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The Lounge

At 4 a.m on Sunday morning, I found myself with Mutua Matheka at DXB Airport, connecting to Stockholm, and with two hours to kill. So we wandered about the airport, chasing deep vein thrombosis and passing people slumped on the carpet sleeping with their mouths open. Mutua looked like the son of a tribal chief with his large bushy beard, shaven head, and two strands of hair tied at the top like a half-harvested African shamba. As we passed underneath a warm, orange-glowing business lounge suspended above us, we saw – behind the glass partitioning – business execs drowned in cushy sofas, reading or tapping away on their laptops.

I looked up at the lounge and said, “Now those are guys who woke up real early in their lives and are now enjoying being at the top.” “Yeah, the early birds and their worms,” Mutua responded, “but sometimes you wake up so early yet you never get anywhere. You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.”

That statement zapped a sharp but brief ripple of anxiety through my shoes. You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

How tragic, how true.

As we got onto the travelator, he adjusted his backpack and continued while the floor moved beneath our feet, “We all want to get there, but most of us aren’t willing to slave to get there.”

“Yeah,” I mumbled, wondering if the travelator could help with avoiding blood clots.

“Everybody wants it today,” he said, “There are people who email me wanting to be photographers…because somehow everybody imagines there is a photographer in them, like I would imagine everybody believes there is a writer in them, yeah?”

“Oh yeah…”

“And so I ask them, ‘Have you started shooting?’ and they say they haven’t, they don’t even own a camera yet. And I wonder, now how do I even help someone like this? So I tell them that perhaps they should start by getting a camera and get to shooting, you know, to get the bad pictures out of the way quickly; then perhaps after three years or so they can begin to really master the art and make something out of their photography. But when they hear three years they think, ‘God, I don’t have three years, that’s a long time to wait for something to start happening!’…”

“Nobody has three years, they have today…they want it now,” I said, gingerly stepping off the travelator.

“By the way, you always think these things are moving slowly until you get to the end and you have to get off them,” Mutua notes with a chuckle “…so yeah man, waiting for three years is no fun, what fun is anything anymore if you have to wait and work hard for it?”

We passed a beautiful chick deep asleep with her head laying on her man’s outstretched lap, her hair gathered in a pool of blonde around her head. Her man sat up, wide-awake like a sentry, as if to make sure nobody else steals her heart.

“I like your camera bag by the way, where’d you buy it?” I ask Mutua.

“Online. Unfortunately all good photography equipment we buy online, the market for these kinds of things is still very small in Kenya. Maze this bag fell off 25 floors, bounced off a metal grill on the second floor and when it finally landed all my cameras in it were safe and intact.”

Mutua Matheka’s bag is a super-hero. It should star in its own TV show. Or its own fashion blog.

We passed a little Indonesian/ Philippine looking family all with small feet, the man dragging a dogged suitcase that didn’t seem enthused to be trailing him to yet another destination in the world. We slouched past an airport policeman with very straight trousers who nonchalantly stared at the two white kids with little cartoon backpacks trotting to catch up with their parents. I thought of my half-eaten grilled chicken burger that I had abandoned at Java after they announced the final call.

You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge. Those words filled my pockets.

I recently went for a meeting with Ecobank chaps, and they started talking about the gentlemen behind Ecobank, who said they were tired of having foreigners keeping and lending them money so they – a few audacious African men – started their own bank at a time when African men were just learning to tie their ties.

 

The Ecobank chaps handed me this important looking coffee table book of the visionary Africans, some now departed, who piled their dreams on top of each other and built 35 countries across the continent. And this was only in 1985.  

Page after page of this coffee table book profiled these men and their achievements and how the bank has grown. Men who now sit in the lounges upstairs, reading the Financial Times and clicking through Bloomberg.  Men who we trudge past as we board planes, holding flutes of bubble-infused champagne in Business Class while we head to the back of the plane where cattle is ferried, whereupon we will sit next to a vegetarian and a man reading a book titled Of Love and Other Demons.

We’re supposed to admire success, but it’s much easier to dislike the men and women who unconsciously wear it on their wrists like those folks in business class with their hot hand towels.

Do you know when I feel the most bile for those Business Class guys? When guys have settled in, when y’all in the cattle section have passed with your smell of struggle and everybody is seated, and then the air hostesses draw the curtains separating them from us. That always makes me so sad for myself and my forehead. As if we will stare at them while they eat. Or ask to taste their dessert. Like we are the poor-cousins-who’ve-come-a-visiting. That curtain draw is the most symbolic divide between the haves and the have-nots. It says that wealth remains private and uncontaminated. But funny enough, the few times I have flown Business or First Class, I really didn’t mind it. Hehe. When you are in Business Class you don’t imagine that anyone would have a problem with legroom.

 

Anyway, what that book of the Ecobank men failed to tell us about is the sweat between the start of a dream and the realization of the dream. That sweat is redacted because nobody wants to see or smell it. We cover sweat with cologne and deodorants and brave words and short lovely paragraphs punctuated with void and prescriptive inspirational quotes that ask us to identify opportunity, and seize moments, to position ourselves, and wake up early, to work hard and all that business school razzmatazz that is meant to lead us to the lounge with the other big boys and girls. Nobody wants to show you how the sausage is made even though that’s what we actually need to see. The sweat is the story. The true grit of success is the journey not the TV interview at the end.

