Silent Heroes.

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Unique. If ever a word was used to describe all six billion of us, that would be unique. No two people, sisters, brothers or friends will ever be the same. Each of us have a dream that spurs us on, a vision for a future and most interesting of all, spaces of comfort. Be it in the pages of an exciting book, the exhilaration of an outdoor adventure, or a classy dinner with friends. Somewhere along the way however, there is that one thing that we can’t help but smile about. And now I find there is a pleasure we have in common. The captivating open road.

Transport has been necessary since before the inception of the wheel, and now it is a luxury afforded by the majority (yes matatus count). However short the trip, something about being in a car moving at speeds far beyond our physical capability is exciting. You always get lost in your thoughts ten minutes into a ride. Then along the way if the trip is long enough you can’t help but be awed. Simple glass windows separating you from the ravages of cold and a howling wind suddenly become animated portraits. The landscape whizzing by suddenly comes to life if you’re gliding across the countryside. How beautiful Mother Nature is. How exciting it would be to go up that cliff-side. How about a picnic on that grassy meadow under the warmth of the sun. Another gem is to be driving in a buzzing metropolis; to marvel at the detail in the sky scrapers. Amuse yourself in trying to decide where the pedestrian who just jogged past you is headed. Other times, the muted hum of the engine and the soft whirring of the air conditioning ushers us into our deepest thoughts and we seldom notice what passes by.

Come day’s end, we all have a single destination in mind. Dulce Domum, Latin for Home, Sweet Home. Home, where you look forward to seeing someone who you held in your thoughts. There in lies our default setting, the assumption that we will indeed share a meal. Then lumber of to our beds to blissful dreams and perhaps share that too. In the grand scheme of things I have found we oft take a lot of things for granted… Living day after day without realizing how lucky we were to see that familiar background. Only after narrow escapes do we realize the gravity of our unwitting blind faith. Three times I can count…

On one occasion, I recall  an evening after a busy day at school. I wasn’t too picky  that day, blame it on fatigue and hunger. I sat at the back of a small Nissan van (*matatu), not caring to check for perhaps this was an ol’ chum soon to be retired. That proved to be my folly. As we neared home, on a busy hilltop in our city’s industrial suburb, the chassis’ rear axle snapped and we lost a wheel. I was intrigued to find the grating sound beneath me was metal scraping against tarmac. Unlike what one would expect in such harrowing ordeals there were few final prayers. I guess this was because the collective mood was one of the exhausted employee/student. The second, was on a bus ride with one of my closest friends. We had just successfully completed an intense hike through a hilly coastal countryside and now the heroes were heading home. Along the way, speeding on the highway, we suddenly noticed the oil tanker in front of us had come to a stop. Given our high speeds, coming to a standstill before collision was out of the question. The next best option was to overtake but that was straight into a fender bender with an on-coming truck. In the last few seconds, pandemonium struck. I heard muffled cries, hushed prayers and a few curses thrown in for good measure. I was perturbed however by my accomplice. She seemed disinterested. One would say, she threw in a yawn for good measure. Bless her the poor child, she must have been mortified. To my left a mother held her children in close embrace. Eventually we banked of the tarmac and were saved by the rough road. In that instance we were collectively thankful.

Ah this last one, is close to my heart. I was driving my friends to camp and nearly got overrun. I guess the driver on the other lane got his estimates wrong and attempted to overtake assuming he would do so before we crossed each other’s paths. Oh how wrong he was. As I pumped down on the breaks, my thoughts immediately went to my passengers. They had wholeheartedly put there lives in my hands. We swerved out of that tricky situation. That was when I realized, drivers are unsung heroes. Where as a passenger on the backseat, yours is a quiet, calm and thoughtful adventure; the driver’s is a dashboard battlefield with the view of a fish eye lens. All he follows is his centre line on the black top. So keen is he that he has little time for the sunset or the flock of birds crossing the blue skies. Full of prudence is she that she’s always ready for the odd pedestrian, cow or zebra dashing across the road.

Our driver, usually referred to as the ground pilot. We entrust them with our lives for those fleeting moments when their mettle is tested. They too would love to freeze up in fear, cry in despair and close their eyes to the near accident but no. They are called into action. It is their noble duty to afford you the pleasure of that warm embrace, cosy fire and snug bed back home. So as you hitch your next ride, pay your pilot a compliment. Recognize their role in the safety of your trip as you snooze to the ambient noises.

