For the love of men; marry me mania.

Will I die alone?

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Let me confess… I am an ardent believer in Christ Jesus and I also believe that He speaks to us, in many many ways, one of which is dreams.

Yes, I am Joseph…and I have on my technicolored coat as I bang out this story.

I had a dream, and I do not know what to make of it.

Perhaps it comes from my new commitment to attend church, or it hails from the various FB posts about women empowerment and the self-declared lack of need for a spouse by others. I do not know, but what I can confirm is this. Man and woman were made for companionship, that is why God bothered to induce deep sleep in Adam and remove a rib from his side in order to create a PERFECT companion for him. So if your  “ I do not need a man in my life” theory keeps your Brazilian in check…kudos to you, lets talk in another ten years.

The degree of perfectness as a companion however is a story for another day…

Back to my dream.

I was seated on a largely uncomfortable pew, minding my own business and furiously jotting down notes as the pastors boomed away on the need to focus on Christ. Then came the time to give offering and the baskets were dutifully passed around, each person retrieving notes from their wallets or handbags and placing them in the basket. I felt disturbed by this, is it a crime to offer coins? No one here gives “mangotore”? As I was fixated on the lack of the proverbial silver coins in the basket, my neighbour nudged me in the ribs and handed me the coinless basket. I had not yet retrieved my paper currency from my purse, so I held on to the basket and reached for my bag.

And there they were.

The basket did not have coins, neither did it have notes.

It held pieces of paper. Paper that had been scribbled on by what appeared to be runny ink. I thought I was seeing wrong, so I picked one up.

“ Dear Lord, send me a husband”

“ Dear Lord,  where is my husband?”

“ Dear Lord, will I die alone?”

“ Where is my rib?”

Over and over and over, all the notes read the same thing. The scribbles appeared to be swimming, swimming in a salty liquid. As if an ocean but not quit, the words were swimming in tears.

I was bolted out of my sleep by my second crying.

I will seek interpretation later.

 

*Mangotore means coins in Kikuyu

 

Image credits.

Good girls finish last….not!

When rachet dies unceremoniously…

I am in Mombasa, the glorious wonderful city by the Indian Ocean. Where salty warm waters lap at my swollen feet, because this heat is reminiscent of hell and my body just does not know how to handle it! I refuse to have my mood dampened by unregulated temperatures, and focus on what brought me here. Complete release, an attempt at reliving my energetic youth, to drink myself silly and party my nights away.

I will gladly announce that I failed miserably at both.

I am older and wiser; and can hold more liquor than I care to display, but this heat will simply not let me achieve a state of complete drunkenness. My attempts nevertheless grow more spirited with every passing bottle.

So we are residing in Nyali, such a beautiful side of town. Our residence has us passing outside what I was led to believe is Bayusuf’s estate. I tell you, prosperity is important, and so is longevity if it comes with wealth. He has a Mosque inside his compound, and irrespective of how slowly I insist we drive by, I can never clap my eyes on that property long enough to see what else is inside. I have always been fascinated by big things ( I will allow your mind to wonder in whatever direction you please with that statement), I remember putting up pictures of trucks on my wall back in high school. Mann trucks, Mercedes Trucks, anything that shook the earth when keyed to life had my attention.

I wondered if Bayusuf would have prospered if he had sired only daughters. Bayusuf and daughters just doesn’t have a satisfying ring to it, Bayusuf and Sons simply sounds complete. Would his daughters if any have carried on his legacy? Would they have prospered? I wonder.

If I had daughters would I have them drive trucks? Yes

Would I fix marriages with the sons of Baysuf for my unborn daughters? Yes

Would I lurk outside Baysuffs gate until they finally gave in? Yes

Am I drunk right now? Yes, I mean no, honestly … I am working on it.

Swallows an unladylike mouthful. WHISKEY . IS . LIFE!

My attempts at painting the town red have me hiding from the sun and pretending to swim. Pretending because I am far too lazy to be bothered to swim the length of the pool, the most I can do is dog paddle, then sink at the shallowest corner and deep my head under water. When that becomes tedious, I sashay to the baby pool. Holding my head high like Cleopatra on her way to soak in milk and honey, because she and I understand one thing, LIFE IS NOT A REHEARSAL! If I want to chill in the baby pool, by Jupiter I will chill in the baby pool. Slathered in a bottle of Nivea’s SPF 1000, clad in a polka-dot fatkini, wide brimmed hat and Gucci sunglasses, I settle my generous behind into the waters that even after being displaced only cover my bosom. Yes, this is the life!

