Love is overrated, love is underrated. River Nile is the longest river in the world and sister Atis the ugliest of them all. That’s one thing about facts, they shift. One moment it’s true and tip it a little bit and it all changes. Over the years a number of philosophers and mathematicians have modelled theories that show how everything has a focal point that seems to carry the weight of the universe as it is. Religion is one such philosophy, truth be told I have had moments when I doubt the existence of a being who takes care of the diverse human population. Sadly or fortunately enough that lasts until that moment when my helplessness reminds me the lyrics of amazing grace or How great thou art? I can’t complain much given that my parents helped me see the position occupied by a deity on whose palms the fate of the universe rests. Before I end up giving a religious psychobabble, I am pushed to remember the purpose and inspiration that burned my palms to this post. Well, Malcolm Gladwell did an impeccable book called The tipping point on whose pages he convincingly admonishes the existence of a miniature action, product or event that seems to shift everything to an avalanche of success or chaos. Wade your way through that.
While I have had my share of books to read, philosophies to believe and principles to adopt, my success at finding people I can totally place my trust in has been vain. Let your take away be that as the world drinks, speaks and worship Madiba am the rebel who watches from behind the big leaf with squinted eyes and Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass as I plot to change the world as it is and paint a different picture of Madiba. Not at all. I have heard PLO Lumumba talk and It turns out as much as his prowess in grammar was mainly astounding, his depth in wisdom, plagiarised or not, is equally edifying. I remember vividly when he said, ‘There are several ways to make history, not all of them good.” It was a warm Saturday evening in the serene compound of the glorious St. Mary’s School, Yala. KCSE was approximately 1 year and 2 months away and in his eyes as he berated the status quo and how much potential the new generation had, my attention shifted to an year earlier when unbeknown to me I had lost one such person I held in equal if not better regard. Not that I had known him well, if I did it wasn’t as much as I would have liked. But then I was just a kid growing up in a chauvinistic African society where one’s family was almost limited to his fathers’. I mean the society speaks in lengths when the woman has to move in with the husband and as such home is where your dad calls home. Your mum’s relatives, although you’re let occasionally to go and visit, being fond of them was considered unmanly. Well am sure a lot of people wants to foil my analogy of this society but am sure we all can agree that our societies have more unwritten and unspoken laws that are held in very high regard, and this might just be one of them.
My tipping point, turns out to be my maternal grandfather. A man of whose few words and immense wisdom confound me to this very day. At a time when other adults saw me a child who needed to learn how the world operates he made me believe that I could change the status quo. Honestly, most times his deep voiced sentiments and comments sounded aloof but while I grew up I realised that he had been planting a seed in me. Days have gone and soon I’ll be out of campus and no man has remained significant in my transformation from the loud mouth teenager to the young adult whose struggles to be a better man has been more procrastination and little action. Sometimes I wish I could find the opportunity to say these things to him but am a little too late. Because while my field of vision is the wreck of havoc that turns out to be the world, he lies outside next to a forgotten pit latrine in his beloved home. Most times I wonder if the dead really see us, and if they do what he would say of the man I have become. But like he consistently told me, ‘’it’s the questions to whose answers we can’t find that push us to do the things we never thought possible.” Well am just a stubborn child who still thinks the sky is blue and that I can be anything I set out to be, and he was just the old man who looked down on that kid and believed he could do it all but left too soon.
I gotta admit that even though I act tough about it all and find humour at the insane things my mum’s siblings did at his funeral, which I didn’t attend. Deep down am more lost and pained by his demise all these years later. Many people would say that that’s the problem of loving too much, but he would say, “if you can’t love with your all, why love at all.” If he’s looking at me from wherever he is I hope the person I’ve become makes him smile and if he doesn’t I hope to be the person he wanted me to be.
Oooh and while he was gone, America elected a Black President with Kenyan roots and I pray they elect him again. He managed to kill Osama Bin laden, great uhuh! And those goats he gave me haven’t multiplied a bit, turns out his daughter, my mum, has been making more soup than she cares to admit. She says I got his eyes, I hope that’s true.