munch_2013_03_15_211641

I tell people I was born on the streets. I am a realist, I tell them. I have seen the best of lows and the lows of bests. I have seen violence at its very best and peace at its lowest ebb. I have seen couples fight, rant, and shout as if they’ll kill each other like every other day, yet you’ll be surprised the wife is pregnant in three months time. I have seen kids become independent even before they could say mama and you wonder if such will ever get a chance to survive. I’ve seen kids so well nourished you’ll hardly believe it was from leftovers. I’ve seen women whose pride and dignity has been thrown to the winds. The irony of this is that some of these women actually claimed to be born-again christians but their lives outside of church sure leaves you wondering. I wonder why people open their mouths when I tell them I have seen polyandry in practice. One takes care of the home while the other ran the business, yet they stare in disbelief. I’m sure they even find it hard to believe the two men (Do I call them women now?) fight over things like whose turn it is to sleep in her room and of course try to outshine themselves in their daily chores so as to get an additional bonus. Some say it’s the “juju” of the woman that’s at work because how else does one explain such flagrant departure from the norms? Another wonder that never ceases to amuse me is that of my landlord that owns and collect rents on three different buildings in Lagos, yet cannot afford to send any of his poor (aren’t they?) children to good schools. Once you’re able to finish high school, you’re on your own. It does not matter whether your results are seized or you came out tops. You simply continue to live in his house (your legitimate right), feeds on whatever “eba” he manages to provide and do whatever you like with your life whether you leave the house or not. I often tell whoever cares to listen that if you don’t ever want to be disappointed in life, you should be a permanent pessimist. That way I have come to realize you expect the worst from people per time and when they do give you their worst, you simply smile and move on. With the kind of street drama experienced day in day out, you can’t but find life intriguing because how else do you describe a wife (most likely the breadwinner) who sleeps all day, attends to visitors, mostly men while the man translates as the chef and home keeper (they said its love!) all rolled into one. For me, it’s not only in American movies that you see women sending their spouses packing, it’s what I’ve seen happen twice (too much for a small me!)

I once went together with a group of boys to a cassava farm to steal, just for the fun of it anyway, because that’s what qualifies you as brave in my world. We ran for our dear lives and I was almost caught. After that day, I knew within me I would never steal (or by whatever name it’s called) again. For me street fight was past time and it’s always a thing of joy when you had to recount the victory in school the next day. I mean you are a hero and that’s how you garner street support.

I just happen to be one lucky guy whose good parents were working to make life bearable for and because they had to work twice as hard, there was little or no time for parenting. You simply live by a set or rules without question and face the consequences if you are caught breaking any. Part of which was a regular three times a week church going where I learnt most of the things that kind of added a little sanity to my life and made me realize there is more to life than meets the eye. I grew up a normal boy and even inspite of my shortcomings, I was still the regular good boy every parent would be proud of (I know where most of my friends then are today). I did very well in school but that was all there was to me, I was a habitual latecomer. I developed a passion for breaking rules and became a brat but my academic performance soared. Teachers would look at me and wonder what the magic was but little do they realize it was because I had to read and practise whatever we were taught in school everyday because failure to do so would amount to breaking the first commandment of the house and I tell you, the penalty is so severe you won’t wish it on an enemy…

Advertisements