I put up a lot of stuff on this blog. They are not all meant to be taken literally as “gospel” truth. Most of what I write is what I think up when there is time on my hands (or not).

Yes, some of the entries have a little bit of me (don’t they all) mixed in there, but the bulk of each entry is completely made up. Except some I write in the first person (what?) – that sounds even more confusing to me.

Take “Happiness Lost” (July 16, 2012) for example. True, I  was sad when I wrote it (don’t ask – I won’t tell – but it means the prayers apply). But that’s about as true as it gets – except for maybe that “offered heart” bit. I didn’t go to any of those places; didn’t meet any of those people; didn’t do any of those things; and there was NO – and there still is NO broken heart. It was purely for artistic effect. It just “flowed” well with the picture I was painting so it was almost “natural” to express it that way (artistic “liberties”). Put another way, a broken heart presupposes a previous state in which a couple of hearts (not one) were in some amalgamated state – well, that may be true concerning the fellow in the “narrative”, but was definitely not true of me (I agree the last sentence may sound like psycho-babble – if you think so too, let’s take it offline). I apologize if it came across as if I have a broken heart or someone broke my heart as that is not true (clarifying things – I think I have done enough damage already without adding that to it)

Also, take as another example, “The strangest thing happened to me yesterday” (July 11, 2012), my sister actually doubted I wasn’t lying when I assured her on the phone that I hadn’t got myself run over by a car. Well, I should probably take it as a compliment if the story sounded (or read) that believable!

I put my foot in my mouth a lot (read: say and do the wrong things) and it’s obvious I write the wrong things as well. Or go “dark” and “disappear”. So I hurt people (and who would have thought – myself as well) or manage to enstrange them. Unfortunately, if I don’t write, I would probably do something more inappropriate, so I think I will stick to writing :-(.

So, in the mean time, I am working on a lot of stuff personally and I hope spiritually with the goal of becoming a better person all round (read: take responsibility; don’t finger-point; know when to stop; talk; smile; talk some more; apologize; be reasonable; forgive; forget; trust; move; do; no second-guessing; no dilly-dallying; no shilly-shallying; get rid of the sarcasm; say what I mean, and say it at the proper time – not when it’s all gone southwards; pray and listen; believe the 4-letter word will happen sometime; positivity under all conditions; live! don’t just exist; dance?; be friendly; smile some more; etc)

A big thanks to my loyal, part-time and random readers/visitors. I appreciate the traffic.

I can’t promise to always keep it fresh, but I will try.

And if you ever look up and see a man soaring across the sky (“Look mum! No wings!”), it means I finally nailed it – that is, my faith finally made a mustard seed look like a microbe!

Have a lovely weekend. When we meet, we shall smile.

NB: It’s hard to change. I say I want to be straightforward and then I pretend the “stuff” above is random, when it is not. I am hoping “someone” will read it and conclude it is positive rather than offensive.

NB: This is the longest post I have written in a long time. Not because of the length in words, but because it is still not “right”, and I have already re-edited/updated it about 15  20 times. The phone is right here beside me, but “sorry” has lost its meaning …

Last Edit: I wish I could make you read this. That poem wasn’t meant to be taken literally. I want to say I am fine, that I am alright. But I am not, since I have once again caused you pain. What to do …

03/08/2012: No new entries until this “thing” is resolved 🙁


Under the mid day sun, the drums beat
The music – entrancing
The young women – feet floating
Men young and old – admiring
Little girls admire their beads

The pace is exciting
The tune is enchanting
The atmosphere expectant
The old men nod in the shade
Transported to days of their youth

Little streams of water
From foreheads and under armpits
Glinting like glass
Salty taste in the mouth
Smiling faces all around 

The mood – attracting
The movements – intoxicating
All things new from the earth
The smell of wondrous food
Women stirring huge pots to the rhythm of the beat

I look on in awe
Tentative steps on the edge
The smile – inviting
The hand – outstretching
Beckoning one and all

The circle – embracing
The songs – uplifting
Am I really dancing?
Tomorrow – backbreaking
But today, – breathtaking

The sun is retreating
The wind – encircling
The voices – engaging
A celebration of life
The new yam – imposing

