Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Spittle on ice
The rattle of snakes in freezing water.
The scalding burn of fury.
The cold tears of a broken heart.
The unfortunate loss.
Loyalty is scorned.
Loyalty is valueless.
Loyalty is a waste.
Loyalty achieves nothing.
Love conquers joy.
Love causing pain.
Love, the curse.
Love changing nothing for better.
Patience, un appreciated.
Hate, wishful thinking.
The bashing of water droplets.
The careful slicing through of wind.
The happy flies flee.
The scampering away of blood lust.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
|taking a pose at work.|
Hello beautiful people! How has life been? The usual ups and downs i guess? Don't worry, it's one of those things and like one of my favourite quotes from high school goes, "This too shall pass away". Indeed, nothing lasts forever, everything has a timeline. No matter how sad or sorrowful your life might feel right now, just know the time for joy and laughter must come so hold on to that expectation.
I would continue to thrill you with my short stories, poems etc and "The bitter drink" series continues on tomorrow. I greatly appreciate your patience and dedication to this blog and as always, your comments and emails keep me lifted.
|last night's dinner sauce|
HEAPED SPILLING OVER GRATITUDE TO YOU ALL.
I am sitting on my writing desk at home. There is really nothing to write about. The muses have been pretty elusive these days. At such times as this when I seem to be in a rot, I close my eyes and day dream. I do not day dream about fluffy clouds or the scents of roses or satin sashes. No. I dream about practical things. Like how delightful it would be if the Abuja transportation was a little more efficient and less elitist. I dream about how fulfilling it would be if the suspicious glass ceiling hanging over the heads of Nigerians would magically disappear. And politics would be about issues and not about the scramble for a fast dwindling national cake. Sometimes, in this state of practical dreaminess, I remember the words of Edgar Alan Poe that, “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Our dreams and reality are not so different after all. Or to put it in another way, our dreams become our reality.
I decided to set myself to task mercilessly on a quest of sorts. A Don Quixote quest to discover the Nigerian dream. To discover what the Nigerian dream is (or if we had any for that matter), I made a mental resolve to be pragmatic. To be pragmatic, I had to lay down a sort of basis. The Nigerian dream must not be personal like a particular young man who told me that his dream entailed a steaming bowl of pounded yam and a soup generously filled with meat. Another basis is that the dream has to be legal. Someone did tell me that his Nigerian dream was connected to a yahoo letter. This is obviously criminal. The Nigerian dream has to be all encompassing like the American dream. Something abstract yet reachable.
This is another basis worth mentioning. Just like proven theories are ‘replicatable’, one should not be in doubt when he/she has reached that ‘oasis’ that is the Nigerian dream. We must be able to tell that Mr. so, so and so is living the Nigerian dream. I am told that the American dream is based on freedom, the right of her people to strive and work for a better life and an opportunity to be successful and prosperous.
If this is true about the American dream, the Nigerian dream must be about the people. It must be that single thread that links the aspirations of everyone. Seeing how Americans fight for their dream it is pertinent that the one we dream up for ourselves be worth fighting and dying for. So in my Don Quixotic quest, and after carefully weeding out dreams concerning steaming plates of food and other illegal stuff, I have come up with a wish list worth considering.
· A wish that Nigeria conquers poverty, unemployment.
· A wish to end insecurity, looming social vices.
· A wish for an improved power sector
· A wish to be able to finance comfortable standard of living for families
· A wish to leave the shores of Nigeria for greener pastures(technically this wish wouldn’t be necessary if the country provided better opportunities)
· A wish for improved education and health.
· And so on.
