DEAR MOTHER IN LAW………

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Boiling sossi and noodles gives her the false assumption that she is a good cook.

I sincerely hope all is well with you as for me nothing seems to be well but I am fine. Am writing to you from our homestead somewhere in South Mugirango concerning your lovely daughter. You might not have heard about me and you may never hear about me depending on the designated role am playing in your daughter’s life.

Am not even sure if am the one she has talked about during your usual mother daughter pep talk, now that she is in her prime age, 20-23 years where she is the pearl of many men eyes courtesy of her physique.  I might not even feature in her list of preferred potential husband material ‘candidates’ infact I won’t be surprised if she categorizes me amongst her “a thousand ways to die”.

Coming from a clan of renowned dowry negotiators, my mother still holds the record for being the most expensive signing, bride the clan has ever paid dowry for, our clan was left 15 cows poorer. Apart from being a teacher she is the clan’s de facto chief chef across all events from weddings, family get-together to funerals.In the village where your daughter might be married there is no electricity and running water. I hope she knows how to carry water on her head from the stream.

Going by my previous experiences from your daughter’s kitchen ‘prowess’, am happy to inform you that your daughter might not even fetch you a chicken. I might not only be fined heavily for wasting their precious time and energy in a closed door dowry negotiation meeting of a woman who can’t cook ‘Ugali’ maize meal, for ten people in a pot on a three stone cooking fire but also be banished from taking part in clan activities since a man whose wife can’t perform motherly roles is considered single thus can’t speak in front of other men. She is an environmentalist thus she can’t come into contact with charcoal, she doesn’t know how to use a charcoal jiko, she isn’t aware of the existence of a paraffin stove therefore she can’t cook on both.

The first induction these traditionalists whom we share a common village, origin and happen to be older than me will give her is to slaughter and cook chicken for them. This will be an herculean task am aware your daughter can’t manage since she is used to buy those ready-made somersaulting ones in fast food outlets around town or those deep frozen in my neighborhood butchery. Plus she considers it an inhuman act that is primitive in nature.

Your daughter is the SI unit of incompetence when it comes to cooking. She has managed to drag me to her sossi-noodle-pizza dietary axis which has made a minor common cold ground me as if I have contacted tuberculosis. Boiling sossi and noodles gives her the false assumption that she is a good cook. Am yet to find a family that brought up their children on sossi-noodle-pizza dietary.

Promoting local economy at the expense of my wallet seems to be her objective in life, buying ready-made food from chopped vegetables be it  kales or cabbages, grated carrots to boiled beans, green grams and peas. Nevertheless, God has been faithful I haven’t contracted cholera with all the outbreaks have seen on TV.

She tells me you never taught her how to knead flour that makes chapati which has forced me to incur additional costs in buying ready-made ones which have overstayed on those supermarket bakeries. However, lately I have resorted to preparing chapatis for myself since buying those ready-made ones she forces me put in my supermarket trolley limit my consumption abilities, in addition to their substandard nature.

Washing anything isn’t her thing as she says; doing laundry and cleaning dishes will break her well-manicured nails which are always under maintenance every Saturday afternoon in those posh saloons where ‘colouring’ nails takes the whole afternoon. The financial implication of her not being able to do dishes and laundry means I have to either acquire the services of a house help or  a dish washer and a washing machine to me the latter is the only option since I live in a bedsitter, though I still doubt if the two appliances can fit in the limited space.

African cooking stones
African cooking stones

There is this universally agreed girl code that there is no mother in-law who is good. If my mother wasn’t that good I wouldn’t be here, she should never try to speak daggers concerning my mother, like Caesar’s wife, my mother is beyond reproach.

I acknowledge we live in modern times though she has taken modernity to a whole new level. She has replicated her habit of watching wedding show to gate crashing weddings with her clique of friends where they go to benchmark for their future weddings. Didn’t I mention these weddings they gate crash are the invite only ones where one friend in the clique gets the invitation then the rest invite themselves as proxies as they tag along. Anytime she comes from those weddings I never have peace as she highlights on key areas of improvement for her big day in future. From how she prefers her wedding having a seven storeyed cake, being ‘chauffeured’ on a chopper to wearing an Italian made gown designed by Allesandra Rinaudo herself. Her wedding budget is worth my lifetime saving.

Her insistence on not taking up my name after marriage, in any case we end up together is another bone of contention. She insists on maintaining her birth name hope you will inform her of the benefits of taking up your husband’s name just in any case things go south she will be in a position to inherit the few earthly possessions I have here and there.

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