I was walking back to my house with my son. My next door neighbor saw us and opened her door.
‘Where were you? I was looking for him.’
I thought she was looking for him because he is the same age as her first born and on some days they play together in my house. But I asked anyway.
‘My brother video-called from India and he wanted to talk to him.’
‘Have they talked before?’
‘No, he just wanted to see him. He has never seen an African child before. And I told him this one speaks very good English.’
The year is 2019, in Parkie Nairobi.
Things will stay the same here.
I was born in 1984 and I was raised in the compound of a teachers training college in an estate that is for Indians, predominantly. I say for Indians because the rest of us who lived and still live here never really felt like we belong. But we belong, despite whatever feelings or second thoughts we carry. We have our moments, inside jokes and spaces. I am not sure people of my generation know Parkie’s history or why we found ourselves here or how Deep Sea is the only uniquely African place here. But we know its random parastatal compounds, its paths, flowers, jacaranda trees, loquat trees, mango trees, smells, noises, monkeys, rats, geckos, shopkeepers, oldest families, the few pink houses, rumoured brothels, oldest kiyiapi fences, mbwa kali signs, the bakeries, the sweet shops, the pharmacies that had ear piercing services, and the owners of its most lit domestic scandals. We remember Wangari Mwenda and her wonderful mad times at the shopping centre, we loved her because she was our only true and real shot at urban legend.
My son was born here too and he has not lived anywhere else. Some of us, born 80s, are still here and we gave birth. Our children’s times are boring to say the least because most things are open and people have changed how they do things. Our children don’t have the burning peeping curiosity, and speed, we had. They don’t have the freedom of movement that we had because our parents let us loose and only did headcounts in the evenings and if you were late the belt was not.
Born 80s, we are very protective of our children in a Parkie that we can agree is less overt. We should be more trusting, the world has changed, hasn’t it? No. There are subliminal things that we see and understand, and that our children can’t interpret.
Anyway, back to the blasting past.