Iron Samurai

Iron Samurai

For some strange reason, the only thing I remember of my father was him sitting me down a long time ago and telling me that he won’t always be around, and that a man must make his decisions and stand by them, because no matter what decisions he makes, some people will always be unhappy with him. I was very small then, and the truth was that I didn’t fully understand what he said, but I shook my head all the same in agreement. Of course, years later, I understood he was leaving for one of the several wars of the time. He never came back. But stories are still told till today of his kindness, strength, loyalty, honour, sense of duty and bravery. His Lord took me under his wings, and I was trained by a great master in the ways of the Samurai and duty to one’s Lord. In time, as my Lord grew older and portlier, I became one of his most trusted advisers and commander, having distinguished myself on several fronts.

The dynasty came to an end, and the land became fief-doms of neighboring Lords, who jousted for power and land. My Lord, wise and diplomatic, was able to secure peace with his neighboring Lords, such that we had a measure of peace despite the volatile times. As more Lords sought such sometimes uneasy alliances, some measure of peace and stability descended on the land.

But with peace comes the chance for idle hands and little minds to be restless and mischievous. Strict training and ways of living get relaxed and Samurai who would otherwise not contemplate their mortality needed other forms of distraction.

Iron Samurai

My fame as a master of the sword was by no means small though I have never personally claimed it to be so.

Nishimura was another Samurai from a well-known family, who was really a Ronin having parted ways with his clan after the death of his Lord. He was able to depose another Lord and was now in fact, a Lord of his own new clan having possession of a quite sizable area several hundreds of ri from the capital.

To this day, I do not know how or who started the rumour, but soon it became common knowledge that I and Nishimura would face each other in a contest to determine who was the best swordsman in the entire kingdom. I did not even know I was counted as one of two possible best. I came to suspect that “Nishimura-san” himself may have started the rumour, with an idea to advance himself by forcing a contest which would have increased his fame and struck terror into the hearts of his opponents by being declared the greatest swordsman in all the land. That is of course if he bested me. Which though won’t be a small thing generally, but his speed is legendary and his kills a litany that many a young Samurai knew by heart. In short, he was obviously better than me (I, having witnessed him in a duel on a couple of occasions)

At first, I ignored the rumour and so did my Lord since no one had mentioned it publicly, but things came to a head, when my Lord’s brother, a Lord himself, mentioned it to my Lord in a semi-formal way. While there was still no formal challenge, it was obvious it would only be a matter of time before the challenge is delivered formally. So it was no surprise when Nishimura’s emissary appeared before my Lord seeking his gracious permission for a visit.

My Lord, who can very blunt, brought up the topic once the feast was over and the guests had rested. Nishimura at first feigned surprise but after being pressed by my Lord agreed that such a duel would not be unattractive to him. I of course remained silently seated behind my Lord. The question being thrown to me, I differed to my Lord’s judgment on the matter and so it was that a suitable date was agreed on for the duel.

While I was not afraid of Nishimura, I still had to consider that there was the possibility that I would start the great journey at his hands. It was also a little confusing that a Lord who stands to lose a lot would force such a confrontation, unless he was sure he would come out the victor.  

I brooded over this for a while and decided on a course of action to take leading up to the day of the duel.

So I went to an Izakaya (drinking house) several ri from my house. A place that sold cheaper fare to lower class Samurai, Ronins and others that have fallen on hard times. I went alone despite the danger: I may get challenged fairly or a Samurai of no honour with something to avenge may jump me.

Despite my low-key dressing, and setting out alone without having told anyone where I was headed, it is amazing how news travel: and how fast, for the proprietor of the place still met me on the threshold looking as if he had been expecting me for a good quarter of an hour. With much bobbing and bowing, he greeted me and accompanied me to what was the choicest sit in the house.

“Master, you do my humble establishment a great honour with your presence. It goes without saying that everything is on the house”

“Thank you very much” I responded, and making sure those close enough could hear, “but seeing this may be the last Sake I enjoy on this side of eternity. I will go much more peacefully the way of my fathers, if I don’t have on my conscience the cost of several Sake kegs respectfully but reluctantly offered eh?” I said this with a broad smile and patted him on the back.

