Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ariyike admired her naked figure in front of the antique bureau in the master bedroom. Her left hand hiked up her hair in a ponytail-like manner while her right traced an invisible line into the smoothness of her dark skin. The trail started from the nape of the neck, passed between her breasts and ended just below her navel.

“All a waste” came her whisper. She quickly grabbed a night gown when she heard a knock on the door. “Who is it”? The door opened just as she managed to pull a house coat over her transparent night wear. Her father in law poked his head in the room “Bahu*, your saas* and I are going to the mandir*, please tell Vinod to pick us up at six”.

Teak ke. Phir milenge Sasur ji*” she did a quick one knee bend as she voiced these Hindi words Vinod taught her, but she wasn’t sure it was right to have added “Sasur*” at the end. In the Yoruba culture, your father in-law becomes your father. Next time she will say “Baap*” instead of Sasur*. Her father in-law gave no indication he heard her practiced Hindi. He closed the door quietly and walked silently down the hall to meet his wife. Not until Ariyike heard the front door close, did she realize she had also greeted him the Yoruba way. He will soon mention to Vinod that her knees keep bending whenever she talks to them.

It has always been WE, THEY and THEM from the beginning

Seven months ago, she came into this very house as a guest. Vinod had finally shown courage to tell his parents about their plans to marry. She sat stoically on the sofa while her past and future was discussed. Her mother in law cried and shook herself violently clamoring “Kyon beta? Kyon? tumara patnii nahee hai*” over and over again. Those were the first Hindi words she looked up herself. She expected rejection not shame. To the Sharmas, her marriage to Vinod would result to the lost of their family honor. Their tashrif*. How are they to look other Indian families in the eye without shame? Does Vinod remember he has two unmarried sisters? Who will marry them?

Two weeks before, she had dealt with the same issue with her parents, but the worst her mother said was "no family member will attend Your ceremony". The emphasis on 'your' was for her to know she is in it alone. Her father called the extended family to talk some sense into Ariyike but she did not relent. In a mist of tears, she informed them she had made her choice, her love transcends language and culture, they would understand if only they left their cultural cocoon.

The same scenario played in the Sharma’s house. Vinod told his parents “its either her or i will never marry”.

Beta*, they don’t understand marriage like us. They leave their husband at the first sign of trouble. Understand us beta*, we are your parents. We know what is good for you”

“She is the solution to my life”

Ariyike got up from the plastic covered sofa and knelt in front of his parents. She cried and swore never to leave Vinod. Without speaking, Vinod’s father helped her up and took her to the altar room they kept in the house; he pointed to some statues and told her to swear before them. He lit incense and chanted some mantras. Ariyike swore to Ganesh, the statue with the head of an elephant, then to Brahma, the three headed god in the Buddha position. She was also asked to present flowers to a blue colored god who is known as lord ram. On her own accord, she brought out a small bible from her purse and swore to her own God never leave to Vinod.

It would have been easy for Ariyike to cope if she experienced inevitable mundane changes of the seasons in marriage but hers was extraordinary. She left Vinod a note on the fridge to pick up his parents from the temple at 6pm. They have not spoken since she found the pictures under his cufflink box. She went to the room and stared at them again. The first Polaroid was of a naked stranger sleeping peacefully, ‘sleeping beauty’ was written on the back of the picture. The second had Vinod holding the stranger in a loving clasp, ‘frozen moments’ it said. In the third and last Polaroid, Vinod was kissing him.

She chose to stay. She had to stay. She has to prove to her in-laws that she can grapple just like any Indian girl. She has to prove to her parents that she did not make the wrong choice by marrying out of her culture. She has to prove to Vinod she is more than enough for him. She has to prove to herself that she is happy.


Bahu – Daughter –in law
Saas – Mother in law
Sasur – Father in law
Mandir – Temple
Teak ke. Phir milenge Sasur ji – Fine. Good bye father in law
Baap – Father
Kyon beta? Kyon? tumara patnii nahee hai – Why Child(male)? Why? This is not your wife
Beta - Male child
Tashrif - Honor

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mirror of Choice

With the instructions her mother left behind, Olape spoke with authority to Asabi. “You cannot leave until you clean the freezer”. Asabi merely grunted, if it were another day she would have hissed or sang aloud how tomorrow is very pregnant. The master always ends up serving the servant in most of her songs. Today is different though. It is Asabi’s last day as a maid in the Iteyin’s household. She is traveling back to her village to get married.

