Monday, April 21, 2008

A short story

I crept up the stairs, sure that the boys were too absorbed with playing football with the neigbourhood kids to notice that I was absent. They, just like I was about to, were taking full advantage of having been left unsupervised by our usually over vigilant parents. We were not allowed to mix too freely with the neighbours or play with the kids on the street; running wild, my mother called it.

Right now, I was intent on something more important than playing football. I crept up to the door, and saw that they had left the key in the lock. Wow, my great chance to explore the content of this mysterious room was finally here. I entered, shutting the door behind me in an attempt to fool anyone coming up the stairs into thinking that the room was empty. I was not worried about my parents returning home too early, the room overlooked the street below and I would be able to hear the pii pii of the 504 horn calling us to open the gates and let them in.
There were so many interesting files and folders to go through, and I got more absorbed by the minute. When I glanced up at the clock and saw that I had been at it for about 15 minutes, I decided to go through only one more file before leaving. I reached for the bottom file, making sure to remember its exact position so as to be able to replace just exactly as it was.
I opened the file and started to peruse its content. It contained a tax declaration for my parents for the year of our lord 1982. When I got to the part where the children of the claimants were to be listed, I froze and felt cold all over from what I read. “Taiwo Ajala May 12 1971; Kehinde Ajala May 12 1971. Tinuke Ajala September 1974………”

I frantically placed the sheet aside in order to be able to look through the other contents of the folder. I forgot about putting the sheets aside in the right order. I found the birth certificates of all the kids listed in the folder and some other documents that I was too agitated to read. I replaced the papers back in the folder and put the folder back on top of the file. “No, it should be at the bottom”, I thought to myself as I turned away from the door to replace it at the bottom of the pile and to arrange the pile neatly.
I headed for our room, climbed up to my oasis, the top bunk of the double-decker bed that I shared with Tope. I lay down with my thoughts, too upset to think rationally. My poor, poor parents. What a harrowing experience they had been through. I started to think how I could make it up to them; how I could show them that I cared. No wonder they were so careful with us and very concerned that we not run wild. I decided that I would talk to my father when my parents returned home. I would hug my mother. I was puzzled as to why I had no recollection, but decided that I was probably too young to remember.

My parents returned home three hours later. Immediately my mother changed and went downstairs to the kitchen, I knocked on the door of my parent’s room. When I heard the “come in” in my father’s deep voice, my heart leapt into my mouth, I still didn’t know what I was going to say.

“Daddy, I would like to come clean with you”, I started. “I went into your study while you were away and I looked through some folders. I’m sorry about Taiye and Kehinde. What happened to them? Did they die? It must be really be painful for you and mummy”.

“Don’t worry, nobody died”, my father reassured me. “The forms you saw were only a template, don’t worry”.

"But....", I started to say.

“And by the way, what were you doing snooping in my study, that’s very deceitful and I am very ashamed of you”.

“I’m sorry sir”, I said, hanging my head.

“Go to your room right now”, he said, displaying none of the fierce annoyance that I had come to expect from my father when he was dealing with any of our misdeed. He even had a sort of amused look on his face.

It took me several years to realize that Taiwo and Kehinde Ajala, were my parents way of defrauding the old Western State and claiming extra benefits.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

You can't cheat an honest man

I have gotten several e-mails in the last few weeks informing me of the fact that I had won in a lottery where the winners were selected randomly. The mails then went on to detail a list of personal information which needed to be sent before I couldreceived payment of said win. These emails could have fooled only very naïve, child-like people, or very greedy people, blinded to the very obvious by a desire to get something for nothing, or much for peanuts. How can you have won in a lottery that you didn't enter for? And the official from the lottery board has only a yahoo or hotmail email address. Hellooo???

That is why I am very irritated at the following report on the BBC website about the arrest of lottery scam suspects.

My irritation stems from the ever-present debate when the issue of scams comes up. Is it only the scammer that should be punished? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its right to cheat anyone out of his or her money, and I believe that scammers must be punished, but like Mickey says in Hustle “you can’t cheat an honest man”.

I am never taken in by freebies, it is a natural law that you never get something for nothing and anyone who wants to because of their greed, deserves whatever follows. I am sorry for the naive people who were taken in, but it seems they must have a bit of intrinsic greed.

Maybe I'm just being to hard on the poor stupid people.....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thought provoking

The images above are from a blog titled The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus which I came accross a couple of months ago. While I don't always agree with his positions, I am glad for the thoughts they provoke.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Asa in Concert

Someone I know posted a video of "Fire on the Mountain", the widely aclaimed single from Asa on her page a few months ago. I listened to it, it was quite good I thought and forgot all about it. As the months went by, she was mentioned by several people in various blog posts, on facebook and I finally got curious.

I watched the video of her interview on New dawn with Funmi, and she sounded so down to earth that I was intrigued. On her official homepage, you can listen to her various tracks. As I perused the page, I found that she would be playing inseveral locations Germany, and I found she would be playing in a city close to where I live!!!! Immediately I decided that I would be at the concert. Now, you have to know me for you to realise that it was not a very "selbstverstandlich" (logical) conclusion. In the whole of my 30year(in four weeks), I have only been to I think five concerts. Most were accidental attendances, as in my hubby wanted to go and I tagged along. The only other concert I had consciously decided to attend before now was a Shaggy concert in Moscow, and I didn't even pay for the ticket - I knew one of the organisers and he gave me a free ticket.

So, anyway, I decided to go to the concert (apart from the fact that I like her music and also do anything to support other hardworking Nigerians, I also needed a bit of a distraction). I immediately set my PR forces in motion -i.e. I sent an email to all my friends inviting them along. It turned out that one of those friends had bought an Asa CD accidentally in Nigeria over the christmas holidays, and she was immediately for it. She said she was going to invite some other friends of hers. I also decided to invite some of my colleagues, so it was a very jolly group of us that went along.

Meanwhile, I was able to buy the CD in Media Markt, an electronics store here, where I had also previously bought Ayo. For the first time, I listened to all the tracks including "So beautiful" which has become my favourite - when I sing "e bami kira fun mama mi, orisa bi iya ko si laye".....I sing it for my mother.
The concert was great - she knows how to work the stage! Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the concert and we all think she is going places. She is also very inspirational, I mean, her voice is not typical, and it must have taken a lot of determination to get where she is. I should take a cue from her wrt my book.....
We got a chance to speak briefly to her afterwards and also to take pictures with her. I even have an autographed CD to show for it!!!! In all, it was a great experience.
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