Archive - August 2017

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G.L.i.B-bed: A thousand splendid suns
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In my own company
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August in review: Knackered
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Siblings speak
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I pledge to Nigeria my country, I think
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A prick in the bubble of fun
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G.L.i.B – bed: Fine Boys
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G.L.i.B-bed: A week with Chuma Nwokolo Jnr
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The good, the loud, and the questions…of the holidays
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Origin story

G.L.i.B-bed: A thousand splendid suns

This book gave me more mixed feelings than any other novel had in a long while. One minute there was hope in the horizon, light at the end of the dark passage; the very next, it came crashing down like a ton of bricks jarred by a mischievous toddler. It was no help that the location was Afghanistan and the lives of two women juxtaposed, highlighting their different upbringing, until the effects of war bring them together. More depressing was the Muslim customs laid out in the book – child brides, uneducated females, hijab-wearing invisible women, etc. A stunning display of the heights patriarchy can be taken to, leaving a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach each time I gleaned an inference or occurrence of any one of them. Nevertheless, I kept my eyes glued to the pages until the very last leaf; there was no stopping me on this rollercoaster of self – inflicted despair. Khaled Houseini’s depiction of his homeland and its practices, the Afghan war period and its dire consequences were reminiscent of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. (Ironically, both titles have the word sun in them. I wonder if the sun played a part in the wars.) Graphic mental images, hard choices, betrayal, violence (domestic and foreign), survival decisions and the clinging to hope of a better dawn after the dark devastation of war all flowed forth in the author’s easy – to – read yet almost difficult-to-swallow style of writing.

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In my own company

There comes a time in the life of a mother when all she desires is a little peace and quiet. This can arise several times in the course of her day but actually making it come to pass can take many months, or years even. I do not refer to 15 – 30 minutes to catch her breath, hear her thoughts or some her -time. It’s more in the range of stretches (big blocks) of solitude (hours, or if you’re lucky maybe days, a week or two) away from the motherhood and marriage madness that is her life outside of her career. I reached that point a few days before my birthday which was just as well. Realistically, taking days off wasn’t on the cards. Remember the cheerleaders in the house? Their sounds seemed to increase with every passing day that drew the date closer. For some erroneous reason, they envisaged the day with loads of sweets, more sweets, an outing and excitement. Fat chance! When it finally came, my birthday was a quiet affair alone with my thoughts for company in a movie theatre where I saw an action – packed, many shooting – sequences and high- speed car chases motion picture. I topped that with a huge, alcoholic – infused cup of ice cream while I people – watched with a mind completely erased of any thoughts. It wasn’t an extended period away from what is usually the norm of my life. Three hours at the maximum, but they were three of the truly blissful moments of the month, and an absolutely wonderful way to mark the dawning of another new year for me. My beau couldn’t understand it. Neither could my brother both of whom baby-sat the children in my absence. How could they? They aren’t women!

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August in review: Knackered

With this being my birth month, everything – and I mean, everything- was supposed to be perfect. My 9 – 5. Blogging. Workout routine. Reading. Healthy eating. All culminating into one big, celebration at the end of the month – on my birthday. Fantasy. Pipe dream. Wishful thinking. Four children put paid to most of my plans, and I found myself throwing my healthy eating resolve out the window. Snacking on almost everything I bought for the children and unashamedly drinking load of my calories. Ice cream, shakes, sodas. You name it; I downed them all. I assume half of the blame and the fact that “I’m hungry” became my middle name; knackered the only feeling I experienced. When I woke up. In the middle of the day. And collapsing onto my bed at night. Until then, I couldn’t fathom any one being that exhausted every day and night for that long. I’m wiser now. Taking care of four little humans, all pre – teen, is no walk in the park. Thumbs – up for my mum who had six of us and to every other mum with more than two offspring. You are all super mums, super wives and most definitely super tired at the end of each day…or at some period in your lives. May God’s strength be enough for you all…and me too. That strength in my perpetual exhausted state saw two things work well this month. I achieved a perfect score in my weekly workout routine (doing it before dawn while they were still asleep and sheer determination played significant roles too) and increased my book – reading count to four. My birthday was a quiet affair. More of it in a subsequent post; and right now, am I glad tomorrow’s September?!  

