Virus gone Viral

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It’s gone viral like a virus. Spread like a wild fire. Most people have seen it, many people have commented. It is one of the before and after make-up pictures. I assume that the reason it was put up is to emphasize the skill of the make-up artist and very likely use the social media to promote the business of the artist. In most cases the client is a willing ally.

For some twisted reason or reasoning, everyone seems  to want their piece heard regarding this picture. Worse, I have yet to read a helpful or complimentary piece. “ The make-up artist should be arrested for fraud” ,” Women are so deceitful “, “she is so ugly” etc

How quick we are to forget that it is actually a person in that picture. I speak for her. She’s me. Chances are, she has a name. She’s the woman who has all her life struggled with a case of acute acne cause by an underlying medical condition. She’s the teenage girl with self-esteem issues who thinks that all people see are her pimples. She’s the battered wife whose scars have not faded. She’s the girl next door who had a life threatening allergic reaction; she’s your everyday imperfect girl taking a shot at perfection and hoping to keep that shot forever.

When did we become so mean that we could have a good laugh at someone’s expense. Actually it’s a bad laugh when it’s at someone’s expense. It used to be an abomination when we were children to poke fun at people’s physical condition. How many times did we get a good smacking for attempting to walk with a limp, or closing an eye and pretending to be a beggar with a stick in one hand and a bowl in another.

I guess with all that upbringing we have grown into adults  who do not care. So long as our sly remarks go viral and get a lot of likes and comments; even if like a virus they start a vicious cycle of unhealthy patterns.

Many of the remarks are not actually made with an intention to hurt but that doesn’t mean they hurt any less. Some people are strong and brush them off and move on. Some others are not as strong and are gradually driven into depression.

I find it laughable when people say Africans especially Nigerians are not suicidal. That is not true. We are just not sensational about it. Because people do not go to the top of a 10 storey building to announce their intention to commit suicide does not mean they do not quietly take a poisious drug and die.
I’m sure you are hoping this is a far-fetched worst case scenario. I hope so too. But then again i think to myself even if all the harm that comes to my sister as a result of my comments is a battered self-esteem I’d rather be quiet.

*Selah*

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Kid Tycoon [Part 1]

