Walking in My Fathers Footsteps

I came to Mombasa, Kenya looking for solitude. Away from the shifts and swings of London, I could bask in a year-long sabbatical of writing and be away from the influence of a London I had spent my entire life in. Dad came to visit me while I was out there, as he had been born in Mombasa. He left in 1966, never thinking he would ever return. When we had pressed him about going back, he had evaded our persistence with the edict that ‘there were too many new places in the world to discover. What was the point of revisiting the past?’ However, when I had gone out to Kenya, he became obsessed with my weekly blog, obsessed with everywhere I was visiting, obsessed with drawing out mental maps in his mind of the new gridlines and paths of a Mombasa forty years after he had known it. Unknowingly, I was walking in his footsteps, and he was tracing over them in his mind, trying to layer them over his own footsteps, like my feet were walking pavements made of tracing paper.

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Nikesh Shukla is a writer, and rapper caught between the cityscapes of Bombay and the land of London. His writing has been featured on BBC2, Radio 1 and 4, Resonance fm, and he has performed at the Soho Theatre and Glastonbury in his quest to destroy the perfect metaphor. He recently completed his first collection of short stories, ‘I’ve Forgotten My Mantra’.

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