Month: January 2012

It’s His Birthday, MARRY HIM!!!

My friend CrawCraw is one of those people who try as you may, you cannot hate. Guys think she’s a breath of fresh air, girls want to hang out with her and parents wish they gave birth to her.  Every parent bar my mother, The General, that is. The General’s heart overflows with gratitude to God that CrawCraw isn’t her daughter. If she were, she wouldn’t be able to marry her off to my brother G, I mean, that would be incestuous.

CrawCraw and The General get on like a house on fire. She is the only friend I have who calls The General every now and again to check up on her. I would be worried but I know I’m irreplaceable. I may have my issues but it’s not easy to discard a child who even a blind man can tell is yours. That is the only thing I have over CrawCraw and the reason my inheritance remains safe.

 The General is no fool, pikin wey resemble goat no be goat, na pikin. She knows CrawCraw can never be her biological daughter so she is willing to settle for daughter-in-law and has launched a campaign to get CrawCraw and G to the altar.

Over the holidays, CrawCraw was being her usual self entertaining MamaGuy (my nan), my uncle, aunt and The General. MamaGuy asked my aunt ( in Urhobo) who CrawCraw is and she told her. The General, hearing her response, saw a golden opportunity and piped up.

“Waila’s friend? She is G’s wife! CrawCraw you will marry G, won’t you?!”

CrawCraw’s eyes flew open like a window in a hurricane and she won’t admit it but I tell you, those eyes lit up! That was when I clutched the wall for support. Suddenly I started remembering random moments; G’s frequent inquiries about CrawCraw’s welfare, CrawCraw frequent inquiries about G’s welfare, G teasing CrawCraw, CrawCraw pretending she can do without G’s attention. It all made sense!

At first it seemed like a crazy idea but after giving it a second thought, I can see it working. If CrawCraw marries G, I won’t have to worry about getting along with my sister-in-law. CrawCraw is very family orientated so I will be able to spend G’s money without his wife pulling a face like rotten okra. My nieces and nephews would have a decent chance of having hair and there would be someone to teach them that walking around with skin like cracked leather is not a good look…not even on cows.  

G turns 30 today and is by Nigerian standards, a prime candidate for marriage. He comes from a good home, has a good job, is Christian and a credible future candidate for the Nigerian Presidential seat. He is also a British citizen so Downing Street is a plausible alternative, albeit with slimmer financial prospects. Plus let’s not kid ourselves, that red kpali is hella attractive!

So Mina, WILL YOU MARRY HIM?!?!?! It’s his birthday, go on, say yes!

G, you can thank me later.

xxx

Waila

My Stash

Hello people,

As promised, here’s a picture of my stash and a heads up on the titles to come in Waila Reads.

Please, refrain from insulting my picture taking skills. I have many talents but photography isn’t one of them!

The last time I was in Lagos and wanted to buy books, someone suggested I go to the CMS bookshop as they supposedly stocked a large variety of books at competitive prices. I dragged my friend Moin-Moin all the way to CMS and I tell you, if I’d had a cane, I’d have flogged the staff out of the bookshop, locked it u and thrown away the keys. It was that useless.

This time around when I asked, everyone recommended The Palms mall in Lekki. All the books I picked up last time, I picked up from The Palms so I didn’t question their knowledge. The day after I bought most of my stash, I had lunch with a friend at Terra Culture on Tiamiyu Savage and  discovered they have a library/bookshop there…and books there are cheaper than at The Palms. I didn’t do the Maths but I’m pretty sure the savings I could have made would have been enough to buy me another two cartons of Indomie.

Oh well, here’s a list of the titles and authors;

  • The Mrs Club by Ekene Onu
  • Weep Not Child by Ngugi WA Thiong’O
  • A Squatter’s Tale by Ike Oguine
  • Dew In The Morning by Shimmer Chinodya
  • Nights Of The Creaking Bed by Toni Kan
  • The Housemaid by Amma Darko
  • The Son Of Your Father’s Concubine by Seun Salami
  • Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele
  • Nine Lives by El-Nukoya
  • Zack’s Story by Abidemi Sanusi
  • Kemi’s Journal by Abidemi Sanusi
  • Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary
  • Treachery In The Yard by Adimchinma Ibe
  • London Life Lagos Living by Bobo Omotayo
  • Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks
  • 26A by Diana Evans

Yes, I know, I bought another copy of Tomorrow Died Yesterday. The last pair of hands that housed my old copy must have left its doors open for rats to enter. Some people just never learn to shut doors. I keep saying I will stop lending out my books to people because many of them never find their way back to my bookshelf and some of the ones that do, escaped from rat infested hands.

