Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IT guy's story

Well, what did you make of Hitesh’s body double? Lovely, isn’t he? I see the real Hitesh regularly as he works in our IT department. He joined the company 2 years ago straight from a London university. The way he speaks now you wouldn’t tell he’s originally from our lakeside city of Kisumu. He’s also a jovial lad, always tapping me on the shoulder ‘hello mate’. His greeting is a hybrid of Oginga Odinga street-Gujarati-English-meets-Cockney-market-lingo in a high pitch so it sounds like ‘allo mai.’ Bantu readers may appreciate the other meaning! He is also polishing his acquired accent on us now, at times popping his grinning face in the doorway to say ‘don’t forget to loag oaf tonight’.

I’ve harbored suspicions that Hitesh is gay since the day of his interview when we first met. I’d say the lisp and the walk, like he’s pushing a shopping trolley with only his pelvis, are what give the game away. And get this, he has an old newspaper cutting of Kalonzo Musyoka’s picture pinned on the notice board in his office! Our VP doesn’t know it but he is the thinking-homo’s pinup. Also Hitesh never uses the urinal when there’s anyone else there (another dead giveaway), he’ll go to the cubicle to take a piss. See, it’s not difficult to have politicians and urinals mentioned in the same paragraph.

One morning I walked into the office to find Hitesh on his hands and knees fiddling with cables on the floor, I heard him humming away hips don’t lie which he attempted to disguise with a sudden coughing fit when he spotted me. However I’m secretly grateful to have his flamboyance illuminating our office; it deflects unwelcome attentions of colleagues away from me.

So yesterday Hitesh stopped me just as I was getting ready to leave the office, ‘Ok, for a chat?’ ‘Uh-huh. Let’s go for a quick drink,’ I said. This is how we both ended up at that sports club in Parklands. Sitting at the bar he leaned sideways to tell me, ‘My papers have come through. I’ll be emigrating to Britain in 2 months’ time.’ Apparently Hitesh was able to claim settlement in the UK, something about his grandparents; I didn’t want to seem intrusive by asking details. He added, ‘I’ll finally be myself,’ a vague confirmation of my earlier suspicions. Then quietly, ‘Kenya is killing me.’ In the silence that ensured because I only nodded, we both acknowledged that he knew about me too.

I felt happy for Hitesh. Sitting there, unfastened jacket on his shoulders, I hoped he realizes how lucky he is – free to live life without the heavy shackles of this deep-seated homophobia. Indeed Kenya is slowly suffocating many for whom there is no escape, only a secret life.


  1. There is a certain deliciousness in stealing happiness from your oppressor, without him even knowing it. Its not where you live dear, its what you do with it..Read between the lines...

  2. Hey Anengiyefa,

    Very cryptic! The imposed secrecy is what is killing. Why can't the haters just live and let live? x x

  3. Live and let live...you gotta be kidding...sorry to report but the new Kenyan Archbishop, Archbishop-Elect Eliud Wabukala will succeed the Most Revd Dr. Benjamin Nzimbi who retires on 30th June, 2009 is another uninformed fear/hate-monger...he´s way out of his league when discerning right from wrongful discrimination, basic decency directed toward ALL and (as was/is Nzimbi)...but then, he´s got his American nutbag $$$ zealot friend to help him remain strong in his battle to overcome those devilish lgbt Anglicans/others in Kenya who love one another.

    On a happier note, Bishop Eliud Wabukala, is not exactly a full fledged deep thinking kind of human being...he spouts off rediculous anti-lgbt propaganda...kinda puts him and his silly, yet deadly, ¨intentions¨ into perspective.

  4. Hey Leonardo,

    We will hold steadfast to what we know is right. If these zealots want a fight, then I say bring it on! xx x

  5. Most of these 'zealots' barely have no information on what they are so against and therefore cannot put up a proper argument as to why they are so against it in the first place. I sat with the Archbishop Nzimbi once and he had a lot of hogwash coming from his mouth about this issue and how Kenya was sending reverends to the States to talk sense into the so called gay clergy there. He was taken aback when challenged because I think in his head he was imagining that since he is a religious icon then what he says is law and therefore should not be questioned just as we are not expected to question some religious doctrines!!!! These people are just narrow minded fanatics who hide behind the cloth.

  6. Hey Mystic,

    Good on you! It's only by challenging those who perpetrate these injustices that people can move forward. Have a lovely day over there in Pakistan. x x

  7. *it’s not difficult to have politicians and urinals mentioned in the same paragraph*

    You are my hero Tamaku, that is all!

  8. Tamaku, you are not afraid that he can use what he knows against you? Don't you also want to be free and be able to be with George openly?

  9. Hi WildeY,

    Thanks. Hawa watu ni bure kabisa, the lot of them! xx

    Hi Anne,

    We'll have to wait and see. George and I also want to get married. It will happen, God-willing. Wish us luck. x x

  10. T I love your blog, very inspiring, and admire the way you enjoy yr life. you're one lucky dude. Clif

  11. Hey Clif,

    Thanks for stopping by. Your comments encourage me (and hopefully others) to be more open and enjoy life just the way it's meant to be. Pretty cool. x x

  12. Wow.... Its just in the past week that I have discovered the oasis of Kenyan gay blogs....Its amazing how sometimes us gay expats forget how hard it is for you guys back home.... you guys are the true heroes...

  13. Hi floatilla,

    A warm welcome to you. We do our best under the circumstances. I'll check out your blog too. xx

  14. Tamaku
    1) I read this post, but there was nothing I could see as hard evidence to say that Hitesh is gay. What you said, was proof could easily be misunderstood. The way someone moves their hips whilst walking is not sufficient, or even the songs they sing. Unless he told you in unambiguous terms, or you met his boyfriend, you could be jumping to false conclusions.

    Suppose Hitesh isn't gay, what will you say then?

    2) The post started off happy and ended up on a sad note. Maybe Kenya doesn't have what Hitesh is looking for, maybe he's uncomfortable with the claustrophobic social scene in Kenya for Kenya's Asians.

    3) Assuming he is gay, what makes him think he will be able to evade the ever watchful eyes of the British Asian community?

  15. Hi CodliverOil,

    Nice name btw, I could use some of that, what with age fast catching up! Gaydar is like the deodorant spray, it won't let you down, it's how we get to sense another gay person...

    I am happy for Hitesh because even under the eyes of British Asians (some who might be homophobic) he is protected under the law something we don't enjoy. x x

  16. A dear friend of mine once usually says the same thing to me, "This place is killing me", in such a forlorn, sad voice... I didn't understand the challenges he faces every day at first, but now I find myself hoping he can leave and go live in a place where he'll be happy. Makes me sad.

  17. Hi Jay,

    It's so unnecessary the living a lie. I hope you understand what your friend could be going through and just do the friend thing. Thanks for stopping by. xx


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