I think if you went up to the Business Lounge with its soft music and smiley hostesses, asking if you would like another glass of Bordeaux, and you asked one of those moguls what it took to get there, most, the ones who didn’t inherit it from daddy, or who didn’t build their empires entirely from the prudence of African corruption, will tell you of the days or months they failed, or the day the bank or auctioneers were pounding on the door waving threatening letters, of the days when business closed down and they started another, which also closed down and they tried another and another until they made it. Nobody talks about the rainy days, the broke days, the days filled with hunger and anxiety and insecurity and the rent that didn’t get paid, the clients that came so close but didn’t sign and the contracts that were lost because you were young, idealistic and wet behind the ears. Building a bank from nothing can’t be easy. Building anything substantial can’t be easy. Folk wake up really early in the morning for that.

But who wants to listen to such tales of gore? They only remind us of how hard we have to work, how long we have to wait for something big to happen to our lives, and that’s no fun. Right? We want the sizzle, not the sausage recipe.

At the airport I saw a smoothie stand with a catchy green logo, and to feel better about the burger I abandoned in Nairobi, I had to try out the Ecobank’s prepaid Travel Card that I had tucked away in my wallet and was to test out on my travels. (I have shit luck with travel cards.) So I bought a banana and strawberry smoothie and a bottle of water. The card worked and it’s still working as we speak.

 

Later at Stockholm we waited in a snaking, winding, monstrosity of a queue as the chaps from Business waited in a shorter queue at immigration, standing on a red carpet. They looked fresh and happy with their complimentary newspapers folded under their armpits. Their skin glowed and one of them even sported a forehead, which gave me hope. If he can make it with that forehead, I thought, so can I.  

 

But surely success must also take a toll on you. You can’t take on all the challenges, all the days spent in the trenches, without having any battle scars. And as I looked at them fiddling with their phones, I wondered what scar they hid under those shirts and blouses. Are they like that thin caesarian line that runs along discreetly below the navel? Can they show it or is it their small private scar?

 

You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

224 Responses
  • Carole
    14.06.2016

    FIRST ONE

    • Wesh - Peter Wesh
      14.06.2016

      Hey Gang,who wants to tell Carole something?

      • Kidney
        14.06.2016

        Why dont we just give her a cookie? 😀

      • CheQxx
        14.06.2016

        I hope you are waiting on Jesus the same way you wait on these emails.

        • Wangeci
          14.06.2016

          Ouch!

        • Christine
          14.06.2016

          hehehe

        • Carole
          14.06.2016

          Trust me,I am!

          1
        • millie
          15.06.2016

          nice one!!!

          1
        • Mr. Nduta
          15.06.2016

          Carole has worked so hard to get to the Lounge, let her be!

          1
      • janoh
        14.06.2016

        u shd have done it or just let her be.perhaps she is a newcomer n thought there is a price for that or something…

        1
      • JOANNE
        14.06.2016

        carole you’re just fine .West we all are Biko’s groupies even with his big forehead which apparently seems to have brains extended over to it.Too smart!!

        1
      • Andenyi
        14.06.2016

        Hey Carole!! You made it! 🙂

        • Carole
          14.06.2016

          Thanks Andenyi

      • Binty
        14.06.2016

        Haha she ‘woke up early’. Literally!

      • Willytrev0r
        14.06.2016

        She probably thinks being first will get her a cosy sofa in the lounge

      • Blair
        14.06.2016

        ahahhahaha, Wesh, relax! “if she made it, you can too”

      • Solo
        15.06.2016

        I guess this is the second time that she was the first in life. of course the first time was when she was a sperm…

      • rolx
        15.06.2016

        congrats to you Carole,,,you have done what many usually aspire..keep it up

    • Timon Hawii
      14.06.2016

      But not in the lounge.

    • Francis
      14.06.2016

      Hi Carole,
      Guess what?! Darling, you made it in life. Oh yes you did!
      I just wonder if it pays the bills cs if it doesn’t make dollars… Have a good day!

      • Purity
        14.06.2016

        Maybe she doesn’t have bills to worry about… Wacha mrembo ajibambe

        • Carole
          14.06.2016

          I like you Purity…..

      • Carole
        14.06.2016

        Hey Francis…..You know what it doesn’t actually but trust me I feel soooooo nice,try it! It could calm you down

        • millie
          15.06.2016

          lesson1. you never reply or try to justify what you did. let them say what they want to say

      • Wairimu
        14.06.2016

        Wacha roho mbaya.Wake up early next time

    • Wairimu
      14.06.2016

      Congratulations Carole.If you keeping waking up early,you can get to the lounge.I have always wanted to be number 1.