I’m currently reading 26A so it lay hiding in my handbag during the photo shoot.

Have you read any of them? Tell me! Tell me!  I’m trying to decide which one to read next.

Happy Thursday people. May Friday come quickly and Sunday, slowly!

xxx

Waila

In My Skin

Hey guys,

Just stumbled on this short story I wrote a while ago and thought I’d share it. No explanation needed, it speaks for itself…I think.

xxx
Waila

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

Evening turned to night and night to morning. I still hadn’t managed to fall asleep. The sun rose, its rays peering through the skylight which hung above the foot of my bed. In the distance I heard the sound of wheelie bins shuffling along the pavements and the whistles of the rubbish men as they carted off two weeks’ worth of trash. Mothers greeted one another and children cried as they were dropped off at the nursery a few doors away. I heard my neighbour‘s door slam and the thud of her feet as they hit the stairs. Her washing machine began to spin and I closed my eyes and let the vibrations that shook the entire floor, rock me to sleep.

I dreamt about him; his pale translucent skin, the deep husky tone of his voice, the warmth of his smile, the kindness in his charcoal grey eyes that mirrored the tenderness of his heart. A heart that once was mine. I saw his lips move. It’s too complicated they said, my family are dead set against us. They aren’t racist, just traditional. They don’t believe in interracial relationships and much as I love you, I can’t turn my back on my family.

I called out as he made to walk away. I asked him why he’d let me waste the last five years of my life if he knew he could never marry me. I’d met his family many times; mother, father, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews. They were always nice, never showed their disapproval. Was it something I said? Did? They like you his lips said, think you’re a wonderful girl. If you weren’t black, you would have been perfect. They think marriages are trying at the best of times without embracing avoidable complications…and I see their point.

How does my being black complicate things? I went to one of the best independent boarding schools in the country as did both my parents. In that very school was where we first met. We both graduated with first class degrees from Oxford. Mine in Economics and his in Politics. At 29, I’m the youngest partner at the leading consulting firm I work for and rake in an impressive salary. He is a high flying trader in a global investment bank. Our families go to the same church and are members of the same clubs. What’s so different about us?!

I asked if he’d know his family’s position all along and saw the guilt in his eyes. He said he’d hoped they would come around in time. I begged him to reconsider, reminded him of the promises we’d made to each other. Didn’t he realise how much I loved him?! I could see he was torn but I was one person, they were legion. Without so much as forming a fist, he’d given up on us.

I woke up sobbing. Dragging myself out of bed I knelt before the full length mirror that stood upright against my bedroom wall. Not for the first time in my life, I hated being black. Growing up, all the girls around me had long silky locks of hair but mine resembled a forest of barbed wire. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I begged my mother to perm my hair but she said I had to wait till I turned 18. I cried until she came up with a satisfactory alternative. She let me have my hair in single plaits so it was long like everyone else’s. Then there was the hip era. All the other girls were rake thin but I had hips and a well rounded bum. “You’re curvy not fat,” mum said when I complained about being overweight. I went on my first diet when I was twelve.

Seventeen years later, I am a willowy size six. My hair is permed and I always have my 18inch Brazilian hair extensions expertly sewn to tracks woven into my hair. My academic and corporate pedigrees are the envy of many. I’ve done everything I can to become the person I’ve always wanted to be and thought I’d succeeded…until now. I scowled at my flawless chocolate brown skin. It was the only thing that stood between me and total acceptance. Stripping off my pyjamas, I slowly made my way to the bathroom where I scrubbed away at my skin till it began to bleed.

Greetings From…Good Ol’ Blighty

Yes people, I have returned from sunny Nigeria and with a tan too. I may have to invest in some bleaching cream to get my complexion back to normal.

I had a wonderful time in the motherland and was a little sad as my cousins and I journeyed to the airport. We spent the journey rocking to P-Squared’s ‘The Invasion’ album which I’d never heard before. I very quickly lost my desire to remain in the country thanks to the chaotic state of Murtala Mohammed International airport. My flight was grossly overbooked so only people who had checked in online were guaranteed a seat on the flight. Thankfully I was one of them.  There were many angry people at the BA check-in desk I tell you. I spent over an hour trying to get through security and there isn’t a word to express how frustrated I was, especially as the delay could have been avoided if the people running the airport had one brain cell between them all. The guy standing behind me cursing and whining in his ‘Igbotic’ American accent didn’t help matters. I wanted to tell him to shut-up so badly!