“Most gracious of you master, but surely the first cup is on the house, I must respectfully insist” at which we both burst out laughing. Wise fellow, he agreed too quickly to my decision to pay!

“Next round is on me!” Several appreciative looks were thrown my way, and several gasshos (two palms together in greeting)

I became a regular fixture at the drinking house. Always ensuring I buy several rounds for the men present and ultimately drinking little myself. Too much drink makes a man slow and lose his wits. I needed time which I did not have to come up with a plan.

I had taken the proprietor into my confidence and as such under my protection so I knew I could count on his loyalty to a certain extent. My plan was simple – I needed it to be known that I was drowning my sorrow in drink due to my belief that I was about to meet a sure but certain end at the hands of Nishimura. It was no easy fit, because I needed to keep up the pretense both in public and private knowing fully well that he would have his spies monitoring my every move.

On the day before the duel, I had gone to the drinking house as usual. Only the proprietor and myself knew that all the drinks I was served was water and nothing else, while as usual I bought several rounds for the “house.”

Late at night, I “staggered” home looking for all the world as if I was about to pass out from my “drunkenness.”

Having done all I could to get ready, I had a good night sleep.

Early the following morning with the sea salt on the winds, I made my way with uncertain steps to the place chosen for the duel. Nishimura was already there, his clothes looking new and the lines straight. He made an imposing figure. I, on the other hand, looked a little worse for wear.

Addressing me respectfully, he suggested that if I wasn’t up to it this morning, we could postpone the duel (which was a disguised insult).
I declined, stating that fate has brought us together on so clear a morning and that what will be will be.

A Samurai duel is a strange thing. It is personal. I have seen the Englishman’s duel. A truly impersonal thing. Two men standing 20 paces apart shooting balls of metal at each other. I do not see the point: while skill at shooting definitely has its place, they might as well beat each other to death with their bare fists.

A Samurai duel between two equally matched opponents is a spectacle to watch, lethal yet graceful: a dance of fate. It may take a minute or ten, but the conclusion is a split-second of dazzling light playing on flashing swords. Then it is all over. There may be a victor, or none.

We both intended the duel to end quickly, because economy of movement is a Samurai’s ultimate demonstration of skill.

Nothing is of course certain, steps must be taken carefully, and decisions made quickly but with the weight of experience. I was going to force this duel to a close as quickly as I could and much quicker than Nishimura expects. I approached him directly, ready to do battle but obviously unsteady on my feet. I intended to give him an opening he couldn’t resist. Thus raising up my arms in a two handed grip with the intention of a downward stroke, he reacted by going for a cross-cut across my belly. With his sword rebounding from the layers of metal and clothing across my mid-section, he was completely committed to the stroke and the last expression on his face was a mixture of confusion and surprise as I brought the sword down across his neck. Confusion, because I should be falling to the ground not completing a sword stroke that obviously still had strength behind it.

It is well known that the Samurai sword can cut through anything – well, almost anything. I had devised a specially arrangement of an alloy of iron, and clothing into an armour that was thin and at the same time would require several strokes of a Samurai sword delivered precisely to the same point for it to penetrate. The opening I offered, combined with the “knowledge” that I was drunk, made Nishimura so certain of his victory that he was not as careful as he would normally have been.

I was the victor, but it came at a price I was willing to pay. There was a division as to whether I acted with honour concerning the armour I wore. This was a none-issue to me, the choice of not wearing armour usually came down to a balance of being too slow because of the weight versus the extra protection it offers. After much back and forth, it was obvious that I could not be faulted along those lines, but the outcome was that I got a somewhat derogatory nickname – “Iron Samurai” which in itself would ensure I got involved in several other duels as a result. The armour still protected me, but as it was now common knowledge, the only reason I won those duels was because I was more skilled than my opponents.

No one calls me the Iron Samurai to my face, at least no one alive. Yet, I secretly enjoy the “title.”

