I did not expect to be a ghost writer. I remember turning down one job, way back in 2009, when it was clear I might end up a ghost. Well, I didn’t turn it down really, but I quoted a price so high that the potential client refused to respond – not even a letter telling me no.
Before I came to Nepal, I was not aware that I’m a black man. I thought I was an African. Now, I don’t know how I will behave when I go back to Uganda, what my attitude towards the Asians and White people will be.Well, a few days ago, I walked out of my house to do some shopping in the bazaar – I grew up in a street called Bazaar Street, which I only found out recently that bazaar is a Hindi word, and this is the only town in Uganda that has elected an Asian MP three times into parliament. that is, in post independence Uganda.
But here I was walking out of my home, and the moment I was out, the staring started. I was rather used to it. Until I ran into a group of boys, maybe between eight and twelve, and they started shouting at me ‘habsi’. That’s the Hindi word for Negro.
Last Friday, I picked up a scissor and shaved my head. After two months of letting the hair grow wild, until it looked like a terraced hillside, for it curled and formed rows on my head like tracks of a strange rodent. I feared to go to the barbers, or rather, I was fed up with visiting those barber shops.I did try to go and get a proper shave on Tuesday, but that’s the day the barbers go on holiday. Or is it their superstition that they are not allowed to cut hair on a Tuesday? I know in some places, shops close on Mondays because it is bad luck to buy or try on a new cloth on a Monday, therefore the shopkeepers, foreseeing bad business, take a day off on that day. I forget which day is not good for travelling – Tuesday? Or visiting, or showing up at work for the first time. But Tuesdays you’ll never find a barber shop open. So last Tuesday when I found it locked, I lost whatever courage I had to get a proper shave.