MEMOIRS: ETCHED

    • It is 2010. My school is going on midterm break. She had told us we wouldn’t be coming home. I think I thought she was joking. The PTA is over and it is time to go. We head for my brother’s school to pick him up. She tells us again that we are not coming home with her. She gets down from the car and leaves us to the driver, I start crying and begging. I do not want to go to this place. She doesn’t flinch (maybe she did). I’m crying so hard I do not know when I fell asleep. I only wake up when we almost arrive at our destination. It is a carefully constructed plan. She is hiding something but we don’t know.
    • It is night time, and we have retired to bed but we have not slept. I’m badly pressed to urinate but I do not get up from the bed I’m lying on because I’m afraid of the dark. I’m thinking of telling my siblings to escort me but I change my mind because they will only make jest of me. I relieve myself on the bed knowing that they will think I bedwetted. ” I am an occasional bed wetter anyways,” I think to myself. I sleep off lying in the puddle.
    • It is New Year’s Eve. The New Year is being ushered in with usual funfare- overnight fireworks, fervent praying in churches and some mosques. I wake up to a soaked bed, soaked in urine. Everybody thinks it is me, who else could it be? My brother has never bedwetted in the years I’ve known him, and everybody knows it. But he did this night. Probably woke up in the middle of it and quickly cleaned himself up, rolled me to his side, and slept off again. He gives a weak denial in the morning but he later admits it. I’m very happy after he is caught. Now, he can stop bragging about how he has never pissed the bed.
    • It is a Saturday, an owambe Saturday. Someone is getting married in the family. There are many policemen around. An important political figure is also around. I tell some of my boys I will touch a cop’s gun. It is a Kalashnikov. I touch the man’s gun and he slaps me in the face. It doesn’t sting too bad and I make sure I don’t cry. I do not wait till the end of the ceremony because I’m beginning to feel uneasy. I fall sick the next day and everybody mocks that it is the slap. I will still be locked in years to come but I would know better than to touch a cop’s gun.
    • It is 2009, on a day before midterm break. It is night time and Ayo is playing a recorder. We warn him that the whistling found attracts snakes and other things. He calls us bluff but he stops. Moments later, a snake is killed in front of the chapel.
    • It is day time and I’m in the toilet. I’ve just finished defecating and I’m waiting for someone to come clean me up (the idea now irritates me). All this while, I’m shouting, “mo ti yagbe tan” so that someone can attend to me. One of my sisters comes reluctantly. I’m so excited to get off the WC I start to dance “Michael Jackson”. I slip and hit my head hard on the toilet floor. I’m not feeling any pain but I’m being rushed downstairs and my mother is screaming. Kerosene is being poured on my head to stop the bleeding. The scar still lies on my head like a mound.
    • We are all sitting at the dinner table eating supper. I’m sitting where I can see the kitchen. A light bulb flashes on the kitchen and I’m the only one that sees it. I tell them what just happened, that “NEPA brought the light”. Nobody believes me.
    • Kerosene lanterns light up the night. There is one on the dining table with which we are reading. I want to pick something at the other end of the table but I do not want to get up from my sit. I stretch to get the thing but I land my face on the hot lantern head. It burns my face and leaves a scar.

    EXTRA

    • It is around 2:30 in the morning. We are in a place in Òrè. The bus stops, we get down to stretch our legs and get something to eat. I relieve myself and it is the best feeling in the world.
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    DARK MIND, DARK THOUGHTS

    A deep darkness plagues my heart
    Blacker than the Plague
    A darkness I cannot comprehend
    Have I brought this on myself?

    My thoughts wander through this darkness
    The darkness tears at my heart
    Rips through my mind
    Nothing is as bleak as my thoughts

    I’ve damned myself
    I’ve cursed my own mind
    Yes, I brought this on myself
    I let my thoughts wander too far
    Far off the plain of sanity

    My soul begs redemption
    But now, I will smile
    Like the brightest light shines in this darkness called a mind
    And I will break down in hiding
    Away from prying eyes
    Sad men don’t cry in places where people can see

    MEMOIRS: BFTP

    It is the same as last year
    I’m sure it has always been like this
    Even before we got here
    We will get what we want
    But the wait will seem almost endless
    I talk to my legs
    And together we go on a short journey
    I have never taken this path before
    But I have always wanted to see what was here

