A place to rave, a place to rant, to commend and recommend, mostly a place to vent...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
'What once was, still is and will always be...' I finally came face to face with my past today. Bashir was my first love. I was 14 and so was he. We met when my school went to Kano Race Course for the annual October 1st marchpast. We began writing to each other and sneaking meetings during the holidays. When he found out that we lived in Yakasai close to an aunt of his, she became his favourite aunt and my favourite neighbour. He introduced me to James Hadley Chase, I introduced him to the Archie comics. It was an innocent but intense love. It lasted about 18 months. A year later, I was married and he was on his way to America. I have always wondered 'what if?' This was a meeting 22years in the making. It happened in a place and time least expected. In my mind, I always imagined that we would meet again at a time when I was a perfect size 10, looking radiant and sophisticated. I imagined he would profess his love for me and state that he had never really got over me and that no woman ever measured up to me. The reality was quite different: Park and Shop in Wuse, two screaming kids in tow, minimally made up, far from sophisticated and looking on the wrong side of thirty. On the contrary, he was looking suave, sophisticated and in control. Amazingly he recognised me. He said I looked exactly the same (liar, but I loved it). We both started with small talk but it quickly went to more personal stuff. More was said than was spoken. Coincidently, my second son is called Bashir, his second daughter has my name, go figure. He is doing so well and was pleased that I had gone back to school to get two degrees. He seemed to want to linger and chitchat but I could feel something starting that did not forbear well. He gave me his number, I gave him a false one. We promised to stay in touch, although I knew it was a promise I would not keep. We parted and again I am left thinking 'what if?' What if...what if...what if... Wake up girl!! I am married to the most wonderful man, I have five beautiful kids, live a very fulfilled life. I am immensely happy, I am so-o happy with my life and I have no regrets. That's my story and I am sticking with it!!!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Why do we fool ourselves that we are one nation? Nigeria is, and will always be, a nation of 'us versus them'. In business, in the civil service, anywhere, your reception is determined by your tribe. The colonial masters really did a disservice in the way they partitioned Africa. Case in point, why does the average Katsina or Kano man prefers that his daughter marries a person from Niger (across the border and a different country) rather that a Yoruba muslim man from Ibadan (same country). Because with the man from Niger, he probably speaks the same language and are culturally the same when it come to marraiges, funerals, society etc. Verbally, a hausaman would say, as long as he is a muslim, but when push comes to shove, then we see the true colours. A family I know are grappling with this 'problem'. Their daughter is 34 and not married which for years has been of concern to them. She now has met an unmarried Yoruba muslim from Ibadan, well educated and a Deputy General Manager with a bank, speaks Arabic fluently and knows the Quran in depth who wants to marry her. The family is adamant that it won't happen. What hypocrisy!!! Her father was in the Federal Civil Service and they lived in Lagos for a long time. Most of his closest friends are Yoruba. Her uncle is married to a Benin woman. All this was acceptable until now. They are now trying to marry her off to her cousin in Funtua who has two other wives. Having been once in a position where I was coerced into marrying someone I did not love, I hope that the girl stands her ground. She is the one that will live with whomever she marries. Its time we stopped making these decisions for our daughters. That is why we see so many 'bazawarai' in our society. Forced marraiges rarely work. I am a perfect example. We should all follow our hearts....
Saturday, February 23, 2008
'There are two things we should give our children; one is roots and the other is wings!!!' How do you know when to let go? Will we always be children to our parents and will our children always be kids to us? My best friends daughter is in her first year in the university and these are turbulent times for them. Her daughter wants to strike out on her own, my friend still wants her tied to the apron strings. I am, no surprise here, on the daughters side. Her mother is afraid that she might make mistakes...didn't we all? You cannot stop your kids from making any mistakes cos if they don't, how can they learn from them. We only hope that we have given them the tools to avoid the worse ones. What I believe is that the early adult years, especially with daughters, presents new opportunities for a mother/daughter relationship to evolve into a more matured 'semi friends' relationship. However, most mothers think of daughters as a new beginning to revisit their own deferred dreams, make up for mistakes made and relive their lives through the daughters.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Just got the greatest New Year gift; my own computer and internet service in my own space. Wonderful...my husband can't imagine what he is unleashing. I have bottled up feelings about so many things and I really needed an outlet. After living for too many years in Kano, we have just moved to Abuja. I am so-o-o happy. I needed to get away from those smog-filled streets, small-minded people, holier than thou religious freaks, misplaced priority government...I can go on forever. The Kano of my youth is no more. My childhood neighborhood of Yakasai is garbage clogged, almajirai infested, kwatami overflowing ..Our so called Mallam Governor thinks that providing signboards with Quranic incantations is a priority. Kano, the commercial centre of the 70s and 80s is dying and is on the last legs of the death throes..Oh woe is me and my people...just where did we go wrong? FYI this is just a rhetorical question cos I know damn well where we went wrong!!! This blog will tell you but for starters I am just estatic that we got away...I was already having nightmares about bringing up my children in Kano which was a struggle of ideas between mine and those around us that insist on helping me put my children right. My mother-in-law insists on our sending the children EVERY weekend to Wawure to acclimatise with the relatives. Their ideas are oh so extreme that when my twelve year old said that she wanted to be an engineer, my husbands aunt said, ' in mijin ki ya yarda kya yi da ga gidanshi' (if your husband agrees, you can do that from his house). IMAGINE!!! My husband actually was undecided about moving to Abuja but I used all my womanly wiles and guess who changed his mind overnight.