Sisi Nene sold many things back then. Her store was filled to the brim. She always had to put some racks in front of the shop to create space to reach the other items. Of all the things in her shop, the one that was of the most interest to me and the boys was the bar magnet.
I worked really hard in those days to find my money. Literally! I started out by buying a moderately sized magnet from Sisi Nene. She had asked me several times what I wanted to do with it but I kept mute. The answer to the question was a trade secret. A few street from her shop was the local primary school. I always waited till the close of work to begin my business. I took off my shoes and tied nylon bags to my legs. With a rope securely tied to the magnet, I descended into the gutter with it. I walked the length and breadth of the gutter pulling the magnet with me. It was a very light pull, as I needed to be aware as soon as the bait had caught its fish. Countless times like a fisherman, I had to toss nails, rust keys, and some broken bolts back into the water. This eventually turned out to be counter-productive. But I did not care. I did not care about the stench of the water or if my class mates had just urinated there. I had my mind on the money and the money on my mind.
Once I felt a click and pulled up the rope and there it was. The bronze colored metal that represented a reward for my hard labor. My mind started racing on what I could but with the twenty-five kobo coin. I really craved for Baba Dudu. Although my Mum had banned my from that but she did not have to know. But on second thoughts I had more important needs. I needed an “egg”. I had nothing to play table tennis with and Chike’s shakara was becoming too much. I wanted to have my own. But the problem was that that was fifty kobo. I needed to find at least one more twenty five kobo coin.
I got out of the gutter really pensive. I could just forget about the “egg” and get Baba Dudu and Sisi Pelebe, top it with Iced Water and enjoy myself. As I strolled on past the school gate, I decided to damn the consequences of being caught and go into the other side of the gutter for another round of fishing. I decided to put the twenty five kobo coin in my pocket before I began the second leg of fishing. As I put it my pocket, I heard a click on the floor and looked down in time to see my treasure drop to the ground and roll into the gutter. Now I had no other choice than to jump into the gutter. I was fighting for a lot. It would have been better if I did not make any money from today’s business. I moved my magnet in a crazy frenzy and the stupid thing kept picking up nails. Out of frustration, I kept the magnet on the side of the gutter and started to use my hands. After about five, very long minutes of using my hand I was sure I felt a coin. I started to remove the black sand and to my sweetest surprise it was indeed a coin. Not the Twenty-Five Kobo coin but a Fifty Kobo coin. I was ecstatic. But I had learned my lesson the hard way. The very hard way. I wiped the coin clean on my shorts and held it between my teeth before I continued looking for the twenty five kobo coin I first lost. I did not want any issues with leaking pockets.
While I was busy minding my business, Chike strolled out of the school gate and saw me in the gutter. He asked me what I was doing there. I quickly pushed the coin to the side of my cheek and answered that I lost my keys. I did not respond when he persisted by asking where the keys unlocked. That was my business, he should mind his. Soon after he left with his bad luck, I found my twenty five kobo. It was a good day at the office after all.
I jumped out of my office and removed the nylon bags from my feet and started towards home joyfully. Toke looked at me cynically and said” You smell like the gutter”. “Shut your dirty mouth”, I said. If I had known that mother was within the ear shot, I would have given her a nice signal to be quiet. She looked out of the window and asked me to come in. As she turned back to whatever it was she was doing I quickly buried the coins in the flower pot and went to meet her. The first comment she made was about how I smelled like a dog from the dung hill. I explained that Chike had lost his keys and his friends including myself had volunteered to help him search everywhere for it, especially including the gutter.
“Hmmn” she said. “That’s very interesting as Chike was here to report that you lost your keys.” I was at a loss of what to say and muttered that he was trying to cover up for himself. If mother knew I was lying, she did not show it. She just nodded and pointed towards the bathroom. I understood that meant two things ; one, I would be punished on another day and two, I would get to keep my treasure. Today, I live to fight another day.

Expensive Shit

I listened from my room as they argued about how to divide the bill amongst all the occupants of the building. I knew no one would ask me for any money until they had finished their deliberations. I could already guess who their emissary would be. It would very likely be Data, the yellow girl. She was stand-offish and always prepared to pick a fight or bully her way through any situation when the occasion called for it. I wonder what gave them the impression that I could be bullied.

Later that evening, a few seconds after I got back from my friend’s hostel, I heard a knock on my room door. Whoever it was must have watched me come in.  Data let herself in with a small piece of paper in hand. She informed me without much ado that the septic tank a.k.a soak away was full and needed evacuation. I listened to her in silence as she went on to explain that they had gotten quotes from different shit packers and opted for the cheapest. After dividing the bill by the number of rooms within the building what came to my room was three thousand five hundred naira. She asked when to come for the money so as not to delay the evacuation. I just burst out laughing.

Honestly, I did not mean to be rude, but I just wondered why shitting had to be so expensive for an undergraduate like me. I came from a back ground of shot-putting in my secondary school, so shit never cost us anything more than the used black nylon bags. Maybe a few curses sha. On one occasion in my secondary school, some old man barged angrily into the house mistress’ apartment smelling like the toilets we had all refused to use.

He was so visibly upset that he cursed anyone who dared greet him. He cursed our fathers, our mothers our unborn children. He cursed with Soppana(the god of small pox), with Ayelala and worst of all with shit. He proclaimed that the person who was responsible for throwing the shit on him will run mad and end up eating shit. We all took cover. The house mistress pleaded helplessly with him. He wanted her to produce the culprit but that was a tall order. As they spoke, some other girls were doing their thing. So we were all culpable. She pleaded with him to forgive, saying we were all his children. He would have none of that, he took it literally and replied that he knew exactly how many children he had. He did not have disrespectful and wicked children lke the ones in our school.  I think at some point he must have realized that he was not going to his hands the culprit, because he cursed some more and left.

