Sunday, November 30, 2008

Memory Lane

When there is nobody to be called upon at difficult moments, succour refuses to be at your command, and a multitude of people in your environment who earlier pronounced you proficient in all things become the first to ululate at your pit-fall, in such times are we left devastated and numbed. This moment in a life time is as chilling as the death day. Steadfastness is the best drug to cure the disheartening disease, in a moment like these, when all things starkly turn against one.

The statistics of recent obituary bills have shown that death is really an omen to wealthy families and ominous to others.
“Age 75: Gone too soon,” a wealthy family’s obituary recently proclaims in the news journals and electronic media.
“Age 45: Gone to rest in his arms,” says pauper’s obituary on broken walls and wood walls across tattered streets of this state. O the grim angle of death, you are indeed cruel, selfish and self-centred! You always take away saints and leave sinners!

Sincerely, my dad’s death was more than disaster, for the agony and havoc it created afterwards could not be quantified. Without a doubt, streams cannot be covered with coco leaves. Typically, we have lived as one big happy family. My dad, in his life time, worked as a manager in one of the country’s biggest lottery companies and my mum as a food vendor in a well rated bank as well.

Before now, long ago in much earlier times, my dad had always pointed to me in our discussions that he was once an energetic trader in the Gold-Coast, the present day Ghana . And when I grew up, to be precise, in the college, in my Geography class, I got to know that Ghana is one of the numerous neighboring countries to Nigeria , the arguable “giant of Africa .” But I’m sure if had known this much about West Africa and Africa as a continent, I would have one day asked him: “On what basis is Nigeria the giant of Africa ?” And I’m as sure as the death day that he would have sprang up a thoughtful argument. Many stories did my dear dad tell me about life and his endeavours. No doubt, trading had made a stronger man of him amidst the dangers and terrors encountered on his trade-mission sojourns.

One day, Bowofola Binuyo recalled the must terrific day of his life whilst chatting with me, on a dull Sunday evening. We were both in our small room situated in a shabby slum recently slated for rehabilitation by the state government, in the suburb of the most popular and populous city in Nigeria , Lagos …the land of wisdom, quickness and perhaps fastness. Never stop, keep moving; don’t wait nor relax, time is important. Lagos as a city never waits for anybody, but what you make of it is with your solitary effort.

With excitement my dad said to me, “The day I could on no account forget in my life was that day I was trapped in the middle of a thick and dark forest along the outskirts of the then Gold-Coast (Ghana).” This day was a Friday. After purchasing goods, he had to sneak through the thickest wild forest that housed all sorts of wild animal you can imagine. This was because the goods he had bought with thousands of cedes were illegal, so he could not pass through the boarder without being checked thoroughly. Suddenly, in the far distance, a strange sound echoed; towards his path, he saw troop of plum and thin elephants treading in their weight and height order.
“Bode, stop!” he murmured to his younger brother who accompanied him on the journey.
“For what? You mean you want to delay me in this thick terrific forest,” Bode replied feverishly.
“Okay. Look straight into your front and tell me what you see”
“Elephants trooping down our path,” he hurriedly replied, panting as if life would ebb out of him through his mouth in the next seconds.
“Come, come with me!” Bowofola said as quickly as he can, dragging his half-dead brother closer to himself. He held him tightly, resting Bode’s head on his torso so as to calm his nervousness.

Beside the deserted forest path they hid their goods and stylishly walked into the heart of the forest where they remained mute, almost devoid of breathing, at the back of a huge tree. Slowly, the brothers watched the elephants shamble away.

In the memory of my late dear dad I was lost such that I heard my name in a high tone: Biola!
“O, this is where you are”
“Hold your breath mister monitor or whatever you name is!”
“You can now go on and insult me after I had instructed your colleagues to clean your portion in your absence; you can go on and call me names.”
“Ah, I am sorry Mr. Laolu, I am sorry”
“No, there is no need being sorry afterwards, since you’ve now grown feather like duck in water, go on and call me names…”
“And it’s not so sir. I was robbed this morning on my way to the office”
“Robbed? How? Hope it’s not one-chance sah?
“Exactly sir”
“Stop calling me sir that does not accord respect in the sense. And I hope they did not beat you or perhaps do…”
“Not all. My God was with me, and the spirit of my dad never allowed their evil been unleashed on me.”
“Ha ha ha…your dad’s spirit.”
“Yes my God and the spirit of my dad saved me from their evil hands or you doubt me?”
“Doubt you? Not at all Biola. You have said the truth but putting your dad’s spirit after God’s intervention precisely was the genesis of my laughter.”
“How do you”
“Just kneel down, go on my dear little cleaner, and give praises to your lord and savior who saved you from the hands of human-wolves. And let your dad’s gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Because if he were to be alive and board the bus with you, he would have done nothing to prevent you from the hands of those one-chance guys were they in their horrific mood.”
“Thank you very much but…”
“Seeeeh! May God be with you all the time. And be careful next time. Look very well and be sure before you board any bus next time.”
“Amen. Thank you.”

Ayanada Abeke
Rumour Networks,
Lagos, Nigeria.