Monthly Archives: April 2016

Old generation versus New generation parents

When I see a parent getting along very well with his/her child, I smile at the good relationship they share. This seems to be the trend with the “new generation” parents. The parents aged 20 something to 40 something.

For those of us born in the 70s and 80s, a number of us would need a rethink to answer the question, “Do you get along well or do you have a good relationship with your parents?” Our parents can be classified as the “old generation” parents.

Don’t get me wrong, we love them! But do we share a relationship with them, just as the generation Z have with their own parents? I doubt it.

You see, a number of us were whipped too many times for both genuine and false reasons. We were trained by maids because our parents were busy with work. We were shipped away to boarding houses because our parents had to make money. We had almost no relationship with our parents growing up. We all grew up independently and then our independence became a problem to our parents.

Old vs New generation parenting

They failed to realize that we were no longer children. We had become young adults. To them, we grew up too soon and they were shocked that we had learnt to live on our own. They wanted to decide which course we read in the university, which state we served our nation for our National Youth Service, which job we decided to take up and which man/woman we decided to get married to.

Fast forward to the “new generation” parents. They seem to be more liberal in their thinking. Yes, some still send their kids to boarding houses but they are more involved in their lives. They want to grow together with their kids so they are not caught unawares like our “old generation” parents. They allow their kids to be both dependent and independent in their choices. They have conversations with their kids because they want to feel their heartbeat.

Old vs New generation parenting 2

I love the “old generation parent” but I would rather be a “new generation” parent.
Which would you rather be?

——–
Photo credit: http://www.wikihow.com

To Love and to Hold – Episode 8

Chinedu could not get over what had happened in his room. He walked to the campus and went to the favourite spot Fadeke and he shared. As he sat on the bench, his mind drifted. He remembered the day Tochukwu had come to his room to throw herself at him and how he had struggled to put his emotions in check. She was beautiful, no doubt. He could have had his way with her that day. That was what she wanted but he had felt it was wrong. What was the point if he wasn’t going to keep her? He had noticed all her gestures and winks at him but he had been undaunted.

She hadn’t given up after her encounter in his room as she had continued to stalk him pleading for just an opportunity with him. He had wondered why she had singled him out of all his friends. When Kunle had asked to date her, she hadn’t been too eager to. She had come to inform him that his friend was asking her out and he had given her a go-ahead. He could remember the shock on her face. She couldn’t believe he was letting her to go to be with his friend. But was he bothered?

She had agreed to date Kunle after a while and he soon noticed that she looked like someone out on a revenge mission. Each time she saw him anywhere close, she would throw herself at Kunle hugging and kissing him as if it was going out of fashion. Kunle too noticed her drama and decided to play along. What she did not realize was that Kunle was a smooth talker and always had his way with ladies. He also had some cash to play around with as his parents were well- to-do.

In a matter of weeks, she had fallen for Kunle’s antics. He continually professed his undying love for her. He took her to lunch outside the school, dinners, movies and also bought her inexpensive gifts. On so many occasions, she had stayed out so late that Kunle had discouraged her from going back to her hostel. Such nights were spent in his room. At a point, she began to wonder why she hadn’t noticed Kunle all along and why she had been throwing herself at Chinedu. Kunle was like a dream come true.

To Love & to Hold 16

Unfortunately, the dream ended too soon. The new set of jambites came in and she was dumped like an old rag. She was very hurt and then she remembered that Chinedu’s refusal was the reason why she had agreed to date Kunle in the first instance. She then decided to retrace her steps and try to win Chinedu’s love again. Unfortunately, it was too late as Chinedu already had eyes for Fadeke only. Chinedu found out that Tochukwu was Fadeke’s roommate as Fadeke had mentioned her name on one of their lunch dates. He had probed her by asking what course she studied and where she stayed and his fears were confirmed. It was the same Tochukwu they both knew.

Fadeke had asked if he knew her but he had told her he knew her just as a course mate. He couldn’t bring himself to tell her the whole story as he did not want to paint her roommate in bad light. Besides, since Fadeke hadn’t mentioned Tochukwu saying anything about him, he had felt it was better they let sleeping dogs lie; the reason why he refused to visit her in her hostel. That would be going to seek for trouble; he had told himself.

He sighed and looked around. It was getting dark and he needed to get back to the hostel. He stood up and walked briskly to avoid the cold that was beginning to settle in. He looked forward to speaking with Fadeke tonight. What had happened earlier had awoken strong feelings in him and he was beginning to feel her absence. And on a day like this, he wished she were by his side.

************************************************************************************

As the sun rose on Saturday morning, Chinedu adjusted his knapsack to rest squarely on his shoulders and set out to the bus-stop. He had called his mum the previous night to inform her that he would board the early morning bus to Lagos. She had prayed for him and asked him to be very cautious as he was leaving very early. He walked briskly down the deserted road to the bus-stop and kept looking behind to be sure he wasn’t followed. He had heard tales of students who were mugged very early in the morning outside the campus. In a few minutes, he got to the major road which was buzzing with activities. People were moving around doing their daily business. Roadside hawkers were beginning to set up their wares and the public buses had lined up in a queue with their conductors shouting their destinations at the top of their voices.

He slowed down his pace and silently thanked God that he had passed through the dangerous road without issues. He walked down to the queue of buses and located those indicating Lagos as their destination. A young girl who sat under a makeshift office which comprised of an umbrella and a plastic table and chair was also shouting at the top of her voice selling tickets. He walked to her and asked, “Are you selling Lagos tickets?”

“Yes, oga. Na Lagos ticket I dey sell. Na Ojota e go drop you oh”. She said in Pidgin English.

“I know, thank you. How much is it?”

“Na two thousand naira pere?” She said blowing on the gum she was chewing with reckless abandon.

“Two what?”

“I say na two thousand naira. You no hear me before”. She said staring at him.

“But it was one thousand five just three months ago”.

“Oga, abeg, if u no wan go, make u comot from my front. Na early mo mo we dey. Na beta customer I dey find”. She said gesticulating.

He did not have a choice. He dipped his hand into his pocket, brought out two one thousand naira notes and offered the young girl.

She hissed and tore a ticket for him. “So you get am before and you com dey talk oyinbo for hia”.

