Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Engagement

The square, fold over pearlized ecru wedding invitation card passed around the room. With each hand that briefly held it came a “wow” or “it’s very beautiful” from its owner. Mrs. Bodunrinde was pleased with the reaction the card received. Her investment in the optional beveled borders was well worth it because members of her NGO thought it gave the card a distinguish look.

She described her daughter’s wedding gown as a satin A-line dress. The satin she chose because of its exquisite drapes and as they would all agree that an Inverted triangle figure like Tejumade’s will flatter an a-line dress. The bodice would be embroidered not with sequins but fourteen karats diamonds which would later be made into a necklace and bracelet for her unborn granddaughter. The details and color of the aso-ebi she left unsaid, her intention is to wow them as she did with the wedding invitation.

“Are your in-laws the same Akindugbe? The Akindugbe enterprise?” Mrs. Komolafe the vice president asked. Her face wore a somewhat quizzical look almost mocking.

Although her demeanor did not betray her, Mrs. Bodunrinde felt uneasy. This question was one she was afraid of. Her constant fights with Tejumade had been why she had to pick Sesan Akindugbe for a husband. He was first introduced to her as an entrepreneur until she probed further and got to know he owned a small shop managing fifteen workers – he is the head artisan. – A mere carpenter. “If you want to do charity, please donate money and not your entire life” she advised Tejumade on several occasions.

“No, they are not the same Akindugbe, but I think they are related one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if he is not from wealth, you know children of nowadays want to marry for love. Anyway, let’s get back to the agenda of this meeting. Where are we with the funds for the orphanage?
***************************************************

Sweat trickled down Sesan’s armpit even though he took a shower thirty minutes ago. The heat is merciless on those it considers lazy and sitting in traffic is regarded as idling away the day. He removed his fila, as if the breeze will somehow flow through his head to dry the sweat under his arm which by then had moved down his side. He tried to maneuver his way into the middle lane which seemed to move at a snail’s pace but his mother’s gele obstructed his view. She looked sad. Although her head was abased, Sesan could see the traces of wrinkles around her eye area. It only happens when she squints – an askance look of disapproval. He glanced at the rearview mirror a few times trying to catch her attention but to no avail.

Mrs. Akindugbe did not object the union between her son and Tejumade but she felt the Bodunrindes overbore them with their superior attitude. After the momi nmo e, both families agreed that the Akindugbes will host the engagement party for the couple but to her dismay, she got an Invitation with a letter inviting her to her son’s engagement party stating ‘the consensus of opinion is that we should do the engagement as well’. The opinion of whom they took, the letter didn’t say.

Sesan drove through the landscaped arc driveway to the massive building that stood in the middle. The valet attendants did not approach him; they simply looked at the car and pointed to where he could park. The Mercedes behind him got a different treatment; they almost carried the man into the building. Sesan walked with his parents to the entrance where he was asked for his invitation. “I am the groom” he mentioned. With a swift pass the guard motioned him in but not without a thorough glance.

The hall was beautifully lit with chandeliers. Orange and white bandhni drapes along with gold tissue surrounded the entire room. Inflated vinyl champagne bottles decorated with colored streamers added décor to individual tables. Waiters carried trays of intoxicating drinks served in slender transparent glasses to warm the atmosphere for a successful party. On the right side of the room sat the rest of the Akindugbe’s relatives who exhaled a sigh of relief when Sesan and his parents entered the room. It was not that the groom was late but many of them were on pins and needles watching the unaccustomed glamour being played out. At a point, each and everyone secretly checked their invitation again to see if they had indeed come to the right party.

The Alaga iduro started the ceremony. Sesan’s relatives did the customary prostration to Tejumade’s family. After much cajoling from the groom’s relatives they were allowed to sit down. A fabricated story was told on how the couple met, alluding to their difference in economic background. Tejumade was praised for her education, manners, beauty and character.

“Sesan, you can't find a girl better than Tejumade” the Alaga iduro bellowed through the microphone. “But we all know she can”

The room rang with laughter but it was louder on the left side.

“We now call on soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Bodunrinde …oh I am sorry Mr. and Mrs. Akin…. Akindubi… Akindugbe” the Alaga Iduro managed to say

The left side hearty laughter rang again.

Tejumade was asked to take out one item she will always need out of the trousseau Sesan’s relatives presented as a gift to her. She looked through the box and drew out a set of iro ati buba; she hesitated for a minute then she picked up the oja aran instead. She walked briskly towards the Alaga iduro who paused in her speech; unsure of what to say.

