Live and Let Live.

I was going to write a longish post on intolerance this morning and the thrust of it was about how being Nigerian seems to be the starter pack for intolerance.

 

Nkechi Bianze- in her facebook post this morning said “intolerance is a Nigerian thing”, while I don’t think we have a monopoly of it, we have enshrined it in our daily lives, it’s probably a part of our DNA, we cannot live without it. Continue reading →

He came second.

A Facebook post reminded me of something I’d forgotten, a memory lost to time and the worries of life.

 

We were in primary four and he was my best friend in class, I talked about him all the time- my dad even teased me about him, calling me Lekan’s wife until the day I went to him as he washed his car and told him I didn’t like being called Lekan or anybody’s wife because I was too young to be married to anyone- I was just eight and a very serious child. Continue reading →

Remember me and smile.

My mother’s not gonna like this.

This morning, just before dragging my T-shirt, jeans and sneakers clad self out of the house despite the rain that begged me to take it all off and catch up on all the sleep I’d been owed for at least ten months, there was a clip on CNN that competed with my breakfast for the greater portion of my mind. It was about leaving a digital footprint after death, recording video messages for those you leave behind.

 

I don’t know if the participants had terminal diseases or were just trying to be extra prepared, I started watching midway (I think) and I had fried yam and dodo and fried eggs singing my favourite song on the plate and in my mouth. I watched a young woman record a message for her boyfriend and for her mother and burst into tears as she remembered her mother’s kindness and sacrifice. I thought about making that kind of video too, but I’m not sure I can go through with it without collapsing like tissue paper in the rain or if my mother would not kill me- or my dead body, if she sees the video.

 

Death has been on my mind for a while, even before I lost the man who became a mentor in a very short time, we’d been talking about death and it was he who said “we are not afraid of death, it is the when that is the problem” as we drove from Ekwerazu town, Mbaise to Owerri less than a week before he died. Perhaps it is having my thirtieth birthday circling above my head that makes me think of my own mortality and fragility and eventual goodbyes if I’m lucky enough to get them. Shouldn’t death be something we prepare for? Apart from writing wills and sharing assets, how about making sure that the people you leave behind know exactly what they mean to us?

 

When we leave this world, the most important thing we will leave behind is love. Money is an ornament jumping from hand to hand in cyclic rhythm; it is inconsequential in the driving of the universe. Power and possessions will always go to another, you didn’t create it, you can’t destroy it. But love? It’s yours, will always remain yours even after you are gone, even after the body has become food for worms or ashes in the Ganges- if you are so inclined.

 

The people I have lost have left me a treasury of memories that have brightened my days more than any bank alert. From the friend who’d listened for my quiet voice in a cacophony of teenage voices, to the grandfathers and grandmother who thought me precious and imagined I could do anything I wanted to- even hang the moon to the uncle who’d named me computer and would tell me anything he wanted to remember, confident that even after the years had passed, I would remember. He is the reason I haven’t eaten roast corn in nearly eleven years, it’s been ten years plus since he passed and during corn season, it’s hard to get through the days without tears collecting behind my throat, he loved roast corn so much. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.

 

So when I die, I hope to God that I do not regret not loving more, that the parts of my heart I reserved for myself will not become slivers of repentance for stinginess. I do not want tears as my memorial but smiles at my quirks and joy for the little things that bring me to mind. I had an uncle once, who knew how much I loved mint notes, so everytime he came he would bring mint notes for me- he worked in Central Bank. When I put aside mint notes in my mint note purse- yes I know it’s a form of OCD, I remember my uncle Victor and smile. You see, that is how I always want to be remembered- with a little smile that belongs only to me.

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Break The Cycle

“I will NEVER call my son from his room to come and hand me the remote that’s next to me like my parents did.

#BreakTheCycle”- Chike Delic Obi.

 

So I saw Chike’s post on Facebook about breaking the cycle and a certain mocking comment “Don’t worry when the time comes” prompted this post.

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Dear Lagos

Lagos,

Foundation of a thousand castles 

Graveyard of a million dreams

City of endless toil

Oasis at every corner

Glittering northstar 

Hell’s embassy

Crusher of fragile hearts

Destroyer of the weak

They say you’re the biggest,

Their geography as valid as a two thousand naira note,

They say you’re the best, Eko for show

They say you’re golden, old enough to have sense.

A plethora of shiny faces wishing you well,

At each succeeding bus stop.
Yet you let him dance with hope, under the tunnel

Bleeding and dying, while life pulsed around him

Three hours they said, he bargained for life,

Waiting for flashing lights to take him to safety,

Hoping to touch love one last time.

But you wrapped him in a bodybag

Your work complete, as his soul rose to the sky

Accepting the sacrifice of your favourite son.

The one on a yellow throne with madness in his eyes 

And gin and weed chanting his oriki. 
Dear Lagos,

In your crevasse I was born,

In your shadow I thrive

I wish it is hate that makes my blood sputter and pop

As I think of you,

Shame lights my veins instead, slowly it consumes me.

Dear Lagos, 

Be kinder to your children, 

Listen please,

For I will say it again.

Stop killing your young.

The trouble with Elu Aku

My grandfather liked to tell the story of how the world came to be. God gave man only one thing as he descended from heaven and that was a palm nut, he planted it and its leaves helped to make man’s shelter, kept the shelter and environment clean, provided kindling for his fire, the wine kept him from losing his mind in the harsh world he found himself and its fruit gave him two different oils. The oil from the pulp to make his soup and to be the bride of the king of food- roast yam (the man loved his roast yam!) and oil from the seed, or kernel if you like, to anoint his skin and hair and to save his children from evil and its manifestations like convulsion and fever. It was the second oil that put my brother and me in trouble many years ago.

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