Morning Bus Ride

Dear reader, this is my first article. Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to leave a comment below on your Honest opinion regarding the article. Thankyou.

The time is 4.18 a.m. ‘Ayee, Rhumba imetamba Sauti sol in addi area kumechacha Karibuni kwenye extravaganza Bensoul alipofika alifunika eeeh…….See yourself singing goes my alarm, read my android phone.

Hastily with one eye opened, I stretch out my hand trying to unlock the phone. Oh Lord, the struggle of complicated lock patterns. 55 seconds and three attempts later, I manage to unlock the phone and snooze the damn alarm. No sooner do I do that and turn, than Alarm number 2 at 4.19 a.m. takes the stage. I decide to ignore it but deep down its hurting my soul, Aaaargh. Subsequent Alarms take over until 4.28 a.m.

I lay on my bed until 4.42 a.m. when I instinctively jump out lazily, take breakfast, take a shower, get ready and be out by 5. There are some other unwritten rules such as charging my phone and ensuring that by the time I leave, it should be on maximum charge. Hello, am a young man still trying my luck in wooing several ladies….Ahem

5:00 a.m. it’s a mad dash. Shirt untucked, collar not properly folded, belt in hand trying to put it, my phone held by my lips, earphones hanging on my neck, I struggle with my keys to unlock the gate not forgetting the darkness. By God’s grace, I make it on time. I board the bus to Nairobi. Having sat on all the seats, I have my favorite one just behind the driver. It is somehow slanted thus it offers comfortable sleeping position; actually, the best. I am usually the first passenger in the vehicle and sayHi to the driver.

I extend the dressing room to the bus. I tuck in my shirt, adjust everything properly and am now set to sit down. Hell no!! I sit on something hard and in seconds, I jump trying to fathom what the hard thing is. Damn it, it’s toothbrush. NKT!! I curse silently. I take my seat once again and notice that the bottom part of my trouser is tucked inside my left sock. I align my trousers and realize that my left sock is Black while the right one is Navy Blue. Again, I curse silently hoping no-one hears me curse or realizes the socks mishap, I have a reputation to maintain. By this time, the bus has a few passenger mainly students and pupils as young as 4 years old.

A student seats next to me. By this time, am not asleep as this section of the road is usually very rough. I curse in my heart. This school girl has taken the seat that I hope my crush will take. There is this lady that I have been crushing on for months. Many opportunities have presented themselves when she has sat next to me and said hi but never said anything beyond that. Everyday, I convince myself ‘Kesho walai atleast nitamuuliza jina yake man.’ Yes, you heard me right, I don’t even know her name.

We get to the nearby Primary School and the pupils alight. The seat next to me is empty. On this day am in luck. I see my crush approaching the seat next to mine. Strange happiness fills my heart. I pretend not to have seen her as she takes the seat. She looks at my direction and says ‘Sasa?’ Yours truly becomes confused and happy at the same time. A lot of thoughts run through his mind. One such wild one is telling her ‘Niaje msupa, mi ni mjukuu wa wahenga. Si tuende hivi nikupake mafuta kwa mgongo wa chupa huku ukiwa umeinama mvunguni…’ I then try to imagine her reaction. Either she laughs and says ‘Aki wewe..’ or a hot slap lands on my cheek followed closely by a reply such as; Silly, stupid or other such unprintable.’

Quickly, I snap out of my little world and answer ‘Poa sana.’ For no apparent reason, I feel as if am over the moon and am tempted to tell the conductor, ‘Leo nalipia kila mtu fare kwa hii gari. Ala, kwani iko nini?’ I try fumbling trying to start a conversation but my brain and my mouth fail me. By this time, she pulls out a ‘kikoi’ and within minutes she is aleep. I am left there cursing myself; ‘Ona sasa amelala na ata hujasema kitu. Uko na ufala sana. Ebu cheki vile ameweza na umeshindwa kuongea na yeye. My friend,that is how you will die single. Ndo maana huna dem’ I then tell that voice of reason in my head to shut up.

5.18 a.m. By this time, the driver has switched on the stereo system and tuned in to a vernacular radio station. There are some Bibilical teachings by a reknown Reverend. On this day, she is talking about Repaying Evil with Kindness. There no being other business, I switch on my data bundles and take a quick look at whatsapp. I view all the interesting statuses and respond to messages from important persons ONLY!!!!!

I then rush to twitter to see what’s trending. You see, I recently missed out on FREE PLATINUM bundles owing to ignorance. Nothing important is trending. I switch off my bundles and affix my earphones. Its 5:33 and we are now on the smooth road. Time to sleep. I take a look at my crush sleeping next to me and I have the urge to tilt her head to lay on my chest not withstanding my skinny frame.

Scrolling through my playlist, I find a slow song and within minutes, am in slumber though not deep. Being morning, everyone is silent save for the radio. 97% of the 33 passengers including the conductor are asleep and the remaining 3% are on their phones. At times, it feels as if everyone just woke up to continue sleeping in the bus. Many a times I have had the thought of petitioning the management to have blankets for its loyal early morning passengers.
The conductor now wakes up and snaps his fingers. Most of those who are not deep asleep now get busy. Hands in pockets, wallets, handbags, headscarves, handkerchiefs and even in bras. It’s time to pay for the service offered. The fare is Ksh. 100 bob. My crush wakes up and tells the conductor, ‘Utapewa hapo nyuma.’ Apparently, the father to my crush is a regular customer. This denies me the chance to pay for her fare and have a basis to start a conversation.

