Friday, November 28, 2008

Some Fond Farewells....

"We keep the day. With festal cheer,
With books and music, surely we
Will drink to him, whate'er he be,
And sing the songs he loved to hear. "

(In Memoriam, Lord Tennyson)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Edirisa Matters

The weekend was like WOW!

I met this crazy Slovenian. No, that’s not right. You cannot say that about someone who has bought you a beer (in your drinking days) not once, not twice, but every time you have met when he was in Kampala at City Annex hotel on Dewinton road! Okay to start again.

I thought 2008 would be chiefly memorable for one thing. Getting sucked into Mark Zuckerberg’s world when I opened a Facebook account. Facebook like blogs is like a cult, a religion, discovering your favourite band, musician or movie; once you’re in, it is an addiction hard to turn away from. But there are some addictions worth having. Like Edirisa that Slovenian Miha Logar introduced me too.

I thought the name was strange. I did not like the name at first. I still have some doubts about it. But when I met the originator of the concept behind Edirisa I began to understand why he had named it so. It also helped that when I first logged onto the website there used to be a photo shot that showed a panorama seen through a huge window. Edirisa is not the most elegant of names but it is perhaps the most apt.

In my understanding, and from the several meetings I have attended with some of the people who are working patiently and hard to make this website a success, Edirisa is supposed to be a window on Uganda and eventually East Africa. As seen, felt and told by we, the Ugandans, the Kenyans, the Tanzanians, the Rwandese, and hopefully one day, all Africans.

Edirisa, like some of the more popular radio talk shows on the Luganda FMs and in memory of some of the best that used to exist on the English language ones, is supposed to be the initial stomping ground of ideas, a forum for expressing from whimsies to stand-points one is willing to defend with one’s heart’s blood because they believe in them so much. Edirisa is supposed to be a dating site of great minds, a place you go to, like some gigantic cathedral to meet people who will seduce you as much with their ideas as they way they want you and themselves to live.

This is what I love the most about Edirisa. It’s present fluidity. It’s ability to be a cathedral of ideas. To hold any and everything. I love that it can be so high handed it will take a philosophical dissertation as much as it will give equal consideration to a fashion question of Is it right for men to perm their hair? I love the fact that when I’m pompously trying to show off that I can identify the head and tail of a Henri Matisse painting in a MOMA online gallery, someone based in Kabale will get up and put me to rights that what that old man Festo Karwemera is doing is actually far more important in not merely the preservation of the culture of the Bakiga but in ensuring that he passes it on to younger people.

But I used a poor choice of words to call it a cathedral of ideas. It is more accurately a katogo of ideas. A buffet in one place like that meal comprises everything you will ever need to eat all year round in one meal. Strengthening, invigorating, exciting, maddening, a scrapbook and a polished final draft thesis. Edirisa reminds me a lot about used notebooks and a computer that has been in my possession for more than a year and I have no fear that it is going to be taken away from me: you will find everything there because it is not written by one person, one mind and if sometimes it seems like it is, it was written by a free ranging imagination unafraid of censorship or ridicule or being told that cannot be expressed out loud. So this is why Edirisa matters to me. This is why I will be writing for it regularly and inviting you too to.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"You're not going all crazy on me, are you?"

She can crook her eye-brow and her left eye-brow was crooked all the way when she saw my latest screen saver...and then insisted on scrolling through my pictures folder.The addiction is baaaad! I have reached the extent of sub-folders in the folder for different models of cars.

She wanted to know, "What's next? Football and one club you support fanatically every weekend? You're not going all crazy on me, are you?"

Now if she only knew what I actually have in mind... ;-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank God for Little Brothers!

My little brother surprised me the other day with a CD full of PDFs of all my favourite Asterix and Obelix comics. Right now my grin is wider than Asterix's! Thank God for little brothers and bullying them right when they were younger, forcing them to pay attention to one's interest! I got Asterix! Lord knows, from the places where I have been lately, I needed the cheering up!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Love Now

I'm more selfish now of our time. Sometimes you find this cutely childish, laugh and beg off my worries that there is never enough time. I'm back and we have all the time, you like to reassure me. I let you believe a lot of the time that your soothing banter is right. Only you don't know I pause, when you are speaking, to watch you, listen to you, literally drinking all of you in quietly ecstatic!

I thought the years would bring calmness to me. A confident husband's taciturnity now that you're mine, perhaps reach that plateau where I can with other men complain affectionately of your nagging ever presence. Among friends in a bar, look at my wrist watch, sigh, and tell them, "Wife-time" no more and they would understand why I would have to hurry out of there. It has not happened.

