Story of my life
“Lock the door behind you! Always!” That’s one key thing my father used to tell me whenever I got into the car. So comes this time, around 10 in the night, we’re driving into shagz; rough terrain and all so the speed is like 20kph, and I’m asleep. Next thing I know, am actually lying flat on the road, fell on my head. Of course it was all worries and all initially, but once they found me ok, they all burst out into laughter; my sisters and brothers, except for one Mr. David Jilani. Let’s just say some few spanks followed there after once we got to my grandpa’s place. Talk of gong to shagz, I look back and its funny that when my other cousins would eat the normal ugali and some coconut fish or something, my grandma would always make me rice: verdict? I think I was the softie of the cousin fraternity in my generation.
Childhood memories are made of these. I sit back sometimes and think; think how fast and rapid life changes. Just recently I used to have a list of DOs and DONTs laid out for me, now I actually have my own list.
I’m asthmatic, so when I was a kid, my folks always barred me from playing football with the other kids, or engaging in any other ‘dusty’ activity. But a kid is a kid, you tell him to do this, and (s)he does exactly the opposite. Sadly, I’d give my folks restless nights whenever I got an asthma attack in the middle of the night, coz first I’d have to get up trying to get some fresh air, wheezing and all, then if the situation doesn’t improve, they’d have to drive me to hospital in the middle of the night!
But anyway, like I said, I was asthmatic, so most of my physical moves were being monitored by my aunty when my folks were away. There was this one time my folks bought a 3-piece leather sofa set in the early 90S. This was some weeks before we closed school for the vocational holiday. So here I am, having closed school and my ‘aunty’ bars me from going outside to play. Cunning as I was, my bro had this penknife he kept in his room, so when he was in school for tuition, I took time to play around with his tool. Object of interest- the new sofa that was bought. To come think of it, being a kid really is quite foolish! You think and act in a very FOOLISH way. Because if I remember well, the next thing I did with that penknife…God forgive me. I went to the back, and sides of every sofa and cut through patterns of X. (It Felt fun for a while…up until I was done and looked at the mess I had done!) Mum came home later on in the evening and called my bro and I to the living room. Of course we both didn’t own up, and for some reason, since he knew it had to be one of us, he presumed it was my brother who did it. Poor him and the spankings that followed, from both mum and dad.
Is it just me or does the neighbor’s food always tastes better than yours when you’re a kiddo?! You always find this thrill when you are at your neighbor’s place that you don’t find when you’re at yours. I loved spending time at Ngoko’s place…totally. They had DSTV(the big black Multichoice decorders) when it wasn’t that common back in the early 90S, and I’d stick around to watch Dexter’s Lab on KTV, or when Movie magic would air Terminator, I’d always find a reason to stick around…probably lie that my folks aren’t home yet, only for my ‘aunty’ to call across the fence from our house telling me that my mum is home. After a day’s play of running around with tires, and playing football(…and sometimes uki when valentina, the only girl in the hood, felt like so!), we would take the usual 4 o’clock tea at either my place or Ngoko’s, and while at it, watch KTV on DsTV. You know how cartoons or Kids shows usually have this aspect of a tree house in them? KTV was the mother of invention when it came to our ‘cha baba na cha mama.’ It was actually from this that we got ideas of customizing that ka house we made from those square grill meshes covered with coconut palms and dried up leaves. The things that kids do sometimes amaze me, REALLY! I’ll choose to keep mum, and zip my mouth on that.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the bully of the hood…but it felt good when one day we were playing football, far from Big Brother’s watchful eye, then Edgar, the softie of the hood passes by heading to the shops to buy some sodas his sisters had sent him. Edgar had three elder sisters who always did stuff together, always. Walked around together, went to school together; literally everything, and on this particular day, the sisters had hosted some (girl)friends at their place, so Edgar’s place was packed like crazy with these ‘Big Girls’ I would say. So my peeps encourage me, they like “Mvunje huyu sop sop Jilani. Mtie baridi” I was only 11years, yet Edgar was like 2,3 years older than me. Knowing I have the backup of my friends, I walked over to him, dusty feet, dusty hands and slapped him. Just like that. Poor Edgar dropped the empty bottles and ran back to his house crying. What a victorious moment you would think, Jilani beating up
actually it was just a slap a kid who was older than him…well it was, up until he came back with his army of sisters!! Whoa! I’ve never been so frightened in my life! “Nani amemchapa Edgar?” Everyone else ran away, except stupid me with trembling legs…by the time I even thought of running, Edgar had already kitambo pointed at me and so Isabelle got hold of me! I don’t think i’d rather say what happened thereafter…lets just say that’s the first time I knew the strength of a woman without even being beaten!!! They were like 10 ladies, and just the sight of them made me start crying(for no apparent reason of course,only because of fright and maybe,just maybe, to seek mercy!)
Bottom line, most of these lessons we’re taught when we’re young are now instilled in us. Nobody needs to remind you anymore that when you get home, always wash your hands to rid of all the germs you’ve collected out there , or to remind you to wear warm gear when its cold to protect your chest since your asthmatic…and we owe it all to our folks, our ‘aunties’, your neighbor’s mum, the watchie who would restrict you to play within the compound…just about anybody who shaped your life into who you are today.