazily fascinating people I meet and even work with...their stories...their passions...

Who would you most like to have dinner with?
I can throw a dinner party yes? Cool. Now here be the guest list.

-Slash (don't get me started on him 'coz I could go on all day)

-Bill Cosby (Just the sight of him has me busting a gut...and he's pretty wise too)
-Vladimir Putin (Is it just me, or does the guy seem like the sort that eats and sleeps in a state of hostility? I want to see him in relax mode...maybe even pick his brain...)
-Hugh Jackman *swooooon*
-Cap'n Jack (yes, THAT one)
-Bernie Stinson (His 3-day-wait dating rule- because Jesus waited 3 days to resurrect-among other theories ought to be fun dinner table convo; especially taking into account who's in attendance)
-Keith Richards (Now here is a guy who knows how to create his own excitement-healthy or not. And I'll get to ask him about the curious fallin'-out-of-a-tree Fiji incident...Call me nuts, but that's the kind of stuff I'd want on my life's little happenings list at age 63...without the head injury of course)
-Shonda Rhimes (For creating the world of Grey's)
-Oprah (she'll get everyone-including Putin-talking and in line)
-Dr. Seuss (If he can make it in ghost form. He'll eternally be the most freaking awesome writer in my books)
-Jon Stewart (He of the biting wit and the brilliant rally to restore sanity)

...and no R, you don't qualify as a guest. You're always coming in through the kitchen door and peeking into saucepans anyway so you're practically family....

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I'd tell you but...well...you know...

Who is the most important person in your life?
There are several someones; family and a few friends who keep me smiling and grounded...

What's your worst regret in life?
There was a time I used to wish I had applied myself more in high school; from academics to the extra curricular stuff. Here's the funny thing about regrets though; I'll start feeling bad, wishing it hadn't happened or that it shouldn't have happened THAT WAY, but then I've got the flip side. And the flip side throws me into this totally different path that turns out to be a huuuge blessing...

Who is your role model?
Hmmmm...people I find inspiring...well, there is my mum, whose amazing strength I strive to have...
And then there's Gabbz. He's been my tight bud and neighbor since high school. He's got beautiful faith in the people he cares about, he's driven but doesn't lose sight of the big pic. Plus, for an awesome guy he's pretty humble...

If you could be one person for a day, who would that be?
Sydney Bristow. I get to be a double agent, kick serious ass while rocking crazy wigs and still get to go home to chill out with loved ones. Plus, I could always bribe the screen writer if need be...

And guys, Salt may be hot looking, but in a fight, I'm betting Sydney would wipe the floor with her. HA!

Mob wendos,