Chinedu collected his ticket, found the bus next in line and took a comfortable seat knowing that it was going to be a long journey home.

To Love & to Hold 16b

 

Chinedu arrived home about three hours later exhausted. He was beginning to feel hunger pangs since he had left without eating. He checked his wrist watch and saw that it was already a quarter to ten. His mother would have gone to her shop which was a few minutes’ walk from their house. As he got to the compound where they lived with six flats within, their gateman stood by the gate.

“Ahh, Oga Chinedu, welcome oh”. Ibrahim, the gateman greeted trying to collect the knapsack from him.

“Ibrahim, how body?” He answered removing the knapsack from his back.

“Body dey inside cloth oh”.

“My mama leave key for me?”

He started rummaging through his pockets for the keys. “Yes oh, Oga Chinedu. She leave am. She tell me say you dey come this morning. She say make I tell you say she don make food wey you go chop”.

He collected the keys from him. “Okay. Thank you”.

As they walked towards his flat, Ibrahim asked, “How school, Oga?”

“School dey”.

He collected his knapsack from Ibrahim, entered into his flat and walked straight to the kitchen. He smiled as he opened the cooler his mother had put on the kitchen table. She had prepared a large wrap of fufu (boiled cocoyam paste). He opened the pot on the stove and the aroma of banga (palm nut) soup assaulted his senses. His mum knew how to spoil him, he thought. He scooped some soup into a bowl, sat right there in the kitchen on a stool and devoured the meal.

After downing a cold cup of water, he carried his knapsack which he had placed on the little fridge in the kitchen and headed for his room. He was very tired and could do with a little sleep but this wasn’t the time to sleep. He had missed his mum and had to see her. He therefore, changed into another shirt, locked up the house and headed for his mum’s shop.

“You dey go out again, Oga Chinedu?” Ibrahim asked when he saw him walking out of the gate.

“Yes, I wan reach my mama shop”.

“Okay oh. Go well”.

*********

At 11p.m, Chinedu sat up on his bed with his phone to call Fadeke. She picked up on the first ring. “Hi dearie”.

“My love, how are you?” He asked his voice soothing.

“I’m good. How was your trip?”

“Tiring”. He sighed.

“Your mum?”

“She’s good. She had gone to her shop as usual”.

“She goes that early on a Saturday as well?”

“Yes, she has one assistant so she needs to go early to supervise”.

“What does she sell?”

“Clothing materials. Ankara, woodin, adire and hollandis”. Basically African prints”.

“Wow, that’s nice. My mum wears prints a lot. She loves them”.

“Really?”

“Yep”. She hesitated before continuing, “Can I ask you a question?”

“I’m all ears”.

“You have never spoken about your dad before. Is he late?”

Chinedu sighed heavily before answering. “No, he’s not late. He’s alive and well”.

“So, how come you never talk about him? Don’t you live together?”

“No, we don’t. It’s a long story”.

“Well, thanks to midnight calls. The call is free”.

Chinedu laughed. “You sure you won’t doze off on me?”

“Not at all. I want to hear this today”.

“Okay. My mum and dad attended the same secondary school. They fell in love in their final year in school and according to my mum; the relationship lasted for four years before they fell apart. She kept waiting for my dad to do the right thing by coming to see her parents. His answer was always that the time wasn’t right. According to him, he needed to make money to be able to take care of her when they eventually got married”.

Within the four years she waited, suitors came to her home with their kinsmen to meet her parents and ask for her hand in marriage. Each time her parents asked, she told them she did not find them suitable. Most of her friends were getting married and her parents were becoming apprehensive. When my dad wasn’t forthcoming on visiting her parents, she asked if he would take her to see his own parents. But he also refused that as well.

To Love and to Hold 17

Her parents became so worried and asked that she bring home the man she wanted to marry since she had rejected all others. But my dad was never ready. She almost became an outcast as her married friends had started having kids. One fateful day, she went to my dad’s house to beg him to save her from shame. If he wasn’t going to get married to her, she wanted to know, so she could move on. He kept on assuring her that he would visit her parents when the time was right. She couldn’t take it any longer and she burst out in tears. She told him that he had made her an object of ridicule as she had refused other suitors just because she loved him and wanted to be his wife. She said some of the suitors had even gone as far as bringing the requirements for a wine carrying ceremony thinking that if they were more serious about their request, she would change her mind. But she had refused them.

She told him that as a result of her continuous refusal of all suitors and his own refusal to visit her parents, they were on the verge of marrying her off against her will. I guess that statement must have caught his attention, as he had a rethink and fixed a date for his kinsmen’s visit. She was overjoyed and I guess their emotions took over and I was conceived that day. My dad actually made my mum a woman as she had met no man before him”.

He paused for a while and sighed.

“But if they were so much in love, what made them fall apart?”

“It still beats my imagination. My mum said the date fixed for the meeting was three months away because my dad felt he would be better equipped financially. Unfortunately, he developed cold feet when he found out my mum was pregnant. He told my mum that even though they were meant to be getting married, he wasn’t ready to be a father yet. He did not deny the paternity but he just couldn’t deal with it. He couldn’t be a father and he also did not want the pregnancy terminated”.

“Did she ever think of that option?” Fadeke asked.

“No. She said she was too scared to think about it. She had heard gory tales of those who attempted it and died in the process, so it was the last thing on her mind. However, the shame was too much for her to bear. She told her parents and her father almost disowned her. No suitor was going to get married to a woman who had known another man. It was an abomination. My father did not help matters because he absolutely refused to marry her in her condition. My mum had to be in solitary confinement throughout the period she carried me in her womb. She said my father never came to visit her throughout her solitary confinement. I don’t know if it was the shame or if it was because he never wanted me; but he kept away all the same. She heard later from one of her friends that he had left the village and moved to Lagos in search of a better life”.

“Your mum must be a very strong woman”.

“Yeah, and I love her so much. She has done well for herself by picking up the pieces of her life”.

“So what has become of your father?”

“He is the chairman of Johnson’s Group of Companies”.

“What? Chief Johnson is your father?” Fadeke said shocked.

“Yes, he is”.

“Wow! Have you ever made an attempt to see him? Does he know you?”

“No, why should I? I have never needed him and will never do”.

