THESE THINGS CALLED BROTHERS

These things called brothers
Can be so much of a bother
Their noise smothers
And can disturb even the calmest waters

These things called brothers
Unduely stress the vocal chords of our mothers
And though they seem angelic to others
They are most annoying to their sisters
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They turn the living room into a playground
Take stuff and scatter them around
Their clothes they pile in a mound
And a mountain higher than this I have not found

They hardly care if the toilet is neat
They piss on the toilet seat
And I can hardly keep my voice sweet
When I tell them to “stop that shit!”
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They argue about everything in loud tones
They only talk about football, girls, cars and phones
Their voices rumble because of their hormones
And sometimes they sound like crones

They are inaccessible when they play playstation
They are voracious and eat other’s food ration
But when it comes to sharing chores into portions
They move in slow motion

These things called brothers
When they fight, sound like thunder
Cause a ruckus like raging waters
Separating them is not an option for their sisters

These things called brothers
Although most time are bothers
Can be sweet when they keep away monsters
In form of pesky ‘toasters’

They give a sense of security
When our fathers are away on a journey
They are an alternative source of money
When to our requests, our parents look at us funny

I am grateful to our mothers
For this gift of brothers
At the thought of losing them I shudder
My love for them is forever

These things called brothers
Are one of the world’s greatest wonders
And though they are not like others
I have to say, I love my brothers!
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TÒRÒMAGBÈ-ODE TO THE BLACK NYLON BAG

Concealer of my disposed haemorrhagic absorber
Shielder of hair- natural and exotic- from deluges
Carrier of comestibles
And every other carry-able
Ultimate concealer, and propeller of “shot-put”
Exterior décor of Ibadan roads after downpours

Symbol of dirtiness and disorder to some
Seal of the lower class to others
Logo of the everyday market
Distinct from its fancy yellow cousin with red lettering
Bare, bearing no name
Trustworthy, though not always
Occasionally opening “yansh”
And exposing its contents
Evidence that its low price
Cannot be trusted always

Unassuming, unpretentious
No airs, unlike it’s white cousin
With green lettering
That has its home in Old Bodija
Unanimous package of several unregistered Food Co.-operations
Useful to virtually all trades
Elder sibling to Tóró
Younger sibling to Ègbon Tòròmagbè
Everywhere you go
Like the Yello! people
Tòròmagbè.

 

P. S: Can you decipher the overt codes in the poem and name the cousins of Tòròmagbè?

Thank you for reading!

BUSY DAY

They file in, in a straight line, their leather flip-flops slapping against the tiled floor. Heads, mine included, slowly raise from studying books to look at them. They are four girls, dressed in black and white alternatively. The first and third girl are in black, the second girl is in white, and the fourth girl is in black and white stripes. Some of us who recognise them smile. These same girls were here yesterday, although they were five then; and had been dressed in black and yellow alternatively. They had also walked in, in a single line; yellow, black, yellow, black, and yellow, bringing to my mind the image of a bee. 😉

We had smiled yesterday too, wondering if their dressing was intentional or purely by accident.

Many people have come into the Third Floor East section of Kenneth Dike Library today, and have turned back, disappointed to find all the spaces occupied. But these girls, they catch everyone’s attention with their walking arrangement and dress code, and the way they seem to draw confidence from being together; and make one word flash in most minds, “FRESHERS!” The way they cluster like a brood of chickens is so funny. It’s particularly funny to me because I have always been a loner. These kind of associations where you have to wait for other people before you can go anywhere amuses me.

Hello there. It’s a rainy day again, just like yesterday and the day before that, but I dared not lie in bed and read a random book (like I did in my post Lazy Day). Nope! 😉 School has resumed and exams have started. My routine has changed from what it previously was. Since I resumed, my new routine has been majorly to get to the library as soon as it opens at 8am, and read till evenings. I only read non-academic books now, shortly before going to bed. If I continue with my previous routine, then, my grades, and my hope of graduating this year would just have to “sémpé” like the old women in Wasiu Àyìndé K1’s song. 🙂

It’s a busy day, I just came back to the library from writing a test. These girls gave me a little break to stretch my neck and smile, and even inspired this post. Today, their dress code today reminded me of black and white carpet tiles, or a chessboard. 🙂

What were you like as a freshman? A loner, or a…what’s the opposite of a loner? A symbiont? A clique-lover? Which were you?