      • Carole
        15.06.2016

        Heheeeee Wairimu

    • Imelda
      15.06.2016

      Carole , enjoy the moment . Small little joys of the world hun 🙂

      • Carole
        15.06.2016

        Thanks love…..:)

  • Leah
    14.06.2016

    NUMBER ONE

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      You are my Number 1
      My sweety sweety Number 1
      My baby oooh you are my number 1
      My Darling ,my Number 1
      oooh Roho yangu mama,my Number 1 x2

      • Sal
        14.06.2016

        Hehe hehe…woii we can here for this madness ….sometimes you this you are no. 1…only to find out you are actually Mr. Ndutas no. 1

      • Lindah
        14.06.2016

        hahahahaha.too funny

      • A
        14.06.2016

        Ungenagia ma! Hahahahahaha

      • Steve Munge
        14.06.2016

        hehehehe..

    • Njau
      22.06.2016

      This is how elections get contests Ted

  • Carole
    14.06.2016

    Now let me get back to reading….always wanted to do that.

    • Rhoda
      14.06.2016

      Damn..so that is what the folk number 1 does??

  • Priscilla Kamau
    14.06.2016

    I was here. Hahaaha. Wondering why it’s taking too long to get posted. Thanks.

    • AVM
      14.06.2016

      Ha ha you just didn’t get to the lounge despite waking up early

  • Abiud
    14.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.
    Thank you Biko.

  • Miss J
    14.06.2016

    “Small private scar”hahah I’m dying

  • Vinnie
    14.06.2016

    So true Chocolate man, especially the fact that no one wants to wait, we want it all today. Good read!

  • Murgori
    14.06.2016

    Atleast you on a plane biko!Some of us….

    • Nyar Ndwara
      14.06.2016

      LOL I totally agree…But soon, we will be there

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      woi

    • shiku
      17.06.2016

      Exactly what i thought too

  • Samantha
    14.06.2016

    Love and other demons,haha,this just opened my mind to a whole new perspective,thank you Biko.

    • Jackie
      14.06.2016

      It’s a strange, beautiful read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (He of 100 yrs of Solitude). I think the biggest shock we get as adults are the truths no one ever really told us about: That things will not always go your way, that the world owes you nothing (it was here first), you will not always be loved back, sometimes love just fades or is not enough & that’s OK, That horrible things happen to good people, that to be human is to be flawed & no one has figured it out…

      1
      • Willytrev0r
        14.06.2016

        Wow! Well said and very thought provoking.

      • K.Maureen
        15.06.2016

        …to be human is to be flawed…
        Well summarised Jackie:)

      • Musa Juma
        16.06.2016

        And you remind of 100 years of solitude! Indeed to be human is to be flawed…

      • SalgadaK
        24.06.2016

        Well put. Thought provoking just like the piece itself.

      • Garry
        22.07.2016

        Is that an excerpt from the book?

  • Denniece Black
    14.06.2016

    The journey to The Lounge is Long Lonely and most times treacherous. Beautiful reflections Biko. Keep writing good Sir.

  • Benjamin
    14.06.2016

    I’ll wake up…. I’ve been sleeping all this while…..

  • wayward foe
    14.06.2016

    That was a wonderful piece of writing. It got me thinking about what all these stories of success get me thinking about. When is it ever enough. I right now imagine trips to Stockholm where I get to test out a travel card just to see how it works means sucess. But the thing is I’m sure there was a time when you did too. Then you got it and it wasn’t enough because there’s something else-the lounge. That’s the problem isn’t it? There’s always something else and while I appreciate the blood sweat and tears shed at 4 in the morning I always end up thinking I’m better off without them. What’s the money for? Is something I’ve always wondered it can’t be so that I wake up at 4 in the morning to read the financial times I can do that now. But if I wanted to make it like those guys did that would have to be what I was aiming for, what made my blood boil. To me that existence seems undesirable but that’s not entirely true because I never had it. Maybe I just resent that I never will. I honestly don’t know but thank you for writing something that bubbled up so many emotions. That’s really what I read for.

    • Murgori
      14.06.2016

      How fast can you write?Or you had leakage.

    • Anne
      14.06.2016

      this is the most thought provoking thought I’ve read

    • Anne
      14.06.2016

      **comment

    • wess
      14.06.2016

      right on point, “There’s always something else”

  • CheQxx
    14.06.2016

    Unpredictability. You may or may not wake up early in the morning. You may or may not end up in the lounge.
    Don’t think about this too much- I’m high.

    • CheQxx
      14.06.2016

      The lounge might not feel as great as you imagined. You crave something else more deeper.

    • Willytrev0r
      14.06.2016

      Calculated risks, keeping your ears on the streets, less dependence on a supernatural deity and substantial social and social capital are the vital tenets of success, I believe.

      • Willytrev0r
        14.06.2016

        social and financial*

      • K.Maureen
        15.06.2016

        There should be like buttons to comments. I like this one.Your beliefs are jusifiable.

  • Kris
    14.06.2016

    .. sadly, most of us don’t care for the journey anymore, sobering read

  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    14.06.2016

    “because somehow everybody imagines there is a photographer in them, like I would imagine everybody believes there is a writer in them, yeah?”
    Very true, we all think we are good at something while sometimes it’s just the infatuation that results from envy. Do you know in like every 20 people you see one of them is a DJ? DJ moti, DJ timo, DJ limo. DJ olim….until we are running out of names for them  My take is to keep at it! The passion will make you do that at least. As for the scars, well that how you know you have a story.
    Great read Biko.
    And good week Gang.