One bright and sunny day, when it appears the Gods themselves have lifted the burdens of all men briefly, I visited the site of my “inebriation” when my very life was up for a gamble. Young Samurai, sometimes arrogant beyond their ability were everywhere throwing their weight around. I aimed for a quiet corner but not before the proprietor caught a glimpse of me and thus followed the usual fawning and so on. He showed me to a seat in the corner I indicated. I asked for Sake and he hurried off briskly to see to it personally. I allowed my eyes to roam round the room without making any eye contact. There had been a lull in the conversation when the proprietor had welcomed me and as the conversation began to ebb and flow again, it was obvious I had become the point of discussion among some of the groups scattered across the room.

A particular collection of young men seemed to be more interested than the rest and I could have sworn I heard the words “Iron Samurai”. I looked at them out the sides of my eye and I was contemplating getting up to leave because I sensed they were likely to be trouble, when the whole little group of about eight rose to their feet.

One of them then proceeded to stand in front of me. I pretended not to notice him, but he cleared his throat and gave a greeting of respect.

“My Lord (sniggering from behind him), I perceive you are the great Iron Samurai. May we see this iron belt of renown? That is if it’s always on you to protect your softer parts.”

“I perceive you have taken too much of Sake, and have thus taken leave of your manners, senses and better judgment. I advise a hasty retreat back to your friends.” I answered.

“What!?” he exclaimed in anger.  

He was slow, and not because of the wine. His teacher should be ashamed of himself. I gave him more rope than I usually would, but he clearly thought he could best me. So I took his arm. He looked down at his hand and sword on the floor in bewilderment for a split second, then at his stump spurting blood, then he started to scream. I was feeling better already. The dreariness was almost gone. So I thought better of it and took his head as well. His headless torso stood upright briefly and then fell backwards, blood all over the place.

His friends looked on in shock, unable to move. “Honoured brothers,” I said to the house, “apologies for the mess, the next round is on me.” That had an immediate effect as voices were raised again in various discussions practically ignoring the dead body, which peasants were already attempting to take outside.

Such is the boisterousness of youth. But that notwithstanding, appearances must be kept up; examples must be made; and honor … to hell with honor. I am after all, the Iron Samurai.

* Ri – (or li) – a traditional Chinese unit of distance – currently about 0.5KM.
* Sake – is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.



Finally back in Lagos. Got to Lagos and went past the Ikorodu turning before remembering the third mainland is likely closed to traffic going towards Victoria Island. Well, I pushed on with the decision to take my chances – got to the bridge and of course there was a diversion there. Had to go round and round and finally ended up on Ikorodu road an hour or so later. Probably spent about 4 hours from Ibadan to the house in Lagos. I suspect the trip would have been shorter if I had taken Lekki-Epe route (like I did going to Ibadan on Saturday afternoon).

Some places in Ibadan now hold poignant memories for me – don’t ask where.

Plenty of “office work” waiting for me. Done some, but I am tired. Maybe I will go to bed early (10PM) and wake up early and see if I can cover some of the outstanding stuff.

Actually, why am I putting all these mundane stuff up? I have read in several places that the secret to writing is to write as much as possible. What you write doesn’t really matter: just write.

What else happened today. I think I have the beginning of a story – thought it up in the car on the way to Lagos – I have the end more or less as well – maybe the whole thing – I just need to stop being lazy and set it down. I think the title will be “The Scent” – but I may change it before I am done with it. It’s a “short” story.
Last couple of days have been very interesting – went to Eruwa yesterday. Need some serious cash now. And when I say serious, I mean cash you can’t put in your handbag  or your man-purse 🙂

Have a great day y’all! And please do stop by again. Feel free to go through the old stuff. I am sure you will find plenty to read – and they are not too long – so I think I can keep your attention for some minutes and make you forget that stuff on your mind for a while. Also, feel free to share the website address with friends. The increase in traffic is welcome and appreciated!

Have a great week. When we meet, we will smile.

Back to Base


Well, how does one write about a road trip and not make it boring?

Let me start with the title – not exactly correct. Ibadan is of course my original base (no, I am not a native of Ibadan) where I spent my growing up years. Now Lagos is my base.

