Wednesday, January 2, 2013
A must Read:"I am Determined to Remain Jobless" By Ronald Nzimorah
Chime Chinonso Simon
The woman dragging her 15-year old son through the market stopped by a stall and exchanged greetings with the seller.
“Kedu ka unu meretaata. Umuaka gi kwanu” (How are you today? And how are your children?)
“Anyi di mma o” (We are fine) she replied. “Ndi nke gi kwanu” (How about yours?)
“Ha di mma” (They’re good o.)
“Nwam, unu emechiena akwukwo?” the woman asked addressing the little boy. (My child, have you vacated from school?)
“Eeyee. (Yes) Good Afternoon ma” the boy replied.
“Afternoon nwam.” (Afternoon my child) . Then addressing the woman, she asked, “Kedu ihe unu choro igo?” (What do you want to buy?)
“Achoro m . . .” (I want . . .)
The women’s voices trailed off as the boy looked around the market. He had just got in on holidays from his boarding school, a Junior Catholic seminary (his mom had come to pick him up) and was still basking in the euphoria of having left that hunger hole and come home, even though right then he was famished and couldn’t wait for her to finish her shopping so they could go home.
As the woman finished her shopping, they squeezed their way through the herd of market women and shoppers, careful not to step on produce displayed on nylon sheets by the sellers.
Soon they got to where her Suzuki 80 motorcycle was parked and she got on looking behind her, she asked.
“Are you well seated? Please be sure you’re holding on to something so you don’t fall off”.
“I’m okay Mummy,” the boy replied.
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Then she began to kick the start lever to get the engine running.
That’s when they saw him. It was Aranka, the village mad man.
Aranka had made a beeline for them and as soon as she sighted Aranka, she stopped kicking the engine and smiled.
Aranka knew everybody and everybody knew him. He was from the neighbouring village and was a ‘son of the soil’. Lore had it that in the distant past, about 15 years before, he was a perfectly healthy man. Whatever made him mad, no one could tell.
Aranka was known to always ask for gifts from people he knew.
“Aranka! Kedu ka imere?” (Aranka! How are you doing?)
“Adi mu mma, Lolo. Nyem ego ka m were rie nni ututu” (I am fine, Madam. Please can you give me some money so I can buy breakfast?)
“Aranka!” the woman exclaimed. “Mgbe n’ile ka ina eri nni ututu. Chi ejibekwana o.” (Aranka, your requests are always to buy breakfast. It’s almost night time.)
As she said this, she pulled out a =N=20 naira note from her purse and offered it to him.
“Lolo, dee mee o. Mana akpukpo ukwu gi eemmela ochie. Eyizi na ya. Jee gota ozo” (Madam, thank you! But I want to say something. Your shoes are very old. Stop wearing them. Go buy a new pair)
A brief silence. Then the woman laughed.
“Oooo. Anula m. Agam egota ozo” (Yes, I have heard you. I will buy a new pair.)
But she wasn’t the only one who had heard him.
Others had heard it too. And the laughter around was general.
Damn! How bad can it get? That a mad man has to remind you that your shoes are old and needed changing.
The boy was embarrassed. The woman took it in her stride. She had seen the worst of times.
As they went home, the boy asked his Mom. “Mummy, did you hear what Aranka said in the market today?”
“Oh! Don’t let it bother you son. But I really need to but a new pair of shoes. Aranka was right.”
“Mummy, when I grow up, I will start my own company and make more than enough money to buy you the most expensive shoes in the world. Never again will anyone, let alone a mad man say that your shoes are old.”
With that declaration, a young boy’s life was changed forever.
If you think the story you just read above is fiction, perish the thought. It is real and happened exactly as I have told it.
How do I know that?
I do, because I was that boy. That woman was my mother.
The sequence of events that day have forever been etched in my mind. Each time I travel to my village and pass by that market, it all comes back to me like a movie. It’s almost like I’m haunted by it.
Have you ever been so embarrassed by a situation in your life that you swore to change your circumstance?
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