on the train…


There is a train that leaves the Imara Daima train station at seven o clock every morning. Another one, unlikely it’s the same one, leaves the station at nine o clock every morning. Oh, maybe I should have started by mentioning that I love using the train. More than that, however, I love listening in on people’s conversations. I don’t know… just hearing those snippets of conversations are at times admittedly the highlight of my day. Literally. When I alight the train I think about these people and their lives. Like, maybe I’d be in the middle of doing something really important like decoding a bomb or stirring my tea and out of nowhere just think to myself, ”oh my goodness! Tina skipped Brenda’s  wedding on purpose. What a female dog!” Out of nowhere I feel so angry on Brenda’s behalf. Maybe you’ve seen me on the street and I had on a scowl that just made you feel like if you talk to me I might just vaporize you with my eyes and maybe Professor X will come and take me and train me with the rest of the X men (if you don’t get that joke, I’m sorry) but just blame it on Tina, mmkay? Sometimes, I solve these people’s problems. It’s not weird, OK? Like maybe I’m taking a test, months later, and in the middle of the test I just stop and think to myself, ” excrement! You know, if Brian had just told Jeff he wasn’t cool working on Sunday, he wouldn’t have broken up with Stacy (y= 3sincoslog50-92{tan180}mc2… whatever)” … sometimes, I think to myself, ”dear God, maybe I should stop this. One day I just might hear something I shouldn’t hear”. Let me just say this, OK? I do not want to be stuck in the middle of those investigative series like Quantico or CSI. Then again, I think to myself, what else do people do on trains if not listen in on other peoples conversations? Sorry, I have nothing better to do. Really.


These people on the train dress in the most interesting way. With time, I have learnt to classify them according to how they dress. I can even go to the extent of guessing what they are probably talking about or thinking (just in case I get a quiet carriage, which never happens). Why do I do all this? So that I can choose who to either sit or stand next to. DUH… Sometimes, so that no one notices, I just stand behind them on the platform and when they get on the train, BAM! guess who is sitting next to them? Yes, me.

I wish I was kidding.

Now, back to these people and their clothes. It’s interesting how so much about a person’s personality is displayed in how they dress. I like that.  It’s like having a thousand novels in front of you every minute of everyday. For those who care to read. Anyway, I should probably get down to the post at hand…



  1. SUITS


There is a lady with who we board the train at the imara daima train station. This lady fascinates me. She is always with her friends or colleagues ( I’m not very sure) and they are noisy. No. Maybe you don’t get my point. Allow me to say it again. THEY ARE NOISY. I usually use the seven o clock train. Why? Its too early in the morning everyone is on their best behavior. There are no unnecessary greetings that waste your life. No unnecessary hawkers shoving their products down your throat. Its peaceful. Its quiet…

Then this lady comes along with her group. Its more of a gang.
You hear them before you see them. Their shoes… they wear these cheap stilettos that make so much noise… They usually carry these thermoses with some steaming beverage inside. Probably coffee. It must be coffee. They talk in that English cum Swahili language and say obnoxious things like, “we’ve ‘pandad’ the train,” or, “she has ‘pead’ me less change.” These ladies, they laugh. Oh gosh… they are constantly laughing. Have you watched lion king? You know that hyena? The silly one? How it laughs? Yes, exactly like that.

Anyway, aside from the shoes these ladies display a firm grasp in office wear that is both modern and professional looking. They wear things like Neon colored scarfs, chiffon blouses, power dresses, trench coats and carry those baby sized handbags. They also rock hairstyles like soft dreads, Lupita haircuts and Bob cuts. They are professionals, I assume. I guess that’s why no one bothers them. They are constantly talking about a Jim or a Ted in their work place who drinks too much tea, or does something else that is amusing to them. I don’t like sharing a carriage with them though. They make the carriage feel small and airless.

There’s a second type.

They are probably the coolest people at the station. They usually fold their shirts at the elbows. If ever it snows, I assume they will still fold their shirts at the elbows. They wear no coats or jackets. They have these thin ties that end at the exact point where their trousers begin. They are constantly in headphones listening to music from their smartphones. They carry these bags… simple, casual bags that they drape over their shoulders and across their chests. They use cool words like ‘jav’ instead of bus. Their vocabulary consists of unnecessarily shortened words. I assume they are fresh out of campus and or on their first job. They mostly discuss matters of such gravity such as last night’s football match or how badly Arsene Wenger (or whoever) is managing Arsenal,or whatever, I don’t know, really. They nevertheless, have the most interesting conversations.



These are my favorite people at the station. Spotting them is easy. They look extremely tired and clearly are not amused by the train’s early hours. Usually, they have these bag packs strapped to their backs. They wear sneakers or multi colored dolly shoes. They are in skinny jeans (regardless of gender). Sometimes, their jeans are ripped. If they are female, the hair is probably in braids. If it’s male, the hair is in an Afro a form of protestation against the shaving they had to do while in school. Anyway,they are the most irritable. They stare down at their phones scrolling too quickly as if they can read at that abnormal pace. Often, they stand behind everyone else on the platform and just do whatever. They rarely talk. If they do it’s more or less about some professor is killing them with assignments or how an exam is coming on too quickly.

The funny bit about these people though is that on Fridays, they are suddenly rejuvenated (and increase in number). They speak louder, seem happier, healthier, more alive. When you stand next to them, you hear the most incredible stories, the most dramatic too. stories of a Brayo who found himself passed out in Donny with nothing on him, save for his clothes. They laugh how they talk, quickly, loudly.

I guess they are the people who only live once unlike the rest of us who live thrice. On that note, what life are you on, my friend?

3. ME

Finally, we have people like me. We use the train as a matter of convenience. We arrive at the station at a reasonable time. We wait. We cause no drama. We are the normal people. We busy ourselves with people’s lives as we wait to reach wherever we are going. We don’t bother you with unnecessary greetings, neither do we borrow your copy of the newspaper. We don’t complain about how full the train is today because we know our father does not own the train. We are good people. You like people like us. We always have two fifties and give you change for your one hundred. We move for you when you need space to pass. We open the window when it’s too hot. We know people need to breathe. We know what’s logical. We do it. You always want more of us on the train.

We make you happy.


So, random question. Why has there been so many people on the train this week? Did people suddenly realize that the Mombasa road jam wasn’t worth it? Have the fares been spiked? I would really like to be able to seat on the train when I board it. I mean, the fifty shillings I pay is not for standing space, is it? If it is, I propose that those who get to sit should pay double. For fifty shillings I’d kindly like a seat even if it is next to whoever drives the train. Yes, thank you.

Anyway, do feel free to share your train experiences with me. Of the categories I have described which one do you fall in? I am still quite the liberal, even on crowded and noisy trains, and if you use the train, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at seven?

OK. Thanks.





3 thoughts on “on the train…

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