So I decided a week or so ago that I was going to Ibadan this weekend. Couldn’t make it yesterday due to some important engagement. This morning was a no-no as well, because we had a technology update event for one of our client (a big bank). My luggage was already in the trunk of my car, so I could head for the wide open road (reminds me of the toad in the stop-motion animation “Winds in the Willows”). I decided against all reason to take the Lekki-Epe road to Ibadan. This is a lonely long road most people avoid unless the Ibadan expressway was a no-go due to some reason. Of course people (such as my mum and my colleague) advise against it for safety reasons – “What if something happens? What if you lose a tyre and you are stuck on some lonely stretch of the road, etc”

I have traveled the road before of course – as a passenger, but never alone and wasn’t the one doing the driving. So I decided doing it at least once was in order. Besides, I love the open country-side which we who dwell in the concrete jungle of “central” Lagos never see much of nowadays.

I hit the Lekki road, paid the toll (what can I do, I am still enriching the big boys in government who are many times richer than I am) and was soon on the expressway. Stopped at a petrol service station to have the pressure in my tyres checked. Then punched Ibadan into the Garmin GPS unit and it came up with a bunch of options, so I chose “Queen School, Ibadan” which was as good as any. Well, the GPS unit wanted me to turn around (meaning it had calculated a route through Ibadan expressway). No can do. So I ignored all the entreaties of the “lady in the box” to turn around for the next 30 minutes or so. Finally, after I was on the Lekki-Epe road proper, it gave up and recalculated the route, so we then got on the same travel page.

I had the radio on and some nice tracks were being broadcast from one of the stations. I don’t mind being on the road alone, but of course it would have been better to have some companionship (no male, female – yes, but not all comers 🙂

I could remember the Epe bridge with the thatched huts beside it from a previous trip and after driving for what appeared to be ages, I started wondering if I hadn’t made a wrong turn somewhere – but of course it was impossible to make a wrong turn on a straight road. Finally I got to the bridge, then crossed the big river – I assume “Epe”.

The road went on and on without end, but it was nice to see that the GPS unit knew the way to Ibadan through Epe then Ogun state.  Lots of potholes, and the traffic while not heavy, was constant for a while. Sometime after Epe, the traffic died down and I had very light company on the road. I made a wrong turn and headed for the Benin road, but I had a nagging feeling that I should have crossed the expressway to the town on the other side rather than followed it. After driving a few kilometers, I turned round and confirmed my suspicions from an attendant at a petrol station by the road side. The GPS unit had in the meantime worked out some route along the Benin road, so it kept trying to get me to turn back. But once I headed into the town, it recalculated the route again and we were on the straight and narrow once again (though I had to ignore the first turn it suggested – I think it was trying to get me to go to Benin – bloody traitor!)

Then it started to rain on and off intermittently. I like the rain – especially if I am “in-doors” and that goes for being in a water-tight car on the road as well.

Went through a couple of towns again (quite busy) then hit the old expressway that goes to Ibadan. Had relatively steady company in the form of vehicles going both ways. And the road went on and on and on (you get the idea). But it was OK, I wasn’t speeding – I think I was doing about 60 or 80 most of the journey. Took me close to 3 hours from Victoria Island to get to Ibadan, but it was devoid of the craziness that is the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

I saw a road kill, but couldn’t be sure what it was – too mangled – could see some skin and hair so it may have been a goat or something.
At some point a pigeon crossed the road – it was either blind or ill – it practically walked under my tyres – I thought I must have squashed it but somehow I missed – I could see it in my rearview mirror as it continued steadily across the road – I hoped it made it across.

Got into Ibadan and the traffic was OK until I hit the road from Dugbe to Mokola. From there I crawled all the way to Oremeji. The traffic in Ibadan is due to the various road/bridge constructions going on.

No electricity as usual, but the government is delivering on her promise to ensure some little village in the outer wilderness is able to receive radio transmissions from the Oyo state radio corporation (or whatever it is called) rather than from radio stations in the neighboring states. So the “Special Adviser on Parastatals” was there along with the “Special Assistant on Parastatals” (no, I am not making this stuff up) and an army of government officials and other hangers-on to declare the station open. How much did that little trip cost the good people of Oyo state? I guess the “little people” in the village can use batteries to power their little radio sets to listen to the bounteous station provided by the state government (“aye da de”). Yet, there is consistently no electricity supply from the grid (and I am watching the TV on a little inverter).

