Month: March 2011

An Eye For An Eye but Eye Ain’t That Wicked!

When I was in JSS1 I fell in hate with my social studies teacher, Madam SS. We were getting along pretty well till her niece and I found ourselves in the same dormitory. The foolish niece (who I’m now friends with) told her aunt a lie about me in order to save someone else’s behind and the agbaya teacher decided to make an eleven year old child her enemy.

From the second Madam SS entered the class till she left, she picked on me. I became an answering machine. “Define this, define that.” “Explain this, explain that.” Unfortunately for Madam S I was a clever kid, she could never catch me out. It annoyed the hell out of her. I can’t tell you how many times she punished me for no tangible reason.

“Did you have to answer the question so cockily?! Kneel down there!”

“So because you answered one question you think you know everything? Get out of my class!”

The woman made my life miserable but I paid her back by getting the highest grades in her class. I was glad to see the back of JSS1 though and thought I’d gotten rid of her but alas, we met again in JSS3. We picked up where we’d left off; she fired questions, I bombed her with answers. It burnt her gan and she retaliated by telling my demonic English teacher to watch out for me in her classes. Two teachers against lil’ ol’ MEE, talk about bullying!

Fast forward three years. I was now the house captain of my house and JSS1 girls were resuming school. I got a message that Madam SS wanted to see the house captain of my house. Wondering what I’d done this time, I dragged myself to her office. She was shocked when I walked in.

“You are the house captain?!”

 “Yes ma.”

“My daughter is in JSS1 and she’s in your house. She’s resuming boarding house today.”

Hallelujah!!! I’ve never felt more powerful in my life.

“Please my dear, please look after her for me. God will bless you!”

Madam SS grovelling? Begging me?! Praying for me?!

The thought of the many ways I could torture her daughter had me drunk …O n se mi bi oti! I had all the power and she knew it. No amount of begging was going to save her daughter’s behind. There and then I started inventing new improved punishments for the girl. Let her not wake up at 6am sharp to start scrubbing, walahi, she would hang upside down!  Forget the toppling of Saddam, this one was sweeter! Madam SS started sending me Mr Biggs and cold water every other day. She spoke highly of me to every teacher in the staff room and fanned my ego till the thing caught pneumonia.

Truth be told, I wasn’t going to do a thing to her daughter but Madam SS didn’t need to know that. Revenge is sweet gan!!!

xxx

Waila

MEE, You and Tété

If you’ve never heard of Tété, allow me the pleasure of introducing you to him. He is a French musician of Senegalese descent and one of my favourite random musical discoveries of all time. I won’t bore you with details of how many records he’s sold and how successful he is but what I will tell you is that I think he is a brilliant song writer and I’m a big fan. Last summer I got tickets to a gig he was playing in London but had to pull out last minute.  I thought I would die of disappointment but I thank heaven for getting me through that difficult time. A couple of months ago I got an email alert from a venue I subscribe to and yes, you guessed it, he is playing in London on the Wednesday the 20th of April. Yay!!! *dancing awilo*

For someone who speaks no other language but English (and a little Yoruba), I am obsessed with languages. I almost always say hello in French and goodbye in Spanish. Don’t ask, it’s just one of my many idiosyncrasies. I love it when people sing in languages. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, I have no clue what they are on about but it doesn’t stop me loving it. Tété sings primarily in French and I love his songs so much that I look up his lyrics and translate them using Google translate! *hides face*

I have a trustee friend I usually drag on my random trips but this time around I thought I’d give first dibs to you, my cyber buddies. Stinkus my love, be on standby if no one else is interested! Lol. I’m amazed that anyone besides my family and friends (who were threatened at gun point) bother to read this blog and this is my way of saying thank you. The video below is a live performance of my favourite song by Tété and it’s called ‘Le Premier Clair de L’aube’ which according to Google translate, means ‘The First Light of Dawn.’

Here’s the deal.

The gig is on Wednesday the 20th of April, 2011 and it’s at Monto Water Rats which is in the King’s Cross area of London. It starts at 7pm and is open to over 18’s only.  I have two tickets to the gig and one could be yours if you want it. You don’t have to subscribe to this blog to get your hands on my spare ticket. All you need to do is post a comment on this post telling me how to say ‘please leave me alone!’ in a language besides English.