On another occasion shit was again to cost us, but again not cash. Red house girls were awoken by the bell to an all familiar smell. One or two people had started to curse again. They thought someone passed air. This one was not air. It was a completely different state of matter. It was semi-solid, very light brown for most part, but had a burnt black edge. Whoever did this very likely did not even clean up her butts as there was no evidence of that. She just did her thing and went back to sleep. As it was still early, one of us suggested that the only way to catch the “shiter” was to check everyone’s panties. That was quickly brushed aside as been ridiculous. So everyone else rained all sorts of curses on the culprit just to prove her innocence.

In the midst of all the wahala, someone had gone to report to the House Mistress. Bad move. Very bad move. Like she was waiting for us to upset her, she came into the hostel immediately. She said she had always known that many of us were ogbanje and that it was absolutely impossible for us to kill her. We should go and kill our mothers at home, first. Then she commanded all of us to kneel round the shit as if to worship the evil stuff. That was the most humiliating, sad, depressing, confusing and irritating punishment I have ever served. The longest thirty five minutes of my life. Now I really wanted to curse the “shiter” but I could not risk opening my mouth right in front of the shit.

I also remembered another set of people whose shit cost them curses. There was this nicely built house in my friend’s neighborhood. It was a block of four flats painted pink and grey whose occupants where all professionals who left the house daily dressed in suits. They were fairly easy-going people who if not for the plumbing situation of their house would not have done anything to deserve the curses they got from their neighbors. Their house had no “soak-away”  so whenever they did their business and flushed, everything spilled in the street. Sometimes a rough driver splashed the liquefied  sewage on passersby who would end up cursing both the “shiter(s)” and the driver.

Data was visibly upset. She probably thought I was laughing at her. That was not completely true. It was just ironical that shit could cost that much when it was freely given by God. She brought the matter that drove me down the memory lane. Her angry face brought my mind back to the matter at hand.  I told her that I was not going to pay that amount just for doing what came naturally.I didn’t want anyone to accuse me of being unreasonable so I went on to explain my reasons to her.

 First, I did not really do my major business here. In fact, I tried to do it every where else but here. I shared the flat with some very interesting ladies who made up their minds not to use more than one scoop to flush the toilet which had no working water closet. The size of the deposit which they left there was not enough to persuade them to change their minds as they were too lazy to go to the well outside to get enough water. They would simply baptize their deposits by sprinkling and turn their backs.

It was usually nightmarish for me to rush home pressed to do my business and then find an unsolicited gift waiting there for me. So no matter how hard pressed I was, I would run to my friend’s hostel where I was sure to be able to do my business immediately without first undertaking my usual “ onyenebu nshi” duties.

Another issue was the ratio of sharing. Even if I was inclined to pay for shit that I did not shit, I sure was not going to do it on that bill. The cost was distributed per room and I felt severely cheated. I was the only occupant of my room so I was sentenced to pay three-five while the girls in next room, the baptizing ministers would have to five hundred each, since five people slept there. NO WAY! They should go and redistribute the money per head. And then I might consider paying.  But as things stood, no way.

Fast forward, three years later. NYSC camp. I was one of the many girls who had their baths and did their business outdoors and “jejely” flung the stuff in the bush over the fence. It was our own way of preserving the earth. It served directly as manure.  I just was not shameless enough to do it in broad daylight. But, I could not think of any good reason to risk my life in the disease infested “rest rooms”. Every day of the first week on the parade ground, they preached and preached on how it was unbecoming for any well brought up lady to have her bath or make her deposits outdoors. I could not care less. I thought to myself “so the guys were not well brought up abi?”

And then one day, I was going to the parade ground, late as usual and I saw all the girls coming back towards the hostel picking up pieces of dirt along the way. I knew it could not be good so I changed course and went to the clinic to complain about an ailment I remembered only then. While one of the male doctors saw through my strategy and was sarcastic, his female colleagues, bless their hearts, were sympathetic.

I was later to learn that the ladies were being punished because one of the soldiers who drilled corps members had been stoned with shit. He knew it was a girl who threw it at him but he could not identify her because it was late at night. There were as many versions of the story as they were bunks in the Girls’ Hostel which is to be expected as 80% of stuff announced on the parade ground went unheard. One version was that while the girl was doing her thing under the cover of darkness, she saw a male figure coming towards her. She shouted at him to go back but he kept advancing.  In self defense she threw her stuff, to blind him temporarily while she made her escape from someone who might as well as have had violent intentions.