    I journey through nature
    Nature almost untouched
    I realise man truly does have a destructive touch
    Then everything starts coming back
    I remember the rustling of leaves
    I remember the singing of birds
    I remember the little chats of students
    I remember the food
    I remember everybody warming up to me
    I remember the gifts I was could not take
    But I also remember the pain I felt
    I remember having a stiff neck
    I was happy to stay away from school
    I remember learning a girl’s secret
    A secret lie she had always told us
    A white lie
    I walk back
    I do not complete my journey
    I do not see the end of this path
    I go back to uncertainty
    I will come back tomorrow
    Maybe then I will the end of this path
    And I will see everything from the past in the present

    MEMOIRS: DAYS IN THE RAIN

    “As I stood in that security house, trying to shelter myself from the heavy rain and watching with excitement as the rain flowed in torrents through the gutter, my mind travelled back to a time when the flood would have been a source of amusement, a game to play.”300px-RainDrops1
    Rain is relief, supposedly, and with how hot the first few months of this year were, the rains that have come is indeed relief. It is also a signal of other things in a country like ours. It’s a welcome to floods and more power cuts. We have come to realise that rain is inversely proportional to power supply.
    As a child, rain met “stay dry” or “damn the consequences and get wet”. The “get dry” part was borne out of fear of strong reprimand from parents and elder siblings. The kind of fear instilled with canes, koboko and painful projectiles. On days like that, we would stay indoors, meek as a lamb but with a severe restlessness to go and get soaked. We would watch other children, in other compounds, playing about in the rain wishing we were them.
    The days on which we decided the consequences be damned, when we were not being watched by the keen eyes of any parent, we were more free than birds. We strectched our wings so wide because we knew there was nobody around to clip them. We got high off play, running about in the compound almost naked except from our pants occasionally, trying to make paper boats float on rain water and shouting very loudly like the untamed children that we were.IMG_20180524_063332
    There was something revitalising about the rain( I still think there is), especially when we played football. When we had played football to the point of exhaustion and it started raining, rain always “magically” renewed our energy. And as if possessed by a strange spirit, we would return to the “pitch” in the rain, playing with our new found strength. But it wasn’t only football that caught our fancy.
    There was a particular game we also loved playing- making things race/flow with rain water that collected in the gutter of our compound. We would use broomsticks, flip-flops, small stones, sticks, leaves or anything the rain water was powerful enough to lift. Each child would choose something to represent him and we would flood-race against one another. Each person would monitor his “representation” down the “race course” to avoid being cheated.
    And thunder! Thunders always scared us, especially the loud ones, the kind that sounds like setting off a tonne of TNT nearby. We would immediately run to “safety” whenever we saw a lightning because we knew it would would thunder after. But was thunder the real danger? I think we had it all confused. I remember a taboo about not resting one’s back on the wall whenever it rained/thundered. Whether you were in the rain getting drenched or inside dry, the thunder always got to us, it made us cringe in fear.
    It was exciting letting the rain beat our small bodies, letting the cold seep into our bones, running around, shouting out of what I would call pure joy.
    “It was time for night prep but it had rained and the generator had refused to come on. So, we huddled on my bed, about five of us, torches on, cover clothes shielding us from the view of others. We talked and played games, each one of us probably hoping that electricity would never be restored and that the generator would never work.”