Mid afternoon obviously calls for a siesta, which has me waking up sometime after 9 p.m. hungry as a model. A quick shower later, wearing as little as possible and not a lick of makeup on my face, off we go to hunt for some local dishes. I love me some biryani, the real biryani. The kind that this hotel cannot achieve; because such titillating goodness can only be found in the streets. The non-Michelin star cooks succeed at their trade because they love to cook, and will spice everything they way they ought to, the way their mothers taught them how to, the traditional unchained method. Food on the streets is cooked from the heart, and it warms my innards just enough to have me addicted and avail me the opportunity to flash my middle finger at all that five star blandness.  Give me artery clogging scrumptiousness any day!

After driving around and finding most of my favourite spots closed for business, I realise that it is a Monday, and not everyone in this town is on holiday like I am. Upset but not outwitted, we try for the popular spots, only to find the same dismal disappointment. Even Bob’s was closed, so we were referred to a dimly lit restaurant with green eerie bulbs and clients with hooded eyes. If my stomach wasn’t rumbling so loudly, I would have chosen to sleep hungry, but even my worst enemy does not deserve such punishment. So we pull our seats and try get the attention of a waitress.

The thing about the coastal region is everything slows down. EVERYTHING. I kept flagging down waitresses, all of whom flashed me what I think was their teeth, and walked by. The only good that came from all the waving was my armpits cooled down, finally found some use for my wings. About a half hour later, one arrives and smiles ever so sweetly and asks what we will have. A round of cold sodas, ice cubes, water and food. She says they do the best pork in town, we order for some, to be accompanied by French fries and Ugali, which she calls Sima (shoot me now! I do not care for Swahili lessons at this moment!)

I did not expect the food to arrive any time before dawn, so I busied myself watching my surroundings and wishing my skin would remain this clear even in Nairobi. The ladies here have such amazing skin! It must be from all the sweating, and not constantly wearing makeup. They are very beautiful and soft spoken, and all those other things that rumour has about coastal women. These ladies also dress very decently nowadays. I see several women come and go. They are all clad in cute dresses, or pencil skirts and heels that I would wear. Do people here now work night shift instead of 8 to 5? Which would make sense because this heat is good for only two things, sleeping and then sleeping some more.

I realize that even if these women were going to work, surely, there have to be some men folk also on duty. My attention immediately spikes, I feel like Sherlock with no clues but armed with resolve and smart ass responses. What the devil is going on here?

It is one girl after another, all going into the bathroom in jeans and whatnot, and coming out looking like they were going for interviews. I am talking well-dressed girls, even the thick ones emerged looking like they had strapped on spanks and brought some order to all that jelly. Surely, which employer is this? I follow one girl to what appeared to be her end destination. She stood alongside her equally well dressed “workmates” and I assumed that the bus would be by any minute to take them to the factory or call centre, because they were many.

I waited and waited. No bus, no food on my table. What there was however, was an increase in traffic along the street outside this restaurant. My smartly dressed girls would kill the chatter when a car drove by, one would break away and approach the vehicles, the conversation seldom lasting more than a few seconds. Then it struck me like a punch to my ribcage, these were not “good” decently dressed girls! They were ladies of the night!

Who changed the bloody dress code? Have I been living under a rock?

I was so shocked I temporarily forgot my hunger and irritation at the terrible service we were getting from the smiling Coastarian waitress with her perfect Swahili.

Whatever happened to call girls wearing nothing more than matching ribbons? Did they stop chain smoking and looking like drag queens on Meth? Did the allure of too much skin die? Have people stopped being attracted to “bad girls” and now want to be associated with the not so obvious? Who changed the effing rules?

In an era where being normal is too mainstream, and everyone wants to be different in order to get ahead; how is it that the oldest profession is peddling backwards to remain relevant? Is hiding the obvious in plain sight the only way not to judge a book by its cover?

My food has come!

 

Image credits

Chopped? not my kitchen!

Why Siba and Ina prosper….

I would like to declare that the image you are looking at is the exact likeness of me. Which would be a complete lie because I look nothing like that, not even in my raciest dream; which are far and in between because my life has more action than required, thank you.

By now you know that I have a continuous fulfilling love affair with food. I will shamelessly allow myself to be seduced by rich aromas, and have my tongue cheat on different food groups. I usually host ménage-à-trois in my mouth, because separating my food is intolerable cruelty and life is too short to have a neat plate. Yes, I like to think of myself as the barefoot Contessa, with Siba’s body and possibly house, and a pantry as well stocked as Chandarana’s food isle. Life is what you make it folks, my dreams are valid!

