Home Coming... Excerpts from Sega Awosanya's Pages of Life - @segalink

While growing up, there were a lot of things that I could easily exchange my life for. Examples of such things were computer games (GameBo...

While growing up, there were a lot of things that I could easily exchange my life for. Examples of such things were computer games (GameBoy to be specific), Sony Walkman and Bicycle. In those days in the late 80s only highly privileged kids had bicycles in our neighborhood and you can actually count them on your finger tips. In the entire area I think there were two Chopper Bikes owned by notorious spoilt brats who know how to make heads of paupers like us turn while roaming the streets with their adorable bikes.

One of my happiest days was the day I stumbled upon Argos Store Magazine which was dropped off from a moving van of some clearing and forwarding agent some streets away from ours. The magazine contained all my vanity dreams. Toys, Bikes, Games you name it. I treated this magazine like my life manual and often fall asleep on it as my pillow. The alluring pictures permeated my dreams as my siblings often told that I grin in my sleep. You may not understand why this meant a lot to me but for someone with my kind of imagination, having owned so many toys in the past, I felt the need to move on to the next level but unfortunately my civil servant parents were at their wits end. Besides there were more pertinent things demanding their financial attention than fulfilling the luxurious dreams of a child. This is where my cousin came into the picture.

My cousin is the only son of my Aunt, a notorious character that had a life full of adventures. At eleven he's seen more than a twenty five year old, having been raised in the village. He told of my Uncle's numerous bikes (my Uncle was a bicycle repairer) and how much fun we can have riding it all day in a traffic free village environment. These images hunted my dreams as combined with the Argos bicycles I've been salivating on. So when he visited again years later at 15, we were on holidays, I begged my mum to allow me go with him to visit my aunt in the village. For some queer reasons my mum felt it was okay for me to go since she virtually had to force us to go anyways under normal circumstances.

My cousin kept his words upon arrival, by taking me to Uncle repairer's workshop. I barely slept on the night of my arrival, I just wanted the day to break so I can feel the breeze rush by my ears as I take control of my first bicycle ride without parental guidance. The village was cool, quiet and unpolluted, not by noise, fumes or traffic.

I was bubbling with excitement as I took physical control of my first bike before the sun rose. One thing I didn't care to note was that most of my uncle's bicycles were refurbished. One in ten had brakes and none of them were as attractive as the ones in my dreams but to me, the ride was all I cared about.

My cousin who was my only guide and tutor left me with just one instruction...follow me. I was supposed to just ride down the slope and use my legs to stop when I feel I'm about to crash. I really wasn't thinking and the excitement freedom brings clouded my reasoning especially for someone who's never been away from his parents. So we began...down the slope we went as we gathered momentum. He was experienced as accustomed to the terrain but I was still getting used to the gully eroded clay soil that covered majority of the terrain in the village.

I was on cloud nine, gliding through the slope and dogging the crevices created by running water in the previous rainy season. While speeding down the hill, I suddenly noticed a frail girl on my track, at that speed I couldn't have applied my manual brakes which would entail jumping down from the saddle and using my legs to try and reduce my speed till the bicycle comes to a halt. I also could not turn away as a flowing river was by my left on the narrow road, and the girl seem unperturbed like she was invincible. In the same spirit I continued my movement thinking that she would be scared and leave the road. This little dark urchin didn't flinch....

Without much ado, I rammed into her and we both tumbled into the bush. At this point, my irresponsible cousin was way ahead and couldn't care less if I was following him or not. The girl screamed as I struggled to get up while dragging my precious bike of barely 2hrs. She was bleeding from her nose and mouth. I tried giving her my Lagos version of sorry in the midst of telling her how stupid she was for not leaving the road...before a fetish hysterical woman screaming at the top of her voice grabbed me and started pulling me into their fenceless courtyard.

Some people came out upon hearing the commotion and tried to clean up the girl but the mother screamed at them saying she should remain like that till the father returns. She then dragged me into one of the buildings and shoved me into a dark room. When I got to look around my new confinement, it was like an exhibition of all the effigies of the deities in Africa. There were masks, carvings, straws, red clothes with patterned cowries, animal heads, horns of different animals in different sizes and patterns, animal skins etc...Little did I know that I was in the strong room of the most dangerous man in the village, the father of the little girl I almost killed....

It was nearly 6pm and for those who have lived in the village it really doesn't take long for it to get dark even from that time. I was still a prisoner of the hysterical mother of the cocky child that wanted to commit suicide at my expense. My hopeless cousin was back home pretending not to know my whereabout while my aunt was already in panic mode asking questions and threatening. It wasn't long before he broke and told her of my last know whereabout and immediately my aunt guessed where I may have been abducted.

Baba Jegbedu Orisa as often called was a notorious herbalist known for his annual fetish festival of Ogun worship where he cuts with a single blow the head of dogs each year to a cheering crowd. He was feared, and people hardly trespass on his property in the village. His livestock, Cats, Dogs and chicken like his numerous kids from different women were known and avoided like a plague but I wasn't aware of all these booby traps. So by the unwritten law of the land I have crossed the line. What even made matters worse was that my aunt had killed one of his cats weeks before my arrival and that face off was still sizzling with consultations and abstractions ongoing. There were no phones so no one could call my mum, and images of me becoming the stooge (like Igor to count dracular in the movies) of Jegbedu was torturing my mind as I kept looking around for an escape route. Never have I seen so much calabashes in my entire life. (Excerpts from Sega Awosanya's Pages of Life out soon)


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