Lunch Time – Ambala

A sumptuous and swelling savor spreads throughout the household. Boldly, fiercely. Like the ghost busters. Welcome and pleasant. My digestive system growls in response. “Gggrrr..grrr, brrrr, brrrrr…British bulldog. Glory, glory,” I hear it sing in response to the beauteous aromas that are speedily invading the maison. Atieno is at it again; it is lunch hour.
My mind races, bolts. Wondering what delicacies she shall surprise us with this time. Could it be the caterpillar recipe that I watched on a South African strip, or could it be a replica of Alice Taabu’s Tupike. Flowers, moons, butterflies and strawberries fill my mind. Happy thoughts. Yummy yummy yum yum. Ingredients matter not, yum yum. The tongue is always willing and ready. Yummy yummy. Sticks and stones, yummy yummy yum yum.
A knock on the door. I frown; my eyebrows embrace one another in fear. What timing, who be this at such an iconic moment. The cat purrs, rather angry. Seemingly complaining as well. My fingers, displeased and unmanicured, unbolt the door. Which in turn whispers a dirge as it swings ajar. It is he. Again. Standing in his pot-bellied glory. Short and stout. Hair amiss; actually just three strands faithfully standing, living dangerously. Shiny forehead, with beads of ammonia peeping in a helter-skelter manner. Twitching nose…like he knows mischief a plenty. And his lips ready. Smack and ready.
“Is baba in?”..Baaaa-baa. Mr. ‘b’ taps Mrs. ‘a’ on her shoulders, and she responds very lazily, dragging her feet…aaaaa-aa. Baaaa-baa. I could almost ask in unison with the guest. The answer a meme, as always. My African roots compel me to invite him in against the protests and screams of my stomach. Less shares for us in the kitchen and cookery I.P.O. Sadness, broken dreams, destroyed futures. My heart bleeds, my stomach begins to weep. The cat rolls its eyes. Happy thoughts turned unhappy thoughts. Happy thoughts turned baaaa-ba thoughts.
Atieno instantly knows of our fate. Love may be wicked, but impromptu lunch hour guests take the gold. One more plate..and lunch is served. Glory, glory, stomach united. Before embarking on a jungly adventure with the cutlery, the cow, kales and maize; I can’t help but notice the change in our help’s walking style. Tout- a-coup, her back is arched at a 180⁰ curve, and her back matters furiously swaying. Like a Baganda dance freshly unveiled, just as she does every lunch hour when Uncle Sindo visits.
No sooner is the food readily served, than the wolf unmasks from its sheep skin. Battle of Adowa, Samson and Delilah, WWF Wrestling, World War III, IV, and V too; it all takes place as he eats. Like the goats of Mogotio. Blow, slurp! Lick, lick. Saliva spills, swallow aloud. Boom. He does it all. Table manners unknown to him. I wonder why Atieno fails to pinch him as she does to me at the slightest crease on good behavior. Instead, she gleefully asks, “Niongesee wewe?” And when the war is over, the warrior concludes it all with a loud and onion-reeking burp. E-ye-e-eeeeee. Onions and some garlic. A true caricature of table ethics.
And after the battle; the carpet awash with crumps and lumps of ugali. Some stew spilled on his beige-colored trousers. Little mountains of kale worship at his feet, like the twelve disciples. Chunks of meat scattered as well, soldiers that were lost in the war. And a tooth lost too. A premolar. Tough battle.
He stands. The once sumptuous meal now turned stone, travels from his gut to the stomach. And the ride is not easy..it is slightly caught in some bottle-neck traffic, but after a grizzly maneuver careful not to branch to the trachea, traffic is released. The stone revs its engine.vrrrrr vrrrrrr, and speeds into the highway. Godspeed; overtaking, overspeeding, and finally landing in the pot-bellied stomach with a thud. As for our dear uncle, it’s a look of satisfaction. A smiling face, shining cheeks and lips; traces of Kimbo cooking fat. Green leftovers dangling from his three inch long beard. Satisfaction and success.
Niceties exchanged. Apologies for missing papa…”Matakuja siku mwingine bas, nest-time”. And as he says next time, the ‘t’ on his tongue hits the upper mouth palate in a vicious and vibrating manner, promptly releasing a ball of saliva. Saliva is annoyed at the forced eviction. She packs her belongings and stomps out, hurriedly approaching me in search of solace. I tilt my head to duck this vicious amylase that can cause death and destruction. So Saliva has no choice but to hit the floor. Maybe hit the floor and dance to some reggae; shake her body to some Bob Marley as she smokes some ‘ganja’..but just hit the floor anyway. And as she hits the floor, she multiplies into many talivas. T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t. Troubled. Trials and tribulations. T(h)ankful. Tomorrow. For we all are well aware that nest time is tomorrow. Tomorrow lunch time; tomorrow when food is on the table.

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