“My love, don’t take it too hard. He probably felt he was doing the right thing at the time”. Fadeke begged.

“By abandoning my mum during her time of need? Oh, please, don’t go there. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a father”.

“Don’t you think you should at least see him first and introduce yourself to him?”

“And get rejected a second time?”

“But you can’t be sure that would happen when you haven’t even made an attempt”. She said trying to persuade him.

“Can we drop this topic?” Chinedu asked getting upset.

“I just feel that you haven’t given him an opportunity to…..” Fadeke was saying before Chinedu stopped her mid-sentence.

“Drop it!” He growled.

Fadeke was dumbfounded. She kept quiet for what seemed like hours but was actually some seconds and Chinedu regretted shutting her up.

“I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’m very sorry. I just don’t like talking about my father”. He said sounding miserable.

“I understand. I’m sorry for trying to push it”.

“It’s okay, darling. I have always had my mum and that’s enough for me. Both of you mean the world to me”.

“Thanks. I hope her meet her soon”.

“Definitely”. Chinedu shifted his position on the bed and looked at his bedside clock. It was 2 a.m. “What? We have been talking for the past 3 hours”. He said astonished.

“Wo-hoo. 3 hours? You need to catch some sleep. I did not realize I had kept you up so late”.

“Anything for you, my love”.

“Have a good night rest. I love you”.

“I love you too”.

As Chinedu placed his mobile phone on the little stool beside his bed, he lay on his bed and closed his eyes. He wondered if his father ever thought about him twenty-one years after. Had it ever crossed his mind that he had a son? – Chinedu Ugo.

As he drifted into deep sleep, he slept reassuring himself that he would never need his father’s love.

——–

Photo credit: http://www.gettyimages.com

If Only

She looked into the doctor’s eyes and saw the answer to her question. He did not need to say a word.

Her eyes pooled with tears. Regret and pain was all she could feel. Her husband tried to console her but she slapped his hand away.

“No touch me, wicked man”. She shouted.

“Ah ah, why you come dey do like this? You tink say e no pain me too?”

She ignored him and bit her fore finger. There were numerous “If onlys” running through her mind. She cast her mind back to the events of the previous day.

If Only

“If only she had taken time off work to go pick up her son from school”. “If only she hadn’t called her husband and passed the responsibility to him”. “If only she hadn’t decided to stay back to braid the hair of just one customer so she could make extra cash in addition to her husband’s meagre income”. “If only she had refused to listen to her husband who told her that their son’s high temperature was just because he was tired”. “If only she had brought him early enough to the hospital even though it was already midnight”. Her son wouldn’t be lying cold in the mortuary.

She was too busy to leave her salon. Her husband, the electrical handyman had more time to spare and could pick up their son; she had thought.

By 6p.m, when none of them had picked up the boy, the proprietor of the school got her home address and took him home. He was handed over to her neighbour. He developed a temperature over the night which defied the paracetamol she administered to him.

He was rushed to the hospital 5a.m the next morning. In an hour, he was gone. She sat on the floor with her hands on her head. “If only, if only”. But it was too late to regret.

Will they stay together after just a year in marriage or will this be the end? Only time will tell.

To Love and to Hold – Episode 7

Fadeke wasn’t as excited as she had been earlier. All through her trip home, she reminisced on what had taken place a few hours ago. The trip took longer than normal with the usual traffic accustomed to Lagos roads especially at peak periods. By the time she got home at about 7p.m, she was exhausted.

As she walked into her living room dragging her luggage, her mum jumped up from the settee where she sat watching a movie and screamed, “Fadekemi”.

Fadeke, on sighting her mother forgot her fatigue for the moment and ran into her mother’s arms. Her mother rocked her for a while before turning her daughter to the left and to the right as if checking if there was something amiss.

“Your arms are skinny and you have lost your “poff poff” cheeks. You obviously haven’t been eating well”. She said still turning her daughter around.

“Mum, I’m okay”. Fadeke said smiling.

“No, you are not. Look at how long your neck has grown and you have wells in them”.

“Mum!” She laughed. “I guess the exams really took their toll on me”.

“Well, you are home now and I am going to feed you fat before you go back”. She said leading her daughter by the hand. “Would you like to have a bath first? I have prepared your favourite meal”.

“Wow, you are the best, mum”. Fadeke said doing a little jiggle. “I’ll go take a bath first. By the way, where’s daddy?”

“He’s not back yet. He called a few minutes ago to say he’s on his way. Your brother is in his room and on the video game as usual”.

“Hmm….he’d never change”. She said as she ran up the stairs towards her room.

 

As Fadeke and her brother, Adeola sat at the dining table, their father walked in. Fadeke stood up and ran towards her dad. As she got to him, she knelt down half way before him before laying her head on his chest.

“How are you, darling?” Her father asked as he hugged her.

“I’m good, dad”.

“Have you been eating at all? You’ve lost weight”. Her father said taking a step backwards to look at her.

“Please tell her, sweetheart”. Her mother said walking into the dining room with a ceramic dish in her hands.

Fadeke laughed as she led her father by the hand into the dining room.

“Welcome dad”. Adeola said doing a little bow of the head.

“How are you?”

“Good, good”.

Mrs. Peters had placed the ceramic dish on the dining table and was smiling as her husband got to her and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “How was your day, my love?” He asked his eyes twinkling with love.

“It was okay. We were just about to have dinner. You walked in right on time”.

He winked at his wife. “Hmm….I can see Fadeke’s favourite”.

“Mum says it’s a welcome back home meal”. Adeola said sneering at his sister.

Batting her eyelids at him. “A pity it’s not your favourite”.

“Okay guys”. Their father said stopping the argument. “We are all glad that Fadeke is home so we would all have ikokore tonight to welcome her”.

To Love & to Hold 14

They all sat down to eat as Fadeke told them about the on-goings on campus. There were “oohs and “aahs” and in some cases they laughed so hard that Mr. Peters had to ask her to save the rest of the story for after dinner.

 

As Fadeke lay on her bed at night, her mind wandered back to Chinedu. What would he be doing? He had promised to call her every night and she was yet to receive his call. She sat up on her bed and switched on the bedside lamp so she could pick up her mobile phone. Just then, her phone rang and she looked at it and smiled.

“Hey you”.

