PATRIOTS like me may recall that, not so long ago, the government that belongs to a country which I own, and for which reason I confidently refer to it as ‘my country’, banned its holy citizens from drinking liquids other than tea, coffee, water and juice in bars during day time.
The ban wasn’t actually new, but rather, the revival of an old one that was in official records but which those who defied it pretended they had completely forgotten about it.
Some of those who were supposed to ensure that it was fully enforced, by ensuring that those who defied it faced music of the non-danceable type, pretended that, they were not seeing what was going on.
Actually, some of them went beyond pretending not to have eyes that were capable of seeing fellow citizens breaking the law as excitedly as children excitedly broke glasses and cups that they innocently thought were toys.
Some would-be law enforcers were sweet-talked into tasting a bit of what the presumed law breakers were drinking.
After tasting the stuff, their tongues relayed messages to their brains, to the effect that, whereas the drink’s taste didn’t differ too widely from cough syrup, it was, quite strangely (but more of a psychological assumption than a scientific reality, far sweeter than something that I used to enjoy as a child, which I last licked in the 70s called ‘sukari guru’.
The daytime beer drinking ban was meant to ensure that well-fed, physically fit, considerably intelligent, and close to 80 per cent patriotscum- nationalists at heart invested as much of the time they were awake in nationbuilding activities as possible, and didn’t waste it by draining beer, gin, whiskey and wine into their blessed (blessed?) stomachs.
Never underestimate the creativity of God’s creatures called human beings; and especially the ones upon whom the informal name ‘bongo’ was pasted.
It stands for brain; meaning that, there’s a reservoir of intelligence in their brains, from which they draw ideas on how to solve tricky problems, as easily as a bank account holder withdraws cash from an ATM facility.
A friend of mine, whose name should, for obvious reasons, remain the ‘toppest’ of all secrets, turned the nonblessed sitting room of his blessed house into a ‘non-bar bar’ for saving the itching throats of not-so-gentle gentlemen who wished to cool the itch before sunset, when bars were permitted to operate legally.
It was quite comical that, in some cases, a boss of a given institution would find himself in the awkward situation of passing by the ‘barless’ bar for a quick beer, only to find two of his subordinates on a similar mission there !
Given the ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ philosophy, however, it was highly risky to engage in such mischief, as one could kiss his job bye-bye as a consequence.
Anyway, I suppose you’ve never heard of someone’s throat dying of thirst before other parts of his body follow suit, in the course of waiting for evening to replace daylight before he sips his constitutionally entitled beer.
What’s more, it is obvious that ‘evening drinkables’ are best enjoyed in the evenings, and in the company of friends who are free to chat liberally on subjects ranging from the soil of which region is best friendly for cassava cultivation, and which of the world’s airports is so smooth that, upon landing there, a passenger doesn’t feel that he or she has landed. In bars, too, people exchange hilarious stories about their early schooling days.
In my case, my friends are delighted whenever I recount to them that in my school, a pupil was “rewarded” three canes if his teeth were not as white as those of a piano key.
For an administrative mistake like smiling sheepishly while a teacher was passing by, he was caned twice, over suspicions that he was laughing at him for wearing a borrowed pull-over.
The names of evening joints range from the delightful to the frightening; examples being Furahia Maisha Bar to Kuzimu Hakufai Bar. Incredibly, even the latter has many customers, in spite of the ominous message it relays!
Curiosity recently drew me to a fully-packed joint bearing the name Juisi Baa. I drank my beer as enthusiastically as the other patrons. As a fake detective of sorts, though, I moved around to check on whether anyone was drinking juice.
To my utter shock and surprise, the bar didn’t have even a single packet or bottle of juice in its stock! I communicated my curiosity to the manager who pretended to fall and lose consciousness briefly.
Some people wondered why I was concerned about the bar bearing the name ‘juice’ whereas it didn’t sell the soft drink, while others supported me! These are the kinds of ingredients that make life funny!