Another version was that the shot-put of the girls landed on the Commandant’s car car and broke his windscreen. He knew it must have been female corps members who did it because the stuff landed when he was packed on the outer side of the camp fence which was cloest to the girls hostel. Funny thing was that it was impossible to know all the details that were spread i’m these versions if you are not the perpetrator. I wonder how those stories spread so quickly yet the perpetrator was not caught.

 

*Please forgive the writer if the word “shit” offends you in any way. it is not intended by to be vulgar. The writer just finds other alternatives inadequate to convey the same meaning as is represented by the word in Nigerian pidgin.

Amaka and Emeka were twins. They were always fighting and were only united when either of them was under attack. They were also united in their hatred for their father’s koboko. Rarely had he ever had to flog one without the other. More times than not, they were “Im pari delicto. On a few other occasions he was milder on Amaka just as their mother was milder on Emeka.

It was a Saturday and NEPA had “taken the light” as usual. They had wondered where Nepa usually took the light to and come to the conclusion that they took them and served other neighborhoods. “If I was a Nepa man” said Emeka, “I will just leave the light on our street and not go to trouble of taking it anywhere else. “

Amaka left her brother and went to the bathroom to wash her school uniform in preparation for the coming week. She fetched the water she used from the water at the left corner of the bathroom.  As she tried to fetch water with the scoop she mistakenly dropped her bar of soap in the drum. She tried in vain to fetch it as quickly as she could. It went straight to the bottom of the drum. The only way she could get it now was to enter the drum; her hand was not long enough to reach it.

She promptly put the first leg in the drum and then the second. Next, she held her breadth as she put her head down and picked the soap. As soon as she got it, she stood upright in the drum and was about to get out. It was at that point Emeka came in. As soon as he saw her, he wanted to join the fun. He waited for her to get out of the drum and then jumped in. Though the drum was too tight for him to move about freely, he still waved his limbs for as much as the space in there would allow him, pretending to be swimming.

Amaka tried in vain to get him out of the drum so she could have her turn again. He had shown that what happened by accident could be turned into a pleasurable recreation. He told her he could stay submerged for one minute and she retorted that he was only boasting and told him to go “under” while she counted up to 60. She was at 27 when the footsteps behind her forced her to look back. To her horror she saw their father and she just froze. When he didn’t hear her count Emeka raised his head from “under” to stare straight in his father’s expressionless face. He seemed like he could not be bothered. He just walked to his room.

However, the twins knew better. They scampered out of the bathroom and at the speed of light were changed into dry clothes and went to “read” their books in the sitting room. As they sat there, head buried in their books, each person tried to gauge how much trouble they were in. they didn’t have to wonder for too long.  He appeared with his “koboko” and delivered judgement from head to toe on the twins. And without a word, he disappeared again to his room. Only to emerge an hour later with his reading glasses on, newspaper in hand this time around, they didn’t need to imagine what was to come. They already knew- a lot of scolding.

 

 

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Erum and her brothers had fallen into the habit of doing their homework on the way to school. Their school was just on the same street as their home so it was an easy stroll. Their parents did not know that what usually took the average person five minutes took them at least twenty-five minutes every morning.

They had their corner, mid-way between their house and the school. They usually sat on the flower bed in front of the big yellow storey building, known as Baba Fire’s house. The house was christened as such because the old man who lived there retired from the Federal Fire Service. In his heydays, the man would have given them a good lashing just for messing with with his flowers. Now, Baba Fire was an old Pa. The neighbours rarely saw him, but were reassured that he lived there because every morning when he said his prayers he still used his bell to make what was music to him but noise to his neighbours.

Unknown to Baba Fire, his front lawn had become their school annex. They sat there just the same way they would have sat in their classroom. It made no difference to them. They spread out their textbooks and workbooks and did their homework before continuing their walk to school. For some strange reason, what started as a means to avoid getting punished had become fun. They had gotten used to strange stares from adults passing by and couldn’t even be bothered. The only adults they cared about were their parents and apparently their teachers, who thankfully would never find out.