    • wamrose
      14.06.2016

      i am not a fun of the wannabe photographers… i cant

  • Ben
    14.06.2016

    Number one

  • Kui
    14.06.2016

    @biko,is there a book with the story of the ecobank guys?
    “All the days spent in the trenches,battle scars…”so true!

  • Mathew
    14.06.2016

    Hope is what drives us.Those guys give me hope.

  • myco
    14.06.2016

    “The true grit of success is the journey not the TV interview at the end.” Quote of the day

  • JOANNE
    14.06.2016

    Someday after the sleepless nights and the toil we’ll eventually get to have a space in the lounge

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      Space lounge on Ngong rd,opposite prestige entrance has enough space both in the bar and car park 🙂

      • JOANNE
        15.06.2016

        hehee thanks but let’s stay relevant here

      • Sketchali
        28.06.2016

        HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE

  • JB
    14.06.2016

    Godliness with contentment is great gain. Is it ever enough though. I think what matters is striving to have a comfortable life. Whatever that means to each of us. Reading ‘The winner stands alone’ by Paulo Coelho is very sobering. Highly recommended for all who have not yet ‘made it’.

    • rolx
      15.06.2016

      my next read…winner stands alone

  • Davi K
    14.06.2016

    ‘ If he can make it with that forehead, I thought, so can I. ‘ Hilarious!

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      The forehead gave him a headstart

  • Kalunde
    14.06.2016

    Great piece! Am inspired

  • Mary
    14.06.2016

    Nice one Biko. You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

  • Njoks
    14.06.2016

    Are they like that thin caesarian line that runs along discreetly below the navel? …Motherhood. lovely piece, yes the challenges and days spent in trenches is what we do not want to take time and listen to.

  • kimwenda
    14.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

    So true.

  • Mbula N
    14.06.2016

    Building anything substantial can’t be easy.

  • Noreen
    14.06.2016

    WOW!!

  • Muthoni
    14.06.2016

    The forehead deserves a story one of this fine Tuesdays. Interesting read!
    http://www.treatsonabudget.co.ke/

  • Nao
    14.06.2016

    I’m not sure whether to feel pumped up with the hope of getting into the lounge, or feel a little depressed because I haven’t made it yet. But Biko, at least you have checked out the lounge once or twice. Imagine those who have never set foot on any airport lounge. Good piece though.

    • @clif_the_tall
      14.06.2016

      Hahaha. Very funny.

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      Hahahaha. chisos

  • Nyabuti Valentine
    14.06.2016

    Sometimes i can’t help but wonder the many ‘BIG’ men and women you interact with

  • Susan
    14.06.2016

    Nice read and a wake up call for me. I have woken up early for more than a decade now and just see the lounge from a distance! Time for change of strategy.

  • Zuri
    14.06.2016

    Sometimes you do all the right things and never get to enjoy being in the lounge……….seems life has a mind of its own.

  • shyko
    14.06.2016

    The sweat is the
    story. The true grit of
    success is the journey……

    We tend to forget the procces and only dwell on the final product ..you speak like a thousand men wth big forehead..

  • Shiro
    14.06.2016

    Travelator, new word had no idea those moving walkways had a name…

  • Wanjiku
    14.06.2016

    “when y’all in the cattle section have passed with your smell of struggle and everybody is seated”

    That statement right there has made me have a really good laugh…how do you even come up with some of these lines…well done Biko

    • Kamara
      14.06.2016

      Yes, that line. I’m still stuck there.

  • Noel
    14.06.2016

    Very true… success is a journey…I wish more of those guys in the lounge were willing to mentor young people.

  • Rael
    14.06.2016

    Well said.
    You can’t take on all the challenges, all the days spent in the trenches,
    without having any battle scars. http://www.shesatomboy.com

    • Danix
      14.06.2016

      True Rael. I agree with you. The scars are there to stay. To remind us where we’re from.
      Lemmi now check your tomboy world…
      Then you this… https://danixkamau.wordpress.com/

  • Nava
    14.06.2016

    he son of a tribal chief with his large bushy beard, shaven head, and two strands of hair tied at the top like a half-harvested African shamba…This cracked me up
    Success is in many forms to different folks; owning a pair of Bata shoes for some, getting to board a vehicle to Nairobi,the ‘big city’; boarding a plane or seeing one up close, standing next to it and having your picture taken…it’s a cycle that never really ends.

  • Eddah
    14.06.2016

    Nowadays we want things in a blink. We want dreams to come true the moment we open our eyes from sleep. We are not willing to sweat. We should keep hope alive and keep waking up early then one day, just one day we might be in the lounge. Nice read Biko

  • sin_cera-ly
    14.06.2016

    Your blog post keeps me company when I want to break from the monotony, it always sparks unconventional. ‘under their shirts and blouses’,very inclusive afterall some men wear blouses as much as some women enjoy their shirts.

  • Tony Onyango
    14.06.2016

    Definitely a wake up call for me. I have tried in the past and failed severally and now am encouraged to never give up!

  • Mushie
    14.06.2016

    What a sobering piece…under the shirts,blouses and suits lies scars.

  • @clif_the_tall
    14.06.2016

    Great inspiring read. The Have Nots do not want to do more than they have to and that is why they continue to “have not.”