So I have been binge watching the food channel since 0630 hours. I have trouble going back to sleep after my first one goes to school. The telly comes on, and re runs are not my thing.  The food channel however is always interesting to watch, there are so many things you can cook from a myriad of ingredients including leftovers. Now that I have a family of boys, I must cook a lot of food for the ever increasing appetites, and varying palates. I do not believe in wastage, so the left overs in my house must be consumed; in their present form or modified to take on an entirely different meal. This task is usually taken on with varying degrees of gusto, depending on my emotions and more often than not, how much chilli I can throw in. I love me some spice, anything that will tickly my taste buds and make my eyes tear is welcome on my plate. Tabasco and all other chilli sauces are okay, but I find green chillies cooked in the pot along with other ingredients just takes the meal to a whole new level. A better level.  A spicy level.  A world where every bite is an adventure, you never know what to expect, and the suspense of biting into a big slice of the chilli is just too exciting. (yes, I find thrill in such mundane things… tee hee hee!)

Its nearly noon, my tummy is rumbling rather loudly. A steam engine would blush over the present noise emanating from my digestive. The last episode of chopped just eliminated the chef I had put my money on. I have watched enough episodes, and I see a trend here. Anyhow, maybe Caribbean and African themed dishes do not make the cut, but I beg to differ. I take on the challenge and decide to have a “chopped off” in my kitchen. 20 minutes for a starter, 30 for my entrée and another 20 for the sweets. Mmmmmh! That is plenty of time to prepare three courses. If they can do it, so can I! Kwani?

I limp off to the kitchen, I had not realised I had been seated cross legged on my favourite spot, and now my legs are numb. Perhaps five minutes of down dog will get the blood pumping again, or should I do the cobra? I had forgotten how painful pins and needles are, age is not a kind thing.

Right, I start with the fridge. What do we have in here?

  • 6 brown chapatis ( I insist on eating whole food, because it makes me feel better, almost as if the notion of eating wheat is watered down because the said wheat is made of whole grain)
  • A medium sized head of cabbage
  • Three beef medallions, my butcher is a superstar! He really knows what I like and how I like it! May God continue to bless the work of his hands!
  • Left over Tripe (this is my all-time favourite food! Because it tastes delicious and has zero calories. Yes, I am conflicted like that!)
  • A bottle of Honey Tennessee, half full. ( My bottles and whiskey glasses are always half full, because I choose to see the option of topping it up with ice, or very cold water, to bring out those soothing aromas….but this is not the time to take you on a trip on how to taste whiskey.) I open the bottle and breathe in the goodness. Darnit! This here is some good stuff, I will just have a shot to confirm that it has not been watered down by imaginary persons.

Right!

I think I have covered all the food groups. I have a vegetable, protein and starch. A quick look in the pantry, and I find plenty of tomatoes, squash, onions, garlic and some unripe bananas. Now what shall I make of them? My whiskey induced brilliance brings me to the following.

Appetizer

Cream of squash soup

Entrée

Beef flambé with garlic butter and lightly steamed cabbage slices

Desert

Microwave chocolate sponge cake with Vanilla ice cream

I am feeling so good about this menu I bloody well want to print it out and lay it on the table. Lets get to work already!

First. I wash my hands. Then wear an apron because I am feeling cute and every cook worth his salt wears an apron. It is expected. The same way a dentist MUST pull a mask over this mouth as he inspects your cavities, and must always wear gloves while handling his tools and anything near your mouth. I cannot explain why I prefer them in white gloves and not the blue ones. Am I being anal in thinking the blue ones hide some undetectable dirt, the type of trace dirt that would probably be magnified by white gloves?

Anywho.

I pull out my non stick cooking ware… I love these pots. Place them on the stove. I place the chopping board on the counter closest to the stove. Retrieve the vegetables and wash them, then admire what is about to be a decadent meal.

Because the devil is a liar and so is alcohol, I go ahead and set the timer on my phone, I will produce a meal in the exact time that it takes the chefs on Chopped. Nani kama mimi? (Who like me?) Do you see why I do not like translating? The meaning is always lost, or comes across as foolish. Aaaargh!

The clock is ticking, I decide to start with the trickiest of the three rounds, desert! I know that I am cheating with the order of meals but this is my kitchen dammit and I will make the rules here! I pull out the flour, some eggs, cacao powder, baking powder and a whipping dish. I roughly eyeball the ingredients, beat them to within an inch of their existence, pour them as neatly as I could into four cups and throw them into the microwave. I set it to 15 minutes because I figure the waves will need more time to work through the four mugs, I am a bloody genius!