On this fateful day, after school, they were home with their parents when there was a knock on the door. Dad asked Erum to get it, which she did. The woman she saw through the peep hole looked familiar but she couldn’t quite place the face. She told her parents she didn’t know who was there and then Mommy came to get it herself. From the way they exchanged greetings, it was apparent they were at least moderately acquainted.

Erum heard only some of what was said but that was enough to let her know she was in big big trouble. She sneaked out the house through the back door, pretending she was going to fetch the clothes that were hung to dry. This time she was the one trying to avoid being hung out to dry. She took a long stroll. On the long stretch of road ahead of her, she had ample room to wonder when the woman saw them, how she knew who their mother was or where they lived, how the matter did concern her. She cursed the woman beneath her breadth. Certainly, her mother would kill her today. In her mind, she was escaping for her life.

When she got to Grandma’s house, three streets away, she told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Grandma scolded her mildly and asked if she wanted a drink. She didn’t want anything but to move in with Grandma. This was of paramount importance. She told Grandma so and watched as she called her parents and told them “Erum is here with me. I want her to help out with a few chores so she may be here until tomorrow”. It was Friday evening.

Erum hoped Grandma’s call would make her problems go away but she was so wrong. Her Mom called about two hours later to say her home tutor was around. She had to go home and Grandma did not go with her. She was too tired for the walk.  When Erum got home, Mommy got the door and surprisingly she didn’t even say a word. She just let her in to meet the home tutor. She was so glad. On her way to get her books foe the lessons, she made a quick detour. She plucked out three lashes from her right eye and a few strands from her head and rolled them in one small ball and quickly left them in her Mom’s right slipper. Then, she said a prayer under her breadth for her Mom to wear the slippers anytime before her lessons were over. If her Mom did, she would totally forget about the offence.

 

Dinner was served shortly after Mr. Ajayi left. Erum sat at her usual place on the four seat dinning set, opposite her brother who eyed her with anger. He was asleep when she came in from Grandma’s and from the look of things he had gotten the beating of his life. She hoped she would be lucky. She looked under the dining table at Mommy’s feet and found her wearing the slippers. She heaved a sigh of relief inside her and thanked her stars. After the grace was said, dinner went on uneventfully and they retired for the day.

 

The evening was cool as Erum and her friends played jump rope. When it was her turn she felt the ropes tangle and reached to untangle them. It seemed rather difficult as she struggled with it. When she looked down with eyes wide open, she saw her mother standing over her with a rope. She had been tied to her bed and her Mom was standing over her with two canes held together. “Ha!”. She said out loud as wondered at how apt her dream was. Her thoughts were disrupted by the prompt delivery of strokes across her legs.  Technically, one blow landed two strokes as her mother administered the two canes which she had joined in “holy matrimony”.

The severity of the beating gave her the energy to break free from the ropes and run behind the curtain which was the closest refuge. She pleaded with shouts of “Mommy please” but all her please fell on deaf ears. Now with rest of her body hidden behind the curtain, her mother had no other choice but to either aim blindly or settle for the legs. She chose the latter.

 

In a Child’s Head!! (Part 1)

The pain in her arms was driving her crazy. Now she was wondering what it was that possessed her to step out to play that day. The pleasure and excitement from being out with her friends paled in the wake of this suffering. To make matters worse, her mother who ordered this sentence was right there in the room pretending to fast asleep. She lay across the sofa in the sitting area with a cane hanging in a lose grip in one hand and a newspaper on the floor beside her. Today was judgment day. Now that she thought about it, she had it coming. Her mother asked her on several occasions if she had been jinxed into all the forms of misbehavior she exhibited and she always answered by shaking her head in the negative.  Now she was beginning to think that maybe her mother was right. Maybe some spirits were responsible for pushing her out to play when she was meant to be doing her homework or waiting for her lesson teacher. The same spirits must have been responsible for making her forget all about washing her school socks until Sunday night, when they came to remind her in the middle of the night. Evil spirits! It wasn’t her fault. It was the spirits. Couldn’t anyone catch the spirits and punish them, instead of punishing her?

