Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Other Side

Somehow, they were always around to see her step in or out of her red sport car. The Sub Rosa life she lives, aroused their interest in her arrivals and departures in that gated community of theirs. Sometimes, they would say hello when she looked their way but often they just stare. One of they rumored she was a model, but another disagreed for although she has the body structure and the height, her glasses and pull back ponytail makes her look more like a sexy teacher. ‘No’ the unassigned leader said authoritatively ‘the laptop she carries and the high heel she wears suggests she works in an office’. They all agreed that she is pretty and dresses very well.

They really did think she was a pretty girl until that warm Monday night. At 1:32am they saw a figure approaching in a familiar stride. They weren’t sure who it was until she said ‘can you please keep your voices down. I know summer is here and you have no school but some of us have to work tomorrow’ though her request was stated calmly with a slight accent that alluded she is bilingual, her voice was somewhat stern. Their action in response to her demand came in the form of a shrill cry – piercing and keening to her senses; she took a couple of steps back, afraid something was terribly wrong. It was not until one of them fell on his back with his hand on his stomach did she realize they were laughing at her.

‘What happened to you?’ He asked. ‘I mean, we always thought you are a babe but dag what happened?’

What they saw, they termed “African booty scratcher

Her hair was not packed in the usual pony tail but concealed in a tight black satin turban. Her face was bare except for the granny glasses that sat on the edged of her nose. They were huge and round, definitely not the cute squared frame she wore during the day. The faded white shirt clung to her body happily proclaiming the 60th birthday of an old woman. A rather long colorful Ankara covered the lower half of her body, to finish off the look; she wore two different color rubber slippers.

“What a transformation” another said

She in turn saw three young loafers always sitting under the big Juniper like tree below her bedroom window. Sometimes, she throws a smile their way acknowledging their greeting but often she prays for her brother when she sees the three, hoping he is not constituting a nuisance in somebody else’s life just like these loafers does in hers.

In an unmistakably Nigerian accent she yelled “what did you just called me? African booty scratcher? In your life you will not utter such again. You fool. If you don’t leave this place in ten minutes, I will show you what I am made of? Awon ode gbogboalianironu omode[1]. “

“You cannot do anything. We will leave when we are good and ready to do so”

“Wait and see. I am only giving you ten minutes. You will definitely regret it if you give me a reason to come out here again”

They continued to laugh

She was definitely pissed off, although her threat was an empty one; she felt a strong need to do something incase they decide to test her already worn thin patience. She paced up her down her bedroom, thinking about what she could do to get those boys away from the tree.

Twenty minutes passed and she still heard them laughing outside her window. One of them mimicked her accent and mannerism for their amusement.

She went into the kitchen and came back with her ammunition. Her first missile cascaded from her window down on their heads. As she finished pouring the big bucket of semi hot water, she remembered the heat wave prediction for that night. She returned to her kitchen and this time she came out with a big bucket of cold water, a broom and omorogun[2]. She stepped out of her house to their curses; many f’s and b’s flew out their mouth. Without retort, she threw the cold water at them, brought out the broom and proceeded to hit them one by one on their leg...

They all ran in disbelieve

With her left arm akimbo and the right holding the omorogun, she yelled “to ba bi yin da, come back here. Awon amu ni dese buruku[3]

They left and she went back into her house

Though, it was quiet she could not sleep. She never thought such actions could come from her.

She loved the rush; relish the verdict but not proud of the means it was derived

Maybe is she not gentle after all

Maybe Allied was never gentle to begin with

Maybe it is the other side of me…

[1] Idiots! Children that cannot think
[2] A stick used to make Eba or Amala
[3] If you are born complete, come back here. Evil people that leads one to sin

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ahón ni ìpínnlè ẹnu.

For those that can’t read Yoruba, the title translates to “The tongue is the border of the mouth.” This means there is a limit to everything.

People forget that!

The post is conversational. The Yoruba proverbs begin a new conversation and it also describes my feelings regarding the situation but it is all one story. I wish I could have written the entire post in Yoruba but I won’t because of obvious reasons.

Eni à ńgbé gègè ni yó ba ara rè jé.[1]

Allied won’t you buy our Aso ebi?

You are doing aso ebi?

Of course now – Don’t you know the naming ceremony for twins is a big deal?

It’s true. Ahh, I will also have twins ooo. How much is the aso ebi?

It is not expensive. $150 for both Ankara and Gele
(Why is every Ankara and Gele either $100 or $150? I am yet to see someone say $80 even $125, Na wa for Naija round up.)

I will send the money to your BA Account but how do I get my aso?

You know what? Make the money $170; I will mail them to you


Thank you. I will also celebrate with you oh...


Bí ọmọdé bá gun òkè àgbà, ó ńláti gbón.[2]

Brother Taju, please sew my Ankara well oh. The party is tonight

Allied, I sha don’t like when you bring me a rush job. You are going to pay ‘rush rush’ money

How much is “rush rush” money?