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Siblings speak

Tight. Strangled. “I’m almost done. Just this strangled part left.” “Look at the tight thing I want to iron!” These twin words sufficed for size. Usually the tiny, minuscule or little kind in the context of the conversation. Occasionally it could be used for food. Here it refers to clothing.   Gauge. Standard. Like the set above, it is closely related to size but in food matters only. They denote the desired quantity as dictated by the intensity (or lack thereof) of hunger pangs battering the user. “I said standard, standard! And you gave me gauge!” “Sorry.” Erring party taking the plate away to adjust appropriately. Sometimes it was difficult telling the terms apart.   Bus stop. Unlike other words, this was inferred. Occasionally it found its way into conversations but wasn’t as popular because it meant more to non-family members. Growing up, our house was smack in the middle of the city. One bus/taxi – ride brought you within walking or viewing range of it – depending on what area of town you were coming from. This meant many things to many of our friends and family. A shoe mishap, car malfunction, insufficient transport fare, a sudden attack of hunger, struck by abrupt, without warning rainstorm and all the affected party thinks: If only I could get to their house, I’m sorted.   Housemanship. “I got a job!” Excited scream. “I start Monday next week.” Look of incredulity on brother’s face. “That’s not going to happen. You haven’t done your housemanship yet. “ Housemanship – the time lapse between finishing secondary school and being admitted into the university. Contingent on your performances in the qualifying exams – SSCE, JAMB, NECO, etc – it could be short-lived (and you’re a lucky bugger) or lingering (your mates are going to year three) and jamb still tossing you like a ball between the Williams’ sisters.   Bailer. Yet another food term. Tells a lot about the thoughts uppermost in our minds back then. Used to describe anyone who put away a lot of food in either one sitting or with several helpings.”more

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I pledge to Nigeria my country, I think

Long ago, I stopped comparing and wishing Nigeria would attain a second – world status; first (world) is stretching my fantasy beyond its elastic limit. A couple of weekends past, in the middle of work, I overheard the children singing the country’s national anthem. Probably an off shoot of the IAAF championships; all those different anthems played in the course of the games must have sparked something in them, stoked their tender, patriotic streak and they inadvertently burst out into it. As I listened to them, I was reminded of myself at that age – the tune was no problem but the words, those were a different ball game. Those I knew I belted out loudly, confidently; others I didn’t, I murmured and stumbled over. They were my children all right but they weren’t going to make some of my mistakes if I could help it. My mission, if I decided to embark upon it, would be elocution classes for the national anthem. We had been at it, every day for about a week (and I could hear progress) when my pride was deflated by some seemingly unpatriotic Nigerians as various groups began to threaten to declare: Biafra Republic Oduduwa Republic Bendel Republic Niger – Delta Republic I paused to ask myself: was this venture worth it? My outward loyalty? It was the same question that ran through my mind almost a decade ago while I hunted for a CD of the national anthem for an official event. I was this close to pulling out my artificial braids in frustration after three CD traders gave me the following answers to my question “Do you have the national anthem?”: “Who sang it?” “I don’t know it.” “No, I don’t have it. “ Maybe I was a little too patriotic. Taking my country too seriously. Whatever. While Nigeria is still a single entity of probable division/secession, I owe a civic duty to my children.   photo credit: investadvocate.com.ng

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A prick in the bubble of fun

Forgive me if my posts are far and few in between this month. And when they do appear are either focused on children – who happen to be front, back and centre of my vision right now – or the book I have just barely managed to finish. These days two things occupy my time – children and their needs. And more of both. So, bear with me a while; the holidays would be over soon and trust me, my whoop of delight will resound louder than anyone else’s. Now to the thrust of this post. Gone were the bubbly, happy – go – lucky trio who marched purposefully into the hospital few hours earlier. A solemn trio aptly describes the children who emerge from the clinic’s swinging doors, numbed by pain, shocked silent at the turn of events the fourth child among them was In the middle of endless holiday fun, one of them (my niece) broke out in bright red, itchy rash. On her arms. Her legs. Spread on her back. Sprinkled across her chest and belly. Her smooth, light – coloured skin was suddenly riddled with them as though they expressed some sort of rage. Measles? Chicken pox? These were no bites from flying or creeping bugs. And these could be infectious; there were three other children in the house to consider. Let’s not include the adults who might not have caught any of these once -in -a – lifetime ailments. An unlikely place to find ourselves during the holidays was our first port of call early this next day – the hospital. Initially, of the four of them, only one – the affected one – looked sober, reflective, quiet. Unsure of what this visit entailed for her – injection? Medicine? Quarantine? Made even more uncomfortable by the three others who were noisy and happy, swapping two ipads amongst them and making children chatter just few yards away from her. All of which changed dramatically, unexpectedly after the doctor assessed their situations. The affliction was chicken pox all right and had been incubating in my niece for”more

