Dee In A Nutshell

Feed Me, Love Me, Never Leave Me.


I Dreamed a Dream

He told her his story in his own simple way for that’s what he was, a simple man, in the literal sense of the word. The neighbourhood children made fun of him, called him names, “retard,” “mongo,” “Mr. Slowboat.” It didn’t seem to bother him, maybe he was too simple even to understand the children’s insults or maybe he was just innocent enough to believe in the goodness of children.

He told her his story. Told her of his family and of the man who treated him so harshly, he forced him to leave his wife, his daughter. He told her bits and pieces of it over the years while he cleaned her yard in Minister’s Village. He rode their on his prized Hero bicycle twice a week and as he cleaned and she sat on her verandah usually with a book and pitcher of juice with two glasses, he remarked on how much she reminded him of his daughter. And in that way, she put the story together.

He had been the live-in help for a family that lived in Naguru for what must have been more than 10 years. He was there when the husband and wife he worked for had borne a baby girl and he had grown to love the family as if it were his own. His own little girl would often play with his boss’ little girl seeing as he lived in the slums close to his employer’s house. The two girls got on splendidly, always trying to teach the other what they learnt at their respective schools.

Then one day something horrible happened.

And that’s as far in the story as she was able to go. Whenever he mentioned the horrible thing, a shadow crept along his face obscuring the usually genial expression and leaving it hollow and wounded. In no time, the shadow would pass and he would be his usual affable self again. But that shadow always puzzled her and she often thought of the old man even when he wasn’t around, speaking to some of her friends and her husband about him. But they, believing him to be simple, never put much stock in her words and as such she was left to solve the mystery of the horrible thing on her own.

 Weeks turned into months and the man and the girl’s relationship evolved into a friendship. He would finish working and sit with her as she read sometimes reading out loud to him and he listened even if he didn’t understand what she was saying. The silences they shared looking out onto her immaculate garden, made so by him, were amiable and they often finished the pitcher of juice between the two of them. She always walked him out of the gate and was genuinely sad to see him leave as he did. Occasionally, she gave him and his Hero bicycle a lift home if she thought it was too late. In this way, they passed the time.

One day, on one of those rides home, he pointed out the house where he worked, lived and loved for so long and every time she drove by it, he looked at it longingly and she could almost see the memories of happy days that came to him unbidden.

She thought about it for the longest time. Taking him back to that house. Thinking that seeing it for him would be cathartic, that seeing it would unlock that part in him that seemed starved for joy, that seeing the little girl all grown up would make him miss his own daughter just a little less.

She was wrong.

She turned into the gate of his old Master’s house on Naguru Drive with him in her passenger seat looking like his seat belt was more to make him stay in the seat, like he was confined in it, than to protect him. She was starting to think this was a mistake, but she was too far gone now to turn back.

The family wasn’t home, only the askari who had let her in thinking her a friend of the family’s and not paying any regard to him. She made her inquiries of the askari and started to leave when he jumped out of the car like a madman and started banging on the front door of the locked house, screaming the whole time. Screaming like the scream had been held inside him for thousands of years, like he was screaming for all his ancestors who never got to scream. Of course the noise attracted the attention of the boda riders who stage was close to the house.

It took 3 of them plus the askari to subdue him. He certainly didn’t look as strong as he obviously was but he put up a hell of a fight. Her soothing pleading and the repeated shouting of his name by a boda rider who knew him from way back when is probably the only thing that calmed him in the end.

Then the boda rider told her the real story, told her the horrible thing that he could never speak of or get past.

He was never the live-in help, he owned the house. It was his family that lived in the house until he came back home from work one day and was met with eerie silence. The girls were not playing in the pool, his wife was not outside watching them and Boy, the live-in help could not be found. After letting himself into the gate and parking the car, he let himself into the house saying out loud all their names. “Cathy… Liz… Jojo… Boy” and for each name only the silence did he hear back.

He found them out back. The four of them, arranged out on the lawn furniture like manicans meant to give shoppers a sense of proportion, laying there like they had just taken an afternoon nap and failed to wake up and hear him enter. As he walked toward them, his shoes squelched in the grass and he wondered why the sprinklers had gone off late, he needed to remember to check the timer. He sat down on the table in front of them and that’s how they found him.

Later, they figured Boy had done it. Boy must have snapped. Nothing else can explain it. Boy must have snapped.