Thank you for reading.

*sempe- Nigerian slang meaning to cool down, or hold on for some time.
Photo credit: Google.com

WHY NIGERIA WILL NEVER BE BETTER


Photo credit: Google.com

“Change begins with me.” Everyone is encouraged to say these words, but more importantly, imbibe them. Honestly though, I think some people should not bother saying it, because they totally do not even believe Nigeria can get better. I think I prefer people who would rather not say anything because they know the change cannot begin with them; it will catch up with them sometime later. And for those who think the government must do everything…all the best to you.

An occurrence that involved me and some seven other people prompted this post. Upon the closure of my school, I travelled to Ijebu Igbo. When returning, I travelled back in a Peugeot 504 station wagon that was driven by an elderly Ijebu man. The car, though an old model, still looked good, and even had a nice interior with the upholstery still intact. The driver was very boisterous, shouting out greetings to people as we drove out of the Ijebu Igbo motorpark. One thing became apparent about him as we travelled- he didn’t give policemen money. I wondered how long he would do that before finally giving in. We went through about five checkpoints in all and, at every stop, he would smile at the policeman and say in Yoruba, “I will ‘see’ you when I’m coming back.”

When we got to Ìdí Ayùnré, the policemen there refused to be ‘seen’ later, and asked the driver to ‘settle’ them there and then. The driver apologised to us as he parked beside the road and got out of the car to go talk to them. He spent some minutes discussing with them, and the more time he spent, the hotter the car got, and the more unbearable it became to sit in it. At a point, the other passengers began to complain about the driver, and how he was being selfish. Why wouldn’t he give the policemen some money? Why was he bent on ‘standing on his rights?’ How many more policemen was he going to refuse to ‘settle’? How much longer was he going to delay us? What was wrong with these Ijebu people sef?

When he got back into the car, apologising profusely, they repeated all they had said while he was gone. He retorted as he started the car, “If you care so much for policemen, why don’t you give them some of your money? No portion of the money with me is for policemen. Whoever has money for them should please go and give them, and stop yelling.” I smiled to myself as I mentally applauded him. As we left, the other passengers continued arguing with him about his refusal to give policemen money. I did not say anything throughout; I have this funny habit of keeping quiet in public transport vehicles, and only talking when talked to. I prefer to listen to other people, observe them, or just read a book. On this particular journey with six other passengers and the driver, only two of us were quiet- the lady in front who didn’t appear to understand Yoruba, and myself.

We soon got to New Garage and just as we were about to enter, we were stopped by another set of policemen. A junior officer with particularly big eyes with even bigger bags beneath them, and an overall sullen look about him, came to the car and said, “Welcome sir.” The driver looked up at him through the window and said in Ijebu, “What does that mean?” I smiled; apparently he had decided to play dumb.
“Baba, I no understand Yoruba, na English I sabi. I say welcome sir. You no hear that one?” The policeman retorted.
“I said what is the meaning of what you said to me?” The driver asked again, as a lady sitting directly behind him pointed out the policeman’s name tag to the rest of us in the car. He wore a safety jacket, and it covered the rest of his name; all we could see was “Aye”. The lady concluded that he was Yoruba but was also pretending not to understand. So much drama in one place. I had to suppress my laughter as the policeman decided to ditch pleasantries.

“Where are your particulars?” Patiently, the driver brought out a small bag and showed him his particulars. The policeman went through it all, and apparently, the driver had all he could think to ask for. But unwilling to let him go so easily, he held up a card and asked, “Where is the original for this one?”
The driver replied in an angry, cutting tone, still in Ijebu, “I hope you’re not mad. How would I have this one if I didn’t have the original? Do you even know what you’re talking about?” Too annoyed to sit in the car any longer, he got out, slammed the door shut, and brushed the policeman’s hand off the side mirror, saying, “Don’t break my mirror. Does it look like an armrest to you? If you break it now, you’ll stop me for it later and ask me to pay some money.”