Next, Entrée.

I descend upon the beef like a moth to a flame. The meat is so cold, I must remember to turn up the temperature in that fridge. I set it on the chopping board and season it well. Some salt, garlic powder should do the trick, I have seen more than one chef chopped because he did not season the food properly ( yes, I am a quick study). I heat up the pan, holding my hand over it because I do not know how else to check if it is hot enough. When my hand could feel the heat from 15 centimetres , I figured I was good to go. So I seal the pieces first, making sure that I got the sides as well. Then I allow them to cook for two minutes on each side, because Siba said so. I throw in some butter, and a stalk of rosemary then do that thing where you “wash” the beef with the butter so it can cook evenly. Then I remember that this here is to be flambé, with the reckless abandon of a new lover on an old mistress, I pick up my glass and throw the contents into the pan.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI! LORD!

How does the ENTIRE stove come up in flames? I swear I was engulfed in a ball of fire! There was smoke pouring from I do not know where, the pan was spitting at me like an ill behaved child, and what is that hissing? Have I completely charred my meat? Noooooooooo! I push open all my windows and throw open the door, the smell in here is so acrid even the neighbours start coughing. I will not be defeated! I have seen this happen a million times on chopped, I will save the situation if it’s the last thing I do!

Turns out, it was the last thing I did. As far as these pieces of my favourite meats were concerned. They were pure black. Like Tar. And they had shrivelled, I cannot explain how and why it happened so quickly. The stalk of Rosemary that I had thrown in… gone! Maybe it escaped the ball of fire and ascended into spice heaven.  Chieth! (Merde in French). I put the blackened pan aside, I will deal with it later.

Beep beep beep! My cakes are done! I can trace faint smells of Chocolate cake, but the air is still rancid from the incident. I pop open the microwave and retrieve one of the mugs. What is this? Instead of a beautifully risen chocolate sponge cake. I had in my hand a sunken  brown substance  that was bubbling quietly. I can swear I could hear it sniggering at me, with those slight bubbles making a mockery of my attempts to produce a cake in the microwave. I decide that maybe this one was the only failed one, but with each mug that I pulled out, the results were consistently bad. Surely, what went wrong? Did I not put in enough Baking powder? Was the consistency wrong? Whatever! I still have enough time, I will make some more and try it again. I dump the mugs in the sink and turn my attention to the vegetables.

I quickly peel the Squash, handling the knife with Jamie Olivers dexterity. I dice them not too finely and throw them into a pot. I add some salt, a teaspoon of sugar ( to bring out the sweetness in the butternut), cinnamon and a dash of cloves. I add some chopped onion, and one clove of garlic. Two cups of water, and bring to a boil. I chop the cabbage in thick slices, I realize that I can use them to wrap the “charred” beef , but I would need to make them sweet to hide the burnt taste. I put them into a pot, add about a quarter cup of water, some sugar and honey. I cover them and allow them to steam for nothing more than five minutes.

I turn my attention to the pan. Honestly, this is an unholy mess. The beef has unbelievably shrunk some more. To add salt to injury, they are super glued to the pan. I try and try to scrape them off the pan, but nothing, they will not budge. I check the fridge for more meat, I have none. I check the freezer, there is nothing there but sausages and pre boiled beans. Darn it! Back to the pan, I scrap with all my might. Now I am talking to the meat, please come off the pan, I promise to make you look better than you do. It is not working. I lay a table mat on the floor, and bang the living daylights out of the pan. We shall eat this meat by force by fire! I am banging away when I smell something sickly sweet. Cabbage! My vegetables! Double Chieth! I turn the knobs and pull off the covers to find that what was meant to be slightly steamed has turned black.

Tititititititititi! My phone rings, my timer alerts me that my time is up.

I stand back and look at my kitchen. What the hell just happened?

 

Image Credits.

Illicit love and secret chats

Of wives with sponsors and husbands with concubines…

If there is anything as old as the earth, it is sin. We all know far too well that there is nothing tastier than forbidden fruit, especially if that fruit comes with old flames and a waistline tighter than your fanbelt.

It all started in the garden of Eden, where man was clearly told not to eat of the tree of knowledge. The flesh however is very weak and we all have given in ; one time or another, and decided to find out what this fruit tastes like.

