Saturday, 31 October 2015

Aunty Meimu

When Aunty Meimu told you that she was getting married, you were happy for her because it is normal to be happy when your older sister is getting married; even though Aunty Meimu happened to be 12 years old. That day she told you, you had just returned from the football field and you had still been wearing your tattered Arsenal jersey, and your small toe had been hurting because a boy who was wearing boots had stepped on your shoeless feet. She was standing by the door and wearing her purple hijab. You asked her when and she said in two weeks and then you asked her who she was marrying and she said she did not know and even though you thought that this was very strange, you did not ask her any other thing.
On the day she got married, you did not go to the field even though your friends came to beg you to go. You wanted to see Aunty Meimu get married so you told them to go without you. Aunty Meimu did not have a wedding, she just got married. One man, whose face, like a child’s drawing book, was full of lines, came and took her in his car after he had given mother a bag of rice, some tubers of yam and a basket of tomatoes. You waved at Aunty Meimu as she left. She waved back and smiled. She was forcing herself to smile because aunty Meimu’s normal smile was full and showed all of her black gums, but that day, her smile did not even show her teeth.
It was exactly the way Aunty Meimu told you she was getting married that she also told you that she was pregnant. She was standing by the door and and wearing her purple hijab and was not really looking at you. You had returned from the field where you went to play football with your friends wearing your tattered Arsenal jersey. You did not hear her the first time so you said ‘ehn,’ and she said, ‘Hamid, I said I am pregnant.’ You did not know what to say so you did not say anything. You went inside and fetched some water from the pot and then went into the bathroom made of roofing sheets at the backyard to take a bath. Before you finished bathing, Aunty Meimu had left and gone back to her husband’s house. You decided you would go and visit her tomorrow.
The man with the face full of lines’ house was very big but also very crowded. He had four other wives and they all had many children and so the big house was, in a sense, very small. Aunty Meimu’s room was a small detached one behind the main house. It was a single room with a small bathroom. You sat on a chair and watched her. ‘How is the pregnancy?’
She smiled. ‘It’s just two months old.’
You nodded.
‘I think I will name him Hamid.’ She said.
You smiled at the prospect of having Aunty Meimu’s son named after you. ‘What if she is a girl?’
‘He will be a boy.’ She assured. ‘But if she is a girl, she will be called Hamidat.’
‘Aunty Meimu, how are you, really?’ You did not know what else to say and you had wanted to ask her that yesterday before she left.
She smiled that smile that did not show her teeth, the smile that she smiled when the man with the face full of lines was taking her away months ago; the smile that was not a smile. ‘I am fine, Hamid.’ Then she began to cry. You did not know what to say. You went to the bed where she was laying and tapped her shoulder. ‘Sorry, Aunty Meimu,’ Tears had gathered in your eyes, too.
The man with the face full of lines came into the room and asked Aunty Meimu what she was doing and Aunty Meimu quickly cleaned her tears with her wrapper so that the man would not notice that she had been crying. ‘Nothing,’ she said to him.
He told her to go to the kitchen that he was expecting his friends, so aunty Meimu got up and went to the kitchen in the main house and cooked. When the friends of the man with the face full of lines arrived, aunty Meimu served them. But the man complained and said the food was too salty and screamed at aunty Meimu in front of all those people and said aunty Meimu lacked home training and could not cook a simple dish for him and his friends. You tasted the food; there was nothing wrong with it. Aunty Meimu went to her room and cried some more.
It was mother that told you. You had returned from the field where you went to play football with your friend wearing your tattered Arsenal jersey. She said Aunty Meimu’s husband came while you were away and you asked if aunty Meimu had delivered little Hamid yet. But mother only shook her head the same way she shook it the day she told you and Aunty Meimu that your father had died. And you asked mother what happened and mother began to cry and again you asked mother what happened and mother said through her tears that the man with the face full of lines had said that aunty Meimu had died from childbirth. You did not know what else to say.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

On The Varying Shades of Introversion

After years of pondering and wondering and thinking about this thing, I have come to a reasonable conclusion and that conclusion is that I am not an introvert because to be an introvert, one needs to like one’s own company more than one dislikes the company of others. I have found that I dislike company a little bit more than I love the company of myself. I just feel that people want one to be like them too much and if one is unlike them the judgement is that one is weird or strange or wicked. Lol!
I am the type of person that can stay in my room for weeks, as long as I have everything I need in that room. During my Service Year, my neighbour and fellow corps member concluded that I was strange because if one is not strange, how does he stay in a room in the company of things like a TV, a DVD, a laptop, a few CDs and immense heat for one whole weekend, without coming out for as little as a good morning to his outgoing, extremely extrovert neighbour? The problem I have, actually, is what is the point of saying good morning to a person when the very next thing you will say to that person is another good morning some twenty four hours later?