I think I have the “flu” (do people outside of the good old USA get the flu?) or Malaria. It started a couple of days ago. It was slightly “developing”. Now I feel sh**ty. At least it waited till I got to Ibadan. And if it’s going to bring on a complete break-down as I suspect, there is no place else I had rather be.

* aye da de – life is getting better.

Consider This

Consider This

The voice of the angel was as thunder in the sky: “Son of man.”
“Here I am” I said.
“What would you give to roll back time? For the laws of God are set in the firmament for ever and ever. And for every sin, there is a just recompense”
“Which of my many sins” I asked, “for which I have not asked forgiveness?”
“Though thou has sought forgiveness and obtained it, karma must still be done, lest the sons of men take the heavens for granted and make mockery of the laws of God.”
“Will thou give thine right arm to see justice done?”

So whilst I pondered the devil and the deep blue sea, for I would regret parting with the left, but the right is as life itself.
Whilst the fruit of my indecision looked me in the face with a smirk on its lips
There was a shaking in the heavens
And lo and behold, a second angel whose dazzling apparel was a beauty to behold:
“Listen not to him who stands yonder. Look, even now his white is as rags, unfit for the earth. No, not the heavens”
And I looked, and indeed he spoke the truth, for the first angel’s countenance was as dark as his garment. Filthy beyond description
“Indeed the laws of God are eternal. But he forgives and does not bring to remembrance again.”
“Thy sin has been forgiven. But look to the earth, and see to it.
The will of man is strong, his memory infinite. Fear hath gripped his heart.
Have thou forgiven, thou who seek forgiveness?”
“Come, let us consider the matter.
The giving of a heart can never be forced. Moreso, if it be given under duress, know not that the end of such things is as uncertain as the ways of the wind upon the sea?
Thy heart aches, because of what thou hast done and failed to do.
Thou no longer take pleasure in the eating of thy meals, they are as burdens which must be borne.
And thy sleep is but short as a moment of time.
Look not to the heavens.
Look now and see that she of whom thou dreamest is happier without thy person to cast a blight upon her day.
See how she skips lightly like a songbird on her merry way.
Her worries are many like women before and after her.
But take solace, they are less one: thy attention constricted her throat; brought discomfort to her being; and lighlty brushed her heart with despair.
But now all that is in the past, If thou but stay away.
But the ways of the heart are inscrutable
Even now thou hope and scheme
Even these words I speak though thou hear,
would they sway the course thou art set thine heart upon?
Haven’t thy hasty choices these past year caused thee enough grieve?”
“But lest I take hope, nay, thy very soul and crush it with my words, I shall hold my tongue and what will be will be
Go now, son of man. Do what thou wilt.”

In the twinkling of an eye, the skies were darkened till nothing except the two beings in the sky could be seen with the naked eye.

And thus spoke the first angel from whose nose and mouth came smoke and sulphuric stench:
“Wouldst thou waste thy time upon this vain pursuit?
Knowest not thou, that even now,  thy time upon the earth is half spent, and the ax nibbles at the foot of thy tree?”

And from the second Angel:
“Consider not words spoken in anger.
Remember not that anger in thine heart, though thou ground thy teeth and speaketh not, was thy fall from grass to grace?”

And with lightening rending the darkened sky:
“Know not thou that anger purifiest all things. And wheretofore thine heart lackest will and strength, now thou art as a lion fierce?”
“Hear me now, son of man, fault my speech if we do not find common ground.
Is not this the will of womankind?
A man aggressive above his peers, to take the bull by the horn, and bring it to heel?
For look, while thou shilly and shally, she places her hands in anothers.
Who knows whether he be meek or mild?”
“For don’t all men hide their wicked ways behind noble deeds until rings hold tapered fingers tight in vise-like grip?”

And the angel in the dazzling white:
“Son of man, he utters truth and lies in equal parts.
Let not his double-speak confuse thy unsettled mind.
Don’t all men and women have freedom of will to chose whom they desire to spend their time? ”
“Listen not to the voice of treason,
that would have thee treat womankind as lesser beings, incapable of making their own decisions.
Know not thou that womankind is in many ways wiser and stronger than credit is ascribed  unto them?”