    MEMOIRS: GRASSHOPPER HUNTERS

    So, I have decided to start a series, two series actually. The second one will start at a later time.
    Memoirs will talk childhood experiences, adventures, happy moments, disappointments etc. I will write as inspiration leads me.
    I grew up in a compound full of children, the kind of compound where each household has more than three children. We were free to a large extent, we were not the “go and read your books” kind of children except if it was to serve as punishment. We roamed, strolled, fought, plotted, played dangerous games, almost anything you can think about.
    Apart from the mainstream fun most people had as kids, we also had a flare for catching grasshoppers (what we called tata then). Now that I think about it, not everything we caught back then were grasshoppers. We also caught stick insects, locusts( smell absurd), praying mantis and katydids. But everything that hopped then was tata to us😄.
    20180430_202603-COLLAGEThere was a small bush( not bush like that) that served as our hunting ground. We would stroll into the bush, moving stealthily to avoid startling the hoppers and trap them in our hands. Imagine walking through a bush while people watched, but we didn’t care. I remember we used to shout “mo bò”(I trapped it or I caught it) whenever we caught a grasshopper. We would immediately sever the the hind limbs that allowed them to escape. Now, I can almost hear the sound the helpless creatures made during their short flights to safety- to escape being caught by us. Not less than ten grasshoppers were caught on days luck smiled on us( I think luck was always smiling on us😊).
    When we became satisfied with a day’s catch, we would take them back home, trapping the grasshoppers tightly in our hands to prevent them from escaping. Some died in the process. The ones that survived were subjected to different kinds of treatment. If you are against animal cruelty you should probably leave now😄.20180430_202406-COLLAGE
    We carried out different experiments with our grasshoppers but we never ate them like I’ve heard that some people do. We simulated acts of kissing between hoppers while we made what was kissing sounds to us then. We forced hugs. We even arranged battles between grasshoppers and ants- black ants, brown ants etc, and we would watch, with eagerness, the ants tear the limbs from our play things. Some were buried; some alive. I once gave a dead hopper a “befitting” burial. I put it in a coffin of groundnut shell and I put it in the ground. But my curious mind didn’t allow the poor thing rest in peace, my curious mind wanted to find out what had happened to it. I was astonished to find the grasshopper decaying/decayed, it seemed so beautiful to me. In the actual event of becoming bored with our play things, we hid them in places we thought safe or just killed them off. Death was delivered in various ways. I personally loved pulling out the innards of a grasshopper through the head. We were committing small scale genocide😄.
    There were also funny moments when we would chase a hopper into the mouth of a lizard. The lizards were always quick at catching a free meal. Even that predatory show excited me.
    I have always been fascinated by these little creatures and a part of me still remains a grasshopper hunter. The idea of moving stealthily, deceiving myself I’m a real hunter, after grasshoppers is exciting, and even now when I see grasshoppers, I try to catch them. Maybe its just an indication that a part of us will still be kids.
    Who else was a grasshopper hunter? Share your own adventures in the comment. You can share your own memoirs too😊.

    WHEN WE FAIL

    DisappointmentEverybody, at a particular point in their lives, must have failed at something they set out to accomplish. It could be academics, business, politics, marriage etc. Most people also know how destabilizing failure can be and how badly it can affect the psyche of a person.
    I’ve had my own share of failure, so I know what it feels like when a person fails or think they’ve failed at something.
    Growing up, I was never really able to comprehend failure except in times when I lost a fight. Whenever I lost a fight and got beat up, it always felt like I should disappear from the face of the earth so nobody would see me like a beat down dog. If you’ve been in a fight before and you lost, you would know how difficult it can be to get up, hold your head up and look people in the face after getting a beating. It is even made worse with taunting and mockery from people who witnessed the fight.
    Now that failure means more than losing a fight to me, it still gives me the same feeling, maybe even worse. Whenever I fail at something, especially tests and exams, I get very unhappy. At times like that, I always just want everything to just end, like something should take me away or take everyone around me away, so that it will just be me and my failure and nobody will ever know I failed. I always want to be on my own, away from everything else. For me, failure comes with a kind of pain that is so excruciating I always feel like crying but I can’t even shed a tear. It is a kind of psychological pain that feels like an emptiness, a hole, a void and only success can take the pain away and fill the void. It gets even more painful when you fail at what people close to you have excelled at.
    Failure also has a crippling effect on a person’s psyche. It kills a person’s morale and the will to continue a task, take for example failing( or thinking you’ve failed) a paper during exams. Failing in one paper could bring the whole exam to an end for some people as a result of damaged confidence/psyche. It can also find its way into other activities, as an aftereffect, and a person could get incapacitated and disoriented. One can start losing focus. You want the feeling to go away but it just stays there, almost unshakable.
    Failing also makes people want to go into “hiding”. You will try to hide the evidence of your failure. You get so conscious of the failure that you want to hide it from people. I think this happens more when we fall short of the expectation some people have had of us. You tell people that you’re okay but you hurt silently. I remember hiding my report cards in two different occasions when I failed in school. It was a foolish thing to do but I didn’t want my parents to know I failed. I wanted to hide the the proof that I fell short of their expectations. The decision to hide the cards was also borne out of fear of being rebuked. People even go as far as forgery to hide failure.
    As damaging as failure can be in the first instance, it can be even more damaging when it is not properly handled. One failure can spark off a series of other failures.
    I’ve also discovered that mustering a little strength and giving yourself a will will help you bounce back after failing or after an initial setback. Never linger too long on failure, it is bad for confidence.

    BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ ON YOUR SPARE TIME

    One of the things I do with my free time is reading. I’m not talking school books now, I’m talking novels, short stories, book summaries etc. So when I’m not watching a movie, sleeping, preparing for a test or an exam or just lazing about, I might be reading a book.
    Reading helps to fill a certain kind of void and emptiness I feel sometimes.
    If you are a reader of books like me, I have suggestions on books you can/should read on your free time.
    Half-of-a-Yellow-Sun-fxHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Most people that have seen the movie would probably feel there is no need reading the book but as someone that has read the book, I think the movie didn’t do justice to the book. The movie didn’t portray a lot of things and one is the funny Ugwu. If you want to feel what I felt reading the book, then you should grab a copy.
    AnthillsOfTheSavannah

    Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
    This book tells the story of three friends, how they begin to fall apart when one on them becomes Head of State. But while they struggle to stay friends and loyal to one another, something bigger that would jeopardize their lives and the people they love is about to happen.

    792a80090c8918e9be39c276c014b729Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

    The debut novel of this author and a good one. Yejide and Akin are a young childless couple coping with increasing pressure for a child from their families. Did their love survive the test of childlessness? Did they succumb to the pressure? What was their way out? When does family turn to foe? Why did love turn to hatred? You will find the answers to these questions in the book. The book also talks about sickle cell disease.

    16114423_1392073554157694_3782245104680499838_n-e1484539534995Akata Witch( or What Sunny Saw In The Flames) by Nnedi Okoroafor
    Nnedi is perhaps the best sci-fi/fantasy writer from Nigeria. She also writes for MARVEL. One of her books, Who Fears Death is being developed into a TV show under HBO.
    If you love fantasy, Akata Witch is a book to read and Nnedi is the author to read. Akata Witch tells the adventure of Sunny and her friends as they discover their abilities and fight against evil. The book is the first of two books in the series, the second book is Akata Warrior.
    db276ba85cb3f79ef32184d99eb0a562--my-books-books-to-readI Do Not Come To You By Chance by Nwaubani Adaobi Tricia
    Adaobi Tricia writes about how a tough life leads a university graduate into the world of advance fee fraud. The book takes you into the world of 419 when it was first booming in Nigeria, the struggle to do what is right by one’s family and how everything changes when money enters the picture.
    0d91374e3f5cdcc2bd71459730540f8dThe Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
    A polygamous life is not what Bolanle always wanted but it is what she settles for after a life-changing incident. But in Baba Segi’s household, there is a big secret waiting to be unravelled. What secrets are Baba Segi’s wives hiding? Get a copy of this book and experience the joy, problems, conspiracies and secrets of Baba Segi’s family.
    img-20170301-wa0010-e1523123495597.jpegMeasuring Time by Helon Habila
    Twins Mamo and LaMamo are on a quest/dream for glory and fame. Only one of them will pursue the dreams of the two of them while the other waits back. But did he find fame?
    wpid-wp-1440770989072On The Bank Of The River by Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi
    I had to beg my sister to allow me finish this book before she returned it. The book was my companion in a time of boredom.
    It tells the story of a past life and the present one. Get a copy and read Enitan’a story.
    b38d4f4fff9e75c8bdca8443fb553181--book-cover-design-book-coversThe Palmwine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola
    If you love weird and queer, then this is the book to read. It takes you on the adventure of a man trying to bring his palmwine tapper back from the land of the dead. The book is written in very funny English but you will have a good laugh.
    x298Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon
    One of the two books by Sidney Sheldon that I read in secondary school.
    A-Game-Of-Thrones_novelA Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R Martin
    My list wouldn’t be complete without the book the best TV show in the world is adapted from. I have read four out of the five released books in the series.
    fine-boysFine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen
    My most recent read and the first book I bought with my money😊. You can get the book on OkadaBooks. You should definitely read this book.
    EXTRA: Read 48 Laws of Power. If not for the laws, read it for the sweet history