“I thought you were not going to call me”. She said playing with the tail of her night shirt.

“I don’t break promises”

“I’m glad you don’t. I miss you already”.

“I do too baby. How was your trip?”

“Tiring. The traffic was crazy”.

“I can imagine”.

“When are you going home?”

“Probably weekend”.

Fadeke yawned into the phone and giggled. “Sorry”.

“You need to sleep. You are obviously tired”.

“Yeah, I know but I still want to talk to you”. She said stifling another yawn.

“Go to bed, darling. I’d call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay”. She said already dozing. “I love you”.

“I love you too. Take care of you”.

She drifted into deep sleep with all her thoughts on Chinedu.

Tochukwu sat on her bed in the hostel thinking. She could not take this anymore. She had tried to manage the situation for so long but she couldn’t any longer. She opened her wardrobe and thought about what she could wear. She had a few seductive tops and gowns. This was the time to pick out one of them. As she put on a very skimpy low cut gown, she looked at herself in the full length mirror. She knew she would be irresistible to any guy as the gown hugged her accentuating her bust and her curves. She put on light makeup, looked at herself once more in the mirror and walked out of the room with a mission to accomplish.

***********

The boys’ hostel was still rowdy as most of them were yet to go home for the holidays. As Tochukwu walked into the hostel, she started getting cat calls. She smiled at herself; she looked hot. She walked straight to Room 206 and knocked on the door.

“It’s open”. A male voice answered.

She adjusted the top of her gown so it could be very revealing before opening the door to let herself in.

“What? What are you doing here?” Chinedu screamed as he jumped out of the bed.

“I came to see you”. Tochukwu replied sitting down on the bed and crossing her legs so that her upper thighs were revealed leaving almost nothing to imagination.

“I haven’t asked you to sit down”. He said opening the door and looking to the left and to the right. “I hope no one saw you enter my room”.

She sneered. “What are you scared of?”

“Hey, you can’t come barging into my room. Do you understand me?”

Tochukwu looked away without saying a word.

“Do you understand me?” He said turning her face forcefully to look at him.

“What do you expect me to do? Sit down and watch while you flaunt your relationship with Fadeke in my face?”

“What do you want from me?” He asked pacing the room.

“You. I want you. How many times do you want me to say it?”

“And how many times do you want to hear this? I am not interested. Is it so difficult for you to understand?” He said stopping before her.

“But I love you”. She said holding him.

He yanked his hand from her grip and said, “I don’t. Get it into your head. Besides, weren’t you dating Kunle a few weeks back?”

“But you know it was because you refused me that I agreed to date Kunle”.

“So?”

“You are aware that Kunle broke up with me to date a jambite”.

“What has that got to do with me?” He asked in annoyance.

“I still love you, Chinedu. I can’t take you flaunting your relationship with Fadeke in my face”. She said standing up and bursting into tears. “Why are you doing this to me, Chinedu? Is it a crime to love you?”

To Love & to Hold 15

Chinedu paced round the room again and looked at her. She was sobbing uncontrollably. He hated this and was confused. He wasn’t going to fall for her antics no matter what. He walked out of the room leaving her as she stood sobbing.

***********************************************************************************

Tochukwu walked into her room sobbing. Chinedu had ignored her and even walked out on her. She sat on her bed and hugged herself. She remembered how she had been smitten by Chinedu when she came into school as a jambite. She had met him in the faculty building as she was also studying actuarial science. She had tried on so many occasions to catch his attention but he always looked too serious and never noticed her gestures towards him. She had even gone as far as finding out his room number. With that, she had decided that the only way she could get his attention was to pay him a visit. She had gone to his room pretending that she had missed her way and was looking for someone else.

She had been overjoyed that her plan had worked as they both got talking. Each time, she saw him in school from then on, she winked at him. Chinedu, on the other hand, would only wave back at her. Kunle had noticed her attitude and told Chinedu in plain English what Tochukwu wanted. But Chinedu had told him he wasn’t interested. When Tochukwu noticed that Chinedu wasn’t giving in to her, she had dressed seductively and decided to pay him another visit. She had met Kunle and Chinedu in the room and Kunle’s mouth had hung open as she walked in. To say Kunle was stunned was an understatement.

He had stood up immediately to introduce himself to Tochukwu and held her hands longer than usual in a handshake. Even though, she had stated that she came to see Chinedu, Kunle hadn’t been able to get his eyes off her. When he noticed that she shifted uncomfortably without saying the reason why she had come to visit Chinedu, he decided to excuse himself.

Tochukwu did not beat around the bush and had gone straight to the point. “I like you a lot”.

“Really?” Chinedu asked in pretence.

“Yeah, a whole lot”. She looked at him seductively.

“Okay?” He raised his brows trying to figure out where the conversation was leading to.

She stood up from the chair where she was seated by the reading table and sat by his side on the bed. She placed her hands on his thigh drawing imaginary doodles and asked, “What do you think?”

“I think you are very beautiful and need a good guy”. Chinedu replied standing up.

“Can you be that good guy?” She crossed her legs to reveal her thighs.

For a few seconds, Chinedu looked at her thighs and looked up straight at her, “Unfortunately, no”.

“But why?” She asked, her composure breaking down.

“You are beautiful; don’t get me wrong but it takes two to tango”.

“But I love you. Right from the very first day I set my eyes on you”. She cried.

“I’m sorry, Tochukwu”.

“Why don’t you give me an opportunity to prove it to you”?

“It’s no use”. He said standing by the window and looking out.

She walked up to the window and put her arms around him. “Chinedu, please don’t reject my love”.

“It won’t work, Tochukwu. Please understand”. He said removing her arms.

 

When Kunle came back to the room, he had looked at Chinedu expectant. “So, how was it?”

“How was what?” Chinedu asked.

“Don’t tell me you let her go just like that”.

“Kunle, are you okay?” Chinedu put his hand on his neck to check his temperature.

“Perfectly okay. You are the one who needs to be checked. That babe has been giving you the vibes for so long. She brings the whole package and flaunts it in your face and you do nothing. Damn!”

“So, you would have gotten her laid, right?”

“That’s what she wants”.

“I think she’s just obsessed”.

“Dawg, then become her obsession”.

“She’s all yours for the taking”. Chinedu said disinterested.