“Aunty Olape, what are you going to give me before I go” she shouted with glee. The girls are only eight months apart but because of the position Olape held in the house as the master’s daughter along with Asabi’s upbringing in a community that believes one has to give respect to anyone who is at least six months older, Asabi is bond to call Olape an honorary aunty.

“Give you? I don’t know why you are happy, you barely know the guy” She remarked in disgust.

Twenty year old Asabi gave a coy smile. She twisted the dust rag around her index finger as she answered “I remember he sold fish in our night market before I left the village five years ago but now he is rich. Mami said he now owns three okadas and he rents them out to drivers. I will be his first wife”

“How old his he?”

“I cannot say, he should be Baba Iyabo’s age but I know he will take care of me. Mami said he paid for my trip to come back to the village, she also said I will be the madam of his house”

Olape felt sorry for her. Baba Iyabo is the Iteyin’s driver and he is in his early fifties. She wondered in amazement the poor choices these illiterate girls make. Items not worthy of being classified as luxury dangles in front of them and they fall for it. Asabi is going to marry an old fart just because he has three okadas. Thank God she, Olape Iteyin is educated and can see beyond okadas.

“Olape, you have to weigh this option carefully. Kola’s mother just spoke to your father and me concerning your hand in marriage. When did you start dating Kola? I thought it was Segun family you introduced us to?

“Mummy, Segun is not serious. He never wants to do anything, we don’t go to the movies nor do we go out to eat. There is nothing romantic about him. I met Kola two months ago and mummy can you believe he is based in the US” ?

“Olape, your choice should not be based on that. We know Segun and his family very well and they are nice people. We don’t know too much about Kola’s family and they want to hold this marriage next month. As your mother, I will advice you to give it a thought.”

“Mom I have made my choice. I love Kolawole very much” her eyes glisten as the thought of living in Boston came to her already distant mind.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Did Somebody say Weirdo?

Ok, I for fear.

Happy New Year!!! I haven’t bloggd in a while. I was so busy. Ok I lied; I was not busy jare, just lazy to blog. My muse and I were luxuriating during my 2 weeks vacation doing absolutely nothing. I invited some bloggers over to my place and we had (Ok, let me speak for myself) I had the most amazing time with them. We gisted till 7 in the morning. These bloggers had lots of funny stories to tell, they are even more animated in person.

Anyway, I know this is really late. I was tagged by many people but it was hard to come up with 8 weird things about me. For the sane reason that I don’t consider myself weird at all, so this is my lousy attempt to join the Weirdo crew.

1. If you help me in any manner, I will always be loyal to you. Not to say I am disloyal to other people. Example, Let say I need $3 and you came to my rescue, there is nothing you can do that will make me say I won’t be there for you. Even if you treat me bad. I will always remember what you did for me.

2. I cannot sleep when someone else sleeps beside me. I don’t know what I will do when I get married. I will wake up if they move, breathe loudly or God forbid they snore.

3. When I am bored I write my name and cell number over and over again. I will write them in Caps, then lower case, then Caps and lower case.

4. I have lots of native for someone who is not an owanbe chick. Once a month, I try most of them on, complete with accessories excluding the Gele (head tie). I then admire myself in the mirror but sadly no place to go. But this year I have decided to start wearing them to my friends function. Most of them are Indians and they wear their own outfit. So why shouldn’t I wear mine.

5. When I am angry, I clean. I don’t know how to fight. Not with words, fist or silent treatment. When the place is spotless, I feel better and I move on. If I hold in bitterness, where will my happiness dock?

6. I detest Malls. I would rather spend my time watching Cspan. (Which I also dislike) Please why do people go window shopping? What purpose does that serve? Why do people hang out at the mall? For what reason? I only go the mall like 1 or twice a year and it is to places I know I can’t find outside the mall like Things Engraved.

7. I don’t like to memorize people cell phone numbers. I dislike it when people ask you what their cell phone number is just because they know yours. I don’t even know my Mom’s new cell phone number. In this day and age that I don’t have to dial, all I do is store you name, number and press enter. I only remember numbers I dial. Another reason is when I delete you from my cell phone what is the purpose when I know your number off head (please tell me I am not the only one that do this? Delete a number you know by heart from a cell phone)

8. I remember people’s birthday. If I meet you once and you tell me your birthday, be sure that I will remember for life.

Ok, I made it to number 8; you can see that I am not weird.