Nobody does Christmas quite like Kenyans. The festivities are quite an occasion. For the two odd weeks during which the ‘festive season proper’ occurs (keeping in mind that the carols and “Christmas sales” have been going on since November), life changes for a lot of people. For some, it means that the shops have odd, gyrating robot men encouraging them to spend money on things they didn’t need because prices have been slashed, for others it means that the boss will surprise them with a bonus, and for the lucky it means idling the hours away from some Coastal retreat somewhere, even though most of the time will be spent ‘retreating’ from the crowds of people that had exactly the same destination in mind…
Christmas is one of the very few times that Kenyans forget that money can only do so much, and they spend on all sorts of things, from gifts and clothes to liquor and parties.
Christmas in Kenya is something beyond special. Some time in the 90s, Christmas meant eating chapati, pilau and chicken, delicacies reserved for the most special of special occasions, seeing family from Lord Knows Where at specially arranged gatherings, dressing up in new clothes and showing off to anyone who cared. It was then when trees would be cut and decorated with cotton wool (tropical ‘snow’) and shiny garlands, along with lights and ‘fruits’. The whole point was to faithfully recreate the family scenes and presents that were shown on TV, while raising the holiday spirits for everyone involved.
At the core of Christmas is family. The whole point of the holidays is to get people together so that they can celebrate something shared, something of value, and to look forward to the new year.
Merry Christmas everyone, and may joy, peace and blessings be yours this festive season.
The thing with being human, having a heart, is that you end up gathering a lot of baggage on the way, trying to get over the past without making a mess of the future. I want to change the past. To go back to the forks in the road where I took the road not taken (poetry reference win) and take the road that’s taken more. Having taken a course with such promise, only to realize that I would end up doing something completely unrelated at work, having blown off a unit in school that I could have followed up on and made something of, having a bagful of what-ifs that dig deeper and deeper into my back as I carry them along, picking more along the way…
I want a time machine to go back in time with, bearing the knowledge that I have now, changing things, well aware that I will not be the same person.
I want to be free of guilt. I want a blank slate. But this slate has been painted on. Nothing can be written on without crossing lines that have been written before.
Maybe I’m just taking on more loads than I can handle. Not maybe, definitely. That’s what I’m doing.
I could just change, instead of struggling with an ever blunter pencil.
Sharpener… Nice allusion.
I sharpen my pencil and draw some more, make plans to ease myself out of the mess I have fallen into, instead of picturing how I shall fall asleep inside it and drown.
But I have the light within myself to counter it.
Counter it I shall.
The snake is a fascinating creature… Every so often it sheds its skin and gets a chance to grow. Moulting, they call it. And it’s a confusing time for the snake. Pretty much everything it knows ceases to exist. Its eyes get clouded over and it can’t see, it has to lie still for extended periods of time, making it exceptionally vulnerable, it pretty much just shuts down. It doesn’t have an option.
Then comes the transformation. The skin sloughs off, and the snake has a flawless blank canvas to work on. old scars are gone, while the senses that it had lost come back. Restored, the snake has to grow as fast and as much as it can before the new skin hardens in place.