  • Anne Matalanga
    14.06.2016

    So true…most of us want the sizzle, not the sausage recipe.A reminder that you have to work to fulfill your dreams. Good read, Biko

  • A Girl Has No Name
    14.06.2016

    Most of us run on hope that we will get there one day, even after a shitty day of disappointments. Great Read

  • Stephen
    14.06.2016

    I realized I badly wanted to mone it one day but I was not ready to wait. Now that am a bit old and have realized the virtue of patience, this post tells me yo work extra hard to be in the lounge.

  • Kalashnikov
    14.06.2016

    sometimes i get scared that i may keep waking up early and keep on walking and never get to the lounge. Other times i feel that i dont have three years to start but then do i have a choice? can i afford to stop waking up early?…well, no.
    “You keep waking up early but you never end
    up in the lounge”
    kalashnikip.wordpress.com

  • Kidney
    14.06.2016

    We should have such bags for phones. Isn’t it heart wrenching when your Samsung 6 edge device slips off your hand and you slowly watch the love of your life in slow motion hit the ground and the screen shatters into a milli pieces? Heart Breaking indeed! But they should make it strictly for Samsung, not techno, infinix et al 😀

    • Kui
      15.06.2016

      Hehehe, really?
      Techo does not qualify to be the love of anyone’s life?

  • mso
    14.06.2016

    Do you know when I feel the most bile for those Business Class guys? When guys have settled in, when y’all in the cattle section have passed with your smell of struggle and everybody is seated, and then the air hostesses draw the curtains separating them from us. That always makes me so sad for myself and my forehead. As if we will stare at them while they eat. Or ask to taste their dessert. Too funny!

    • Leah
      14.06.2016

      And then life happens which is its essence anyway and the lounge suddenly dodges you. But somehow you take it in your stride and move on.

  • Mr. Nduta
    14.06.2016

    “Nobody has three years, they have today…they want it now,”

    We are a microwave generation where we expect instant gratification from little/no effort; That’s why we have all these vices(corruption, conning, murders,bribery etc) going on in our society

  • Rowsemary
    14.06.2016

    …”your smell of struggle”…well said Biko! well said!

  • wanjeri
    14.06.2016

    Now I am really curious about how sausages are made!!

  • abdullah omar
    14.06.2016

    no pain no gain true all the time.good read

  • Alvin
    14.06.2016

    Great read Biko,and so inspiring. One thing stands, we most toil;sweat!
    Thank you.

  • mercy
    14.06.2016

    I think success is different for everyone..only problem is that most millenials assume that having a lot of money is being successfull..not knowing that assuming money will make you happy is like being hungry and sticking burgers on top of your body in the hope that you will be full

  • harriet owalla
    14.06.2016

    That’s the difference between the have and have nots….we wake up early but it will take the angels and saints for you to get to the lounge..I love this piece to pieces but we’ll get there Biko with the forehead lol

  • Lolo
    14.06.2016

    I agree with you Nava, success means different things to different people and most people will tell you they are not ‘there’ yet because no one is really satisfied.I believe that contentment is key to have a happy life but you must have a passion and desire to strive for bigger things otherwise you will be just surviving but not thriving, existing but not living. I agree with you Biko, the journey is what is important but young people see succesful people and want that NOW and use whatever shortcuts even illegal ones to get there.

  • BSKB
    14.06.2016

    Run your own race. If you meet your expectations, celebrate. If you try someone else’s race, you will burn out. You don’t have the grace to chase two destinies. Though at times it is difficult. Seeing friends, former colleagues, family doing big things and thus thinking less of yourself…my piece of wisdom, focus on your race, what you started there is enough grace for that every day.

  • Maurice
    14.06.2016

    There’s hope.for yourself and forehead and any other heads, if one forehead is already in.
    ‘That curtain’ separating them from the cattle section..hahaha

  • kenyanbatman
    14.06.2016

    some wake up early,others just want to be the first to comment on blogs.Different kinds of early birds

  • Wangeci
    14.06.2016

    ‘You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge’ sad but true

  • Brenda
    14.06.2016

    Forehead gang!

  • Ireneann
    14.06.2016

    Mutua looked like the son of a tribal chief with his large bushy beard, shaven head, and two strands of hair tied at the top like a half-harvested African shamba.
    great read yet sobering as well.

  • The Black Kennedy
    14.06.2016

    ” whereupon we will sit next to a vegetarian and a man reading a book
    titled Of Love and Other Demons.”

    Beautiful sentence. Really filled my pockets.

  • Mr. Chris
    14.06.2016

    I work for an airline, I get to pull the curtains and separate the have and the have nots . A story is told of a a Nigerian merchant lady traveling back home from China, who, owing to her frequent flier miles got an upgrade. Fantastic right…wrong she hated it. The folks up there were pompous and aloof. Once in a while she’d walk to the curtain and take a look at the have nots. Her fellow merchants drinking wine straight from the bottle, chatting and hi fiving on the aisle. There and then she decided she didn’t like it. Took her bags and in a huff left business class to look for a seat in economy. She had a taste and it wasn’t good enough to make her stay. So yeah, maybe, we are all waking up early trying to make it the lounge. Just to get there and realise it probably wasn’t worth it.. ..