The first person to comment gets the ticket. It’s that simple.

xxx

Waila

p.s.

It goes without saying that you have to be in London on the day and have to be over 18 to attend the gig. The rest of you, please comment anyway. The more languages I can use to chase unwanted suitors away, the better! *wink*

Salmon Anyone?!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming my mother to London Town.  I love having her around. We laugh, we fight, we gossip and we eat fish till our jaws lock.  

A soon as she arrived, we hauled her bags up the stairs and then headed to Tesco to hunt for dinner.

“I want fish, plenty of vegetables and fruits. You know that’s all I eat.”

“Whatever mummy, that’s what you always say.”

“I’m serious this time!”

“If I come home tomorrow and find ogbono soup in the fridge what should I do to you?”

“I didn’t bring any ogbono now!”

Like that has ever stopped her. My mother knows every nook and cranny in London where they sell Nigerian food.

As soon as we walked into Tesco, we headed for the fish counter. I had planned the menu in my head; grilled salmon, pepper sauce and rice. All I needed from the counter were two salmon fillets. Shikena.

“Excuse me,” I said to the lady behind the counter, “can I have two of those salmon fillets please?”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother eyeing some whole salmons with a bright red half-price banner swinging above them.

“Why don’t we buy a whole one?”

“Mummy there’s no space in my freezer, you know how tiny it is. Besides what are we going to do with a fish that size?!”

“I’m sure it’s more economical.”

“I don’t care. I’m not buying that big fish!”

“Don’t mind her,” my mother said to the attendant, “please weigh that fish and tell me how much it is.”

“It’s £15.80 and that includes the discount.”

“God forbid! Mummy, I’m not spending £16 on fish!”

The zealous attendant eager to sell her fish started buttering up my mother.

“It came fresh this morning. We can cut it up for you anyhow you want.”

“Erm, did you not hear me? I am not buying that fish!”

She ignored me. “Madam, would you like me to cut it up.”

“Yes please, don’t mind my daughter.”

“Okay o, buy whatever you want but you must finish this fish before you go.”

You should have seen the size of the bag of fish. I needed a wheel barrow to drag it home!

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

We got home and I started cooking.

“How many pieces of fish do you want?”

“Two please.”

“Are you sure, the pieces are quite big”

“You know I’m not eating any rice and you’re the one that said I must finish the fish before I go.”

We laughed.

I grilled the fish, boiled some rice for myself and made the sauce. I served up her two fillets and sauce and handed the plate to her.

“Ah, you didn’t put rice in my own?!”

“I thought you didn’t want rice?!”

“Put a little.”

A little equalled two sizeable spoons. She polished off the rice and then the battle with the fish began. I knew there was no way she would be able to eat both pieces.

“Mummy, why aren’t you eating your fish? Start eating it o, you must empty that plate!”

“But I’m full now! Do you want me to die of over feeding? You are the one that gave me rice when I said I didn’t want any.”

 “You said you didn’t want what?!”

We both burst into laughter.

She didn’t finish her food and I spent a good hour rearranging my fridge and freezer to find space for her massive salmon.

That’s my mother folks. Stresses me out and cracks me up all at the same time!

xxx

Waila

Tales From The Underground: The Perils Of Innocence

Forget stripping grandmothers and your over weight bare and hairy-chested father coming on to your friends…children have got to be the most embarrassing creatures on this planet.

Last night on my way home from work, I sat opposite a man who was carrying his daughter on his laps. The girl, no more than 4years old, kept squirming and demanding a seat of her own.

“Daddy, I want my own chair!”

“There are no empty seats honey, you have to sit on Daddy’s laps. We haven’t got far to go.”

At the next stop, the lady sat next to them got up and like a seasoned commuter, the little girl pounced on the empty seat. Just as she was getting comfortable, a pregnant woman appeared in front of us. Her father, gentleman that he is, immediately grabbed his daughter and made to lift her back on to his laps.

“You have to let the lady sit down.”

“But why daddy? That’s my chair!”

“The lady is carrying a baby and needs to sit.”

“So?!”

While they were still squabbling, the man next to me got up and offered his seat to the pregnant woman.

“Daddy why does he have to stand up? It’s his seat.”