“Baba, respect yourself. If not, I will throw your particulars on the ground and march on them.” The policeman said, his big eyes narrowing, seemingly being swallowed by the bags beneath.

“Don’t tell me rubbish about my particulars, young man. I have been driving before you were born. Your mother was probably still in secondary school at the time! And you talk about marching on my particulars?”

The driver and the policeman went to meet his superiors some meters behind the car while we sat in the car, sweating. My co-travellers resumed their whining about the selfishness of the driver, and Ijebu people in general. I wondered if they would say all that if they knew I am Ijebu. The man who sat two seats away from me, and who happened to be the only male passenger, was particularly annoying.
“Baba is just suffering us for nothing,” he said in Yoruba. “Why can’t he just give them fifty naira or hundred naira instead of putting us through all this stress and wasting our time? Other drivers do it, why is he standing on his rights? He should know that in Nigeria, no one can stand on their rights; there is no such thing. You will always lose. He should just give them what they want. That’s how things are.”

The driver soon came back with his particulars, a triumphant smile on his face.
“Sorry o!” he said, as he stored away his particulars and started the car. Once again, my fellow passengers yelled their complaints at him, and once again, he replied them appropriately.
“I have told you before; if you have money for them, you can give them. As for me, the money with me is for my family. You passengers are wicked. You’re asking me to give policemen money. If I do that, what will be left for me and my family to spend?”

“How much is fifty naira that you can’t give them? You left us all in the heat of this your car because of fifty naira!” someone said.

“Why are you complaining to me about the heat? Am I the one who asked the sun to shine? And, in case you don’t know, it takes money to maintain this car, so you can sit comfortably in it. I starved myself to pay for that licence. Why should I pay anyone bribes after that? If you don’t know what to say, please keep quiet.”

“I have paid my fare o; you didn’t carry me free of charge. I have a right to express my mind,” the sole male passenger said. I wanted to slap him in the face with my book. Didn’t he just say there’s no such thing as rights?

“How much did you pay that you’re running your mouth? Six hundred naira! Seven of you paid four thousand two hundred naira in total. If I keep dashing policemen money, what will I take home to my family? Ògbéni*, it will not be well with your rights!” the driver replied hotly and the whining passengers all kept quiet. He he! If that had been some social media battle, I would have commented on the driver’s words and said, “#Savage!” 🙂

Seriously, if people keep on with the attitude that corruption, bribery, and regular unwarranted payments to policemen are normal, ‘the way things are’; that we don’t even have rights that we can stand on as Nigerians; then Nigeria will never be better. We want change but somehow, we want it to happen without our involvement, without changing our mindsets and bad habits. Who are we fooling?

Photo credit: Ziglar.com

Change is a process, and it can be painful. In this case, we had to sit in an old, extremely hot car with no air conditioner. In other cases, it could be more: it could be recession, falling value of our money, rising prices of commodities…But if we endure it, stand on our rights, and fish out corrupt people for due punishment, we will see the end of corruption. It might take time, but it will happen. We will be triumphant, just like that old driver.

Photo credit: Google.com

As for people like Mr Running mouth whose knowledge of ‘rights’ I seriously doubt, God be with you o.

*Ogbeni- Yoruba word used to refer to men.

LAZY DAY

It’s a rainy day. I woke up to heavy rain, took a deep breath, and hugged myself as I opened and closed my eyes repeatedly. More sleep? Or should I start my day? 🙂 This is what the strike has turned me into, and I am loving it. He he! After all the stress of school in the past few months, I am glad for some rest.

I remember talking to my room mate some days before the strike, about how I longed for a rainy, lazy day. The kind of day where you wake up to rain, and you have nowhere to go, and so you just lie in bed and read a book;

Photo credit: margaretnelson.co.uk

or you continue sleeping…

When you finally get up, you take your bath (or not) 😉 , and eat a slow breakfast; not the noodles or whatever that you hastily gulp on school days before rushing to go listen to a boring lecture. The only hitch in a slow day such as this is that by the time I have breakfast, everyone else has had theirs, and most of the choice meat or fish is gone from the soup. Today, when I opened the pot, some stupid looking fish stared at me, and I stared back and said, “Hello!” before scooping some onto my plate.

