This year I crossed the dreaded 3-decade mark! Man! I don’t know how I feel. Excited? Not
sure. Not excited? Still not sure. Still enthusiastic about the future as I was 5 years ago?
Absolutely! Happy with where I am …hmmm. The point is, though my mum still gives me the
feeling of a newly born, I can feel that I am really a grown man. My partner does this too;
the illusion of being a grown baby, it’s what I call it. Reminds me of a couple that used to call
each other baby until they had a squabble that led to the wrangle of the last decade in my
world. They said many things to each other, but I will only say what stood out for me.
“Look at him, very slow and old like a turtle! said the light-skinned belle. Immediately, as
though he had kept this in his arsenal for quite some time, the man fired, “at least this turtle
has been caressing your world-war 1 survived purple knees and elbows for the last 2
years!”. I wondered then as I am wondering now whether those two were the same people
who sumptuously called each other baby a night before. Today morning, as the early rising
sun carved in through the forgotten, uncovered slit of my bedroom window, I couldn’t help
thinking; I am not rich.
I am not rich. Yet.
I am doing a PhD at arguably one of the best universities in the world; yes, but I am not rich.
Yet. Where did the years go? I got to be rich in something or some way. I mean, I have a
triple decade of lived years. Wait, did I say lived? Actually, on second thought, I am not sure
about that too. In a bar where I worked 16 years ago, one of my ardent customers used to
call me Kido. I think his name was Mike pronounced as Ma-i-ke; this was very important for his personality. It could come off in the small arguments, mostly with himself after a fairly
lengthy meeting between his lips and the bottle. His character would change instantly.
Oxford learner’s English dictionary was his go-to ‘novel’. Without the book, dictionary, he
could recite all the A-words on the first 3 pages of the A section. There is just something
special about alcohol and pseudo-intellectuals. Something that stimulates their “English
glands” when they are drunk. Five bottles and the guy starts speaking like he has the queen
on speed dial. Anyway, at the end of the A recitation, he’d say Kido, 2 more free pints, and
I’ll take it to Z. Sometimes, he could just call me “Kawumi” – literally translated as “ka –
I am armed with pockets of cashless transactions but full of experiences.
See, in this part of the world, someone can call you by your outstanding body part mostly as
an insult but also to make sure that you don’t confuse directions meant for you, for
someone else. After completing the 17th pint, he’d say, while pointing to his chest – akin to
KingKong’s thumping – I, MA-I-KE, I have lived! I don’t know if I have the confidence of Mike
to say that I have lived. Or even the confidence to tell my partner that I am not a baby. But
one thing I know for sure is I am somehow rich. Maybe not in monetary terms, but I am rich.
I am armed with pockets of cashless transactions but full of experiences. An arsenal full of
stories, lost battles, laughter, past victories and, like Arsenal – the football team – looking at
the future with young and rejuvenated spirits. Not afraid, eager to win, but knowing that I
can fail. And because I can fail, standing up is the key in all of this. Cheers!
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