  • jack
    14.06.2016

    I am in the trenches right now.
    The fear of the unknown is there but the drive to succeed keeps me going.
    i am loving it and yes,Business class will come through,one day at a time,one day at a time.

  • Joy
    14.06.2016

    Biko, kwani how big is your forehead? I feel like you’ve mentioned enough that we now need to see what the hulla is about. Pictures please 🙂

  • Emma Terry
    14.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

    It’s haunting me now. Thanks Biko. Nice read! I’m encouraged I will get there someday.
    You’re lucky you’ve been in a palce; whether business class or 1st class…Some of us, wooii. Still dreaming…n working for it of course.
    Lemmi get back to writing my proposal..Academic one. 3rd year student.

    • Emma Terry
      14.06.2016

      I meant,
      “You’re lucky you’ve been in a plane….”
      Are there edit options here? Hehe

      • Danix
        14.06.2016

        No Emma, there’s no editting. just correcting the mistake but remaining with the scars… (:

        • lydia
          15.06.2016

          Haha I see you Danix…nice!

  • Jerome Onyango
    14.06.2016

    About the lounge and waking up early,tutafika tu”

  • Ed Wageni
    14.06.2016

    Interesting reflection on success. No, your big forehead won’t give you any advantage. Coming to think if it, success is relative. Those who have left lasting impact and inspiration are not those highflyers who to a large extent kept life simple, the Mandela’s and Wangare Maathai’s of this world.

    • Ed Wageni
      14.06.2016

      *mean’t not BUT Mandela’s and…..

  • Mrs. Oduor
    14.06.2016

    my weekly dose……*happy*

  • Then again, some folks have the Midas touch (read..are blessed and highly favored). They quit their jobs and start a company. It succeeds, they sell it, start another..it succeeds, and on and on in a wash, rinse, repeat fashion. Such people even ask why others are not succeeding in the very same tone Marie Antoinette asked during the French revolution, Why the people couldn’t eat cake if there was no bread. Sigh.

    There’s actually another short-cut to the lounge. Those travel gurus who amass so many air miles by shopping solely on their credit cards and earning miles on them as they do, committing to one group of airlines, one group of hotel chains, and earning miles by paying close attention to error flights, and websites such as Skyscanner and Momodo to calculate cheapest flights to and from destinations to anywhere in the world. I know a couple of aviation geeks who have mastered the ropes; they travel Business class, have access to the lounges, stay in the swankiest of hotels and hops around the world as they wish. They pay zilch because they have mastered the aviation system, they move so fast I get dizzy by swiping through their instagram acc..but I ask them lots of questions and try to garner airmiles so that I can do what they do.

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      Somebody said up there that run you own race at your own pace. What you friends are doing is like running a race on steroids, IAAF(read life) will catch up with them soon

  • sylvia sly
    14.06.2016

    We are all aiming towards having a space in the lounge, but it’s not easy but I consider everydays achievement as a journey towards joining the lounge…. All we need is patience

  • Adelito
    14.06.2016

    Masterpiece

  • Lynn
    14.06.2016

    when y’all in the cattle section
    have passed with your smell of struggle….. haha ths was funny, sm of us are struggling n haven’t even sat in the cattle section. Very inspirational read Biko, will get there someday.

  • Lindah
    14.06.2016

    I want to print this piece and put it at our reception desk. I want to print other copies and send to my small sister and her friends. I want to print a final copy and put it in my file at home to share it with my future kids, and grandkids, and those that come after that. That is how much I LOVE this particular piece. It has “spoken” to me.

  • Merci Jowi
    14.06.2016

    Sobering piece Biko. I quit formal employment and I am in my third year in the trench, and it is funny, things happen at year 3 of keeping at what you love and like doing. Stressful and lonely sometimes in the trenches, but I keep at it. I know that as I look forward to my second retirement at 40years, I’ll for sure be in the lounge, wherever it will be.

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      All the best Merci

  • Esthea
    14.06.2016

    Mutua Matheka umeona vile Biko amedescribe kichwa yako?

  • Rono
    14.06.2016

    Am reading through your comments since I can’t think of anything relevant to say…Nice read.

  • Wairimu wa chege
    14.06.2016

    well done piece. It reminded me of that piece you did “from the hole”, You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.Everybody wants it today so true! The hidden scars can tell the story.

  • mitch
    14.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you
    never end up in the lounge. Those
    words filled my pockets.
    They fill mine too.
    what a great piece of work.

  • Doris
    14.06.2016

    Some of us wake up wit one motivation, THE LOUNGE . We sit 6 of us in the 3 back seats of a a matatu reading Habits of Highly Effective people. All this time in our minds, is the Lounge .

  • Marion Njanjo
    14.06.2016

    It is encouraging how we (the gang) learn a lot from Biko (and his forehead of course) plus the comments from the gang.
    Thanks a milli Biko.

  • Kendi
    14.06.2016

    Its not a competition.Run your own race…plus doesnt the Bible say He blesses His people while they are asleep?Hehehehe

    • Danix
      14.06.2016

      Hehehe true…
      God sees our suffering and with Him all things are possible… 😀

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      hehehe, so these guys who wake up very early yet they never get anywhere is because God didn’t have time to bless them since they were awake instead of sleeping and waiting for God’s blesssings?