“Enough! I tire of this dragging of the feet!” Screamed the first angel.
“Let us set fire to this matter! We shall see if he comes refined like gold or burnt like chaff!”
And so saying, the first angel robed himself in a terrifying display of smoke, fire, fumes, thunder and lightning.
The vista was as if hell itself had arisen from the fiery depths and come upon the earth.

“Fear not son of man.” Said the second angel,
“For thou art been given dominion till this earth shall pass away”
And so saying, he stretched forth his hands and commanded: “Peace, be still.”
Immediately, there was another shaking in the heavens. And the darkness passed away along with the first angel and all the evil thereof.

And behold, the sky was as a day just dawned, with the sun in all its glory, shedding light on all below.

“What happens now?” I asked.
“Son of man, thy will be done. But thou art responsibility for thine action and inaction.”
“But consider this: the same desires, displeasure and human feelings afflicts the fair lady. So when thou taketh thy decisions, remember this.”

“Is there any hope?” I inquired.
“There is always hope. But is it thine or hers? For what thou hopest for today, may be thy regret tomorrow.”
“I pray thee therefore, pray, and listen. If thou art prayed and listened. Thou wouldst not be in thy current dilemma.”
“Happiness is within thy grasp. But thou must look beyond thine nose.”
“And why dost thou torture thyself. Why not let go – let her go; keep thy promise.”
“Indeed, I promised. I intend to. I have set my hands to it and will surely try. Thus was the promise made.”
“So why dost thou set this down in black and white? Would it not aid thy labour and thy course if thou dost not?”
“Truly, thou art on point. But I once was part of a little group where the teacher asked of each person a simple question.”
“Which was?”
“Have thou felt the fire that burns without flame? That makes thine heart constrict but not painfully?”
“And only one solitary lady said “Nay”, to which the teacher lamented her loss.”
“Therefore I set it down, so that even if I never again feel that fire; in case I am asked when my joints are stiff, and I cannot recall the meal I had in the morning; I can still say:
“Lo! There! Read! I once felt the fire!”
“May it be unto thee as thou desireth.”
And so saying, the angel was caught up in a beam of blinding light.
And once again I was alone with my unwelcome thoughts.

Notes: this is the last in the “series” (hopefully) – it’s easy to spot the common thread in the related posts.

The Hand

It is interesting to note how people react to the hand.

I handed over my car to the AC repair man because there was some issue with it. Got on a Lagos state mass transit bus (lagbus) and witnessed an interesting exchange. The conductors don’t actually accompany the bus but stay at designated bus-stops.  Some people had got on the bus prior to the bus-stop at which I boarded the bus. So, they were supposed to pay and get their tickets. Well, the conductor says the rules have been changed and they were no longer allowed to issue tickets on the bus meaning the passengers needed to alight from the bus, pay for their tickets, then get back on the bus. Well, the people weren’t having none of it and an impasse was rapidly developing along with raised voices.

Finally, they started getting down one by one. But, one man wasn’t going to let things go so easily, he started abusing the conductor and for a moment they were in each others faces. The most interesting comment came from the conductor: “Are you the only fool on the bus?”. Now that comment (even though I know what he meant) could be interpreted in several ways: 1. Was the passenger the single fool on the bus 2. The passenger wasn’t the only fool on the bus (meaning all the other previously adamant passengers were fools as well) so why is he the only one making a ruckus?

Fortunately, I wasn’t yet on the bus, so I am in neither category 🙂

But I digress, I was talking about the hand.

So after getting down from the bus, I walked towards my office and came across an Akara and Yam seller by the roadside. I haven’t eaten akara in a long time, and I couldn’t resist the smell. Especially these days when all food tasted bland in my mouth and I generally couldn’t be bothered.

Well, the middle-aged woman selling the Akara was brusque at first as I was trying to decide how much of each to buy (factoring in the fact that I am likely to have company in the office) and she practically didn’t look up from her bowl except to answer curtly.

Well, once she got around to looking up at me, and saw the hand, there was a magical transformation. She became very friendly at once, smiling widely, and very helpful. Thanking me, etc, etc. She asked me if the pepper she added was enough or if I wanted more. She doubled up the plastic bag so the oil won’t stain my bag, made a simple nought in it and even showed me where to pull to release it quickly and simply. She even added a little something on top. This can be embarrassing at times, but I thanked her very well. And she was all smiles as I left.