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G.L.i.B – bed: Fine Boys

  The night I finished Eghosa Imasuen’s Fine Boys, I dreamt of the University of Benin, some familiar haunts of mine in Benin City, and friends whom I hung out with in my teenage years. It goes to show the depth of effect the book had on me. Even I didn’t realize it until after the dream. With the Warri- Benin axis as its central locations, Fine Boys can be likened to a coming – of – age story about its protagonist, Ewaen, and his band of friends. From his home life in Warri to his school living once admitted into the University. Nigerian universities are a jungle to live in while learning. Appalling but true. Fine Boys depicted the country’s higher institutions, using the University of Benin as a typical example, in all their unhealthy, and unpalatable glory. It also relieved the red sand city of Benin and my Alma Mata every time Ewaen went back to school. Ekosodin. Osasogie. I lived and made memories in these places. Medical Hostel, main café – a stone throw from each other. Hall one, Hall two and the car park separating both were once comforting, welcoming sights at a point in my life. Even the house at Adolor took two weeks of my time while writing the first part of my final exams. Fine Boys was nostalgic for me. Time and again, page after Benin – centred page, it took me down memory lane of my youth and university days particularly.  The good, the hard, the hungry, the heartbreak, and the confra guys I made certain to steer clear from no matter how endearing or charming or sexy they appeared to be. One sniff of his affiliation to any of the gun – toting, axe – wielding, bird – calling, trouble steerers on campus, and I was gone. Like the wind. I might not have witnessed any major fracas between rival gangs but a shit-splattering incident on a female student, during night reading activity, sent tensions and frayed nerves around the institution. Everyone thought it was the chilly harbinger of something sinister”more

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G.L.i.B-bed: A week with Chuma Nwokolo Jnr

There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. Ironically, I hadn’t set my eyes on Chuma Nwokolo Jnr when I happened upon some scribblings of his on Facebook last year. Using photos taken from different activities (panel discussions, informal gatherings, etc) of the recently concluded Ake LitFest, he generated seemingly appropriate dialogue for each. Dialogue which resulted in hilarious, uncivilized, out-of-control guffaws. More than enough to google the creator and find out about him. Nothing prepares you for the unassuming, gentle-looking, friendly visage which confronts you in all his images. It is certainly not what you’d expect from one who has honed the comedic writing style to seamless perfection. His face gives nothing away; you never see it coming. The first book I read, Diary of a Dead Nigerian, is a short one. A short read. But one I’m certainly not wistful about. Divided into three parts – one for each protagonist – it is an amusing tale of three men, a father and his two sons. Chuma Nwokolo beautifully captures the events preceding their deaths and encompassing their lives as well. The choice of words, their actions and streams of consciousness set each character apart and often left me in stitches. Nonsense and tenpence from the father, this is war from his second son and, the proper English Language from the first and writer son of the family were distinctions that remained with me long after I turned the last page of the book. Funny how the writer character only begins his own diary after reading his brother’s and his father’s accounts. Diary of a Dead Nigerian explores family ties and betrayal, cultural peculiarities, man’s greed and inherent selfishness and wickedness, advanced fee fraud, the curse of poverty and riches, as well as a political undertone pervading through the pages of the book, all woven into a humourous plot with sober consequences.  A brief read but a thoroughly pleasurable one. The Ghost of Sani Abacha, the second book, is a collection of short stories. Since I had just finished a previous paperback of his, my expectations”more

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The good, the loud, and the questions…of the holidays

  By now, I’d have gone off the rails. Screaming every other five minutes. Disciplining for the next five. A threat hanging dangerously on the tip of my tongue or silencing with a look that shouted volumes. But no, I still have my wits around me; my sanity’s intact too. Except for bone – tiredness at the end of each day, all is going swimmingly in my world. Stick with me, please. There’s a method to my scribbling madness. Or is it a message? A moral? Perhaps, just a plain ol’ rant. Whatever. There’s something to be said (or rather written) here, and I’d make it crystal in a minute or two…   Arm cardio Back in the university, a friend of mine, Biggie, could churn out (quite effortlessly) food enough for eight of us in our cramped hostel room. She never broke a sweat while at it and even had leftovers for later. I’d stare at her in awe. Cooking like this in school? In less than ideal kitchen conditions? For more than two people no less? She was my culinary hero then. Biggie was the first girl in six children. Catering for eight people was routine – a skill she had grown up with. Now that she has about five offspring of her own, that ability would not go to waste. And I’m certain it would be handed down her generation. It might even become a family tradition.   Packed to the Rafters…almost For a week and a day, I have been in Biggy’s shoes – cooking up a storm, creating meals more than twice the amount I’m accustomed to. Unlike Biggy, I’m yet to take it in my stride. The pain shooting up my arms and down my spine confirm that. I may have come from a large family but never catered to more than five persons at a time; thankfully, it was rare for all my nine siblings to be present at home all at once unless on festive days. 20 years later and trying to fit into Biggy’s shoes is hardly the best time to”more

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Origin story

From a virtual storage space to an intrinsic part of me, my blog has evolved in the few years of its existence. From a link where I stored short fiction stories to a place of documenting life’s experiences, piling my passion, honing my craft. From no category whatsoever to several, with the most recent one included at the start of 2017. From plain, unappealing white look and feel to striking, personalized purple theme. From idolorsdomain.wordpress.com to idolorsdomain.com. Over time, my blog has constantly morphed according to my whims and fresh ideas. No longer is it merely a web warehouse for fiction(as was the original plan for its  creation) but also a vestibule of memories, a platform to share, engage and release.

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