  • felista
    14.06.2016

    The thing about the lounge is that it is someone elses”s definition
    of success. Define your own success

    • Joy
      14.06.2016

      Well said.

      • Doris
        14.06.2016

        it is figurative i think. The lounge means that place/point where one is proud of their achievement ( Just a thought)

  • Joy
    14.06.2016

    BZ,I know that this was all for Ecobank but you wrapped it so nicely presenting it to us that I forgive you;-). It’s alright to get to the top (or the lounge) but the most important things are those that you can’t see like grit. So I am partly agreeing with you.

    • Wangeci
      23.06.2016

      Hi Joy from Materi girls….

  • Lizzay
    14.06.2016

    Biko, is it possible to relegate the first commenters to appear last. Especially the ones who come just to sign in.After a good read I’d love to enjoy inspiring comments as well. Unfortunately I have to scroll Aaaaalll the waaay dooooownnn. SMH.

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      Talk to Magunga

  • Danix
    14.06.2016

    Nice work as always Biko.
    And the hard words…Like Razzmatazz. Did you pick that from that coffee table book they gave you?
    I now have a new item to add to my bucket list. Chilling at the lounge. And flying in business class too.
    But I dont have that forehead you praise so much. I hope it’s not a requirement

  • Ghost Reader
    14.06.2016

    Interesting read Biko…its true most aren’t willing to burn that midnight oil and become early birds too…

  • Njooro
    14.06.2016

    Well in.

  • Teryl
    14.06.2016

    Good one, we must keep waking up early

  • Boni STFU
    14.06.2016

    Not as succinctly, cleanly & crisp as always. Today you were all over Biko.

    • J
      16.06.2016

      Sir, am waiting for your article that is succinctly, clean and crisp

  • thebrianadero
    14.06.2016

    Hehe, I loved this part,”… do you know when I feel the most bile for those Business Class guys? When guys have settled in, when y’all in the cattle section have passed with your smell of struggle and everybody is seated, and then the air hostesses draw the curtains separating them from us. That always makes me so sad for myself and my forehead…”

  • thebrianadero
    14.06.2016

    Hehe, I loved this part,”… do you know when I feel the most bile for those Business Class guys? When guys have settled in, when y’all in the cattle section have passed with your smell of struggle and everybody is seated, and then the air hostesses draw the curtains separating them from us. That always makes me so sad for myself and my forehead…”
    Awesome piece

  • Wambui
    14.06.2016

    Is there contentment in the lounge or just a longing for an even better lounge?

    • Mr. Nduta
      14.06.2016

      Contentment is a mirage

  • sunsetter
    14.06.2016

    This article’s timing is impeccable. Thank you.
    Check out also http://www.sunsetinafrica.com

  • phil
    14.06.2016

    So we wandered about the airport, chasing deep vein thrombosis and passing people slumped on the carpet sleeping with their mouths open…. business execs drowned in cushy sofas, reading or tapping away on their laptops.

  • phil
    14.06.2016

    “So we wandered about the airport, chasing deep vein thrombosis and passing people slumped on the carpet sleeping with their mouths open…. business execs drowned in cushy sofas, reading or tapping away on their laptops.”

    Commoners are sleeping while those who’ve made it are working

  • Joy
    14.06.2016

    It always amazes me how you’re able to sneak in the marketing like that.
    I am willing to work hard for years, if it means it will elevate me to business class from the cattle section.

  • nyobs
    14.06.2016

    Biko your dreams are valid, you/we’ll soon get there…success,is the epitome of life!

    • Jenny
      15.06.2016

      Kindly check the meaning of the word epitome.

  • Wanjiku Njoroge
    14.06.2016

    you always think you’re ready to wait for however long it takes to ‘make it’ until you realize it’s tiring and lonely and uncertain and disheartening and everything you were never prepared for.
    I’m glad this post reinforces that it is never meant to be easy.

  • Mwakisha Makoko
    14.06.2016

    Men who we trudge past as we board planes, holding flutes of bubble-infused champagne in Business Class while we head to the back of the plane where cattle is ferried, whereupon we will sit next to a vegetarian and a man reading a book titled Of Love and Other Demons.

  • clement Ndege
    14.06.2016

    Is this meant to answer , A Case for Sponsors? Will you find them in the lounge?

  • Nico
    14.06.2016

    One day i will wake up in the lounge.One day!

  • Rose
    14.06.2016

    Deep. Very deep

  • Mimi
    14.06.2016

    And the lounge keep shifting, moving goal posts
    The lounge I was looking forward to 5 years ago has ceased to be one. And the truth is your playground can be my lounge.
    Just as the preacher put it “it’s all in vain. A chase after the wind”

  • Achman
    14.06.2016

    Biko! I found this too short. You should have continued narrating. Thank you for this one.

  • Waringa wa Mugo
    14.06.2016

    I know this is unfair but I normally console myself that if the plane crashed, we would all (fill in the gap) – the crash would not isolate business, first class or the cattle herd section. What a morbid consolation:) at least it keeps my envy in check.

  • Daniel
    15.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.

