Being a father of a boy child is a status symbol for any Kenyan man of the Happy Valley variety. Yours truly easily surpassed this bare minimum expectation by bringing forth two of them in a single touch and crowning it with a third son in quick succession. With three heirs to my fast growing estate, which includes and is not limited to the plot on which the palace stands and my weather and terrain hardened Volkswagen Beetle, I am the envy of many a man in the Aberdare countryside. But, unfortunately, I am a stranger in my own house.
The future leaders have taken over our sitting room and allocated themselves strategic positions for watching the TV. The younger one is the undisputed owner of the remote control and he dictates what is watched by everyone in the palace. At seven years old and Queen’s mama’s boy, everyone, I included, is at his mercy. And because of my nocturnal job, I must admit that I know very little about the operations of the TV.
Now, with the boy in control, with Queen’s support, I am under siege in my own house. After the 7pm news, I become persona non grata as the rest of the palace population follow the young boy's direction as he switches from one channel to another looking for their favourite programmes. They start with Sultana, which makes Queen and Makena go wild.
“Sultana ni mnoma sana,” says the young one.
“Mimi na hurumia Sultana, kwanini Meja Jabali anamtesa?” says the older of the twins.
“Wanaume wote wako kama William!” Queen says bitterly.
At such a time I fidget in my chair like a prisoner in court waiting for the mention of their murder case.
From Sultana, the boy switches to Kumkum Bagya. Queen and Makena unconsciously move close to each other, a thing that is rare in ordinary circumstances, waiting for the latest episode affecting their favourite Pragya.
“God! This man Tanu is a devil!” Queen says when an attempt on Pragya’s life is made.
“Men are so heartless!” Makena says.
“Huyu mbaba ni mbaya!” the boys join in unison.
While the men bashing goes on, I cannot rule out the possibility that Queen and Makena are taking the bad men in the programmes as an excuse to hit me below the belt. I have no problem with Queen attacking me. I know I am guilty as charged of all manner of real and imagined crimes against women in general and Queen in particular. What I do not understand is why Makena joins in the war, which she knows little about. Apart from when the two women are watching soap operas, Makena has at all other times been taking advantage of my disagreement with Queen to empathise and sympathise with me for reasons better known to her, but that is a story for another day. Being the drama queen that she is, and knowing what Queen is capable of doing when her marital territorial boundary is tampered with, I have always maintained the employer-employee social, emotional and physical distance.
You can now understand me when, on several occasions, I pretend not to notice the smell of burning food from the kitchen as the two women responsible watch the soap operas.
“Woi! Chakula imeugua!” The two women rush to the kitchen when smoke gets to the sitting room. By the time another meal is ready, it is well past midnight. Such incidents are not likely to come to an end in the near future, if the addiction to the programmes is anything to go by. What I am not ready to do is to take up the duty of a kitchen prefect as the two women insult me in the sitting room.
While I am neither worried about the indirect attacks on me nor by the food going to waste, I am greatly concerned about the mental damage the soap operas have on my boys. You see, I am greatly outnumbered by the two women in the house to convince the boys to get themselves busy with more ‘manly’ activities.
At the rate at which the future leaders are getting addicted to soap operas, I fear I will have lost the boys to Queen and Makena, and I will find it very difficult to rescue them from the feminine tastes. In the meantime, I have zero option but to live with the banishment into fatherly and husbandly Siberia in the palace, as long as the soap operas last. So may God help the boy child, I included.
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