In a Nigeria where people have had their guts virtually ripped out as a result of the sad/harrowing sights and experiences they have been exposed to, the wishes above are in order. But the quest for our Nigerian dream is not over yet. We could put all these wishes together and say that the Nigerian dream would be – a country of opportunities where everyone is free to strive, succeed and prosper anywhere they choose to within the country. I had hoped not to play comparison in this post but I realized along the way that it is nearly impossible to explain the intricacies of one concept without citing the other. So I refer to the American dream once again. Though this dream is mostly inferred, there have been countless cases where it was expressed (in language of course). So we must find a way to express ours in a language indigenous to us. The language issue would have been a complex matter considering the myriad of languages available in Nigeria. But this problem was solved by an itinerant musician whom I still remember singing, ‘monkey dey work oo baboon dey chop…”. If I were to be asked what the Nigerian dream ought to be, I would express it as follows:
“In dis country wey we dey, let monkey work, let monkey chop”
Now this is just mine. The search is still on. What is yours?
After my post about Nigeria on Monday, i stumbled upon a brilliant expression of the line of thought that inspired my lash out. This facebook update by a fantastical writer friend of mine caught my eye, leaving me the only option of sharing it's wonder in my world. Read the post below:
"I wonder. Is there really a limit to the vituperations a man can heap on his government? Can people for example say that if a northerner or southerner is not installed in 2015 then “Nigeria will burn” and go scot free? Isn’t this within their rights to predict? To engage in this socio scientific exercise of predicting the future? Where does one draw the line between a predictive statement and an inciting one- an innocent one and a treasonable one? Am I not perfectly within my rights to say what I feel without fear? Whether they are divinely inspired or propelled by sheer greed? I think a presidential candidate once spoke metaphorically about blood and baboons after he lost an election. Blood actually did flow and when you consider it, it still flows till date. After his prediction, many more politicians have been bitten by the violent prediction bug. Politics in Nigeria has thus been reduced to an ethnic balancing act where the threat of blood always lurks in the shadows.
There should not be a limit to the insult I can sling on any one I like within the confines of my room. This is my right as long as my verbal rampage does not disturb my neigbours. I can poke fun at politicians, at their bulging stomachs, at their uncouth wives, at their unseasoned programs. I can criticize the policies of government and ask that people force them to be accountable. I can mobilize people to decry corrupt politicians or ask them to resign. And the literary disagreement between me and any writer can break into blatant name calling. This is shameful, but something that is within our rights to do. I guess.
But I cannot tell youths that in 2015 we might need to take matters in our own hands if our tribal man is rigged out. Especially when taking matters in our hands entail blood and the loss of lives. I cannot threaten to kill as many Nigerians as I can if a particular candidate decides to run or not. Isn’t it akin to threatening to kill all your neighbours because your wife wouldn’t shave her pubic hair? Perhaps the analogy is a bit off but the maniacal impetus is still the same.
My conclusion. I believe that we are not as politically naive as our political class believe. There are democratic ways of changing bad leadership and none of them entail the gutting of ordinary people. Megalomaniac politicians may ask us to paint the streets with blood. Still, we are within our rights to look them in the eye and say “No. Not this time. Not again!” "
My last words are, 2015 elections will birth the real Nigeria.
Monday, January 27, 2014
In kind terms, Nigerian politics can be likened to a gimmick by Muppets on a spinning stage of ever unfolding drama. Suffice it to say that this disheartening “show-off” has gone ahead to ridicule Nigeria’s intellectual capacity, and reduced us to a level where we now pass-off as a nation swamped by incompetent nitwits.
While thinking this article, I had hoped to avoid insults of any sort until I was hit with the realization that it is impossible to honestly analyze Nigeria’s “Political Industry” without letting out a few harsh words. From Political Party Hoppers and their swaying allegiances to the rhythm of their collective selfish interests, to the exchange of open letters, the heaping of threats, sacks and resignations; Nigeria has become a drama yet to unfold. The ghost-policy of “No permanent friend, only permanent interests” has spawned a scandalous storm, grooming a nation set on a foundation of anarchy.
53+ years later, the country is still sore from the wounds of broken promises which although yet to heal, continue to experience peeling and bruising by its political successors. This political ritual of un-kept promises has not only stuck its knife of betrayal deep in the heart of Nigerians but has also left citizens traumatized and abrasive to the word “trust” whenever it sits side by side with politics.