Laughter rang on the right side of the room this time

Mrs. Akindugbe knew her moment had come. At last she will be recognized as the Iya oko.

Her gesture was calculated. She took the microphone from the Alaga iduro and walked to Tejumade.

Although, she knew it was unnecessary and petty, but still opt for the chance

“I am glad that we still have two things to teach you in our family. Things your refinement cannot erase nor can your family wealth buy. They are our culture and customs.” Mrs. Akindugbe guided Tejumade back to the trousseau and handed her the white bridal bible.

“This is what you were to take.”

Her speech was a waltz to the rest of the Akindugbe family. They welcomed their triumph with thudding claps.

Tejumade dropped the bible and spun on her heels; she ran as fast as she could out of the room. Sesan followed. Confusion and murmurs overtook the hall and shame of ruin registered on both the mothers’ faces.

**********************
Aso-ebi - Attire for the family
Fila - hat
Gele - headtie
momi nmo e - Introduction
Alaga iduro - MC/Narrator
iro ati buba - Blouse and wrapper
oja aran - Velvet clothe used for securing a child when backed
Iya oko - husband's mother

44 comments:

Afrobabe said...

Hmmmm..many obstacles to over come when one marries a different class.

s.chic said...

na wa o...i try not to want to believe in class/social status thingy, but it's unfortunate that it does exist in our society.

Well done...nice piece

Rinsola said...

Status, class, finance, education all these problems, would it ever end? Nyce piece as always

chichi said...

really awesome was picturing it all from start to finish. ur really good. from one writer to another!! LOL.

30+ said...

The girl is just a dunce, what has class got to do with it. Has she not use korokoro eyes attend an engagement ceremony before.

They should have used here iborun to collar her back and ask her to kneel down and raise her hands.

Arewa said...

lol @ 30+
These our mothers.... why cant they just be happy with our choices and just give the thier genuine support and wish us all....??!

Jaycee said...

Yayyy...allied is back...let me go back and read AND comment...

Pause...:)

Omosewa said...

LOL, i used to wonder what wld happen if the bride didnt pick the bible. Lmao...oja isnt bad now, means shes ready to pop the kids.

I dont know if its worse for the girl to marry up or for the guy, nawa. I can imagine this happening.

I havent stopped the movies, who was i kidding. You should see omi aanu on the tayekenny page, fun. Also Iwalewa was nice, some parts crack me up till now when i remember.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

wow, I really enjoyed this snapshot into their lives. Is Teju pregnant? Also, na wa for social class issue sin Naija, sha.

NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

The Life of a Stranger called me said...

Lovely piece. Some of these MC's needs to be fired, how he be insulting the groom..... naa.. this is wrong.. I hope sesan and the girl get it together... after all they are in loveeeeeee....... right? lol..

darkelcee said...

30+... you are too funny.
ojo aran? that girl is spoilt. she should be seriously spanked. Why she no take food? yeye fowl

Allied this is a chart buster again.

Lovely post.

fantasy queen said...

are you participating in atutu's short story thingy? you should, you're a stunner with your narratives....

admit or not, we're all guilty of the class segregation thingy. its not a delibrate act, but something our minds are precontitioned to think.

thats why you see the babangidas marrying the abachas and having a loveless short term marriage.
when they babangidas can marry the fantasy queens and have a happy life....

ibiluv said...

lovely post
she never attend wedding before?

some people just can't help but rub it in

Queen of My Castle said...

Such a great story. Although I am unfamiliar with some of the customs mentioned, I am, however, familiar with meddling mothers-in-law. *Rolling eyes thinking about that woman* Will there be a part 2 to this one?

Oh, thank you soooooo much for translating Rinsola's comment on my blog. She always does that! Now I know who to run to the next time she does it. LOL

Ms. Catwalq said...

Class distinctions

wealth disparities

man-imposed obstacles on his own life....

lovely.

and i will check out the page on youtube

Today's ranting said...

What else can I say? Bravo!

Today's ranting said...

Btw, you have not finish the tory naa.

Chizom said...

Good ole social classification!!! I cannoot wait for the next installment.

Jinta said...

poverty is a criminal offence

laspapi said...

this is sad... I thought her choice of the oja was a strong one. As for the 'poor' family who showed her up for not making the 'traditional' choice of a bible, they only showed how poverty-stricken they were in their cruelty to her.

Poverty is of the heart, it's not how much there is in the bank.

When do you and I start this stalking business, allied? :D

Waffarian said...