“You’re serious?” Kunle asked looking surprised.

“All yours”. Chinedu emphasized.

————

Photo credit: http://www.canstockphoto.com

Photo credit: http://www.gettyimages.com

Angels on Assignment

The engine sputtered and stopped all of a sudden. It was almost 7.00 pm. I was not prepared for this. I turned the ignition again but it refused to power up. My colleague who was in the passenger seat asked if she could help with anything. “Let me hit the battery head”. I told her.

I got out of the car, opened the bonnet and hit the battery head. I tried the ignition again, but it still refused to light up. I was confused. This should not be happening on the third mainland bridge. I had heard stories of people who had been robbed at night on the bridge.

Angels on assignment

I sat in the car for a few minutes thinking of my next line of action. Traffic had slowed and cars passed with occupants gawking at us. A car passed by with about 3 guys in it. “Hey sis, don’t stay in your car. This place is not safe”. One of them said as he rolled down the window. They however, continued on their journey without looking back.

Another car passed by. The window rolled down to reveal another guy telling us to try to get ourselves out of the area. Two ladies and an unresponsive car! How were we supposed to leave here when nobody was willing to help? I removed my work shoes, put them under my seat and retrieved a pair of slippers I had in the car. I carried my portable cassette boombox and my handbag. My colleague looked at me and asked “Where are you going?”

“Home”. I responded.

“Home? What about your car?”

“My life is more important”.

“But the car is not safe”. She said worried.

“You can stay with it”. I answered smiling.

“No oh, I am going with you”. She said as she started packing up her belongings.

Traffic had eased out by this time and cars sped by us. We stood about 10 meters away for the car and flagged down motor bikes (popularly known as okada) but none stopped. After about 10 minutes of waiting, a car which had initially driven past made a reverse towards us. It was a small red two door car and I wondered who was in it. It parked a few meters away and a man came out and walked towards us.

“Yes, how may I help you?” I attacked. This was no time to trust anyone.

He lifted up his hands and said “I only want to help. Two ladies should not be alone on the bridge at this time of the night”.

“Thank you”. I said. I peeped behind him to look at his car and noticed a young boy peering at us from the back seat. I also noticed a lady was in the passenger seat.

“What is wrong with your car?”

“I don’t know. It just stopped and refused to pick up even after hitting the battery head”.

Mr asked that I open the bonnet and hit the battery head again. I turned the ignition, no response still. A towing vehicle passed by and we tried to negotiate with him to tow the car to my friends’ house in Anthony Village. He insisted on collecting fifteen thousand naira for the trip.

“But Anthony is just off the bridge”. I said.

Mr dismissed the towing vehicle, saying we would sort it out ourselves. By this time, I was tired. After a long day at work, I did not need this extra stress. Just then, the lady sitting in the passenger seat spoke up. “Honey, honey, please come into the car. Àwön area boys tí n bò (Area boys are coming). Mr asked that we all hop into his car and wait. Three guys walked past on the bridge divider. They looked at us but continued on their journey. We were about to come out of the car when we saw another guy jogging towards us. Mrs grew hysterical.

“Kò sí n kan tó ma selè” (Nothing will happen). Mr assured Mrs. I also needed that assurance as I had never been in such a situation before.

The area boy got to us and asked, “S’ëfé tow motor yín ni?” (Do you want to tow your car?)

“Béèni a fé tow è ni”. (Yes, we want to tow it).

“Sé ki n lö mú okùn màálù wá fun yín?” (Should I get you a cow’s rope?)

“Ibo lo ti ma rí okùn màálù?” (Where would you get a cow’s rope) Mrs asked.

“S’efé àbí ë ò fé. Abí, è wo ni queshon tí ë wá n bèrè lówó mi?” (Do you want it or not? Or why are you asking me questions?) Area boy gesticulated.

“Má á bínú, a fé”. (Don’t be upset. We want it). Mr answered.

“Sèbí àwa ní à n sun abé biriji ní bè yën” (Ain’t we the ones sleeping under the bridge). He continued pointing to the bottom of the bridge. “Two thousand ní ma gbà l’ówö yín” (You would pay me two thousand naira for it)

“Two thousand ti pòjù nau. Jé ka san one”. (Two thousand is too much, let us pay one).

Sé ki n ma lö, ó dàbi pé ë ò ní n kan se” (Can I leave? I don’t think you have stuffs to do).

“Óyá lö mu wá”. (Okay, go get it) Mr concluded.

While we sat in the car waiting for area boy, Mr told us that he stopped to help because he had heard so many stories about the particular spot we were. His mother-in-law and a friend of his had been robbed there. He said the place was called “Márosè” (meaning do not waste time). Seeing two ladies standing by a broken down vehicle, he sensed we would be in danger and decided to help out.

After a long wait; in which Mrs had insinuated that area boy had gone to regroup to cause us harm, he eventually came with the cow rope. Mr asked that all ladies stay in the car while he attended to the guy alone. “If anything happens and I tap the car, just drive off”. He said to Mrs. “What?” There was no way I wanted a family to be in danger just because they desired to help me. The only thing I could do at that point was pray. I prayed that the strange Mr risking his life for me and my colleague would be safe. I prayed that area boy would not harm Mr in any way. I prayed that my current ordeal on the third mainland bridge would be over.

Mr asked area boy to get down and tie the rope to both cars while he watched. That done, Mr told area boy he would pay him one thousand naira. Area boy flipped and cursed. I pushed two thousand naira into Mrs hands and begged her to give it to Mr so we could leave. I had had enough for the night. She refused to collect the money but called Mr and asked him to pay off the guy. He listened to the voice of reason and the guy left.

Whew!!! Now we needed to tow my car. Mr asked that I sit in his car with Mrs and son while he would manoeuvre mine with my colleague seated beside him. Mrs got behind the steering and started the car. One move of the car and I realized Mrs was a learner. This was going to be a very long journey. I tried to encourage her during the drive and admonish her on stepping on the brakes. Finally, we get to Anthony after a few stops and starts. Thankfully, my friends lived just off the expressway and Mrs did not have to do a test of driving skills.

I had called my friends earlier and also my hubby and they kept tabs on us all through the journey. The car was parked in front of my friends house and Mr decides to start the ignition. Voila! It started. He asked if I would drive it home. “No way! To Iyana-Ipaja at this time of the night?”. By then, it was about 9.30pm. I was not willing to take the risk.