“I’ve already told you honey, there’s a baby inside her stomach that she has to carry around. She is probably tired and needs to rest.”

“Ooh, so that’s why her tummy is so big. Her tummy is ‘pregernat.’  Do you know who put the baby there?”

The pregnant woman obviously feeling maternal smiled at the little girl, “the baby’s daddy put it there.”

“Are you married?”

“No, I’m not.”

“So why are you having a baby? Nana Marie says that people who have babies when they are not married are naughty people. Are you a naughty person?”

The pregnant woman went a hundred different shades of red and the little girl’s father looked ready to kill someone.

“Honey that’s enough! You’re being very rude and daddy doesn’t like it.  Apologise to the lady!”

Tears began to flow from the girl’s eyes.

“But I’m only asking if she is a naughty person. Nana Marie says she is!”

“Apologise to the lady!”

“I’m sorry lady.”

The man picked up his now wailing daughter and wrapped her in his arms while mouthing his apologies to the pregnant woman. He still had murder in his eyes though. I looked at his fingers and realised he wasn’t wearing a ring. Call it speculation but I reckon he had only just discovered what Nana Marie thinks of him and his baby mama!

xxx

Waila

Tales From the Underground: Man With Chair

This morning a gentleman stood next to me on the platform at my local train station carrying a folding chair. As soon as I saw him I knew it would be an interesting journey. Rush hour is not the time to test the usually polite Brits…their manners don’t wake up till 9am.

I got on at my usual spot and grabbed the only available seat in the carriage. Man-with-chair unfolded his chair and sat down. The drama wouldn’t start now. It may not start at East Finchley either but I was ready to pledge my allegiance to Gaddafi if the drama didn’t unfold before Kentish town. 

As the train got more congested, the frowns began to appear on people’s faces. Man-with-chair was taking up a lot of the space where the hordes of commuters normally pack themselves like sardines.

Woman-hanging-out-of-the-door: Excuse me, would you mind standing up? Your chair is taking up a lot of space and we’re trying to get on.   

Man-with-chair: Silence

Man-with-shiny-black-shoes: Oi mate, she’s right. You need to stand up. You can’t just sit there like you

Man-with-chair: silence

Man-with-tattoos: What the *#*@# is wrong with you mate? You’re being a #*@” twat!

Man-with-chair: silence

I would have been convinced he was deaf and dumb had I not over heard him profess his love to someone on the other end of his iPhone while we were waiting on the platform.

Woman-with-kind-face taps man-with-chair and begins to demonstrate with her hands, speaking slowly, “You (points at man) need to stand up (lowers her palm and then raises it slowly).”

Man-with-chair: blank stare.

Man-with-shiny-black-shoes: #*@*#! If this is just ridiculous, #*@# ridiculous!

Man-with-shiny-shoes, man-with-tattoos and woman-with-big-red-bag proceeded to educate the rest of us on the problems with Transport for London, disability, the coalition, and ‘Boris the Muppet who looks like something that escaped from a zoo.’

 Man-with-tattoos: Why the *#*% would anyone bring a chair on the train! If we all did that it would be mental! “&8@#$” retard! That’s what happens when the government refuses to look after people with issues.

Man-with-chair:  silence

Man-with-tattoos was still ranting when the train pulled up at Angel. Man-with-chair got up, folded his chair and erupted in fits of laughter as he hopped off the train.

Never a dull moment on the Northern Line!

xxx

Waila

Messing…For Those Who Know!

I’m not sure where I learnt how to mess because it wasn’t something we did at home or at my primary school. All I know is that somewhere between my front door and the school gates, someone taught me.  It was a game of sorts where you and your opponent would trade messes a.k.a. insults. The winner was the person who delivered the most messes that ‘entered.’ My opponent was usually my friend Dockus and our messing always ended in World War III. Our parents were friends and we lived 5 minutes apart so we saw a lot of each other. He was one of my best friends and my guaranteed play mate but there was no way we could be in the same space for more than ten minutes without fighting. He was a lot bigger than I was but I was the David to his Goliath…he defeated everyone else but he never defeated me.

MEE to Dockus: Let’s mess each other.

Dockus: Okay, you start.

MEE: You shit two shit two of them resemble you.

Dockus: With your tun tun belle like seven o’clock news.

