Once upon a time, people went to India to study, not to do an endoscopy.
My brother was one of them. The thing with “Ex-Indians” is that when they meet they make you feel like you wasted your university days dating a girl in the Christian Union who studied all the time and was a prude.
After a long day, last weekend, traversing Nyanza— from Mbita to Kendu-Bay to Siaya and back to Kisumu — my brother called an Ex-Indian in Kisumu and asked him where we could eat at 6.30 pm, seeing as all the beach-side eateries were closing.
He suggested that we meet at Kosewe, a stone’s throw away from his apartment. We were not aware that there was a Kosewe in Kisumu. But then again, Kisumu is quickly evolving, like a teething baby.
It’s on New Station Road, in the leafy Milimani. A big maisonette turned into a bar and restaurant. Sitting areas are plentiful; a big square behind, a balcony, rooms painted in gaudy colour, and under a tree in the garden.
Music is of the Ohangla variety which has one tune throughout a very long song but with the singer recounting a story in a mournful voice. There is always an engineer being praised. Or a woman being bathed with poetry.
The food never disappoints. From the square behind, under a quickly falling dusk, we had athola, fish, traditional veggies, nyama choma. The service was very good. A very confident, charismatic, and slightly bow-legged gentleman called Fred served us. We all liked him. The Ex-Indians couldn’t stop talking about their younger days riding motorbikes while drunk, the utter desperation of their university days, and the lifelong camaraderie forged.
They shook their heads somberly at the ones who have since left us and those who never came back, swallowed by alcoholism and the big breathless slums of India. I was envious.