The school bus dropped Tolu her off at home. She went straight to the dining table where as usual her mom had left them (she and her sister) a note of instructions. Tola’s food was in the blue plastic bowl with pink lid while hers was in the pink bowl with blue lid. Tola was in secondary school now so they no longer got back at the same time. She got back one clear hour before her sister. She relished that hour. For that hour the house was hers. All hers. It was usually her time to cross all the lines, invisible or actual. She took her time in front of her mother’s dresser, and helped herself with make-up, shoes and bags. She strolled back and forth and occasionally bumped into something because she was looking sideways at her image in the mirror. This was her hour. She was glad she had her hour five days every week. In that hour she was a superstar, she was anything in the world she wanted to be. The beautiful part was that she never got caught. It was her little secret and in her mind it was up to her to keep it.

On this day, within her one hour, she didn’t have any homework to do. She had done it in the school bus on her way home, while her friends were chatting away. After she had her lunch, she went to her parents’ room. She had no other thing in mind as she just searched through her mother’s clothes. She studied the stack of wrappers closely, to master the order in which they were arranged. That was an important skill in not getting caught. She always had to decide if she could replicate the arrangement before she started to upset things. She decided that this particular stack was fairly easy to put back in order and stared to take out the wrappers.

Tolu liked the blue and yellow wrapper better than all the rest. She was relieved to find that her mother had not yet taken it to Iya Shaki to make into Iro and Buba. She placed the fabric across her left shoulder, holding it over her right side like she had seen her mother do several times. Just as she was imagining what the finished product would look like, she heard her friends singing and dancing. They were the same songs her class teacher taught them as they prepared for their forthcoming end of the year party. Most of the children in the neighborhood were at the same point in their various schools. They taught each other songs and mimed the dances. She was usually the lead singer, but today she heard Chika’s shrill voice as it pierced through the sunny afternoon. The others replied in chorus. She couldn’t resist the pull, especially as a closest rival seemed to be taking her place. The outdoors beckoned and she responded. They had their dance fully practiced. They had done the same dance over and over after school for some time now.

In their dreams they were planning their own end of year party, just like the ones in their schools. She was the leader. One of the girls said they were ready for a dress rehearsal and all the other girls, as if on cue looked to Tolu. As if jinxed she went straight to get the blue and yellow fabric and a pair of scissors. She couldn’t tell how many yards it was. Only adults knew stuff like that. She only hoped the material would be enough for all six of them.  She cut the piece of cloth for the first girl and had her wrap it round herself to see how it fit. She was cutting the second piece of cloth when all the girls went quiet. She raised her head from her task, to find the girls looking strangely. They seemed to be fixed on something in front of them but behind her. She turned to see what they were looking at and just froze at the sight.

After being dazed with what must have been at least a thousand slaps across the face, she just lost feeling. She felt herself being pulled by the ears into the house. Mother told her that she was positive she would kill her if she decided to “handle” her.  This was after giving her 12 strokes of the cane. Thank God she didn’t handle her. She was told to fill a steel tray with gravel. She was to afterwards kneel on the gravel in the tray and carry a grinding stone. The pain was killing her. She wished she had not allowed herself to be possessed by those evil spirits again.

Lagos Chaos: Nakedness.

Every time I’m in transit in Lagos. I take in many things. Many things that make me want to write. In this Lagos, ehn, what you see is dependent on how you transport yourself.

I am very proud o say, I have been in most every means of transport. And just look how we have evolved. I see how the childhood bikes that were basically more of a fun toy than a means of transport seem to be replaced by hopping on Okadas. The helmets are a matter for another day o! It seems like we use everything as helmets but helmets. Any plastic that is round and can cover the head would do. I think some Okada men could use some of those things to scoop their bath water when they get home. It kind of reminds me of the seat belt matter. When the government started enforcing this law, I saw a lot of seat ropes emerge. The only thing they kept the drivers safe from was from policemen and LASTMA people.