A toast to our ground pilots, these unsung heroes. Bon Voyage

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The Pecking Order.

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Meet Tevin Nzei and Sorce Ndung’u. Charming. Debonair. Suave.

About the title; there’s a pun in there somewhere I’m sure you’ll get it. Once upon a time Tall, dark and handsome was deemed noteworthy. That has now become the modern-day myth. Or at the very least in all my years I found it was swiftly replaced with another. The scourge of the light skin…

Despite the fact that our thoughts dictate our actions. Deep down by design we still have basic instinct. Nature dictates that only the swiftest and strongest of the bunch is chosen. We would like to sit and chat with someone before calling them special. Watch their eyes light up when you make them happy. But like a devil on your shoulder, whispering to your subconscious your body gravitates towards attractive strangers. Usually the female form will always peak the man’s interest. Appreciating how that dress hugs her skin as she struts along the periphery. Or ladies delighting in the well chiseled body of a muscular gent.

Out of all possible characteristics and personalities, The society has exalted a class of persons based on lighter complexion and not much else. The benchmark of beauty regardless of gender is now based solely on skin-tone. I included imagery so that we have a clear understanding of how far down the rabbit hole we dove. Using the lads in the picture as a standard no offence to them, quite saintly they are, the lighter the better. We see it all the time tall, dark and handsome falling a distant second to light-skin. Chubby, skinny, bearded, funny, all disregarded. For the guys ladies swoon at the sight of them forgetting the now less ‘shiny’ suitors. But it doesn’t end there. Oft times jokes are made about how little work one has to do with a lighter shade of skin. A smile and a wink the equivalent of days of detective work, perfect timing, seeking out phone numbers and ‘coincidental and random’ meetings. Chums, that is what I call them, men who forget the bitter-sweet story that is courtship punctuated with colourful rejection.

For gender equality’s sake, light-toned ladies have chaps jumping hurdles and sometimes over each other just to be seen by their side. Shallow perhaps but this fad has overtaken my locality and I can’t help but cry foul. I see sisters resigned to burying their faces under layers of foundation. Believe me I have several, sisters that is, so I fully understand the worth of a woman’s make up. However going from attractive brown skin to near snow-white complexion is not only a marvel but a fear that keeps many a man up at night. Do let’s not digress, we will revisit this skillful many-faced art. Royalty is what we have made them out to be. Day after day we praise so said ladies, proclaiming of their profound beauty. “Rangi ya thao” loosely translated means invaluable and attractive skin haha. Unreplied messages and missed calls are acceptable, all manner of favours and late hours put in all to sate the wanton needs of the light-skinned lady/mami.

Quite true this is a sad reality, the society yet again imprisoning our freedom of thought by creating ‘norms’ that oft demoralize and discourage an unsuspecting innocent. How are we to create meaningful friendships and relationships with the odds stacked so highly in another’s favour. One way or another we have lost or won a consort by this rule of thumb. In the end I was forced to go to the mountains and seek wisdom. As it is said, the answer often lies within. The secret ingredient is not really skin but Confidence.

Through the society’s veil they have received confidence in leaps and bounds by inadvertently taking from others. The buck stops here. Try to call back a memory from days long since passed. It so happens you met someone, possibly even shared a greeting but they soon forgot you. Take no offence you were having a low day and your gloom dampened your usually cheerful spirits. On a different day you meet a stranger and after an unspoken hello, you leave such an impression they consciously make an effort to get back to you. That dear friends is the power of confidence, and no you don’t have to go to the mountains. We all have it aplenty. It is with this tool I will level the playing field Master Tevin Nzei of the stubble and golden skin.

Take heed, it is our imperfections, the little things that make us different that help us stand out. Being decent, funny and thoughtful is worth a lot more than deceptively good looks. But I guess it’s true, your looks get you to the door. Edit that and say your bubbling self-confidence knocks the doors down. I was born chocolate and did I lose out on one or two companions? Irrelevant. Your story is your own to write and narrate. Disclaimer: This article is not a threat. Nor is it to be accepted as advice. These are just the musings of a student in the school of life fabricated by colourful imagination. The characters therein and their names are probably fictional are only sought to help convey the writer’s impression.

Alpha. To be a man.

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What is it to be a man?