It is no alien knowledge that the Nigerian government is a poor representation of the true nature of the country’s political ability. Hence, the words of Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for god men to do nothing” are played out to full measure.
With the latest release of the February 2015 election timetable, the brewing controversies on the side lines; one can only hope beyond realistic evidence that the coming elections will not be business as usual. Our expectations that the elections will exhibit a significant improvement from where 2011’s left off is a goal that we must fight vehemently to see achieved.
We, Nigerians, must not fold our arms this time and allow our brutal history to repeat itself. We must set the pace now for the better future we hope to hand down to our children. Astute, civilized, tactical and impacting measure should therefore be adopted from this day for the realization of this aspiration. I must play my role, will you?
Friday, January 17, 2014
By the time Ekene opened her eyes, she knew she had no secrets left. Her vision was still blurry and eye bags had deposited below her lower eye lid on each eye. She blinked continuously as if the blinking would scratch the scales that blurred her vision out of her eyes and though it did help clear her vision up a little, it didn’t solve it completely. “This sucks!” she said to herself biting her teeth under her breath. She had been admitted in one of the hospital’s private wards and having just herself to contend with at the moment was exactly what she wanted.
Beatrice walked into the ward, bearing a basket that contained a food flask and a big bottle of water. She set the basket down on the table beside Ekene’s bed and sat on the bed, close to her feet. As soon as Beatrice’s buttocks touched the bed, Ekene pulled her legs away immediately and readjusted the rest of her body to give Beatrice some good distance on the small bed. Fortunately, no amount of hatred could make Ekene resist Beatrice’s cooking at that time as the hunger in her system had overtaken her entire being.
Thirty scoops of rice later, Ekene’s blurry vision had cleared up perfectly and she had gathered enough energy to speak. She set the flask aside in the basket, gulped some water directly from the big bottle of water and heaved a sigh of relief as she put the bottle back in the same basket. “I’m moving out” Ekene said, staring daringly at Beatrice. “I’m sure you already know that I have cancer. Or don’t you?” She said again with a rude stare. “The doctor only said that you have a tumor, he never said anything about cancer” Beatrice replied in a cool voice. Ekene’s hate-drama had come to the point where it bored her to non-challance. “He also said that you have refused to show up for the continuation of the diagnosis. I’m not surprised by your actions in any way. You hate me so much that you destroy yourself for it.” Beatrice continued as she stood up to leave and then she said, “You’re sick, Ekene and you think living alone right now is a wise descision?”. “I won’t be living alone” Ekene replied, “I’m going back to Abuja to be with my parents”.
Ekene’s words hit Beatrice like the slap of an agbero. “You wicked ingrate” Beatrice retorted, face swollen and throbbing from anger, “After all that I’ve done for you! After everything you dare to call them your parents! I’ve dedicated my life to trying to win your love but because of those bloody thieves you hate me so much no matter how I try!”. Ekene sat in her bed overtaken by fear. She had never seen Beatrice that angry in all the years she had lived with her. “This cancer or tumour or whatever it is, is your curse! It would eat you to death, you wicked curse of a child” Beatrice concluded and stormed out of Ekene’s ward weeping.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Most people would agree with me that relationship matters are more complicated in this generation than they've ever been. I recently read a story about a lady who dated her brother's best friend for a while but the relationship unfortunately ended on a sour note because he cheated. The lady however now holds a grudge against her brother for staying friends with this ex who broke her heart not withstanding the fact that they had been best friends long before the lady ever dated the guy.
The really sad part as far as I am concerned is the fact that the lady holds this grudge very strongly against her brother that she even no longer speaks to him. In my opinion I believe the lady is wrong and is taking things too far. I'm not in anyway commending her ex boyfriend's philandering ways or supporting her brother's choice to stay friends with this friend of his but I believe she ought to accord her brother his rights to choose his friends, no matter who they are. This is especially because her brother respected her choice to date the guy in their own time.