I’m only  few decades old, so how much can I know about this transport evolution. Not much. But at least, I remember the putrid smell of “rotten egg special” in the infamous “molue”. I have no idea how that name was coined. I faintly remember someone (maybe my Momma) explaining it but that’s as far as it goes. Back to rotten egg special, did you ever find yourself at a bus stop with at least a million people waiting to catch a bus that no one knew would come? I did.

I looked at my big toe and was surprised to still find it intact. I felt so much pain there that I was certain my toe had been destroyed. One huge sweaty man stepped on me as we pushed and shoved to get on the bus. At that point his weight on my toe felt no lighter than an elephant, and not a baby elephant o!

Mmmscchew! To make matters worse his version of sorry was ”I no know na”. And everyone around thought that was sufficient. “ shebi im don talk say im no know, wetin you want again.”

I shook my head in disbelief, trying to hang on to one of the rails before the raving mad driver added to my injuries. That proved a herculean task. I was carrying a Ghana-must-go (I hate to use the word) bag and of course my hand bag. I had to mind my hand bag so as not to  be robbed, while contending with the GMG bag. Between those two bags, I had no hand to grab the rails with. So I converted the hand bag into a neck bag, and held the GMG bags between my legs. My ingenuity in getting both hands free left a satisfied grin on my face. So I grabbed safety, safely.

And that was when it came. “Rotten egg special”. At first I didn’t smell it. I just heard people cursing. In Lagos public transport that’s a norm. They curse the driver, curse the conductors, curse Okada men, curse everyone. And these people curse back. But when this amazingly strong invisible force hit my nostrils, I understood the curses. I let out a few myself. More than ever I was glad I had a free hand to cover my nose.

Fast forward to 2010. I was in one of the BRT buses popularly christened “Fashola”. I was thinking to myself how unfair it is that BRT buses were allowed on the freeway and other vehicles were not allowed on the BRT lanes. And that’s when I saw him o. A young man, probably in his mid-thirties shouting and crying from under a Danfo bus. At first I thought there had been an accident but the bus I was in moved forward and I got a better view. There was no accident and this man was not shouting because he was hurt. At least, he wasn’t hurt in the way I thought. He was stark naked. And he shamelessly laid under the vehicle at the back side of the front tire, such that the LASTMA officials who had arrested him, could not tow the vehicle without crushing and killing him.  I couldn’t believe this. “How could any responsible man put himself out there like that?”I thought aloud. The passenger beside me took it as a prompt and lectured me on how it was becoming a normal thing these days. Especially with Danfo drivers. Whenever they were arrested for anything, they just stripped. I just shook my head in amazement.

Another instance, an okada man on Ikorodu Road. He was caught by the “Council” people and wham! Next thing, he’s stark naked and arguing. A policeman came and appealed to him to wear his clothes. “lai lai, make una kill me for here. If dem take this okada, I don naked, so make everybody kuku see me finish”

In both instances, I don’t know what became of them. But the question that comes to mind is whether that’s the new way to get out of the law’s grip. But my sister is of the opinion that when the economy and the system dehumanizes people that’s what we get! People no longer respect themselves so they have no problem with being dehumanized. Nakedness is the least of their problems.

Then another naked matter arises. With this group, i do not know whether to sympathize with them or with theirs. Everyone says the lunatic on the street does not know he’s naked, so why do we feel bad for them? There are varieties and degrees of this. People half dressed, dresses torn or no dresses at all. How did they come to be like that? Household witches, village witches or just plain old Mary Jane, grown in every other backyard, these days. A matter for another day, or rather another blog.

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I walked by this girl on the road the other day. It must have been around 3pm and she had this netted top on. Transparent is not the word. It was just porous. kind of like the material my bath sponge is made from.I could not stop looking at her. Otherwise she looked alright; nice pair of jeans, shoes to match and all. But I couldn’t get it with the top. Absolutely nothing was underneath, so her wares were bared for all to see.  She however made a feeble attempt to cover up with a sleeveless bolero jacket which served no purpose cause they had no buttons. She was a head turner in all the wrong ways. From the expression on her face, no one could tell if she enjoyed this attention or had realized her folly and was embarrassed by it.  She kept a straight face.

Nakedness again! whats with nakedness in Lagos? Pray, please tell me.