A question that haunts the dreams. A quandary that reigns supreme in the nightmares of all lads, big and small, young and old. To say that an answer to such a mystery exists and any mere mortal knows it, preposterous! An act equal to that of challenging The Creator for only He can succinctly know all there is to be known, for after all He is omniscient. However being directly affected one may hazard a guess. It goes something along the lines of… A man primarily fends for himself and those he holds dear. He will put the needs of others before his own. He shall, solely by the sweat of his brow and the bending of his back work tirelessly to better himself. And to seek out what would seemingly be a reason for his existence. He shall carry his problems silently. Discretely bear the cross of the consequences of his decisions, adverse or otherwise. To be a man is to stand up to defend what rightfully belongs to oneself. When frightened facing fear with courage so ferocious, trepidation becomes a strength rather than a weakness. It means a mastery of the four cardinal virtues; Fortitude, Justice, Prudence and Temperance. To be a man is not a matter of your gender orientation or sexual predisposition. Male or female we all either answer the call to ‘man up’ or cower in fear and grovel through a shamed and miserable existence.

That said, it does seem like a daunting task. So much so we may be tempted not to rise and be counted. A sage once said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of adversity maintain their neutrality.” The most defining thing about moving on from blissful childhood is taking control. We need to be able to make our own decisions. It does not mean you have to be a stellar citizen no, far from it. It just means when you decide to hit the snooze button, wake up late and miss your meeting. You admit none else is to blame but yourself and you can live with that fact. Choose to be lazy not letting your body weigh you down. That in itself speaks volumes about courage or blatant stupidity. As with all else it’s a matter of perspective.

In whatever challenge you face, it would be ill advised to go with the flow. Once the chips fall whatever follows will be much easier to face if the decision made was yours whether well thought out or brash. There’s an air of confidence in living in a world of your own making that will cushion you from regret. Try it today, life’s tough but this way it will be bearable.

Vampiri

Mystery at its most promising
Mystery at its most promising

Mmmh, a warning to the faint of heart. I’d like to share a fascination of mine and what comes next is either going to be mind-blowing or a fruitless read. I guess that’s the fun of it, the mystery behind the outcome and what feelings it will invoke. I think it’s time we took a trip back to the days of old, yonder long before the inception of electricity. When it was considered ludicrous to sit indoors day and night. When man, lad or lady lived by the sweat of his brow tilling the land under the scorching sun or braving the biting winter cold hunting for game. I know I know no one still speaks like that. But surely it beats “Once upon a time…” 😀 How? You ask. I don’t seem to have a time machine lying around so I guess we could fall back to something we all do possess. Human imagination. Albert Einstein once said “Logic will take you from point A to point B; but imagination will take you everywhere.” And the man was brilliant so you’re in safe hands.

A story is told of Vlad Tepes, third of his name. Whose title was Dracula. He was a prince to a small but formidable kingdom based in Transylvania. A ferocious warrior in his youth having slain more foes on the battle field than any other. He earned the title Vlad the Impaler, lets not get into the gory details of what that entails. The grim reaper of his domain. But like all men, we are destined to fall prey to love with all her wiles. He found his beloved who tamed the beast inside. Don’t get your hopes up, there was no happy ever after. A tyrant king laid claim to our hero’s home. He demanded our hero’s son alongside the rest of the kingdom. Looks familiar yea, a movie you should have watched by now. The long and short of it is, Vlad was forced to make a deal with the embodiment of evil. He would become quite literally a superhero; swift as the wind, mighty as the ocean, immortal. Everything he needed to be in exchange of his humanity. Just three days he was told and his curse, a craving for human blood would be lifted. Life is never that easy, he failed. His woman was slain and it is with her dying life blood in his throat he rose undead as the first of a new species of predator. The first vampire. Romantic don’t you think.

Enough of that hogwash, let us approach this from an entirely scientific point of view. Some tend to think that just as man evolved from the Neanderthal man, the process of evolution is far from over. Homo sapiens was smarter and better suited to survive his predecessor. Theory of evolution 101. Well we might just be about to receive the boot too. There is a creature, easily mistaken for human save for the fact that it does not breath and has no pulse. Fast enough to dodge bullets, impervious to harm, much smarter than we ever could be, greater strength, enhanced sight and smell. The Homo nosferatu vampiri or homonus nocturni is that which dwells in the dark places. Other adaptations are terms such as the strogoi. It is a master predator and like turkey on Thanksgiving we are its prey. I would root for the average human but I’ve been to the gym and it’s usually empty. We don’t stand a fighting chance. Like Adam this scurge had to start somewhere. The primordial vampire has been known by many names. Dagon, Son of the dragon, Son of the devil, but most recently Dracula. “Drake” for short hehe. For a lack of haemoglobin in their blood, they feed on blood to survive and can’t seem to stand direct sunlight. These seem to be the only weaknesses. Although research material is scanty because we are its food. How many times does a well prepared meal survive a chance encounter with you for instance.