Eh? Will the cloth then iron and fold itself?

You are truly from Ijebu

Na you sabi. I am going to pay you $30 plus bring in customers. I will take some of your business cards to the party tonight (Yeah right)

Ah, thank you. Pay $45


Ahh, you are too stingy. Just bring the money

Enìkan kì í jé “Àwá dé.”[3]

I like that girl’s Ankara.

It is beautiful. But Allied, I thought you also bought Aso-ebi?

Yes now. I am wearing it

But it looks like you are the only one wearing this Ankara …

No, look at that table. One, two, three... Eight people are wearing it now.

And about thirty people are wearing the other one… Let me find out she sold you the left over Ankara.

Maybe the family is wearing something else... sebi I am just a friend…

Sade and Tolani are also friends but they are wearing the other Ankara. You do have to ask yourself, why everyone wearing the same Ankara pattern as yours is sitting together at the same table. You better go and join them…

You are not serious

Àgbà kì í fàárò họ ìdí kó má kan funfun[4]

Excuse me, Aunty Bose want you to join the others at the table in the extreme corner

Which Aunty? May I know why?

I guess it will be easier to coordinate the party if we are all together

(at the table)

Good evening Aunty

Good Evening. I want you to sit here with the others. Did Peju assign a task to you?

No Aunty

Well, you have to be assigned a task. It is the reason you are wearing the Ankara.

(during the party)

Allied did you serve table 4? (Yes aunty)

Allied, go and bring the cooler of Jollof rice from the truck (Yes aunty)

Allied why did you give that woman both meat and fish? (Sorry aunty)

Allied what is wrong with you? You are young, stop acting sluggish… (I rolled my eyes at aunty)
Allied take my daughter to the bathroom (Yes aunty)

Ìbàjé ọjó kan ò tán bòrò[5]

Aunty I am leaving. Good night

Leaving ke? We still have to pack the coolers in the van and clean the hall.

I have to go aunty. I need to be somewhere very early tomorrow

I see… After you have collected my Ankara – You are now running away when its time to work

Aunty, I don’t understand

If you knew you cannot work, why are you wearing my FREE Ankara? I told Peju to give them to people that will help me with the party. You should have bought the other Aso-ebi like everybody else.

Aunty, I bought this Ankara from Peju.

Èèyàn tí ò nítìjú ojú kan ni ìbá ní; a gbórín a tó tẹṣin.[6]

Peju, you really disappointed me. Why did you sell me that Ankara? Not only was it FREE, it was also meant to be worn by the servers of the lady who coordinated your party

Yes, but you did not have to help if you didn’t want to plus the servers are also my friends.

That is not the point. Did you tell that your Aunty Bose that you sold the Ankara because the lady disgraced me big time. You should have told me from the get go. I really feel cheated.

Allied, why are u making this a big deal? It is not that serious. It was my party and there were other people wearing the Ankara

There were Aunty Bose’s servers

Do you think you are better than they are? You think you are this mighty big shot?

Peju, obviously you miss the point. If there was no more Ankara, why did you make me buy that one? And if you wanted me to help out at the party - You should have said so. I feel cheated.

Are u calling me a cheat?

I want you to know that Àgbà tó mọ ìtìjú kì í folè ṣeré[7]

Ànán-mánàán ẹtú jìnfìn; oní-mónìí ẹtú jìnfìn; ẹran mìíràn ò sí nígbó léhìn ẹtu?[8]

I shouldn’t blame her. I think I have some kind of sticker on my forehead that says “gullible”. This is the 5th time that someone has sold me “extra” Ankara but this has been the worst experience. Was the $150 really worth it on her part? I have two options. Stop buying aso-ebi or I should start asking “Will EVERYone wear this Ankara?

Blogville, am I overreacting?

[1] It is the person who is revered that will disgrace himself or herself.(People who are placed on pedestals have ample opportunities to topple themselves.)

[2] If a child ascends the height of maturity, he/she must become wise.(Wisdom goes with age.)
[3] One person is not entitled to say, “Here we come.”(However mighty, one person is still only one person.)

[4] A grown person does not scratch his buttocks in the early morning without showing some whiteness.(Improper behavior brings disgrace.)
[5] The disgrace one incurs in one day does not disappear that soon.(Reputations are easy to destroy but most difficult to repair.)

[6] A shameless person deserves to have only one eye, that one as large as a horse's.(Human endowments are wasted on graceless people.)
[7] An elder who is wary of disgrace will not play at stealing.
[8] Yesterday the antelope was caught in a pit-trap; today the antelope is caught in a pit-trap; is there no other animal in the forest besides the antelope?(If the same person repeatedly finds himself or herself in difficulties others are able to avoid, one should look to the person's character for the explanation.