He left that house and went to live in Boy’s muzigo, taking odd jobs here and there and eventually getting recommendations for his gardening.

Hearing the story brought them both to their knees. She reached out to try and comfort him. She touched his shoulder. His head was held in his hands looking at the ground. He looked up at her. The look was of utter, unashamed, unassailable, pure, withering hatred tinged with tears. She had never seen him like this and it scared her. She let her hand drop to her side but the look did not abate. It burned into her soul, it said “Fuck You Bitch, why couldn’t you just let things be?”

She sees that look everytime she looks out onto her garden.

He doesn’t tend it anymore.

*this is a work of fiction based on a dream I had.



So there I was, minding my own business yesterday walking around Kampala town running errands and I stop to grab a boda when this Traffic Police Woman stops me and below is our conversation

TPW: That gentleman over there wants to speak to you. He says he knows you.

(I look over and there is a Traffic Police Man standing under a shade)

Me: Ok. (I walk over to say hi, just in case I know him)

TPM: Do you know me?

Me: No

TPM: How are you? (and other niceties)

TPW: (walks up behind me and says in Luganda) What happens when the wind blows your dress up? What shall we see?

(I was wearing a free, just above the knees dress. It really wasn’t short at all. I didn’t even get heckled by bodas)

Me: The lining of the dress?

TPW: (shows me an article in the paper about a special hire driver infected with HIV who has been raping his fares) You bring these things on yourselves by wearing such short dresses.

(At this point, I just turned and walked away.)


I want to know when I became responsible for what goes in a man’s pants. When was it decided that I should not be comfortable because some asshole can not keep his fucking dick in his fucking pants? AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wilson Phillips – Release Me

This song is one of those songs that instantly transports me to the time in my life I first heard. Are there any such songs for you?

One of my aunts lived in Denmark when we were kids and she would send us a bunch of VCR tapes on which she recorded music videos that were playing on the music channels over there. One of these tapes had a video of this song on it. I fell in love. I used to play this song over and over again and now when I listen to it, I instantly find myself in a cooler place watching this video on our ancient tv set that made me thankful the video was black and white.

Here it is embedded below followed by the lyrics of the song.

Release Me Lyrics

I know that it’s time for a change
Mmm but when that change comes
Will you still feel the same?

How many times have I tried to turn this love around?
I don’t wanna give up
But baby it’s time I had two feet on the ground
Can you release me can you release me

Now that you’re gone I can’t help myself from wondering
Oh, if you’d have come down from your high
Would we’ve been all right?
Release me
Can you release me

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we wanna be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Come on Darlin’, hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you’ve just got to release me
Release me, release me

I’m not going back to you anymore
Finally my weakened heart is healing though very slow
So stop coming around my door
‘Cause you’re not gonna find
What you’re looking for oh ooh oh yeah

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we wanna be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Oh oh oh baby Come on Darlin’, now hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you just got to release me

(Now tell me)
What is this power you’ve got on me
What is this power, Oh
What is it,What is it

Come on baby, come on baby
You knew it was time to just let go
‘Cause we wanna be free
But somehow it’s just not that easy
Oh oh oh oh baby Come on Darlin’, now hear me Darlin’
‘Cause you’re a waste of time for me
I’m trying to make you see
That baby you’ve just got to release me
Release me, release me
Release me
Will you release me
Ah…Release me
Will you release me


Random Thought

Do you ever have those moments of unadulterated happiness, when joy bursts forth from you like water from a fountain and you can’t help but laugh from how good it feels?

I had a hard time mastering the multiplication tables we had to remember when we are 8 or so. I just didn’t get the whole multiplication thing and no one had ever bothered to explain it to me. All I was required to do was remember them; memorise them and recite them.

One day, I was walking around the compound trying to recite them and failing terribly and my Dad asked me what I was doing.  I told him. He sat me down in the living room and told me all I had to do was to keep adding the number whose table I was reciting to the last answer I got. For example, 9+9 is 18, 18+9 is 27, 27+9 is 36.

I was elated to finally understand what multiplication really was. I laughed out loud for like a minute because it finally made sense. Thank you Daddy.


Back in Kampala

So I’m back home. I got in on Friday although I left Delhi on Thursday night. For my last day in Delhi, all I did was buy some kohl for my eyes and watch The Final Destination. As with their roads, their cinemas are also a sight better than ours.

I will post the few pictures I used my phone to take as soon as I get back to work and to seacom-speed internet.