So later in the day, I was with a couple of colleagues heading out to see a client. They decided to make a detour to get mobile lunch at a place called Ghana High Canteen (GHC). I wasn’t really interested, and I wasn’t exactly hungry either after my morning indulgence, but on the second offer I decided to tag along rather than wait in the car. The first step was to buy what was called “Kome-Kome” just outside the canteen itself. This is a plastic bowl with a lid. You then went inside where a couple of women stood sentient over several huge aluminum and plastic bowls containing rice, assorted meat, salad, fried plantain, etc. Which brings me to the hand again. After dolling out the food into each bowl and covering it up, the lady placed it on a table top along with a plastic bag with the intention that the customer will grab both and put one in the other. She spoke very little when asking for what we wanted and while she was not exactly unfriendly was neither welcoming.

Sometime during the exchange, she noticed the hand. As I made an attempt for the bowl and the plastic bag, she got to it first and carefully placed the bowl in the plastic bag and offered it to me. Her behavior more helpful and concerned. I thanked her and she responded politely in turn. In a split second, her demeanor had changed. Hmm.

Once upon a time
That seems so long ago
You asked if you could touch the hand
And while “I am thy friend only” brought my hopes to a shuddering halt
Your touch was the highlight of the day


There was once a grumpy but kind old man that lived across the sea in a very small town. When he died, the vicar was hard pressed for what to say at his funeral. “The old man had a way with words and we all know that he had a good heart. He might not have come to church regularly, but we take comfort in knowing that at least he read his bible. For his last words were “F**k it! F**k it all!” and in so saying he summarized the message of Ecclesiastes in five words! May God have mercy on his soul and grant him eternal rest.

Happiness Lost

Happiness Lost

I am standing on the pier
My head bowed not against the wind
But to hide the tears
A grown man must not shed

“What ails thee” Said the boatman
“My earnings are in kobos* and coins.
But perhaps I can help”

I see him true and kind
Though lacking the gift of the “eye”
Will he dip his oar into my heaving chest
And stop the waves of despair?

So I lingered at the doctor’s door
He bade me step in for a moments span
A friendly ear in desperate times
But failing to perceive what cannot be seen,
He bade me adieu and pocketed his fees

Then I went seeking nothing at the weekly market
Hoping the noise would drown my thoughts
But though they screamed like the occupants of hell
It was as whispers in my ears

I found myself seated at a buka’s* table
I looked at the food as if it was alien fare
So the cook rested a while from roasting by her roaring flames
“Is the food lacking salt,” she asked
“Or the meat too hard for delicate teeth?”
Can she use fresh meat to mend the tear in my broken heart?
Or flames to sear the memories away?
So I paid my due and left the meal untouched

Where was I but in the vaulted halls
On hallowed grounds in the neighborhood church
It was at sunset that the priest found me
Just as I was on my knees an age ago
when the cock woke both the rich and poor
“My son” he said, though my age he was
“Some things cannot be fixed,
When the damage is done.
Look to Christ since you believe.
His Hands are long
And his hearing keen
So tarry awhile and pray a bit
He will heal your heart
And perhaps grant your wish.”

But happiness is lost
When I refused an offered heart
I struggled to regain it
But Alas! Too late! It has been offered out
Better a man than I, I guess

So once again I stood at the piers
And let the wind blow away my tears
And asked the boatman to ferry me away
“To where?”, he asked
“Anywhere where my thoughts can not follow”
He looked at me and saw the pain
So he cast his boat adrift on the roiling waves

And trailing my fingers in the sea
I thought I heard your laugh
Tinkling in the deeming lights
like silver bells gently in the wind
Which once brought me delight and joy
But it was the sea gulls
Making light of my broken dreams

And shining in the dark far from shore
Two lines of salty thread
seeking path from eyes to jaw
like drops of blood dripping on wood
carrying hapiness to your ears I hope
while I linger upon this flimsy tray
and wish the wind would carry my sadness away

*Kobo – coins of the Nigerian currency *Buka – public restaurant Me and the boatman