I am currently listening to Wasiu Àyìndé K1’s Orín D’owó, and it perfectly fits the mood of the day. Slow tempo, nice melody…Eh ehn, as I was saying, the strike has changed my routine somewhat and, unlike many of my friends who are complaining, I have embraced the strike and all it has brought with it. I absolutely did not want the strike before, but now, I have realised that we are already on strike, and no amount of blame-shifting will change anything. I would have loved to work on my project in the meantime but since His Eminence, my supervisor is not reachable, not to talk of available, what will I do? Look, strike or no strike, time will be spent, so you might as well just make the best use of this free time you have. Even Wasiu Àyìndé agrees, and says, “Walahi talahi Àyìndé o, mo folóhun búra òrò ni!…béè náàni!” 🙂 While in school, we were always complaining, agitating for a little time, just to rest, and do something apart from academics. Well, this is it, use it.

Yes, thanks to the strike, there is finally some space in my head for creativity, and I can face my blog again. The joy I derive from my blog is inexplicable. It is the kind that makes me so happy that I just dance spontaneously, like I did this morning in the living room while still wrapped in my towel, dripping from my bath; thereby leaving a temporary mark of my silliness on the floor- in form of a wet patch. 🙂

My new routine, thanks to the strike, is something like this;
*Wake up late, around 7 or 7:30
*Pray, and study Scriptures
*Check my messages (chats, texts, emails)
*Read some blog posts
*Take my bath
*Have breakfast (10:30-11am) and read a book while eating
*Sew (12-4pm) This is usually interspersed with short breaks to read more blog posts
*Write (4-6:30pm)
*Cook (6:30-8pm)
*Chat (8-10:30pm)…etc etc…

I’ve not really been reading my school books. I was reading at first, then when I still had the break planned in my head-rest for the first two weeks, then study for the remaining five weeks-but after I heard of the impending ASUU strike of July 1, I just stopped. The only academic thing I have been reading is some projects of past students, and I’ve been writing my literature review. Humph!

It’s a lazy day, but unlike Bruno Mars, I feel like doing a lot. I want to write, and sew…but before that, I’m going to dance to some K1 music. “Yasin yasin yasin yasin…waduwe waduwe waduwe…million million…” 🙂 Do have a productive day. Thank you for reading!

FOR MY DAD

Retrospective. That word has always given my dad trouble, and always thrown the rest of us into fits of laughter. He just cannot pronounce it right, no matter how hard he tries. When he tries to say the word, he ends up saying something that is filled with the letter “s” and sounds like “Resrospes…” before he erupts in laughter.

In the days before he got his doctorate degree, before his presentations, he would have us all sit in the living room like a panel of judges while he went over his speech about three times. After several of such mock presentations, we usually knew most of his speech by heart, and whenever he got to the part where he had to say “Retrospective”, we would all struggle to keep a straight face because we knew what was coming. My dad would ‘chew’ the word hastily and talk past it because he was being timed, but afterwards, as we made corrections, we would all laugh. He would say exasperatedly in Yorùbá, “That word! I can’t pronounce it, I guess my tongue is too big!” The word is still a joke today, but anytime we laugh for too long about it, my dad retorts, “My friends, I didn’t have an English Language teacher in secondary school, yet my English is this sound. You should be applauding me.”

He is getting older now, and he talks from time to time of some dreams he nursed when he was younger, and how dreams change as one grows older. He says his biggest dream now is to watch his children succeed and make him proud. I really want us to make him proud, so that he can say later in life, “Retrospectively, I have had a good life so far. I have achieved my dreams, I am appreciated by my family, and my children have made me proud.”

I just hope he will not burst into laughter while saying “Retrospectively.”

Tyc, this is for you. HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY.

P.S: How did you celebrate Fathers’ Day? Share something funny about your dad, will you?
Thank you for reading.