Yes, that which we should not have is what we desire the most. Todays technology makes our wanting and the process of getting far too easy. Smart phones come with all manner of applications that will keep our secrets. From codes that should bear more than the required capital letter, numeric, Egyptian Hieroglyphic alphabet, blood from a virgin, to those that ask to scan your pupil to allow access. I will share the story of my pal John, whose discovery of a nifty new chat that has a “for your eyes” only ability, and will literally self-distract in one second; and how this app helped fan old flames into an inferno .

Telegram; will be the death of marriage and many a stable relationship. Either that or it will save many, given that what you do not know will proverbially not kill you.

On a slow Saturday afternoon, as he was “ funguaring lock” John stumbled across Telegram which promised to work better than all other chat apps. So , being a curious cat, he downloaded Telegram, and scrolled through the many delightful features and pleasantly hilarious emoticons. He then saw the New group option with its icon of two grey coloured persons. Right under it was New secret chat with is icon of a padlock. Mmmmmhhhhhh? Wharrizthis? (I hope you can see him teetering at the edge of a very steep cliff, the bottom of which is deep red molten lava whispering his name).

John quickly clicks on the new secret chat icon, which took him to all of his contacts who were already using Telegram. He could not understand why his heart was beating a little faster.

He scrolled down his contact list, arranged neatly in alphabetical order, A, B, C, he wondered if everyone he knew was named by letter C. Goodness! Will this never end? He reached M…his mother was on telegram? Why? Note to self “ask her why she is one here and how she got here before me…nkt! Cucu manyanga business will be the end of me!

His patience is waning, but he is also distracted by the profile photos his contacts have put up. John continues scrolling down just a little longer… the experience is borderline exhilarating. Is this what the white “ masters “ felt as they picked out slaves? A light skinned girl, right next to another “light “ skinned girl, he knows for a fact she bought her shade of yellow, he hopes she can get her money back. “ Look at this one, whose child is that he is holding?” Surely some of these pictures require captions. By Ceasar! This one has lost weight, she looks fantastic, he hopes her bitch levels have reduced as much as her girth. And ooooooh! There was his favourite niece, looking all grown up… perhaps a little less cleavage would do…clearly her mother is not on Telegram; another note to self “ask her how she is doing, and if she has a boyfriend” such photos are obviously designed to strike jealously or get attention, children of nowadays! A few more none interesting photos and then he saw a photo reading team money, name saved as Shetani….he is confused. Who is this? Mmmmmmh….and then it hit him, the “team money” aka Shetani fell into his black list after feeding him BS on why he could not repay the 50k John loaned him. And now he is team money? Shetani kweli! Another note to self “call the looser and demand my money…team money my ass!” Maskini Jeuri, Nkt!

John reached the end of his contact list, marked by the last contact, named X. Accompanying photo is of a blusing bride, and she is breath taking. John clicks on it to magnify, and his breath is taken away. “She got married? Kwani when did we achana?” Quick math and it doesn’t seem right, it has barely been 18 months! WTH?

It is hot, very hot. He pushes open the window with a little more force than required. Its not enough… he walks to the door and kicks it open. Johns is now pacing and doesn’t even know it…surely, she did not get married! He had always harboured feelings for her, and felt sure he would have one more hook up. Sigh! She meant it when she broke it off. Bloody hell!
The unanswered questions are begging for answers, surely he deserves answers and “closure”. As if al the name calling and new marital status of “X” were not closure enough. John just could not let it go, he decided to text her.

But wait she is married.
What if she gets in trouble?
But she is a grown woman! She will decide for herself, and it is just a question!
Mmmmmh! I will secret chat her.
Back to the menu, open secret chat.

A little window with instructions appears.

Use end to end encryption
Leave no trace on our servers
Have a self destruct timer
Do not allow forwarding

*insert angels voices singing Halleluya!

Baaaaaaas! Problem solved!
Deep breathe.
John type “Hello!” clicks send.
Then he realized how cheesy that looks….the kikuyu cover immediately starts playing in your mind.
He is now grinning foolishly, yes, she always did make him smile.
Then you remember about the James Bondesque self-destruct element.
Where is it? Aha…
He sets the timer for 1 minute… then he wonders what type of people use the one second option… true secret agents? Or the high risk takers? Anyway, if she does not respond in the one minute then you will know.

His phone vibrates, with an unfamiliar tone. It must be her!

As my dear John seats across from me relating of the activities that followed, I quietly wonder how many other people are sliding down this same slope, rediscovering, ruffling feathers, dancing with the devil.
Is the grass greener on the other side?

 

Picture credits.