Archive for July 2011 | Monthly archive page
A tweep and blogger called @EGichomo has began a blog, and by extension, a reading appreciation campaign called My 5 Links. A blogger basically shares a lists of his/her own 5 posts in 5 pre-determined categories. They then nominate 5 other bloggers to do the same. So far @EdGicovi @Wamathai and @Woozie_M have tagged me.
Therefore in keeping with my crazy fear of ‘chain mail curses’ *ahem*, here goes nothing…
My Most Popular Post:
This is a tough one because I gauge a post’s popularity by (of course) comment love etc but also by the feedback that I get outside of the blog. By that measure, One day I wrote for the LA Times Magazine ranks the highest. As the title suggests, one day I did write for these very cool guys. It was really short, 30 words but getting my byline in a major publication was humbling and a huge pat on the back. And when I met the band members after and they said how happy they were with the ka-review I was satisfied that I had indeed ‘told their tale’ in a fitting manner, 30 words notwithstanding.
Post that Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved
For selfish reasons I have decided to thrust my list of Best.Beloved.Books up in your faces because my birthday, August 30th is exactly 30 days away! Ha! And also to highlight the fact that literature has that amazing quality of ‘ever freshness’ and longevity. The written word shall never die and shall never run out of style. It will continue to heal, mend or break (where need be) and I just want to share once more some of the books that have stayed with me over the years….Also the birthday thing
Post Whose Success Surprised Me
I can vividly recall the day I wrote this. I was in my office with some free time on my hands and on the final leg of a break up. I’d just gotten around reading The Little Prince, a gift from a wonderful friend of mine when I opened a Word doc and just started writing this silly little story. The result was Twinkle & Shine, my first, and honest to God, unwittingly written children’ story. I though it was a silly little post but people actually liked it! I’m glad. Interestingly, making the illustrations was the fun and therapeutic bit.
My Most Controversial Post
Ha! That’s an easy pick. Sweetie my %$#@^&* was me and my maddest! It caused trouble that post, but in the aftermath I still stand by my words. I hope they reached the right ears.
Post I Am Most Proud Of
Quick info bit. This blog is now 1 year and 6 days old. Yaaay.The truth is, for years I hated the idea of blogging. I thought it was too self-absorbing and very confusing (to a great extend both remain true) however, I have come to enjoy it immensely. The post I am most proud of is my first one Hello World which until I dug up from my archives I had assumed I had saved as ‘M.A.P’ *face palm*. Thanks to the hidden hand of Fate that led Buddha Blaze and Wamathai enter my life that one year and probably 2 weeks ago, I have a place to share my wacky thoughts over the Interwebs. Reading through that post again reminds me of how far I have come and all the enthusiasm, fear and love I still hold in my heart.
Thank you for being witnesses of My Ambitions and Perspectives.
I hereby tag
I’m very particular about titles and keeping things professional in the work place. Sure, I kid around with my bosses, clients and carry-on with my colleagues but I always know my place and I expect the people I deal with to do the same.
Ha! Maybe I should have begun by stating why I do so. It’s simple; I’m a big believer in being courteous and respectful to others-regardless of rank. And, that one must always realize that work relationships are delicate things.
Also, I always have it in me to fight being put into certain ‘boxes’, you know the ‘did she or didn’t she get here by merit and hard work?’ Sure, one should not listen to the whispers out there but if you start from the very beginning being capable and having a good track record it will certainly speak for you.
Ok , enough with the digressing, the reason I am going on and on about ‘work relations’ and ‘respect’ is because a male colleague who repeatedly calls me ‘sweetie’ and ‘sweetheart’ went too far yesterday when I reminded him to stop. The first time he’d said it was over the phone as he tried to convince me to help him out with some work.
I told him, ‘dude, if you want me to help you, you don’t have to call me sweetheart, simply ask.’ But when he said it a second time on another phone call of the same nature, I took it upon myself to remind him when we met the next day.
That as when he said, ‘Kwani you are gay? Only gay people don’t like to be called sweetie.’
*hold up, wait a minute!*
Fighting the urge to punch his face, I very calmly told him that no, I was not gay only that I have boundaries and do not like to have colleagues call me ‘sweetie’. He seemed unmoved.
See, here’s the thing I am a glutton for compliments and love cute terms of endearment. Hell, I have a cold right now and feel like an ogre crashing about the office dressed in pajamas! Do I want to hear the world shower me with flowery words and get all buddy-buddy with every Tom, Dick and Harry? Sure, why not? But please, please, please NOT work colleagues and certainly not those who automatically assume that turning down a ‘cutesy’ title makes you gay.