I understand the lady's pain anyway because I would honestly feel betrayed by my brother if I were in her shoes but if she has expressed her displeasure to her brother, she shouldn't force him to accept it. I'm pretty sure that many of us have a friend or friends who have cheated in their relationships at one time or another so her brother isn't exactly an alien. Like the saying goes, "blood is thicker than water" so family matters a lot and i don't believe the issue is big enough to cost her relationship with her brother. She shouldn't give this ex the pleasure of slaying her twice.
In other news, Courageous fingers is open to submissions from you my beloved readers. If there is any article, story, poem or any form of write up you'd love to share, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to reading lots of emails from you. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!!!
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Every company, office, corporation, business outfit and the like operates with a certain level of organizational structure. The level of organizational structure usually differs depending on the size of the business and the size of its operations. While some companies/businesses employ a high level/complex structure, others employ simpler structures.
I know you might be wondering my point with this my “organisational structure” gist. Well, following the work experience I’m enjoying with my Place of Primary Assignment, I decided to share tit bits of this experience with you.
My job at PENCOM requires to me work as a Front Desk Officer on certain days. A Front Desk Officer/Receptionist serves as the face of the organisation in many cases. They are the official first point of contact for visitors and whatever impression, information or vibe they give off to visitors/customers is what some would take home as what your organization represents. Many people take receptionists for granted and belittle their operations and this is very wrong as it only turns around to affect your business negatively.
It is important for organizations to train their Front Desk Officers/Receptionists on how to provide proper Customer Care Services, Human relations as well as Ethical behaviour. This training equip the FDO with adequate tools with which they can carry their duties out professionally. Asides this training, I’d like to use this forum to reach out to FDOs/Receptionists and give them a few pointers on how they can be better at their job.
1. COME TO WORK HAPPY: As funny as this may sound, it’s just the truth. Many Nigerians are in the habit of acting cranky or rude to people at their work place. Some may blame it on the bad day they started having from home or their way to work, ill health and a host of other excuses. This however, is a TABOO for a FDO/Receptionist but doesn’t mean anyone should act in that manner at all.
2. LEARN PATIENCE AND TOLERANCE: If you’re not a patient person or you have given up on your ability to ever learn patience, please do yourself a favour and reject the FDO job you get. FOD need to be patient enough to handle the concerns of their customers properly, even at the point when the customer begins to heave insults on them. People have the tendency to be very difficult to handle but your ability to be patient and tolerant would help you perform your duties adequately.
3. BE FRIENDLY AND RESPECTFUL: Most times, your customers just need you to allay their fears and your warm attitude towards them might just be all you need to change their mood for the better.
4. DRESS NICELY, SMILE WARMLY: Imagine walking into an office to meet a shabbily dressed FDO wearing a long face? Oh well, I don’t think I should say much on this point after that imagination.
5. BE ATTENTIVE.
6. BE WILLING TO LEARN.
7. BE READY TO TAKE CORRECTION.
With these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to educate you. Lol. Now go yee into the world and win the hearts of your customers, workmates and superiors alike. *WINKS*
Friday, January 10, 2014
Beatrice’s patience had finally run out. Her daughter had refused to say anything to her, not even a single angry word or insult in almost two weeks. Ekene on the other hand had been hatching a plan of her own and still refused to break the news of the doctors’ diagnosis to her mother. The doctors had still not confirmed if the tumour in Ekene’s brain was cancerous or not as she had refused to go back to the hospital. “What you don’t know can’t kill you” she concluded on the night after the CT scan results came back. “I’ll just organize my life and live like I’m about to die. I won’t spend the little time I have hanging on to flimsy hope. “
Ekene decided that she had more important things to focus on and set out to start achieving them immediately. She had already begun negotiations with a few property agents. The first agenda on her bucket list was to finally get a place of her own and move out of her mother’s house once and for all. While Ekene went about pursuing her business, Beatrice stayed enveloped by her own worries. She was considering confronting her daughter about what was going on with her that kept her more distant. “She’s still my daughter no matter what and it’s better we fight all the time than for her to totally ignore me and not say a word to me”. Beatrice is a strong resilient woman who never gave up hope that her daughter would love her. There would be no backing down for her as long as she is alive.
