Once upon a time when i was just a little boy, a certain lady called me a dog. Yes, she did, am neither hating on her or making it up. She called me a dog using the Gikuyu language, Ngui! Insults always sound devastatingly nastier when uttered in vernacular. I mean, a rapper can easily call himself Snoop Dog, but once you translate this into vernacular it just becomes terribly vile.
You see, Waithera my mother had brought us up under strict morals and insults were frowned upon in our family. Jungle, my uncle used to call people at his favourite drinking den Ngui after giving them some serious hammering. He used to be a kick ass brawler in his younger days, but while at home the vilest insult he would utter would be ‘kwenda huko’ and this was mostly to his dog, Bosco.
This is what happened, Nelly and i were taking out Nyameni, Kairetu and a few other of our cows to graze at the “buffer zone” which separated the enterprising Gikuyu from the vicious, over dramatic Maasai whom fate chose as the icons to brand Kenya.
Our homestead is the second last just before you hit the buffer zone and there is a seasonal “Lake” right after our fence which has no name; I prefer to call it Lake Muongi, i will tell you why in a while.
Akina Carol’s place is the next homestead closer to the Maasai. The dust raised by the Morans as they went around Ngong Forest hunting ‘dead’ lions settled on akina Carol’s maize plantation.
When Lake Muongi came alive during the rainy season we used to step on some unstable, slippery rocks to cross over, balancing dangerously on a weak barbed wire fence. The traffic was one way though at times people forced it into a two way with the risk of the weaker party falling into the brown, muddy lake. I have seen countless people fall as a result of loose footing.
I never liked crossing this lake, scared me a lot coz i always imagined, in my little boys’ mind that it harboured crocodiles that would choose to chew me instead of the cows trudging in the water.
So on that particular day we were acting all macho on the rocks as our cattle literally swam through the muddy water. At times a cow would step into a hole and sink almost snout deep; the owner had to wade through to save it.
Right after the lake was old Mr Muongi’s farm (old Mr Muongi had a farm, eya eya oh!). Bwana Muongi had these specs with huge lenses which made his eyes appear much much bigger, like a cartoon character. He also had a pack of cowardly dogs which only barked at people who were desperately trying to balance themselves on their master’s weak barbed wire fence.
Back to the action. Immediately i jumped the last stone just near Muongi’s gate, a black dog jumped at me barking like its life depended on it. If you have ever been barked at when you least expected it you would know that these eish can give you a massive cardiac arrest.
The dog was almost jumping on my face, my heart at that moment was already in my stomach swimming in a mixture of boiled pumpkin and tea and water and porridge (don’t ask how i got all these into my tummy). I did what every quick thinking warrior wannabe would do, sidestepped the canine and back peddled to the last stone. Not as a sign of defeat, but to strategize (read Art of War by Sun Tzu).
Unbeknownst to me, a lady who apparently was very arrogant of traffic rules was right behind me, so i literally reversed and rammed into her as she was balancing on a stone.
I want you to get the picture very clearly. Imagine this lady, a Kiondo on her back, bare footed trying to balance on a stone, she gets rammed by a scared-three-quarter-to-death boy, and she is on the verge of falling into the muddy waters. Result, she is there doing a comical acrobatic stunt with her butt raised high, arms flapping in the air like a swan, her face all contorted in anger with her right eye closed coz i had accidentally poked it with my stick…….
Then picture me, a young boy barely scratching ten years, a black dog barking at me (by now the rest of the pack had joined too), no way to escape coz the path was already jammed by a woman who thought the sugarless tea she had for breakfast was Red Bull to give her wings……
Ultimately, she gains her balance and the first cause of action she takes is to push me against the hedge and call me Ngui. She spat at me but missed, and i watched as her aged saliva yawned, stretched and somersaulted to a hanging branch from where it dangled, glad to be free at last.
I looked at her in amazement, concentrating on the insult Ngui, every syllable assaulting me with its vileness. Me, a young, innocent boy, why didn’t she call me any other name like arrow root, rotten banana or cow dung? Or at least soften the insult by saying it in German or Russian? That way it could have hurt less….
Momentarily i forgot about the barking dogs as i looked at her slightly bent figure disappearing into the buffer zone. I wished the Maasai would spear her and feed on her Pancreas, and Duodenum!