This Saturday marks two years since my friend hoodwinked me to stand for his wedding in Thika.
It all started one Saturday morning when I was lazing in the house pretending to be reading the papers.But looking for an opportunity to sneak out when missus was not watching me.Luckily my phone vibrated with certain urgency.
‘Mundu wa Njambi, come over I buy you meat at Kenol’.
It was my friend Chege Wa Njeri.Whom we call Wa Njeri in short.Wa Njeri rarely buys anything so this was an opportunity to make him pay on all that I have bought him since our days in college.
Before he had cut the call, I had already put on my Jomo leather jacket and cowboy hat. Then hit the road to Kenol.Shortly, I was at Bombay Inn at Kenol- the place where burnt meat sizzles like small volcanoes.
‘You see this man, we have come from very far with him.’
My friend starts, using the waitress as audience.She is called Wanja, a daughter of Mumbi with dimples each worth a plot along Thika Road.The hills of Murang’a have girls I tell you.
‘Ebu give him one to wipe dust with. I dont like anybody joking with this man.’ Wanja promptly serves me a drink.
Wa Njeri continues massaging my neck,preparing it for slaughter.
‘Wee, Wanja, bring that meat.If its overburnt wee bit, we are not eating it! I dont want aibu ndogo ndogo before this great man.’ Wa Njeri shouts at the waitress.
I smile sheepishly- its good being polite to your benevolent host you know.Moreso when he is in an ultra philanthropic mood.
‘You recall the day we got stranded at Habaswein and fed on camel meat and pasta for four days?’
I nod twice.Wanja the dimply lassie clears the table.Wa Njeri asks for two rounds.
‘You recall the day we flew from Wajir to Nairobi and then the small plane refused to remove its legs when we were about to land at Wilson?’
I nod thrice.Wa Njeri asks Wanja to bring us three rounds.
My mango shaped head has by now figured out that on this blessed Saturday that the Lord has made, one nod equals one round.And two nods equals two rounds.Ad infitum.
‘Man, you will die while I am in the bathroom.’
When a Kikuyu man tells you that, what he means is that he will do anything for you.
Anyway, I nod four times.With nods so hard that my head hits the table and goes shoosh until I see stars yet its not night time.
Instead of honouring me with four rounds,Wa Njeri tells me to be careful with my head since it has a very important task ahead.
After feasting on a mould of roast meat big enough to offer burnt sacrifice for a god of a small religion, we burp to tell Wanja that it was burnt well.Then we start reminiscing about our escapades in Northern Kenya.
When it started getting dark, my friend said its good that we left so that we can reach home when we could still see ourselves.
At the car park, Wa Njeri removed a toothpick from his mouth,hiccuped,then slurred:
‘Na umenye ni ukarugamirira uhiki wakwa’.
You will have to be in my bridal party.
All along he had never at any time mentioned that he had a wedding coming up.Mostly because most men are forced to do church wedding by their ‘kali’ wives.
After that , he powered his aging pickup towards Thika Road, its single headlamp lighting the way ahead like a mono-eyed ogre.This fella can buy drinks enough to float a small boat but cant replace a headlamp of Ksh 1,200.Anyway, forget him.My jalopy is no better condition.
I am not particulary fond of weddings.Most of the weddings I have attended is because either missus dragged me there.Or my little girls cajoled me to take them to see ‘Bibi Harusi’.I am yet to hear somebody say that they went to a wedding to see Bwana Harusi.Weddings arent for men.
Anyway, I mulled over the idea of standing for a wedding in my mango shaped head which was now going shoosh with ale.
Standing for a wedding means wearing a kitenge shirt that matches with your trousers which matches with your boxers.And having ladies wearing kitenges dresses that match with their headgears.Which match with their kamithis which in turn match with your boxers.
All thirty of you.
Standing for a wedding means spending a whole day with the bridal party drinking sodas at the high table until a Fat Lady sings in shrill voice..harusi tunayo! Then the place breaks into frenzied hour long dancing.
Standing for a wedding also means hearing the bride and bridegroom utter impossible vows like ’till death do us part’ or ‘in health or in pain’.
But since it wasnt my wedding and I wasnt the one to utter those impossible vows, I saw no harm in attending it.
I didnt know the trouble I was bringing myself into.I will tell you about them in Part 2.