“Okay, hop in then. We will drop you off where you can get a cab or bus”.

My friends thanked Mr and Mrs for their kind gesture and we proceeded on the journey home.

About 30 minutes into the journey home, Mr and Mrs see a neighbour of theirs stranded. His car had issues as well. Mr and Mrs stop to talk to him regretting they had left the rope still tied to my car and promised to come back with a tow rope from home.

“Who are these couple?” I wondered. My colleague and I are dropped at a convenient bus stop and they insist on giving us fare home. I adamantly refuse to collect it but they insist all the same. My colleague and I board a bus and I pay the fare with the money received from the couple and hand over the balance to my colleague. She needs it more than I do. She works as a security guard.

I arrive home at almost 11.00pm into the waiting arms of my hubby. We call Mr and Mrs to show our appreciation and to inform them that I am safely home. Mr and Mrs had gotten home but were on their way back to the neighbour with a tow rope.

Do such people really exist or had I just had an encounter with angels? I still wonder till date.

Photo credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

To Love and to Hold – Episode 6

Modupe Peters had prepared her daughter’s favourite meal of ikokore (water-yam pottage) with smoked fish stewed in tomato sauce. She knew her daughter would have missed having the delicacy and she looked forward to welcoming her back home with it. She had also ensured that the housekeeper had cleaned up her room, dressed her bed and made it just like she loved it.

At thirty-five, Modupe Peters was still a beauty. She had gotten married at the age of eighteen as was the fad then in the western part of Nigeria. Her parents had only been able to send her to secondary school as they could not afford the university fees. Not one to be discouraged, she started scouting for jobs with her school leaving certificate and had gotten the job of a receptionist in a branch of a multi-national construction organization. She worked diligently and this coupled with her beauty attracted men to her like bees to a honey pot. She got so many offers for lunch and dinner dates from her colleagues that at a point she wondered if they had made a bet on who would win her heart. Unfortunately for them, she had only one thing in mind. To make enough money so she could go to the university. As much as they all tried to win her, she had her mind made up and never gave anyone an opportunity.

To Love & to Hold 13

One day, a site visit to her branch by the executives of the head office was scheduled and she was assigned the job of welcoming the officials. The Deputy General Manager had been so taken by her beauty and wondered why a girl her age was working in an office instead of being in school. After the visit, he gave her his complimentary card and promised to keep in touch. Modupe wondered how and why a top executive of the company would want to keep in touch with her.

The next day, her desk phone rang and she picked it up professionally as always. She was however stunned when she found out that the Deputy General Manager was on the other end.

“How are you, Dupe?”

She stammered. “I’m…I’m…fine…fine, thank you sir”.

“Are you surprised I called you so soon?”

“Yes, no, no sir”. She said trying to find the right words.

“Would you mind getting a transfer to the head office?”

“Really? I would like that, sir”. She said excitedly.

“Okay, I would ask the HR manager to make your position available and effect your transfer immediately”.

“But, sir, how would I handover if I’m transferred immediately?”

“Don’t worry about that, my dear.

Her transfer was effected immediately and by the next week, she resumed in the head office as the secretary to the Deputy General Manager. Within six months, she got acquainted with the job and was at ease when she received the bombshell.

To Love & to Hold 13b

The Deputy General Manager had called her into his office for an important meeting. As she sat opposite him on the other side of the table with her pen and jotter ready to take notes, he asked, “Will you marry me, Dupe?”

“What?” She asked, shocked at the question.

“I asked if you would marry me”. He repeated the question looking at her straight in the face.

“I’m sorry, sir. I….em….” She stammered and wondered what she was supposed to say.

“I’ll give you time to think about it. I don’t intend to rush you. What do you think?”

She fidgeted with her hands unable to look at him. “Okay, okay sir”.

“Please don’t let this scare or bother you. I love the way you work and I am impressed”. He stood up and walked to the window overlooking the car park. As he pulled the venetian blinds open, he continued, “I fell in love with you the very first day I saw you”.

Dupe gasped and put her hand on her mouth. He turned swiftly and smiled. “Don’t be surprised. You are a very beautiful and cultured lady. I effected your transfer because I wanted you close to me. I have watched you the last six months and I have seen everything I desire in a wife in you”.

Dupe was too stunned to utter a word. Then she remembered the reason why she had taken the job in the first place and decided it was better she made it known. “Can I say something, sir?”

“Yes, you can. I’m all ears”. He said sitting down on the couch in his office.

“I took this job in order to make enough money to go to the university. So, I really can’t say where marriage fits into my plan, sir”.

There was a smile in his eyes as he spoke. “I know why you took the job, my dear. I did not come to you as a novice. I have done my research as well. I am aware of your intention to go back to school and I am in total support. I intend to sponsor your university education”.

“Is that meant to be a precondition to my acceptance, sir?” She asked surprise and uncertainty written on her face.

“No, why would I do that? I am only informing you that I intend to sponsor your education whenever you are ready to go back to school. That has got nothing to do with my request for marriage. I believe it is your right to be educated”.

***********************************************************************************

Dupe had gone home that day very confused. How was she supposed to tell her parents who were barely educated that her boss had asked for her hand in marriage and that he intended to sponsor her university education? It looked too good to be true. She thought about most of her friends with whom she had graduated from school who were now married. Most of them had thought she was silly to think of furthering her education beyond the secondary level. She had gotten the basic education which had gotten her a job, so why slave away for another four or six years? They had told her.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime; to get a university education and get married to a reputable man at the same time. But there was one snag; she knew nothing about her boss. Most of her friends’ marriages were arranged by their parents. They had all gotten married to men who were well known in their village. If she had to discuss it with her parents, she had to be sure she knew the village and the particular family he came from. But she could not bring herself to ask her boss. If she wasn’t going to lose this opportunity, she had to talk to her ally; her mother.

Dupe’s mother had looked at her as if she were speaking in another language. She had sighed all through as her daughter spoke. Dupe looked at her mother expectant.

“Màámi, ë ò sòrò sí n kan tí mo sö fún yín”. (My mother, you haven’t responded to all I have told you).