    Is it just me who notices on the smaller aircrafts the guys in business class always switch on the reading lights when the cabin is “dimmed” for take off…. those guus are there because they are always trying to learn something. Finish something. They don’t waste those flights they work.

  • Django
    15.06.2016

    You keep waking up early but you never end up in the lounge.
    Deep words those ones. Deep and true. And scary.

    • lydia
      15.06.2016

      I still think that Jimie foxx was exeptional in django. #ramdomthought

      • Django
        20.06.2016

        He was. Though I think DiCaprio was better. And Waltz. Timeless movie that one.

  • Wambui
    15.06.2016

    Of Love and Other Demons is a beautiful story Biko even if we read it in the cattle shed.

  • quite emotional ….I dont understand why other people dont feel the smell of poverty and others rich ….

  • Hon Ongoya Mirindo
    15.06.2016

    Beautiful piece. Thumbs up

  • Lynn
    15.06.2016

    I got tired of waking up early, but I still hope to out of the cattle section.
    Good read Mr Biko.

  • Mundia
    15.06.2016

    was almost giving up but this write up have motivated me i should rest in the lounge the giving up is the scar so i should not make the scar denie me going to the lounge .Biko thanks fro the write up,it has ignited my inner spirit

  • Akeyo
    15.06.2016

    I looked up at the lounge and said, “Now those are guys who woke up real early in their lives and are now enjoying being at the top.” “Yeah, the early birds and their worms,” Ptho Biko! You are hilarious!.

  • Candy
    15.06.2016

    I hope my waking up early will bear fruit. it would be a life wasted if it doesn’t.

  • Jenny
    15.06.2016

    I remember our lecturer Mr. Iraki telling us that whether business class or economy, when a plane tumbles down, all suffer the same fate. Safe travel Biko and your friend. Many peoples’ dream is to be in a plane so count yourself blessed. Nice article.

  • Wanjuhi
    16.06.2016

    Just found out kumbe there is escalator and travelator?! Thanks Biko hehe:)

  • fyby
    16.06.2016

    you got the ecobank gig, yaaaay! Tamms is so going to Brazil:)

  • Nene
    16.06.2016

    lovely.as always.

  • Jane Ntutu
    16.06.2016

    Trying to decide if I am encouraged or discouraged, motivated or demotivated
    by this piece! Very well written! So do I wake up even earlier than before
    in order to get to the lounge?

  • Harish Menon
    16.06.2016

    When I wake up at 5am, I go for a 8kn run.

    I am now contesting to join a relay team to run 200 miles
    relay-style, overnight. I plan to use this event to raise
    awareness of Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital in Eldoret – the 1st
    public children’s hospital in East and Central Africa. I raise
    funds for this hospital to equip with better medical equipment.
    Please click link below to vote(free) for me to earn a place in
    this relay team. No signup required. Only FB account required.
    Asante sana.

    http://bit.ly/1XbsK6S

  • OPIRA WILFRED
    16.06.2016

    Great! we often wait beyond schedules. WHY??? Just keep ur instincts ALIVE n KICKING.

  • Bananaman
    17.06.2016

    That last bit truly was inspiring. Nice read as always Biko!!

  • Mikeinioluwa
    17.06.2016

    Hmmm…there is no joy without tears. Nice one, Biko.

    theinspirationalsquad.wordpress.com

  • Yvonne
    18.06.2016

    One day, you will get to that lounge..

  • Betty Prisciller
    18.06.2016

    thought provoking. Now I get it.

  • Henry Ozianyi
    19.06.2016

    Biko, thought provoking, its true to get to the lounge, you must sweat, no shortcuts.

  • jennifer
    20.06.2016

    A day at a time.makes a wonderful read for a monday…..your forehead though……

  • Kimani
    20.06.2016

    Awesome read Biko. Calls for meditation

  • Andeto Wanambisi
    21.06.2016

    Hahahaha…you never disappoint huh!!!

  • Opuk Jakinda
    21.06.2016

    Always a great read Biko, now let me get back to making of my sausage. ha

  • insecthunter
    23.06.2016

    o had to google the head of Mutua Matheka…yawa!

  • Roshie Anne
    25.06.2016

    Amazing read!! I rarely comment but I had to. This comment really resonated with me.
    Anyway, what that book of the Ecobank men failed to tell us about is the sweat between the start of a dream and the realization of the dream. That sweat is redacted because nobody wants to see or smell it. We cover sweat with cologne and deodorants and brave words and short lovely paragraphs punctuated with void and prescriptive inspirational quotes that ask us to identify opportunity, and seize moments, to position ourselves, and wake up early, to work hard and all that business school razzmatazz that is meant to lead us to the lounge with the other big boys and girls. Nobody wants to show you how the sausage is made even though that’s what we actually need to see. The sweat is the story. The true grit of success is the journey not the TV interview at the end.

  • Mso
    04.07.2016

    Very thought provoking yet funny read. You have a way with words, Sir. I could picture myself in that airport, staring at small feet.

  • patson
    06.07.2016

    Apparently i read the comment section too. More is spent on trolling each other and with bits of Biko’s catch phrases used to add weight.
    Did you get the message..!?!? Get the message!!!

  • Karen
    01.08.2016

    Great read as always

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