RAIN ON A TUESDAY


Photo credit: Thinglink.com

It was just a few minutes to four in the evening, but it looked like eight in the night. It was raining very heavily, and everywhere was cold. I had gotten home just before the rain started, having rushed from work to the daycare to pick Deolu. I made hot tea for us both, and picked up a book to read, occasionally looking around for Deolu as he toddled around, his sippy cup in his hands.

I was reading “Born On A Tuesday”. I had bought the book because of its title which intrigued me. This was because Deolu had been born on a Tuesday. I am not a slow reader, but I had spent more than a week on the book already; thanks to all the chores around the house. I can’t read it at work, and once I get home, I usually cannot read more than two or three pages before I have to attend to Deolu’s cries, change his diaper, rock him to sleep, or cook some food for Tolu, my husband. Even as I read, I told myself not to spend too much time on the book, as I had to prepare Tolu’s dinner before he returned from work too. There are two things he does not like to be kept waiting for; his food, and me, in the “other room”.

I promised myself I would not spend more than one hour on the book, but I soon got so engrossed that I stopped checking the time. I stopped reading when I realised I could no longer see Deolu, or hear his babbles, I turned back to my book, thinking he must have fallen asleep behind the big couch as usual; but my concentration strayed from the book. When I checked the time, it was five thirty. I had spent over my promised one hour.

I went behind the big couch, but Deolu was not there. I went to the bedroom, and I still didn’t see him. My heart began to pound as I left the bedroom, calling my son’s name. I went back to the sitting room and frantically checked everywhere for him, yet I saw no sign of him. I ran to the kitchen and saw the door leading outside open. My jaw dropped as I tried to recall if I had locked the door behind me earlier but I could not. Deolu’s sippy cup lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, in a pool of tea that had dripped out of it unto the floor. I called my son’s name again, as I looked around and began to pull my hair in fear. Evil thoughts had begun to fill my mind.

I had checked everywhere in the house, now I had to check outside, but I didn’t want to go out for fear of what I would find. I walked slowly, my pulse loud in my ears. When I got outside, the rain had reduced to a drizzle. I saw different plastic containers that my neighbour, Mummy Sola, had put outside to collect rainwater. I saw the wide black container that Deolu liked to play with and I went to it. I was almost dead with fear as I peered into it.

My eyes reeled as I noticed something that looked familiar at the bottom. I peered closer and saw that it was Deolu’s sweater! I screamed as I put my hand into the water and withdrew the sweater. As I pulled it, it got heavier. When I pulled it out, it was not just Deolu’s sweater, but Deolu himself. His eyeballs had rolled back into his head, and his fair face had turned blue. I screamed as I sank to my knees in the rain and began to cry. Tèmí bàjé! I screamed my son’s name repeatedly as I cradled him in my arms and rocked back and forth. If only I hadn’t been so engrossed in the book! Now Deolu was dead!He died on a Tuesday! What would I tell Tolu?

Someone began to call my name but when I turned, I saw no one. I turned back to my son and continued wailing. Whoever was calling me did not stop, but I refused to answer. Soon, the person came close and rubbed my cheeks tenderly.
“Yeni. Yeni. Why are you crying?” Then the person held my shoulders and began to shake me. When I looked up, Tolu was crouched before me, worry on his face. I looked down at my arms, to show him our dead son, and I saw that I was not holding Deolu, but a throw pillow. I was not even outside, beside Mummy Sola’s black plastic container in the rain, but on the chair in the sitting room. I had dozed off, and my book had fallen out of my hands to the floor. I told Tolu about my dream, and he cradled me in his arms and told me everything was okay; Deolu was asleep behind the big couch; it was all just a bad dream.

Later, when I got up to go and make dinner, the kitchen door leading outside was open, and Deolu’s sippy cup lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, in a pool of tea that had dripped out of it unto the floor. I turned and ran to the sitting room to check behind the big couch. Deolu was not there! Instead, I saw Tolu on all fours, reaching underneath the couch and pulling something. He looked up at me, smiled, and said, “We need to change the position of this couch. Deolu has rolled under it.” I sat on the floor, put my head in my hands and began to laugh.