“Kí lo fé kin sö, ömö mi”. (What do you want me to say, my child?).

“Só wùn yín kín n ka ìwé si”. (Is it your desire that I further my education?)

“Ó wùn mí, sùgbón ökùnrin ò kín dédé ní pé ó ma sanwó ilé èkó gíga f’óbìnrin l’áìní rò pé, ó ma fé obínrin náà”. (It is my desire, but a man does not decide to sponsor a woman’s education without having it at the back of his mind that the woman would one day become his wife).

Her mother looked at her straight in the face and asked, “So féràn ògá ë yìí?” (Do you love your boss?)

“Màááámi…..(My mother) Dupe stressed. “Okùnrin tó da ni wón”. (He’s a good man).

“Só wùn é ko mu l’ókö?” (Do you desire to have him as a husband?).

Dupe shrugged. “Mi ò ní ìyönu pèlú è, ó wùn mí”. (I don’t have a problem with that; it is my desire).

“Hmm…tó bá jé bè, a gbódò mö ìdílé tó ti wá. Gbogbo ìwáàdí la gbódò se kín tó bá bàbá ë sòrò”. (If that is the case, we must find out the family he comes from. All the necessary details must be sought before I speak to your father).

***********************************************************************************

In three months, a flurry of activities took place. Dupe invited her boss to meet with her mother secretly and his family history was traced to the village next to theirs. He also met with Dupe’s father and in the presence of the two families, he made him promise that his daughter would further her education even after marriage; as that was his daughter’s desire. Preparations for a low key wedding began and Dupe was advised by her boss to resign so she could have enough time to run around. He put her on a salary from his pocket so she would not run out of cash at any point in time. In another three months, she was married to her boss; Adebiyi Peters.

She gained admission into the university a year later to study public administration and by the time she was graduating, she had a husband, a Bachelor’s degree and two kids as her achievement. Her husband had also proved over the years to be very loving and after seventeen years of marriage, one decision she had never regretted was to marry her boss.

Photo credit: http://www.fotosearch.com
http://www.shutterstock.com
http://www.123rf.com

Attitude of Mess

The little girl walking ahead of me could not have been more than 8 years old. As she dropped the empty pet plastic bottle she previously held, I looked up to the lady walking beside her; she hadn’t been bothered.

Attitude of Mess

Me: Good morning Madam

Lady: Good morning

Me: Is she your daughter? (Pointing to the little girl who was by then, holding the lady’s hand).

Lady: Yes, she is.

Me: Please can you teach her not to throw stuff around or on the ground. There are bins stationed at strategic points.

In actual fact, there were bins stationed at every 100 meters.

The lady looked at her daughter and apologized for her misbehaviour as I walked away.

We complain a lot about the messy environment but we forget that we make the environment what it is.

You look around and see people throw all sorts of trash as they walk on the road, from moving vehicles and some even out of their houses.

Attitude of Mess 2

What exactly would it cost us to hold on to that piece of trash until we get to a bin? I wonder.

It is easy to blame the authorities but we all collectively make up the authorities.

An attitudinal change at this time would be most appropriate so that the younger generation would grow into a culture of cleanliness.

To Love and to Hold – Episode 5

Fadeke and Chinedu became more attached to each other as the days went by. Fadeke had noticed that whenever she talked about Chinedu to Tochukwu, there was always an unexplained hostility, so she decided it was best to keep talks about Chinedu out of their chats. She had thought of telling Chinedu, but what difference would it make? Besides, she did not think he knew her, so she also kept mum over the issue.

Fadeke had tried inviting Chinedu to her hostel off-campus but he had declined saying there was no need for them to be in a hurry. They had a whole lot of time ahead of them to do that, he had explained. He also did not want her visiting him in his hostel. He did not see any reason why she should. Besides, he knew how rough hostels for men could get, so he wanted to save her any embarrassment. Besides, they both had mobile phones and with most telecommunication companies in the country running midnight call promos, they both made use of the opportunity and chatted till they fell asleep. As far as Chinedu was concerned, that was enough to make him have sweet dreams.

************************************************************************************

In three weeks, exams were over and students started going home for the holidays. Some, however, decided to hang around in school for a while. Fadeke, on her part was eager to go home. This was the first time she would be away from her parents for a long period of time. She had had her secondary education as a day student and the few occasions she was away from home; it was always on a trip abroad and she still had family around her. She could not wait to see her parents. She rang Chinedu and they both agreed to meet at their favourite spot.

“So you are taking a bus home or what?” Chinedu asked her as he sat cross legged on the bench resting under the tree.

“Nah….my dad would be sending his driver to come pick me up. I called him yesterday immediately after my last paper”. She said excitedly.

“Oh….so when are you leaving?

“Today”.

“Today? He asked alarmed.

“Do you have a problem with that?”

“Not exactly. I just thought we could spend some more time together now that most students are rushing home”.

“Aww…..I didn’t think about that. I’m going to miss you”.

“I know. Why do you think I wanted you alone to myself for a few days?”

“I’m sorry. I should have asked you before making the call”. She said remorsefully.

“So aren’t you going home?”

“I would but I’m not in a hurry. I would hang around with my friends for a while”.

With the earlier excitement gone, she was unsure of her decision to leave school. She had sincerely missed her parents but she also did not want Chinedu feeling lonely. Thinking it through, she decided she would go home but not without a promise from him.

She weaved her hands into his. “Would you still call me every night?”

“Of course baby, I would”. He said chuckling. “Out of sight isn’t out of mind for me. Even though we are miles apart, you would be right here”. He said putting his hands still locked in hers on his heart. She rested her head on his chest and he held her close. He struggled with the emotions that were building up in him and as she pulled closer to him. His heart beat increased and he wondered if she could hear it.

“You should go and get your luggage ready now”. He said, fighting his feelings with all the will power he could garner.

“I would do that later. I just want to stay here with you”. She said, still resting her head on his chest. She wanted to savour this moment and wasn’t in a hurry to leave. The driver could wait while she packed her luggage, she thought. She was not sure she would see him throughout the six weeks break they had been given. She therefore, wanted to make the best use of their time together. She wished she could stay in his embrace listening to his heartbeat all day. Suddenly, she realized.

She raised her head in alarm. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t understand what you mean?”