5:58, we are at Kirigiti. The darkness is slowly disappearing. A few passengers alight and others board the bus. I am now half asleep, half awake. I listen to the 6:00 a.m. news, utter crap. Nothing interesting, just petty politics, corruption and murders. The presenter really exaggerates more so on the introduction part. Heck he bores me to death. My favourite duo come in after the news. On this particular day, they make a joke that leaves everyone in stitches except for a few who are dead asleep. The joke now sparks conversation between and among passengers.

Kiambu Road is dotted with a lot of car bazaars so I just look at the various cars being sold and my mind be like ‘Nikapelekwa hapa niambiwe nichague gari naweza taka, walai nachukua hii Land Rover Defender but colour yake hainibambi. Naweza ipeleka kwa Davy pale Kariokor aifanyie justice’
WanderJoy, RockCity, Sharks Palace, Muthaiga. We are now at the Muthaiga Tunnel and there is abit of traffic jam. The Muthaiga Tunnel seems like a Bank or Forex Bureau. Conductors are running helter skelter trying to look for change. Some passengers are so arrogant more so during end month where they will pay everything using Ksh. 1,000/- notes.

‘Fresh, PK, Tropical, Ivory customer.’ Comes in the guy selling sweets. A few customers buy and he says ‘Muwe na siku njema’ As he leaves, the conductor hands him a 200 Shillings note and he in turn counts some coins and the conductor takes them from his hand. He takes 10 shillings less but picks four Tropical sweets. The seller just shows him a thumbs up and alights as the traffic starts moving ‘kushuka na jam.’ A complete transaction without a single word uttered.

Figtree Ngara onto Koja Round About. It’s a Monday morning. There is an police operation where they stop vehicles at random more so public service vehicles. On the side, there is a police vehicle ‘mariamu’ full of matatu drivers and conductors. Their vehicles are there beside the police vehicle. Luckily, we pass that point. Tom Mboya Street at the Fire Station. A slim tall officer with very new uniform that seems too big for him raises his hand an indicator that the driver should stop. He checks the Insurance sticker then goes to the front left door and signals the two passengers at the front to alight and get to the back. This is usually what happens in most cases. Usually, the passengers do not object.

However on this day, the man at the front seat near the door was adamant. ‘Mimi sishuki. Nitashuka tu nikifika stage yangu na hapa bado hatujafika so usinisumbue. Uende ukae huko nyuma ama pia ufungwe kwa carrier huko juu kama mzigo. Mimi sishuki ngo!’ I stand up to see this confrontation. The officer says, ‘ Kijana unajua unaongea na serikali’ The man replies, ‘Serikali kitu gani. Wewe na hii uniform yako mpya umetoka Kiganjo juzi. Nimelipa ushuru na nyinyi makarao mmenunuliwa magari mpya mpya. Itisha GK ikubebe. Hizi ni gari za raia si za serikali. Jinga sana.’ The officer is now furious. He reaches for his walkie talkie and mutters some codes to which he concludes with ‘….over and out.’ ‘Ata hujui, ita Flying Squad, DCI, CID, Police, Military, A.P, KDF, NYS na ata back up ya Scouts. Mimi sishuki!!’ We all laughed. By now, a small crowd is gathering outside the bus. Some people in the crowd shout, ‘Usishuke mzae. Hawa mambanga wametuzoea sana. Wakanunue gari zao. Washenzi.’ Mambanga means police.

My crush says to me ‘Huyu mzee si ako daring. Mimi siwezi ongelesha karao hivo.’ I feel ecstatic. I feel as if the world around me has stopped existing. Nothing mattered at that moment. Le’ crush had started a conversation with me aside from the usual sasa. The father to my crush alights hurriedly and says to her ‘Tutaonana jioni. Hawa watu watanichelewesha.’

The driver was in support of the passenger and to show that he didn’t give a damn, he switched off the engine, alighted, lit a cigarette and puffed on it while leaning on the vehicle. All this time, he was quiet. One thing I like about matatu drivers and conductors is their unity. Many of them were now blocking the road in solidarity. They are now threatening to beat up the police man. 5 minutes later, another officer in Brown Khaki Uniform arrives. He demands to know what the cause of the traffic jam is. The drivers threaten to beat him up and on sensing danger, he pulls the other officer and they flee. One of the conductors driver shouts ‘Kwendeni huko mmetuzoea sana.’

The driver now drops his cigarette, crushes it with his shoes and gets back to the vehicle. Everyone applauds the passenger and many say ‘Hiyo ndo dawa yao.’ Passengers now converse in both high and low tones. The incident has brought some light into a dull morning. The incident having created a good ice breaker, my crush and I now converse. In a few minutes, the conductor announces ‘Mwisho wa gari’ We get to Odeon then alight. We walk in the same direction upto Development House chatting. We part ways and she says to me ‘Tuonane Kesho.’ I wonder if I’ll get her number tomorrow.

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