I expect that some may think, girl lighten up, its harmless. Well, it isn’t to me. Call me paranoid, prudish or whatever but in my ears that ‘sweetie’ was loaded with* for lack of more accurate terms other than ‘ninis’ and the inability to describe gut-feeling* presumptions, sexism and it was a little condescending.
In any case, there are SO many ways to spin this stupid thing this one man said, but I will leave it at that because I don’t want to stereotype. Mind you, this is my second experience with such a Neanderthal and I have just cause to rant but thankfully I have met far more gentlemen in my time to believe that all men are such duds.
However, *a word of caution to this tale* I’d like to kindly request men (and women) to listen to the words that come out of an individual’s lips. If he/she has reservations about something will you bloody pay attention? Also, if perhaps calling a person ‘sweetie’ is supposed to be A. a precursor to wanting to take things further, perhaps out of the work place, make sure that the attention is welcome B. you are just chummy and are like that, darling *wink, wink* it’s about time you realize that not everybody is!
I tucked in my wayward knees, giving room to the women dashing up and down the corridor leading to and from the cooking area. A line of seesawing washcloths grazed the back of my neck and I ducked down my head too. Cradling my useless body to myself, I sat on a bench next to two old ladies, waiting for my cousin to pack my parcel of food.
Orders rent the air. Nipe sinia mbili, Hassani na vijana wa Ba-Suleimman wamekuja…Kuna pili pili?…Vikombe je?…Haya tosha… The army of lesso-swathed women trooped up and down the dimly lit path, shouted across to their counterparts manning enormous sufurias steaming with the day’s delicacies. Pilau. Wali mweupe. Mtuuzi wa nyama. Kachumbari.
A little girl, pink hijab, white dress, plastic shoes, balanced a half eaten plate of food on the edge of a stone stab then dashed off. Then, three women hovered at the mouth of the corridor. The first, bespectacled, searched our faces. She calculated measure of attention due by age, skin tone, nose bridges and attire. Satisfied…
Buttock slightly lifted from bench, hands clasped, warm lips met the receptive expanse on the back of the intertwined hands. A few words were exchanged. Pleasantries, as the three threw meaningful glances towards the end of the corridor. Somebody rushed in, spotted their status and the food sentries received a fresh order.
It was lovely listening to the old ladies speak. Acrobatic tongues. Swahili sanifu flowered sweet as halua in a breezy cadence as they idly chatted up the strangers. Then as soon as their backs turned, before my eyes sat daughters of Mumbi with tongues that dripped sugarcane sweet. Thika straddled two worlds with ease.
And when your house is so close to the mosque sometimes the echoes of Mwathinis long sang continue to resound. Somewhere in the sing-song verses that had wafted into the sitting room thick and strong that afternoon had been the names of all the souls we’d lost. “Walitaja kila mtu? Maskini, ndugu yangu ndiye aliyekuwa akitayarisha majina…Mungu Amrehemu.”
“Ni vizuri umekuja,” said the tall, lanky man. Mvi danced around Jomba Hanifa’s coal black hair, his eyes were bright, mischief dancing inside them too. His smile was wide and infectious. He always had a Big-G in his jacket pocket.
It was my 20th birthday, a bouquet of roses in hand; I nervously stood by the door patting the bulge in my bag outlining my two mismatched lessos. This was the first of two ceremonial stops of the day.
“Utapelekwa makaburini na baba, sawa?” said Mama Kachui as she waved us goodbye. We could still hear her high-pitched voice as the car joined the road. Her quick hands were already working on something else.
Time has washed away the conversation made during the drive to the burial site. Education. Brother. Thika politics. Old memories. Laughter. Probably.
The car pulled to a stop in a medium-sized open field bumpy with slabs of cement, long grass and trees. He knew where they all lay sleeping. The generations of strangers and friends who were my kin. He pointed out homes where my eyes only saw unremarkable knots of grass.
He instructed me to pour water on her head, tummy and feet. I did so, hands trembling as he posed a few feet away. We did the same for the others we’d lost.
I’ve heard that when a loved one passes on and you set a day aside for Hitima prayers for the repose of his/her soul, you should feed the children who come to the mosque well because God listens more keenly to the prayers of children.
My jomba left behind two little grandkids and just the other day his eldest daughter Kachui had a dream where her father appeared to her. She was feeding one of her sister (Zainabu)’s kids while he was urging her to go with him. When she protested, saying she had to feed the boy first, he said that ‘the boy was already full and his mother will be fine.’ A few days later, through her son, Zainabu has won an amazing and life changing gift.
As for me, I left with my parcel of food but next year when it’s time to make the ceremonial trip again, I will take an extra jug of water for my jomba.
In loving memory of Jomba Hanifa on the occasion of his first death anniversary and for all the souls we’ve lost.