Back, way way back when i was a kid and thugs never had the audacity to hijack the president’s BMW, all the stories my grandmother used to narrate to us would always begin with ‘tene tene muno re (a long long time ago). She narrated them with an aura of pride and authority; authority most likely picked while working for Sir Evelyn Barlin (why does he have a feminine name?).
Stories about Ogres, the ever smart ‘wakafoko’ (rabbit), the greedy ‘hiti’ (Hyena) and other animals. Stories of valor that left us wide eyed, hearts beating, wanting more, wishing to be the heroes of our generation.
After having a dinner which would at times consist of ‘mukimo’, the green one which was made of mashed potatoes and pumpkin leaves, we would gather around the fire. Granny would push some firewood into the lazy flames then ask my young bro to blow into the fire to rekindle it.
The fire would burst into multiple bright yellow flames which converged a few inches at the top of the three stones that surrounded it. She would leave one side empty for roasting bananas. Roasted bananas are delicious.
Talking of the stolen BMW, am i the only who feels like this whole thing is scripted? I mean, a vehicle belonging to the prezzy which gets jacked and is found miles away in Tororo Uganda? Hii haingii akilini. And if indeed it is true then that guy who jacked it deserves a medal, perhaps a job as the prezzy’s driver.
During story time while she was busy narrating and checking whether the bananas were ready, grandpa would be huddled in the corner, completely oblivious of his darlings’ story telling prowess. He would be busy trying to tune his 2 band transistor radio to Radio BBC which always had a crackling sound. At times it made me think that perhaps the presenter was struggling to pop out of the radio.
Grandpa’s stories never started with tene tene muno re, not his. His were stories of war in Burma and Madras where he fought for Queen and money and Army biscuits. How he had to walk barefoot across a jungle day and night just to get to the recruitment point where the colonials were picking foot soldiers to fight for the Queen.
While chewing his food, sweat would line his cheekbones; a fact he explained as a close shave with a bullet probably fired by some scared English soldier. Friendly fire they call it.
One day i will also narrate stories……..
Based on actions i don’t need to tell you about, i do believe i will have grand kids someday, and i foresee myself employing the story telling prowess of my dear granny:
“Tene tene muno re, in the land of Kenya (pause for dramatic effect as the melodious sounds of Moipei sisters do a rendition of Roger Whitaker’s ‘my land is Kenya’) there was a sleek, armoured BMW 7 series and a ruler whose father was the founding ruler, the only Mzee who had the audacity and freedom of calling himself after his country.
And then there was Mwangi, a daring young man who was brought up in the age of great inventors like Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg when the easiest way to say everything and nothing was via Tweets and Face Book updates.
Mwangi loved games. His fav was GTA. He also loved Black Berries but this has no bearing here.
Then one day while the ruler was visiting his house beside the big ocean, a house so big that it took 3 days to travel from one end to the other, Mwangi was busy playing GTA 5 in his crib. The ruler went to the Ocean and swam with the dolphins as the usually lethargic Waswahili watched him, mouths agape, astonishment and awe written all over their faces. They would have wanted to tell him of their many problems.
He would have listened to them, but Mwangi happened.
This boy and his GTA gimmics.
So the ruler received a call from his security detail. he walked calmly on the white, sandy beach as the wind beat furiously on the hairs around his elbows.
SD: “Over over boss!”
SD: “BMW 7 series, armoured sleek beast.”
SD: “It has grown feet, wore Bata Bullets and ran away!”
R: “Mavi ya kuku wewe!” (feaces of chicken, you J)
R: “What happened?”
SD: “Mwangi happened. This boy and his GTA thing!”
And so the ruler left the dolphins and sandy beaches and went back to his other big house where he probably had more sleek BMWs and he did not bother about Mwangi.
Mwangi was left to continue with his GTA thing.
And the sleek BMW that had grown feet, wore Bata Bullets and ran away was found in a neighbouring country, resting, at peace and completely unharmed.”
End of story and we can go back to our tweets and soso media!