MEE: With you four corner head like Agege bread.

Dockus: You mess all the fishes for river Niger say are we safe?!

MEE: You mess four akara form voltron.

Dockus: Erm, erm…

MEE: I’m not playing again jo, you’re too slow.

Dockus: No now, let’s play. Or are you afraid?

MEE: Afraid of what? Hiss. With your black nyash like devil bible.

Dockus: Ha ha, I’m light so my nyash cannnot black.

MEE: Ode, who told you that it has to make sense? Instead of you to say you don’t know what to say you’re talking nonsense. Kuli kuli attack your village,nobody survive. Mess your own back now let me hear you!

Dockus: You mess for church, Jesus statue cover him nose.

MEE: You mess Babangida repeat primary four.

Dockus: Mumu, who told you Babangida went to primary school?!

MEE: Shut up jo, ITK. How do you know he didn’t go. Where you there?

Dockus: I send you buy cold mineral, you ask for bottle wey dey sweat.

MEE: You siddon for ten kobo, your leg no reach ground.

Dockus: But I’m taller than you sha.

MEE: You’re so annoying please get out jo and go home.

Dockus: Look who is talking! You too get out, with your punk, Mike Tyson!

MEE: Is it me you’re calling Mike Tyson? Is it me you’re calling Mike Tyson?

Dockus: Yes! What can you do?!

A lot as he came to discover when I beat him to a pulp. It took the joint efforts of Aunts A and P to drag me off him. I was ready to send him to his grave. Nobody insulted my punk and got away with it, NO ONE!!!

 

xxx

Waila

 

NB: Pic is copyright of clipartguide.com

MYOB…Mind Your Business!

When I see a nosy-parker coming, I take to my heels, disappearing in the opposite direction. There are few things I detest more than people trying to suck gist out of me. It’s so irritating, makes me want to empty my stomach over their heads. I can always tell when someone asks a question out of genuine concern but when it’s for amebo (being nosy) sake, it’s a turn off. Given my aversion to amebo, I’m very careful not to delve into people’s private affairs. Over the years I’ve become so good at it that I’m now crap at fishing for information. Crap as in useless! My motto is that if someone wants to tell me something, they will….when they are ready. Till then, I mind my business.

Over the Christmas holiday, I caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She is a really good friend and I love her to bits. Anyway, when I saw her she looked great albeit a little chubbier than normal. I noticed her stomach was a little big but it may well have been the doing of a plate of eba. I spent 5 hours with her and watched her down at least six bottles of water. If I wasn’t sure before, I was sure now. We gisted about any and everything but I said nothing. When I was leaving, she walked me to the car and it was then she said, “When I told you to come I couldn’t remember whether or not I’d told you I am pregnant.”

“Foolish girl, you didn’t but trust me, I clocked it as soon as I saw you!”

We had a good laugh about it. She was surprised I hadn’t said anything and concluded I hadn’t noticed her not so visible baby bump. I mean, what kind of friend see’s her friend is pregnant and doesn’t comment?! MEE apparently.

Now there’s a certain someone who has taken it upon herself to make my love life her business. I am so ‘close’ to this person that she doesn’t have my phone number, or bb pin or skype id or email address. Yet she wants in on my business. How about asking for my phone number first schmuck! Everytime I see her, the conversation goes something like this.

“Hey MEE!”

“Hey you! How are you?”

“I’m good. How are the lads?”

“There are no lads o.”

“Don’t worry, God will give you your own.”

“Amen o!”

What happened to how are you? How is work? How’s your mum? Your brothers? You cats? Your goats? Your pigeons? Nothing! It’s only the lads she is interested in.

The last conversation I had with her that stoked this fire went like this.

“Hey MEE!”

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in ages, where have you been?”

“I’ve been around, you’re the one that’s hiding. Haven’t run into you in Moorgate for yonks.”

“I no longer work in the area, I’m now in the Docklands.”

“Are you serious?! I hear there are cute Naija guys in that Canary Wharf, have you met any yet? I’m sure you’ll soon find a man in that place. You had better tell me when you do o, don’t do under-g (underground) loving o!”

Like seriously?! How about asking why I moved out of the area? Did I get fired? Made redundant? Get a better job? Nothing! Plus, who told the schmuck that the men in Canary Wharf stand around waiting to be picked up?!