Anyway, spending time with family and friends is always good.
My cousin Ruth is a star I tell you. She spoilt me silly and if I could give a great big smacker on the lips, I would! Amongst other things, she made a last minute dash to the market to buy me a Ludo board after the one @SingleNigerian bought me got broken in transit from Abuja to Lagos. Sadly, the replacement she bought got broken too and was subsequently confiscated by security staff at Murtala Mohammed airport. Something about not allowing glass on the plane. I could have cried I tell you. I am now the disappointed owner of four dice and two sets of ‘Ludo people’ as my friend Stinkus calls them.  I guess Ludo and I just weren’t meant to be.

My other cousin, whose name I have changed from EverReady to Judas, abandoned me because of a woman. See what woman does to man?! Judas and his fiancé, IscariBaby, got engaged on New Year’s Eve. I congratulate the happy couple and I’m deliriously happy for them but make no mistake, I will have my revenge!

My freshly braided hair is a massive hit with the guys in my office. One of them went as far as declaring it the best they’ve ever seem my hair. I wasn’t that wowed by it but after the many compliments, there’s a new swag in my step. *wink*

You all know I’m an avid reader and last year I embarked on an exploration of books by African writers. On my trip, I picked up 15 new books. I was like a woman possessed and Judas almost lost his eyeballs when we got to the till and the cost of my madness was totalled. In my defence, I was possessed! Blame it on the spirit. I can’t wait to get through my stash. I will post a picture of my stash soon as well as the titles and authors so that those of you who want to, can get ahead of me. Waila Reads will be very active this year.

Now I’m back and no longer in holiday mode, I have to start thinking about what’s next for Waila Caan. In the meantime, expect random posts and get ready to debate as I have plenty of scenarios for us to hash out.

By God’s grace, this year I will stop procrastinating and write my debut novel. Any Amen’s to that?

Lunch is over, must return to work. I have over a hundred emails to sift through and plenty of bugs to test.

Happy Tuesday!

xxx

Waila

p.s.

Happy birthday to my darling Stinkus! God willing, we will grow old together, live to see each other achieve all our visions and dreams. Love you much!

Happy New Year & Greetings From My Motherland

Happy New Year folks and greetings from my motherland!

I’ve been in Nigeria for the last four days and it’s been good so far. It’s a full house with my mother, grandma, uncle, two aunts and cousin. It’s been great bonding with them all and dodging the million and one chores they have for me to do. Nigerian parents have doctorates in fagging aka sending people on errands. It is unthinkable that they will reach for a remote control on a table in front of them when they have a child who is asleep, that they can awaken to pass it to them.  Their hands it seems, are only good for counting money, transferring food from hand to mouth and dishing out slaps. Thankfully, my cousin is much younger than I am so she gets sent on the bulk of the errands. Every now and again, I feel sorry for her and take on some of them lest the poor girl crumbles under the weight of their unending demands.

Relative to Lagos, Abuja is a quiet city. Not much happens here, not unless you count bombings as entertainment . It’s deeply saddening that any human being will choose to take the life of another. May the souls of all those who lost their lives in the Christmas Day bombing rest in peace.

On a lighter note, I met one of my twitter cum blogger buddies, John Doe aka SingleNigerian aka JD,in the flesh. It was exciting I tell you, especially as he tweets and blogs anonymously. He had to bribe me (with a plate of fish and chips) not to reveal his identity.  He took me to the Arts and Crafts village in Abuja and but for thoughts of my monthly travel card which I’m yet to buy, I’d have bought out the entire village. If you’re a fan of wooden and bronze sculptures and leather artefacts, you’ll love it. Their prices are geared at foreigners though so you have to haggle like crazy to get anything resembling a bargain. Thanks to my excellent display of self control, all I bought was an Ayo chest. Ayo for those in the dark, is a native Yoruba game…I think.  JD promised to find me a Ludo board as well. I’m looking forward to giving my grandma, our family Ludo champion, a good beating when it arrives. Someone needs to take her down a peg or two.

 

We all went to mass this morning and I tell you, some things never change. My mother got the entire household up three hours before mass was to start. After threatening showers of fire and brimstone on anyone who wasn’t ready on time, she was the last to shower, get dressed and the reason we were late. When she finally emerged from her room, it was with a frown on her face and stinging words for anyone she found sitting and waiting patiently in the living room.

“What are you sitting there for? Can’t you see the time?!”

Yes we can mother but can YOU?!

I love my mother I tell you, the woman is a character.  Henceforth she will be referred to as ‘The General’ on this blog.

Ladies and gentlemen, my stomach is currently doing back flips; I feel sick as a dog. I’m off to find ways to quieten the beast…if you know what I mean.

Happy New year again and may the grace and peace of God be with you today and always.

 

xxx

Waila