I swear to God, I was so sure I left a comment here. Well, I'll try to write it again. Your writing is so easy...so...what word should I use...fluid? Can't wait to read the next part!

I was also not aware of the Bible thingy, I have never been to a yoruba traditional engagement, sounds very interesting.

fumosh said...

wat ! 21 comments...!!!

i knew u had updated the moment i saw ur comment on mine...

lol at the oja aran wahala oh. why didnt the monkey alaga make use of her sharp mouth to stylishly correct the girl?

as always, great delivery...

TheAfroBeat said...

wooow!! great story! haven't been on here in a while, but thanks for stopping by, which reminded me to check in on yours. I love this story, i hope you don't plan on leaving us hanging with Tejumade and Sesan.

rethots said...

Beautiful.

But, how come 'twas the 'alaga iduro' that was running her mouth, thot she should have been trying to douse the tantrums (usually) created by the 'alaga ijoko'. Oops, tell me not the Akindugbe could not even make a good choice of a spokeswoman.

Be that as it may, class (or no class) the way we carry ourselves & our (individual) values will always stand us out.
Afterall, Eleanor Roosevelt said it right; "No one can make you feel inferior if you don't allow them."

Nice one Allied.

anonymous gal said...

hmm class/status serious issues.

Sasuke said...

i would say it again and again and again and hopefully would never get tired of saying it you are a gem. very soon it would not come as a surprise to me if you go international.

nice story

N.I.M.M.O said...

Good story. Very well written.

@Laspapi: Had to read that part again to be sure what she did wrong. I would have thot the oja aran symbolizes the fact that both families will be forever tied together by the offspring of the marriage.

To me it was the perfect choice. It would have been a 'waking dream' for both families.

But sha, wetin poverty dey cause ehn?

@Allied: Will you consider the above twist to the story?

Uzezi said...

class, class class. tribe tribe tribe, unimportant differences etc. I lock my lips before i over talk.

I am thinking, allied, a collection of shorts from u should be at the Numetro soon. I am praying.

ablackjamesbond said...

Great post... i dont blame the groom's family though. Most of us would have done the same thing & it has nothing to do with wealth or poverty.

It takes a very strong person to pass up the opportunity to get back at someone who, we feel, has caused us some form of humiliation.

Pink-satin said...

wow!!!!you really describe things well...it was like i was there seeing the alaga iduro...but the girl no try everyone knows you pik the bible...oya complete the story..what happens next!

Sherri said...

lovely!
they were all so wrong!
sesan's mom has a serious inferiority complex.( no one can make u feel anything unless u give them permission.)
how classy of her to publicly ridicule her soon to be daughter in law.

if and when i do get married there better be no chocolates. cos we all know that's what am picking unless the bible is chocolate coated. lol(sorry o 30+)

princesa said...

Both families have issues men!

What was wrong with the girl's choice of oja aran?

At least she wasnt greedy to go for the gold ornaments,lol!

Anyway no mind me jare. If na me i for do worse sef.
Now fear dey catch me to marry yoruba man.

onydchic said...

fascinating piece. I havent been to much (ok, thats none) Yoruba engagements, but it seem that girl was a bit misinformed...
As for the mothers... well, amazing how petty people can be. You're really quite a talented writer...!

Isi said...

@30+: LMAO!!!!
she be real 'dunce' no be small! lol!

Honeywell said...

its unfortunate that people cannot be respectful to others, regardless of class....

Ms. emmotions said...

i completely forgot this was suppose to be a story, ,,,,'was carried away totally...

nice read,

bumight said...

Ths is very sad but true. I agree with afrobabe, there are many obstacle. especially cos when u marry a man/woman u marry their whole family with them!

The Life of a Stranger called me said...

Allied dearest, any update on the concert info I asked for? Hows things? Very well I hope.

Kafo said...

ouch

beautiful tho'
they needed to be put in there place

Writefreak said...

now tell me girl, did you take a sneak peek at my book? lol...there's a lot of difference though, just the class issue!

curvyice said...

Nice one as usual. No matter how educated and exposed we say we are, there always is an ounce of this class thingy lurking somewhere in our subconscious. May God help us as we try to help our selves.

Unmodern said...

Great story.

In response to Ibiluv . TBH if I hadnt read thsi story I woudlnt have known about the bible thing either LOL . Allied just saved my family embarassment for my future engagement ...any way Im sure they'd have coached me b4 the day sha

naijalines said...

Great story. 'Felt like i was there. You capture our people so well. And well done on your outing on 14th and Serenity. Just read that and came here.

Quella said...

Good for people to know.