On my mind are the fragrances that used to converge and which increased their volume of scent as Christmas approached.

They included the hunger pang-generating aroma from the cooking chapatis, and the pungent smoke odour from the paraffin jikos which were brought back to use after resting for a whole year since the last Christmas.

This thought has been provoked by the book entitled, “Song of Lawino” by Okot p’Bitek, when the speaker says:

“When the beautiful one, with whom I share my husband, returns from cooking her hair, she resembles a chicken.”

Over and above that part of sharing the husband, my mind notes the irony that the so called beautiful one is equated to a chicken. It remembers, by the way that “Irony” is a form of literally style, just like Satire, Metaphor, Simile, and Metonymy; but that’s a story for another day.

What attracts my mind more from the above Okot p’Bitek quote are the memories of the extra fragrance that was added to the other pre-Christmas scents by the sweet balm of ‘cooking hair’, as the speaker calls it.

Anyone who cared to follow this flagrance would encounter a group of village girls who were busy “burning” one another’s long hair as they called it (as opposed to ‘cooking’ it); over a snack of updates of village manenos, which would be drowned down the throat by a cup of constant giggles.

What was unique then were the tools used to burn the hair, which included either a hot charcoal iron box or a crude hotcomb (pictured) which was made hot using a jiko.


These were the Beauty Salons of yesteryears which only legends would remember.

One must be wondering how my mind got to know these things. Thanks for asking; I thought you’d never ask.

The answer is simple, my shy self would be minding his own business; then, ghafla bin vuu, these awesome fragrances (generated from burning hair and hair-oils) would hit the nose; one footstep would lead to another until I found myself at a distant, remote, and secret vantage position, from which I could follow the full proceedings audiolly *pun intended* and visually.

The rest is history.

I am an epic introvert, who quickly becomes an open book when I pen what’s in my significantly fertile mind; fertile as a result of bombardment by realities that are continuously captured by my inquisitive eyes, ears which are constantly rubbing the ground, through constant reading, and through dreaming too.

Writing provides an opportunity to ‘say’ what my unapologetic quiet mouth will not say; which not only soothes me, but also bequeaths to me a relief, a release, and a hope that the written words will change the world, even if only one person at a time.

And so should you seek, that’s where to find me; deeply tucked inside the blankets of reading, seeing, listening, dreaming, and then writing.

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