Note to schmuck: When a man finds me, you will be the last person to know. THE LAST…and that’s assuming you ever find out.

Rant over.☺.

Waila Reads: Tomorrow Died Yesterday

In January while I was in Nigeria I went book shopping. The Nigerian literary scene is pretty vibrant at the moment and I was keen to discover new authors. There were three books I was particularly interested in but while I was in the store, I stumbled on a book by an author called Chimeka Garricks. If I’m honest, the book looked like a QC literature text. The quality of the paper and cover, typography and layout of the print was less than impressive. The synopsis got my attention though. The story is set in the Niger Delta and tackles the world famous issues surrounding oil and kidnapping in the region, using the lives of four young men as a platform.  As a full blooded child of the Niger Delta, I was interested to read what the author had to say.

That said, I put off reading the book for as long as I could because it really is very unattractive and looks like a drag. One day when I had nothing else to read, I decided to give it a chance. I’ve been playing it cool and holding back on my opinions on my recommendations but I have to quell my resolve and tell you that this book is genius! It is brilliantly written… the plot was well researched, artfully constructed and delivered with truck loads of verve. What really struck me about this book was how powerful the dialogue was. You’ll notice from my blog posts that I tend to lean quite heavily on dialogue when story telling. It is very difficult to keep sustained dialogue punchy and captivating but Chimeka Garricks does it flawlessly.

I was in two minds about recommending this book because if you don’t live in Nigeria, I’m not sure how you can get your hands on a copy. I’ve scoured the internet but no online retailers or bookstores in the UK (or US) seems to stock it. I’m trying to get my hands on a copy or two to give away and as soon as they arrive, I’ll let you know what you need to do to get your hands on them.

If anyone has read this book, I’d love to know what you thought about it. To the rest of you, happy reading…if you can find it!

xxx

Waila

You Just Don’t Do That!

I haven’t blogged in a week and some because I haven’t had the energy to think. These days my brain cells are overworked and dead half the time. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, I managed to revive enough brain cells to function at a wedding.  On my way home, drunk on J2O (thanks RayRay) and devoid of sense…common and uncommon, I decided to explore the contents of a skip a couple of doors from my house. I’d noticed there were always people rummaging through it and recently discovered it’s owned by my local Cancer Research store. It’s where they dump unwanted donations.

There was a cute buggy on top the heap of goodies but that’s useless to me so I craned my neck to get a better view of the stash. I felt and looked silly but kept on snooping, after all, old second hand equals vintage no?! Lol. I was busy trying not to fall into the skip when I heard a growl. I spun round to find a ferocious looking dog glaring at me.

I am TERRIFIED of dogs. My heart began to beat triple time. I looked around but the owner was nowhere in sight. I started praying.

Oh my God, please help me!

The dog growled. You should have seen the size of its teeth.

God, what have I done wrong? Have I offended any dogs? I remembered a dog I poured hot water on when I was nine years old.

‘God I’m sorry I poured hot water on Wazobia. I was young and foolish, I’m sorry!’

As I reached down to take off my shoes, ready to run, it started barking furiously. I gauged the distance from the skip to my front door but considering I’d have to fumble around trying to open it, the odds of out running the dog were slim.  I didn’t want to cry but I could feel the tears welling up. In an attempt to silence the panic, I started humming.

Since I was born, hmn hmn hmn, I have never seen the Lord changeth…no no no no…I have never seen the Lord changeth!

The panic kept rising. I was ready to start screaming when I heard a shout.

‘No Midget, no! Sit Midget, sit!’

Midget osi wo ni?! You should have seen the size of the dog, it was taller than my friend Mina!

As soon as the dog was under control, I found my voice.

‘I mean, you just don’t do that, you just don’t! Do you think we all like dogs? You should keep your dog on a leash! Get it away from me!’

‘I’m sorry,’ the owner said, patting the mongrel like it had done something good, ‘he was only playing with you.’

‘Do I look like a toy?! If he wants to play, take him to a playground!’

After delivering one last, ‘you just don’t do that!’ to the ownerI hurried to my front door and let myself in.

I mean, you just don’t do that!

xxx

Waila

Photo Credits: istockphoto.com