Of course the word ‘recluse’ is always there for me to describe myself as but I am not a recluse either – I am not withdrawn from society, no. I relate with society even though I do this more for the purpose of finding new holes through which to mock it than because I actually want to associate and stuff. I think I found myself more during my Service Year than any other period of time in my life (thanks, NYSC!) Again during that year, I discovered how easily I could make friends but how much I resented doing that. I really do not think it is wrong to be my extrovphobic self, I just think people are different and we as society have a responsibility to respect these differences.

Also, I think modernisation is making society as introverted as it has ever been. In a social gathering, you find people fingering key pads and if you are like me and you were forced, in the first place, to go for that event, you start wondering ‘what the actual *&%’ we could have all just sat in our houses and had a group chat instead, right? I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and I was asking why he did not have his birth date on Facebook and he said he disliked the one day-ness of it all. You are the only person in the world for just one day and after that day, it is over, no one remembers you. And it was such a deep thing to say that I was thinking about it for weeks. How is that friendship? How are you, the extrovert different from me, the extrovphobe when the only time you speak to me, the only time you remember I exist is on my birthday and it’s not even like you remember me in the real sense of the word, it is Facebook that reminds you and even at that all you do is type some abbreviated shit like HBD and GGB and MHR and WULLNP and MMTYC and all those other variants of crappy abbreviations that I am in no mood to remember? Do you see?

You grow into these things, I guess. The other night, I ran into a friend’s mother and after pleasantries, she told me that my friend is back from school and I said ‘ok ma, I will see him tomorrow.’ And at that instant I felt displeased because I knew that tomorrow I was going to be on my writing chair throughout. We had been good friends, her son and I, and I guess we still are, the thing is it is difficult for me to just go. These days, honestly, I would rather you come. The same way, my cousin came to visit a few days ago and it was great. I want people around but not in a way that is clingy like button to shirt. I want you to invite me but I want you to be fine with it if I say no, I cannot come because I have something (nothing) to do somewhere (nowhere). I am not an introvert, really, because though, my company is interesting to an extent, there are companies that are way better than mine but I just would rather not have.

*Extrovphobe and Extrovphobic are not real words. *

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Curious Case of An Unfortunate State

Once upon a time, in an unfortunate State, there lived a bleaching ex Governor with a round head. Nobody had seen a single strand of his hair before, however suspicions were rife that he was balding. So he was a balding and bleaching ex Governor with a round head. He was a funny looking man, this ex Governor. He was short and round and overweight, so that he looked like a balloon with legs.
He was desperate, this man, to be Governor again, rumours had it: he had forgotten something important to him in the government house. The last time he was Governor, he was not an ordinary Governor, he was more or less a 'god-governor', god-governor like he needed not just respect from his citizens but worship also. He needed these citizens to sit on the ground if they could not kneel. They (citizens) immensely resented this fact and therefore voted him out the very first chance they got, and in his stead, they voted for a carpenter who had lingual challenges. This carpenter turned state Governor was at the helm for 8 years during which time, he executed a grand total of three (III) capital projects. i.e., in 2922 days, he successfully started and completed 3 'things'. But even at this immensely unattractive, undesirous and underachieving statistic of this carpenter Governor, he was still very much adored and praised and revered by the people of this unfortunate State as the most hardworking civilian Governor in history.


Once upon a time, in the same unfortunate State, there lived a short pilot who had white hair in his nostrils and white hair in his chin, too. He became Governor after the carpenter and, along with his utterly hairless deputy, did absolutely nothing for the State throughout his first four year tenure.

It turned out, as things always do, that the short pilot full of hair wanted to be Governor the very same time the balloon with legs ex god Governor also wanted to be.

People got confused because they were stuck with a choice between a pilot full hair who did, to put it mildly, nothing in four years and an ex god Governor who would probably sack everyone who refused to bow down and praise him and bloat his overinflated ego. An ego which, strictly speaking, had no right to be overinflated in the first place.

Some people wanted the god Governor because 'at least the infrastructures in our beloved state would improve', while others wanted the short pilot full of hair because 'why should we go back to the past where we would have to worship our Governor as if he is God?', and so they insulted each other  and called each other names like 'wailers' and 'chainji', whatever the hell those meant.

The most curious thing about this curious State was hardly the fact that they alternated between mediocre, underachieving, sometimes outright failed, leaders, but that even at this glaring fact, they refused to demand for more than they already had, they refused to elope from their immense, epic docile and compliant nature. It was therefore all too obvious that the real failures in this unfortunate State of theirs were not their leaders but the citizens themselves.

N.B. This story has absolutely nothing to do with Kogi State.