Two weeks had passed and Ekene’s house hunt still proved fruitless. She had been unsuccessful at finding an apartment that met up with what she had in mind as they always came with on comma or the other. Ekene had slowly begun to grow impatient, although she kept her desperation in check. After work and a short house tour, Ekene headed home. A wicked headache was bashing her head again but she was getting used to the pain and had learnt to ignore it. Beatrice was at home by the time Ekene got home and opened the door for her as soon as the bell rang. She stepped aside to give Ekene room to walk in then closed the door after her. Ekene went straight into her room without breathing the fainted word to Beatrice but Beatrice didn’t let it worry her too much. She glanced at the house clock as she sat back on the sofa. She wasn’t going to bombard Ekene right after she came back, she would give her some time to settle down before going in to talk with her.
30 minutes later, Beatrice decided it was ok for her to go check up on her daughter. She walked in to find Ekene’s door open while Ekene herself lay in bed whining in pain, saying “Oh God, my head... Oh God, my head... Oh God my head” repeatedly. Beatrice ran into the room and held Ekene in her hand asking her what was wrong. The pain was so excruciating that Ekene didn’t have the time to notice that she was in the embrace of her arc enemy. Shortly after Beatrice held Ekene in her hand, Ekene passed out. Thrown into panic, Beatrice dumped Ekene on the bed and ran out of the room...
...TO BE CONTINUED...
...TO BE CONTINUED...
Friday, January 3, 2014
Who would have known it was ever possible to hate a person’s mother the way Ekene did? Don’t get me wrong o, her mother was not irresponsible, wicked or in any way worth the hatred yet Ekene hated her all the same. Ekene’s father on the other hand had been absent from her life so she didn’t get the chance to love or hate him. At 25, she had become pretty independent but for some reason best known to her, she chose to keep living with her mother even when she could afford her own place.
Two years ago, Ekene begun to experience sudden bolts of excruciating headaches. They would hit hard suddenly and the pain stayed on for a while. Sometimes the headaches ran consistently for three to four days giving her only a couple of hours as a breather. After a month of the same complaints and haven treated for malaria and typhoid, the doctors advised Ekene that a CT scan was the next option so that they could take a look at her brain for what might be causing the constant headaches. Ekene never let her mum accompany her on any of her appointments with the doctors. She had grown so deep in the hatred for her mother that she rubbed it in any way she could
Beatrice, Ekene’s mother, drowned in her sorrows. The only child she ever bore hated her bitterly for no reason. Her worries aged her faster but the death she craved stayed far away. She knew it was a grievous sin to commit suicide so her strong religious beliefs wouldn’t let her consider it. For longer than she could remember, she had prayed to God to give her daughter a change of heart and was beginning to lose hope that her prayers would ever be answered.
The CT scan results came back, a malignant tumor was growing in Ekene’s head. The day the news was broken to her, her world froze for one second then spun violently for another. The doctors explained that they had to operate on her so they could take a sample of the tumor for biopsy. Only after the biopsy could they know for sure the kind of tumor they were dealing with. Ekene’s mind had already wandered away from the point when it was announced to her that she has a tumor. The doctor’s words fell like vapour on her face. She could see his mouth move but heard no word he said. Life as she knew it was about to crumble and she didn’t have adequate funds to sustain cancer treatment, if it indeed turned out to be cancer. Who was she kidding? Only a cancerous tumor could grow in the manner that hers did. The doctor tried to convince her not to lose hope.
Ekene kept the news from her mother. The fear of impending death would still not loosen up her hatred for Beatrice. That night, neither of them had a good night sleep. Beatrice’s gut told her something was wrong but she knew better than to ask her daughter about it so she stayed back and let it beat her up. Ekene on the other hand lay still on her bed and stared at the ceiling for hours. Her mind swam with different thoughts. That night was the worst night Ekene had ever had but with what awaited her future, this night would be crossed off her list soon enough.
...TO BE CONTINUED...