The calmness I know now is not the sort of calmness I always thought I would know when I came into kissing intimacy with perfect happiness. The calmness of our dusky Saturday evenings, your legs over my tummy, lying in bed in silence, our fingers interlocking and tumbling out of each other like fumbling harmless puppies. Friday nights, chicken barbecuing nights, watching Mulefu work, smiling in anticipation of the feast to come—you asking please, please, please tell me which movie you bought this week, come on! Sunday afternoon in Kampala, from visiting people we must visit, slacks-wearing, leisurely-walking to Canaan Restaurant on Uganda House, Kampala road—Kampala was never a town you loved before, and walking this road never meant as much to me as it does now, walking it with you, we talk about everything. You laugh a lot and it makes me want to make you laugh ever more. Erasing all memories of loneliness I used to know on these streets.

Few pleasures in my life compare to the spine-tingling thrill when I'm home early, in our house, working on Silver Bullitt, hear your tinkling bell-like clear voice, hailing our neighbours from a distance, making your way to our door, me waiting you. And you know I'm home because the windows are open, the curtains are thrown back, and sometimes our door is ajar. Every day it happens, it's like it has never happened before. My heart starts racing. All over again it is like that afternoon before the one o'clock lunch summons, when I heard your voice, you speaking to someone else behind me, and I prayed before I turned my head round to look and see who was speaking, Lord let her be beautiful, please let her be beautiful because I think I'm already in love with her. Though I don't know her, she might not like me; she might even not be single, she is the one. Then I turned. Every day is like that, when first I hear your voice, before I see you, waiting to see you.

I was not used to considering anyone else's needs before. How the change came about, I'm still trying to understand. The first I knew you, you were like me. When did your change begin? Niyenda kumanya.

{This will be continued...sometime...I hope...:-)}

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Don't You Just Wish You Were My Lover?!

I like the title. Really, it has nothing to do with the post that follows. I come up with lines that won't let me alone like that all the time. This is why I carry around with me notebooks all over the place (btw...Timothy Bukumunhe's latest ettiquette article about the obsession with his fountain pen connects oh so well!)

Today is a sort of crossroads. For the first time in many months, I'm in office on a Saturday evening. Not since I left my other job and hightailed to Juba, Sudan have I been in any office on a Saturday
evening. In a nostalgic kind of drinking bitter rum way, I think I have missed this, a little.

I remember the days after such an evening, dialing up the people I used to go bingeing with all night, suddenly impatient to flee the office on light feet, to wait for the taxi alone because Saturday evenings in Kampala before 9pm have about them an understated jollity. Like everyone knows a party is about to begin but no one wants to give away how eager they are for the party. I remember the tingling anticipation of who we might run into in our escapades, who I might meet and if I was in the mood decide I was not going to let her out of my sight for the rest of evening and sometimes the weekend. I remember already knowing how the Sunday mid morning would find me, stretched out in bed-sometimes in my bed, sometimes not in my house, sometimes not even in someone's home but actually still in some club—trying to talk myself into the mood that after I had gotten something down in my stomach, after I had washed up, rinsed my mouth, this time I would see myself in church in the evening and get on my knees and I would reconnect with whatever little glimmers of religion were left in me, knowing even as I tried to gingerly lift myself up, and not provoke a hammering hangover in my head, that walking to whatever church—there would be a video library, there would be a phone-call, there would always be something else so interesting that hurrying feet would lead me to it and Sunday would be over before I knew it and Monday was here and the work week and I was going to do it all over again.

Just a little bit of that has been coming back. But that is not the only strangeness about this Saturday evening. Another bizarreness has crept up on me. This week has been full of them-events so tremblingly traumatic that I cannot help but wonder when I will ever internalize the implications of all of them, how far-reaching some of them are going to be in my life. I have begun another chapter, in a way, you could say….

The unbelievable is about to happen. I'm stepping out to attend the overpriced, over advertised, supposedly glitzy social event of the year, the 2008 Pearl of Africa Music Awards. After five years of turning down invitations, conspiring to be ill with an alibi on the weekends they fall, protesting I'm too broke to afford the drinks at the bar I suppose they set up, justifiably claiming not to have any clothes that would not shame whatever sorry corporation had me on their roster at the time; this year I ran out of excuses. I got caught. I have to go. I wonder what I'm going to make of it all!

PS: I have received a lot of complaints mbu my blogger blocks guys who do not have google accounts and what not from commenting. I have removed that impediment, oh reader! Anything to keep you happy. :-)

Spammers keep away!