Whose the city slicker?

November 29, 2016


The wet season is the only time of the year when perfume oil will flow from the Oudh tree deep in the jungle – so deep that it’s perpetually bathe in the twilight of the preamble in between darkness and light. So deep that the few flowers one comes across seem to glow with an eerie opalescence.

Orpuk’s oldest son, Noon will be my guide this season along with sixteen braves of tribesmen – they will carry out the precious wood as well as my tentage, supplies and cooking equipment.

We will cross over the ridge of the blue mountain. It is in the background of the photograph – thereafter there will skirt the lagoon along the narrow passage guarded by wild elephants and ferocious baboons. I will take Kee Kee with me on this trip as my bodyguard.

As a frontier man, I know the jungle well – she is like a jealous mistress – once she grows fond of a man. She will whisper in his ear, stay…stay. I will give you a thousand pleasures including a supersonic blow job three times a day.

Fortunately, I am autistic and I have developed immunity to such carnal pleasures. I just want the precious Oudh wood. That is all I want.

‘Of course I fear the blue mountain…The very thought of her fills me with trepidation. I can even feel her jagged edges like daggers against my imagination when I write about her…..but what is she. She is like a ghost of the past.

Like perhaps the Harmattan I once feared in Africa….let me tell you about her…Days before the skies of the desert turn ochre red. Window frames warp, doors creak, floorboards begin to curl at their edges, nails begin to loosen and catch against flesh, wooden spoons split, lips crack and when it seems as if one is content to only breathing in flaming needles. That’s just around the time, when the indigo people of the desert would stand in one long line and look northwards – they don’t say anything. They don’t move very much. Like birds gathered on a line in a frosty September morn. They just look on knowingly into the yonder….then slowly the winds begin to pick up and the skies begins to darken a tobacco brown…..the harmattan.

For days thereafter the winds howl incessantly like a widow mourning her secret loss. City folk scurry beneath the eaves of protesting flapping wind swept corrugated awnings covering their faces. From time to time they pause, look up searchingly to make up whether the sun is still there or might it too be swallowed whole by it’s violent approach from the North. A wind once considered so evil that a mad Sultan declared Jihad against it and marched out into the swirling desert to meet it with war elephants and a column of pike men in full armor only to perish. The red wind the sailors in Coite de Noire know as the sea of blood. The ever wandering Beduins call the kinsam, 50. As it last 50 days which they all greet with two rents from their antique Lee Enfield rifles with the salutations, ‘Allah wakbar’ – as it billows it’s last dying whispering hush across the sea of Guinea. Soon a few gusts of air and a thin rain presages the final approach of the…..the harmattan. Now mystery is furiously at work in the preamble of the twilight, the sands swirling and fingering into every nook and cranny, appearing as if by magic to cling to the secreted, spoiling well oiled machinery, mucking clothes and rendering everything a bitter after taste. Everywhere and everything is touched by the ochre red of infinitesimal of omnipresence. All the while, the constant rattle of window panes, the sobbing of rooms, the tears of rawed eyes having borne witness to prophecies…the harmattan…yes…I remember her….the red wind….the wind of winds.

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