Chapos have always been bae. The love my taste buds have on a soft “javati” is as memorable as the first night of the honey moon.
I can simply never get enough of them. I cherish the moments my jaws gently crush the round, baked and oiled wheat flour.
Last week when a doctor at the Aga Khan Hospital told me I have to reconsider my relationship with bae, I was heartbroken. He said, “I am sorry but divorce will be inevitable.”
I had been rushed into the emergency ward while my body was riddled with red itchy hives, my breathing increased above normal before losing consciousness in the safe hands of the doctor.
“How could my sweet javatis do this to me?” I wondered.
They injected Piriton into my bloodstream to help with the allergies.
It was on a Terrific Tuesday and we had just had Pizza with my sweetpie…my fiancé.We enjoyed it with some cold coke, sweet talk and lengthy laughter not knowing that minutes later, I would be bidding goodbye to my relationship with chapos.
I was introduced to pancakes at a tender age before falling in love with chapos soon after by a woman whose mastery of the potter’s touch when it comes to kneading, rolling and roasting the dough into brown pealing tasty chapatis guarantees her a fully furnished mansion in heaven.
I grew up at the periphery of Nairobi’s Eastland’s which is thrilling and tormenting at the same time. Here, we have chapo dunga ….which comes suspended in a fork, chapo jeshi….made from Atta Mark 1, it is characterised by bright brown to dark brown patches like the desert storm combat attire and then there is chapo mwitu which you buy by the roadside ‘kwa mathee kando ya stage’ the ones I devour as they burn the edges of my fingertips.
When the doctor said that I should reconsider relationship with chapos, the love of my life, I fell into a trace and life with bae flashed across my eyes reminiscing the bubble gut my tummy makes when chapos drop right in.
Back in the 90s chapos were accompanied by jealousy and envy, a rare commodity that was prepared once in a blue moon, possibly over the Easter, Christmas holidays or whenever a very important visitor came knocking.
Once in a while, I carried bae to school for lunch, I guarded her with my life, she was my ticket to buying my freedom from bullies who often made life in primary school unbearable. It was a sure gamble.
They protected me for the remaining part of the term, I know it sounds outrageous to hand over my love to the bullies but not even the bullies could resist her sumptuous taste.
The worst experience was when I carried chapatis or pancakes for lunch and the class itchy fingers got a hunch about them. The loss would be so heartbreaking that not even the teacher’s punishment on the perpetrators would ease the pain.
More often than not, the bell for lunch would ring and my lunch box would stare at me empty subjecting me to pangs of hunger for the rest of the afternoon.
We came up with unwritten rule in class to keep pancakes and chapos out of reach itchy fingers by feasting on them before going for school assembly early in the morning.
The doctor gave me two packets of tablets to manage gluten in wheat products but maintained that in the long term, I will have to divorce the love of my life.
But before then, I am still enjoying the sweet chapo scent that moisturises my nostrils.