(A Review of Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s I do not come to you by chance)
What is the difference between yesterday and today? When we sin for those we love, killing ourselves that ours may live, what lines do we cross? In the struggle to make ends meet and turn from being the scourge of society, what sacrifices do we make? And when we reap from the greed of others, are we really to be blamed?
There are a million and one questions like these and others that life places on us every day but imagine this: you are a first son with a million needs. You graduated summa cum laude in Chemical Engineering and have tried every single job opening without success. Add to this: your babe leaves you because you are too broke. Everyone scorns you like the wretched of the earth. Well, truth be said, when poverty chews life’s essence out of you, what else are you? But still putting ourselves in the shows of this man that for a moment we assume we are: imagine your father falls ill and there’s hardly any money to take care of him. He’s admitted…and then you get some really good news; your brother has gotten admission into the university. Before you can cry at this ‘fortune’, your dad dies leaving the burden of his funeral and your family on your shoulders…
Oh well, what next is there to do?
But let us add this part, to make it better for you: You have an uncle is a 419 Lord who has been asking you to come and join him… You have held back because of your family’s high value on education above everything else. They hope you will get a job despite the gazillion interviews you have not passed. So… Morals or money? To follow family honour and the words of your father on integrity or face the challenge of reality? What would you do especially now that the honour of your family is engraved in a life that is now outspent?
Have heard of the book I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. It is a novel whose Nigerian versions were published in 2009 by Cassava Republic and more recently, in 2019 by the revolutionising publishing house, Masobe Books.
Different dawns come upon us and the sun we see today, though the same that appears tomorrow is different in many ways – maybe in intensity, or just in the manner it sends its rays upon us. It is the same thing with affections, emotions and a whole lot more. Today, well, yesterday was a funny day. I got to remember much about family, and lost ones. It started with a movie, Lukewarm. The sub-plot was about a father-son relationship. It took me on a long journey; life.
Later, as the day wore on, as I walked the road with a friend and got to meet with family, and talk to other friends in different areas who needed a little help or the other, I got to realise that a lot of people are going through so much pain. So much pain, that we often do not note. It has been a learning period for me, these past weeks. I have learnt and am still learning much about friendship, about family and being grateful. Also about God who is always there for us too and Jesus. There’s always much to be grateful for. Always.
These portraits slowly smudge the smiles that lit the streetswhere our fathers loved, lived and thrived. Violence is fueled on sensible and senseless plainsIn the name of brazen gods and a common God called peaceGuns blaze while cutlasses fly in the air cutting down destiniesHerdsmen hide under false pretences to raise fights as farmers riseDying … Continue reading ON THE BRINK (A Poem) by S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema
I just read a blog post by my cousin, Mimi titled ‘Drink Air.‘ and it brought memories. In summary, the term ‘drink air’ is from a Tiv expression, ‘ma ahumbe.’ It is a literal translation. In our context, it is a term that was popularised by her mom, my aunt Mbatomun and my Dadi, Mr. Charles Ayede. A third person who we lost early on was our Auntie, Pat Iorpuu. They would be deliberate and just make time out for us to go out, take aimless drives around town or anywhere, or long walks. Sometimes, it would even be a celebration because — no good reason. Just, live. There was that time in the village, Christmas 2009, when we went to the village with Dadi and a battalion of several families to just enjoy our tradition, acculturate and have fun. Truly, it was one of the best Christmases ever and I hope to replicate this some day, if Fanen does not beat me to it.
But, on the issue of drinking air, we were talking of this on our group chat and Ngodoo, my big cos, reminded me of one time, about sixteen years or so ago, when Dadi got us to go on a road trip with him from Makurdi to Obudu, in Cross River, a four to five hour trip, to get ‘bamboo.’
You should watch ‘Collateral Beauty’ starring Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris and Jacob Latimore.
If those names are not enough – or mean nothing to you – you should go for the story. I think that the movie is quite underrated, I think so mainly because I have not seen so many people talk about it. Maybe they did. Maybe it was just not in my space.
The idea of the movie is anchored on the three abstractions that bind us all – Love, Time, Death. A man loses his daughter and his life falls apart. He becomes a zombie and his company suffers. Somehow, he gets to be visited by these abstractions who he has written letters to while trying to make peace with his past. He basically has to reunite with time, not being stuck while coming to terms with death as he must rediscover love. While all this is happening, while our lead character is coming to terms with this, there are subplots on life, living, caring, sharing and a lot more to leave you thinking deep about what really matters in life.
We are skeletons trapped in a pot of time Life is the fire boiling us The seasons picking our flesh Vultures take forks, smiling Waiting as they hover We are skeletons waiting We soon lose our flesh and become our true selves. Continue reading SKELETONS (A Poem) by S. V. Agema
Often when we are in a position, we fail to see how far we have come. It is often the case that when a man is climbing a mountain and looks down, he does not appreciate the heights he has attained but is afraid of what would happen if he falls.
Well, poetry speaks to us in many ways and comes to us in different ways. It is that place where there are many of us rushing in, especially with this whole advent of the social media. Now, while a lot of people have argued and bashed people who write so-called bad poetry on their blogs and spaces like Facebook, I’ve told these ‘critics’ to cool down. We are simply moving with the times. No writer should be judged for such posts. The only time when such a person should be judged is when the poem has been put into a book. So to say, when the poet has declared it final.