She put her hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat. “I mean this. You are beating so fast”.

“That’s what you do to me”. He said looking straight into her eyes. Her hand was still on his chest and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to take it away or not. She blushed and was about to put her head back on his chest when he held her by the chin. He kissed her slowly and gradually but the desire burning in them took over and they kissed as if they were going to tear themselves apart.

As they came apart, they panted as beads of sweat covered their foreheads. The evening became colder sending shivers down Fadeke’s spine.

“You are cold. You need to go back to your hostel and get your luggage ready”. Chinedu said pulling her into his arms again and trying to keep her warm. Deep down his heart, he did not want to let go of her but considering the way they just kissed, he knew it was best she left. He wanted to avoid doing anything that would bring regrets for them. They still had a long way to go, he thought.

She cuddled him. “Please, don’t make me go to the hostel now”.

“But you are cold. Besides, you said your luggage isn’t packed yet. It won’t be nice to keep your dad’s driver waiting, you know?” He said trying to look for every reason to make her leave. It wasn’t what he wanted as well but they had to do it this way.

“Are you sending me away?” She asked with a long face.

“Hmm….Fadeke”. He said sighing. “Do you think I don’t want to stay with you as much as you want it? But it is better you leave now. Please understand”.

Even though she knew he was right, she did not want to leave. Why had she called her dad without talking to him first? She thought. They could have had a few days alone like he had said. Now she felt miserable. She understood what he meant when he said she had to leave but could they really go that far? The place wasn’t right, so what was he scared of? She wanted to stay a few hours more but she knew there was no point flogging it. Chinedu’s mind was made up about her leaving now. A tear slid down her cheek and she looked away trying to hide it.

“Fadeke, do you understand me?” Chinedu asked turning her face to him. When she refused to lift up her head, he nudged her. Sensing that something was amiss, he lifted up her chin to look at her and saw tears streaming down her cheeks. “Don’t do this, please”. He pleaded.

She avoided his gaze. “I’m sorry. I understand what you have said”.

To Love & to Hold 12

He pulled her close and caressed her, her head under his chin. Seeing her tears made his heart break. He loved her so much and wouldn’t dare hurt her. He closed his eyes and her Daisy fragrance by Marc Jacobs which had become a signature for her assaulted his senses. The weather got windier and she broke out in goose pimples and held him tighter. He rubbed her arms rigorously trying to will some heat into her body. He kissed the nape of her neck and felt her shiver. Her lips found his and she kissed him so passionately rekindling and reawakening emotions he had tried to suppress. He had to pull her back before he got to a point of no return. Using his knuckles to caress her face, he smiled. Words were not enough to express his feelings and she smiled back as if to acknowledge his thoughts.

He stood and pulled her up and as they walked out of the campus, they both had the same thing on their minds. The next six weeks was going to be a trying time for them.

Photo credit: http://www.wikihow.com

Danfo Tales

The yellow volkswagen buses used for transportation majorly in most cities in Nigeria are referred to as “Danfo” in local parlance. I have no idea where the name originated from but once the word “danfo” is mentioned any where in Naija, every one understands.

Danfo tales

A ride in one of these buses reveal a combination of various characters. I took a ride in one recently and the following ensued. An elderly lady who I will call “Alhaja Trouble” had put her baggage in the boot of the danfo and told the driver that she would pay 100 naira as extra for the baggage.

Now, it is a known fact that danfo drivers in naija do not carry baggages for free. The driver told Alhaja Trouble that he would not carry her load for 100 naira as fuel had become scarce and expensive.

Alhaja Trouble told the driver that she and her friend were going on this ride, baggage inclusive. This meant she would be paying 500 naira (the ride cost 200 naira). She expected the total cost to appeal to the driver. Unfortunately, he was not impressed.

Driver: Mi ò lè gbé ërù yën ní iye yën, Alhaja (I can’t carry the baggage for that amount, Alhaja).

Alhaja Trouble: Ah,ah, a dè n bè yín. Àwa náà máà ní mótò o. Èyin lë ma kókó ní mótò ni? (I have been pleading, we also own a vehicle. Are you the first to have one?)

Driver: Ë è bá gbé mótò yín wá nígbà yën (You should have brought your vehicle then).

Alhaja Trouble: O rí ë ò pé ni (You are nuts).

Driver: Àwön ömö yín ni orí wön ò pé (It is your children that are nuts).

Trust naija, a fight is never complete without insulting the other party’s family members.

Alhaja Trouble: Màá fi ojú ë rí nkan léèní (I will deal with you today).

This is getting interesting as I wonder how Alhaja Trouble intends to deal with the driver.

Alhaja Peace (the supposed friend who is riding with Alhaja Trouble) had all the while been sitting in the bus quietly.

Alhaja Peace: Alhaja, ë fi sílè. Ó ti tó. Ë má sòrò mó (Alhaja, leave him alone. It is okay. Don’t flog the issue).

But Alhaja Trouble will have none of that. She reports the driver to another driver (I presume, the head of drivers) who tries to talk sense into both parties.

Alhaja Trouble is shouting while Driver is also cursing. The peace making driver shuts both of them up and eventually the driver decides to carry Alhaja Trouble reluctantly.

Whew!!!! I sigh. The battle is over.

Unfortunately, I have spoken too soon.

A lady with two kids, one held in her hand and another strapped to her back is trying to get into the bus.

Another driver is trying to park his bus just beside the lady and decides not to look back while reversing his vehicle. Really??? How do you reverse a vehicle looking forward?

The bus brushes the baby strapped to the back slightly and Alhaja Trouble and Alhaja Peace scream. Trust maternal instincts, we have them in abundance in naija.

The lady immediately unstraps her baby and checks her head and body for any scratches.

The driver gets down from his vehicle and Alhaja Trouble asks that he apologize to the lady. The driver does but the lady is not pacified.

She drags the driver by his shirt as he is about walking away and asks that he acknowledges what he has just done.

Driver: Sèbí mo ti ní ko má bínú. Sé ó yë kín n hug ë ko tó gbà ni? (I have apologized to you. Am I supposed to give you a hug before you accept my apology?)

I am about to burst into laughter but hold back so I don’t become the next point of discourse.

Danfo drivers and their passengers are definitely a comic relief.