Just so that no one feels left out, their is also a rumoured origin story adapted from the Bible. Judas Ischariot was paid 30 silver coins to betray the son of God. In the end Christ hang on the cross as a direct consequence of his actions. It is well recorded somewhere in the good book that out of remorse for his actions and contempt for his miserable existence, he hung himself. Well the story continues. As the sun set and its last rays were lost to us, darkness consumed the land with the falling of night. The life was drained from his body but the rope snapped. With the darkness a new creature rose. His soul was cursed and his punishment was to roam the earth and live with his guilt. The devil gave him the ability to spread his affliction; by draining the blood of his victims, their souls too were forfeit. Vampires are deathly afraid of silver, a reminder of how cheaply Judas was bought. Crucifixes and the sign on the cross do them harm, because the traitor is reminded of his master’s fate. Death will be his absolution.

We all have that one thing that is so interesting to us it makes us weird. Well Dracula and his elk, so said Vampires are mine. There’s much more and my collection of origin stories is still growing. Rather than hide that which makes us different, I move to embrace it. A time will come to put away childish things and we are often up to the task. Imagination and great works of fiction are indeed a child’s delight but they serve primarily as an escape for all ages from morbid reality. As a parting note I have to say vampires shouldn’t be depicted as friendly, that’s just science.

Modern Day Romance

If only this were easy
If only this were easy

“Hitch: Never lie, steal, cheat or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.”

How romantic. Those words; definitely not mine. Not that I don’t have my fair share of charm about me. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard them too. Or something to that effect. Such quotes are common place in romantic motion pictures the world over. It’s funny how easy it is. At least that’s the misguided notion propagated by the movies we watch. That in just about two hours; two unsuspecting people find each other, go out for one or two dates, fall in love staring into each others eyes and live happily ever after. You never get to see the frustrating unreplied messages when she plays hard to get. Or what exactly is discussed during so said dates that is the key to love and romance. And trust me, it would be tough luck to actually manage to include that “romantic” passage in a conversation, I’ve tried. That was awkward. So watching romantic flicks, as numerous as they are is not the answer. What is then?

Living in a time when Google is the omniscient master of knowledge and the answer to all. Yeah if you haven’t tried go right ahead. And sure as I hobble on ten toes, Google does not disappoint. The answer is right there. There’s thousands of entries. However no one ever tells you that Google is not a sentient being but a collection of opinions from mortal men no different from you or I. Maybe you’ll get lucky and actually learn something that works. Most of the posts still believe that charm is the way to go and they even offer numbered steps. Fool proof they say. Ha! It would be just as easy to apply Calculus in our day to day lives.

Well, their hearts may be in the right place but there’s no one path to what you’re looking for. The destination may be the same but human beings are different. Each of them intimate. So the road will never be the same. And most of all, as things stand if you were not born in Great Britain or pursuing a degree in the English language, Shakespeare is not the go to guy anymore. Sticking to well structured articulate conversation greatly narrows down your selection pool from thousands to maybe ten if you’re living in a metropolis. Forget what the movies say, leave the English to application letters and save Google for that overdue assignment.

As things stand I am no guru nor do I know how to contact cupid. But I can tell you in my quest to upgrade from my senior bachelorhood, I tried them all. And the answer is so simple it should be put right up there with 1+1 is equal to two. Exercise patience, not every one who comes by is worth your time and effort. Be brave enough to say hi when that person comes by. Your confidence goes a long way and most of all your honesty.

I spent much too long perfecting an art. So much so I consider myself charming, debonair and suave. Big words that get you nowhere real quick. It is not an art but persons, It is not a conquest but a connection. Speak not to be heard but to be understood. Above all listen. Give more ear and less lip. In the end you’ll get more of the latter 😉

Yes I’m just another post you can search up on Google but like you, I’m trying. And every fail is a step in the right direction.