Monday, May 28, 2012

Out With The Rasta's

Unless you get to grips with the meanings of the words used below, you will not understand what today’s cowardly tale is all about
All the while dem depon on di bashment – Partying all the time
Cool running’s – a greeting, things are going smoothly
Ganja - Herb
Hose – Penis. In this case, when Rasta said “mi kyaan lock me hose off, he was saying he can’t keep it inside his pants
Irie – Everything is alright
Jah – Jah Rastafari Haile Selassie I, King of kings, lord of lords, conquering lion of Judah
Jesum piece – An expression of aggravation
Ku pon dis – Look at this
Me check it deep, I have to know if it is casco – I checked it out to make sure it is for real.
Me man bashy – My man is cool
Mi nuh kya – I don’t care
Naa badda mi – Don’t bother me
Rude Bwoy – A tough person
Wa a gwaan – What’s going on  
We gwaan hab a bashment time – We are going to have a good time
Haile Selassie, at one point used to rule Ethiopia in the 70s until, a chap with a girl’s (hmm!) name called Miriam Mengistu, decided enough was enough and that he wanted to rule. But seeing that Selassie was royalty and he, Mengistu, was a mere plebe with no royal connections, the only way he was going to rule was to depose Selassie.
He did just that and took Selassie and his family out into rural Ethiopia where his goons butchered them to death.
But if Mengistu thought that putting Selassie to death would be the end of the chapter, he had another thing coming. The Rasta revolution caught fire because, and so Google tells me, men and women who don’t comb their hair and grow dreadlocks began to worship him en-masse.
My first interaction with Rasta’s was in a rundown bar in Whitechapel, a suburb in London. I really shouldn’t have been in that pub for I stood out like a sore thumb. Everybody had dreadlocks, wore a big red, green and yellow floppy hats, smoked but they were not smoking cigarettes but ganja, which, is contraband.
And when they spoke, though they spoke English – well I think they were speaking English, it was hard to comprehend exactly what, that they were saying.
Dale, a West Indian friend, had asked me to meet him there and that when I got to the bar, I should ask for Steve who would tell me where he (Dale) was. At the bar and still in my suit from work, I leant over and the conversation that followed went along these lines.
TB: “Excuse me, I am looking for somebody called Steve.”      
Barman: “Cool running’s.”
TB: “Er, I was looking for Steve?”
Barman: “Steve? Steve, all the while dem depon on di bashment with the rest in the back.”
And with that he was off to sort out a larger than large lady who at the top of her voice was screaming, “naa badda mi” to a portly man.
So I got myself a beer and tried to mingle. But it was hard to mingle and blend into a crowd that could understand each other, had dreadlocks, smoked ganja, knew what the word Jah stood for while I, wore a suit, carried a briefcase and had short hair.
Dale eventually turned up so I never got to meet Steve and into a back room we went where, the air was so thick with ganja smoke, the music was thumping, and the babes danced in a way that would make the censor board at Channel O and MTV freak out.
As we walked in, a Rasta whose dreads went way down and past his butt came up to us. After the introductions – at least I think they were introductions, he put his massive arms round my shoulders and said: “We gwaan hab a bashment time.”
Taking our seats, Rasta Whose Dreads Went Way Down and Past His Butt pointed out a sista in the corner and who was obviously vexed. He laughed as he told us, she “in bun ka im bun whole heap a herb.”
Yeah whatever you say Rasta Whose Dreads Went Way Down and Past His Butt.
Fast forward to Uganda. Kabalagala is on fire. Years back, it was Capital Pub that was making a nuisance of itself but, today, it is De Posh where, revellers spill out at 7:00am when most of us are doing the school run.
But further down the road from De Posh and on the same side of the road as De Posh, is another bar the belts out Reggae music and like De Posh, it does not close until about 8:00am in the morning.
I think it is called Reggae bar and one Thursday night and on my way home, curiosity got the better of me. I had to give it the once over. I had feelings of nostalgia. I wanted to remember the time I spent in the rundown pub in London where I didn’t understand a word that was being said. You see, when me check it deep, I have to know if it is casco.
The music was thumped at a high decibel, that if you didn’t hold on to your glass, the vibrations would move it all over the bar.
I sat at the bar, placed my order, and started looking around. Rasta next to me held out his fist and so did I. Once we had done with the fist thing, the thumped his chest twice than said: “wa a gwaan?”
Wa a gwaan is term I had heard before from the likes of The Firebase Crew and in an fruitless effort to be as enterprising as he was, I blurted out my response – irie as I pointed at my Club beer. He smiled and looked away after giving me the once over.
And before you start thinking it, no, I was not wearing a suit nor was I carrying a briefcase. 
Behind us, a Rasta had pressed his groin deep into that of a petite girl who he had pinned up against the wall while telling Rasta Friend who was looking on “mi kyaan lock me hose off.
Having settled in and looking deeper into the bar, there seemingly was a VIP area. Of course I had to be in it for after all, I am TB not so?
So I took myself there and only to be stopped at the door by Burly Rasta who gave me a ‘jesum piece’ look. Here is the conversation that we had.
TB: “Am TB, do you mind stepping aside so I can get in?”
Burly Rasta:Mi nuh kya who you are!”
TB: “Whatever, but can I go in for five minutes just to have a look around?”
Burly Rasta pointing to a sign on the wall: “Ku pon dis”
The sign read ‘private’. Just as I am about to walk away, the Rasta I met at the bar turns up, taps Burly Rasta on the shoulder and says: “Mi man bashy”.
In the back room, dope was the order of the day. In fact there was no need to buy a splif because it was cheaper to inhale the second hand smoke.
Then the melee broke out. Tall Lanky Rasta came out of nowhere and threw a punch at Shorter Rasta. Of course Shorter Rasta didn’t take it lying down. He hit back by throwing the contents of his glass over Tall Lanky Rasta then kicked him in the groin.
Just as he was about to kick him again, he stopped, looked over and gave me his cellphone to hold. Once the battering was done he was out of there.
If that was trouble, Tall Lanky Rasta’s friends came in with Burly Bouncer. What they figured is seeing Shorter Rasta had given me his phone to hold, we must have been friends. Burly Bouncer then gestured for me to come forward, while shouting out: “Step rude Bwoy, step.” 
I didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that if I stepped towards him I was going to get a hiding. But I am no rocket scientist and I did step towards him.
The first hollow punch to my stomach brought out the Club beer that I had earlier on. The second brought up the three succulent pork ribs that Kityo in Soya, had made for me.
Just as he was about to throw another punch the lights in my head came flickering on. I had graduated and become a rocket scientist! With my newly acquired knowledge, I fled while dribbling Club beer and pork ribs all over the floor.    

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